This is an email exchange between Wayne Bryan and a few other leading tennis coaches. It illustrates a situation I believe is happening all around the country in cities and towns. These kids that excel are the ones that the others tend to follow or want to do as well as. They serve as motivators from my perspective. They are the “seeds” to the game that one day grow into the “trees” of the game. I could not agree more with these guys. I love reading the exchange.
Wayne Bryan is in Blue. Lawrence Roddick is in Green. Chris Bovett is in Purple.
Mornin’ Lawrence – – – Thanks for your call and chat last night. Your e mail below is just dead on great. Great stuff by Chris too. Keep rallying other parents and coaches and tennis insiders there in the great state of Texas. This sad, silly and stupid Mandate must not stand . . . option, yes, Mandate no . . . Dashing off to catch a plane to New Braunfels to do an afternoon talk at your Texas Coaches Convention and then gotta be in Chapel Hill for John Isner’s Charity Event later tonight . . .
Keep pressin’ . . .
I could’nt agree with you more in regards to young kids being able to improve very, very, very rapidly….You have hit the nail on the head! One of the arguments I have with the Texas U10 Mandate is the following: Why are U10s held to such a high standard? Essentially (not completely accurate but very close without going into details), if you win one tournament in other age divisions in Texas the child is moved up a competitive level. Why does a beginning U10 have to win 8 tournaments or play 20 tournaments to prove they are worthy to play with regulation balls and regulation courts. Bingo!
The rhetoric USTA Texas will throw up is “earned advancement! But as I pointed out above it does not hold water when compared to other age divisions. Yep. Chris, you have now compounded the problem with your very valid point that young kids improve more rapidly then older children. It may be similar to learning a foreign language. Younger kids can do it faster. Yes.
Another point to consider is the 4 game format. How is a child going to experience the ebs and flows of a tennis match? I mean, at a minimum, a “3 set” with a super tie-break in the third if they are playing 4 game sets? The mental aspect is being ignored! Just because you are good in 10s does not mean you are going to be good in 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s etc….
Thanks. I too will do everything I can to help Kabeer and others in this quest to overturn or at least make adjustments to this disgraceful mandate. As I mentioned in my email to Amanda, and should have made mention when I emailed Steve Cobb, Ken McAllister and Cindy Benzon, time is of the essence when you are dealing with talented young players who, as you know , can improve in leaps and bounds at a young age.There is no telling how good a youngster will be in a month or two at this young age. Meanwhile the powers would be are waiting on meetings to discuss if any adjustments should be made. I was told by Steve Cobb that they are gathering information to assess what the TTA might do. This sounds good on the surface but again it takes time and meanwhile the kids involved are being held back.
thanx for responding….i just wanted to know that information before i write an email to amanda shaw on kabeer’s behalf. Kabeer deserves the opportunity to compete at the 12s level and let the chips fall where they may. All we are asking is for the opportunity that was available to other children 1 year ago. Kabeer deserves a seat at the table. I will do whatever I can to make that happen. Kabeer should not have to feel this way. Kabeer, his parents and the coach should be able to decide how his tennis journey unfolds. Not USTA Texas…….
Yes. He just played the 10’s in the last ZAT last weekend. It was his first green yball event. He reached the semis and lost to another of my students easily. The boy he lost to he beats easily with regular balls. He told his Dad he didn’t want to play. We were both a little concerned with his attitude until we gave it further thought. It turns out he doesn’t feel like it is tennis playing with the green balls and he doesn’t want to do It anymore. I completely understand now how he feels. He plays 6 days a week with regular balls and then has to play a one day, first to 4, no ad scoring with green balls tournament.
Has Kabeer played in any U10 tournaments using Quickstart equipment?
I was given your name by Lawrence Roddick as a person I should contact to get help regarding the 10 Mandate handed down by the USTA. My concern for this very destructive mandate is based on personal experience with a current student of mine. I do not want to boast about my tennis accomplishments but suffice it to say that I have 56 years of tennis experience and so what I am about to say should carry some weight. I was ranked #6 in England in the Boys Under 18 Singles when I was 14 years old. I immigrated to Australia for tennis when I was 16 1/2 years old and was ranked in #7 in Australia in the Boys 18 and under singles. I played 4 years of college tennis here in the USA. I played in 9 Grand Slams. I was hired by the British LTA to coach and manage the 1971 British Junior Dewar Cup Touring Team which competed in the Dewar Cup Circuit ( this team comprised Britain’s top juniors including John Lloyd, Buster Mottram, Mark Farrell, John Feaver, Mike Collins and Ross Walker.) I won several tour doubles titles. I competed against the top 10 players in the world at least 22 times. I have coached juniors who have appeared in 31 USTA National Junior Championship Finals winning 25. At least 100 of my students have gone on to play College tennis on tennis scholarships and 19 students have played on the ATP and WTA tours attaining world rankings including a world #1 rank in Mens Doubles. All this to add credence to what I am about to say.
I am a teaching pro in Houston and run my own junior tennis academy(cbtennisacademy.com). The student I am very concerned about is Kabeer Kapasi. He is 8 years old. He is very talented. He loves tennis. He watches matches on his computer. He studies what the pros do. He plays tennis and dreams tennis. In my Academy he competes against 12,13,14,15,16,17 and 18 year olds, with regular balls and can beat many of these players – some are championship, some Super championship and some ZAT. If he wants to play tournaments, however, because of this disgraceful mandate, he is put into the green ball division of the 10’s. This is a huge step back, discouragement and limiting move for Kabeer. I don’t know how the USTA or the TTA can possibly believe this mandate is helping a player like Kabeer. In any other era other than today he could be playing with regular balls in the Boys 12’s or even 14’s as players in the past have done. His birth fell at a bad time because of this mandate. The TTA ought to give its juniors, parents and coaches a choice. Play with the green balls if you want or play with the regular balls in 12’s or 14’s or whatever. The current mandate is going to stunt the growth of some kids. When kids are young, 4,5,6,7 etc. they improve tremendously , almost by the day. When I am told the TTA will have a meeting in February to discuss the mandate I find that disturbing. Some people are going to sit around in a couple of months to discuss whether or not to make adjustments to the system, while kids like Kabeer have to suffer. I don’t know what you can do personally, but if it is possible this mandate needs to be changed and allow kids like Kabeer to chose to play with regular balls in older divisions. What harm can come from that. Let parents and coaches make these decisions not a bunch of people in the USTA that have nothing to do with junior development on a personal basis. Overturn this mandate, at least in Texas, and do the right thing for our kids.
I am sorry to be so aggressive but I do not want kids like Kabeer to be held back at such a critical time in their development.
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