We are slowly getting back to some kind of normal club life. We hope that most of our members will be returning and a lot of new players will show up when they realize that tennis is the 'ideal social distancing sport." Now is the time to think about some exciting changes. To show our members there's more to club tennis than mixers, USTA leagues, those and interclub competitions that alwys show up with the same players.

It's time to "cut the old NTRP cord" and introduce UTR as a truly global tennis movement to your members.

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UTR - THE GREAT EQUALIZER

By Rich Neher

Introduction

My background is in NTRP. As a former Team Lead for adult leagues and NTRP ratings on the USTA Tennislink Team, I taught that rating system to USTA League Coordinators and became intimately familiar with its advantages and disadvantages. To make it quite clear, I'm not writing this to knock NTRP, it's a useful system and for the most part, does what it was designed for very well. However, technology has evolved in our sport, and players that are UTR-rated have not only a much greater chance of playing real competitive matches but the system itself can add a whole new dynamic to the life of a club and its players.

What is UTR?
UTR touts itself as "...the most accurate global rating system used by the world’s premier tennis academies, clubs, colleges, high schools, organizations, and tournaments." It's a seemingly unstoppable global, ageless, and genderless, movement that's destined to change the game as we know it.

UTR rates every player regardless of age, gender, or nationality on a 16-point scale. Based on up to 30 matches played during the last 12 months. The UTR platform provides great player analytics and the ability to find players at your level.

What's the difference to NTRP?

Like in NTRP, UTR looks at who you played and what the score was for calculating a rating. However, because of the 16-point scale (between beginners 1.00 and ATP Top 16.50), UTR is naturally more accurate. Now, since players are not put in those NTRP "buckets" (3.0, 3.5, 4.0 etc.), and there is no appeal function, players of similar UTR numbers have a much better chance of finding competitive matches. And because UTR doesn't have those "buckets" there is no incentive for sandbagging or tanking a match. You'll get a real-time view of a player's true skill level. Another advantage of UTR is its accuracy worldwide. It is well known that an NTRP 3.5 in Los Angeles is not the same as a 3.5 in New York. But a UTR 7.5 is the same everywhere in the USA and in 199 other countries.

How big is UTR?

Over 1.7 million tennis players, from recreational to world-class, are already rated in 200 countries. Universal Tennis was founded in 2008 by a group of passionate tennis players and coaches with one goal in mind: to make tennis more affordable, accessible, and fun for all players, regardless of age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Over the last decade, Universal Tennis has grown from a rating system used by college coaches for recruiting into the world's premier global tennis platform for players, organizers, and coaches. The Universal Tennis platform has become an integral part of the fabric of leading academies, clubs and organizations including Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, Kim Clijsters Academy, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, Orange Coach, PTR (Professional Tennis Registry), USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association), Intercollegiate Tennis Association, IMG Academy, Centercourt, CourtSense, Midtown Tennis, Cliff Drysdale Management, and many more.

How do I get rated?

Every tennis player can see or create their UTR for free at MyUTR.com. If you've played a USTA-sanctioned match, chances are you already have your UTR.

Content

Introduction

What is UTR?

What's the difference to NTRP?

How big is UTR?

How do I get rated?

What's in it for me and my club?

A word about UTR and Juniors

A word about UTR and Transgender players

What's in it for me and my club?

Here's what you can expect when your players are getting their UTR numbers.

  • Better Member Experience
    Just from an accuracy point of view, without members being stuffed into the NTRP "ratings bucket" with all its disadvantages, match play under UTR will become truly competitive for your players. Sandbaggers are a thing of yesterday and no one has an incentive to tank a match.
     

  • UTR platform lets you create new, profitable events
    To support tennis facilities globally, all new UTR organizers can now access the Universal Tennis software to run unlimited events, get players rated, and generate revenue. Tennis directors can join the UTR movement risk-free with no upfront fees. You can establish your own exciting events or run larger, UTR-verified tournaments. If you are worried about USTA and other leagues taking away too much space and time, create UTR events that will actually make you money.
     

  • Gender neutrality generates new excitement
    Can you imagine a club environment where women play men and the matches are competitive? That's what's going to happen when your members get UTR-rated. Can you see the excitement this is going to generate in your club? Since UTR is not only gender but also age-neutral, imagine the possibilities. The excitement will be compounded if your members learn that playing UTR-based tournaments may even be more exciting than USTA league play.
     

  • UTR enables your members' kids to become involved in playing adults
    One of the advantages of getting everyone their UTR numbers and having them play competitive matches for improvement is the ability to include your juniors in adult match play. Your kids will thank you for giving them that kind of experience. See below (A word about UTR and Juniors) for more on this.
     

  • Global ratings a big advantage for your members traveling abroad
    When your members travel to France or Spain they are usually trying desperately to explain NTRP numbers at guest clubs so they can find compatible opponents. Not anymore. UTR is an adaptation of the French rating system and it's recognized and used in 200 countries. You and your UTR number are in the system and therefore it's easy to find good matches for you. Similarly, of course, it is easy to find those matches when you're traveling across the U.S.A.
     

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A word about UTR and Juniors

Junior tennis is at a crossroads in the United States. The system hasn't worked well for decades because it's outcome-oriented. One of the problems is the ill-fated Points-Per-Round system. It incentivizes kids to travel far in order to get easier matches for maximum points. The result is well-known. If you have wealthy parents, your chances to go up in the rankings are much better than someone from a lower-income background. Our juniors are being slaughtered in age groups and the older the kids are, the fewer kids participate in junior tennis. To top it off, they are not welcome to play in the USTA league system until the age of 18. It's a scandal, really, as tirelessly pointed out by Florida tennis activist Javier Palenque.

The solution: UTR. Whether you are a junior tired of traveling to USTA tournaments or a High School team unable to travel to expensive championships, UTR enables them all to play LOCAL. Not only that but similar to the successful French system, our older kids will be able to play adult club players. How about that for a life-changing experience for our juniors? And both the adult and the junior will probably have a good time. What do you think about that?

UTR is helping our juniors to move away from an outcome-oriented to a process-oriented system.

A word about UTR and Transgender players

I wrote about the issues of Transgender sports in a September 2019 article "Transgender Confusion Coming to Your Courts Soon!" One of my conclusions is that UTR will solve those issues for your club, for tournaments, and for league teams. A Transgender woman (a biological man) only wanting to play on a women's team so "she" can beat up on other ladies is totally a moot argument now. Let her play on your UTR-based team. We can all live together that way. The GREAT EQUALIZER UTR at work, folks.

© 2020 by Tennis Media Group, 4324 Troost Ave, Suite 302, Studio City, CA 91604, U.S.A.  Tel 818-809-8327  info@tennismediagroup.com

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