Mike Dowse Letter
USTA Player Dev.
Re: Michael Dowse's Letter
He will reply only if you put more pressure through media and print. Otherwise, he will not bother.
(Editor: Correction. Michael Dowse called. See March Publisher's Notes.)
The letters to Michael Dowse should have covered the schools. Your newsletters state that there are more high school tennis players than numbers of players promoting tournaments. The New Jersey state organizations only promote multi-sport athletics. They discourage tennis players from concentrating on one sport. High school tennis season is 3 months. Coaches may only work with their players during the season and the 2 1/2 month summer recess. There are over 300 high schools with tennis teams. With an average of 5 boys and girls coaches per school, 1500 dedicated coaches are not allowed more than 5 months' contact with their teams.
The coach can be suspended for a year for violation. The NJSIAA forwarded a letter that Michael Jordan was a multisport athlete playing baseball and basketball. Every coach would have loved to have a 13 year old Michael trying out for the team. He would have been #1 in all 24 sports.
There is an average of 20 players per team or 12,000 per year. 48,000 New Jersey high school students cannot work with their tennis coach for more than 5 months in each of their 4 years in school. These students want to get better. It is especially true in the school where I coach, where most athletes are African American. Typically their parents don't have the money for coaching and transportation. A common complaint is that there is no food in the house.
The multisport athletics is very important for the lower school (grades 1-8), Once they reach high school (age 13 or 14), specialization is very important to become successful players. We have a saying, once you learn to play tennis you never forget it. And will always return to it.
Don Swanson PTR
Trenton Catholic Academy
Rich: Last month you asked about a player development plan to reach the Men's player heights of the past 100 years in the US, but failing nowadays.
I offer the following: Our coaches and the USTA should recommend and encourage the style and game of Roger Federer. He has been the best player for the last 20 years. Return to the one-handed backhand, play the net more and volley and hit overheads. Few players can do this nowadays. Learn to Lob and return serve effectively. Become much more aggressive by not let floaters around the Service Line bounce, but hit volleys instead.
All of this can be done if Federer is copied. Play the Big Game as Jack Kramer perfected. It will work.
Re: Player Development
Good issue! TENNIS is the brand - not ITF, ATP, USTA, PTR, etc. Work together to get people on the courts and active. It’s a societal issue not just our industry!
Director of Tennis/Pickleball - USPTA/PTR/PPR certified, USA High-Performance Coach
The Club at Morningside
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
You should be promoting the construction of pickleball exclusive courts as an alternative to tennis court conversion or destruction.
A pickleball court is 20 x 44 and 10 feet of backcourt is recommended. It should be 64 feet long. This allows a little more room to move around in the backcourt.
A tennis court is 60 x 120 as you know. So even if you put three pickleball courts across when you change a tennis court over to pickleball only, it looks ok but it is really not big enough.
Both sports are fun to play and should not have to compete for court use.