Monday, December 19, 2011

Released  TOTT, America’s Tennis Decline, As I see it.

For some time now, sportswriters have noticed an absence of an American players in the finals of the U.S. Open, the French Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon.

Some attribute the decline to the lack of Clay Courts in the United States, and offers that up as the Spanish Players dominance. However, I see it a little differently.

As I see it, it’s a lot more basic than that. Surprisingly, and with the surge of popularity in the USTA’s Quick Start Program, at local county, and city recreational facilities, you would expect a plethora of talented new players. Not so, and I’d like to elaborate on several problems that come to mind, many take lessons but few learn to be Tennis Players.

One of the reasons I do not participate in USTA Tennis events is because of its "tennis marketing" rather than marketing of "better playing of tennis." Many of the tennis magazines are written by tennis instructors certified by the USTA, but who have limited experience in teaching tennis, but may have been talented players.

The magazine will often highlight, and promote the playing style, ball spin, and service speed, rather than the players form, the early shot preparation, players’ ability to anticipate, tennis acumen of the player, player’s shot selection, and how player’s employ better footwork, and stroking, and service technique to prevent tennis injuries.

Let’s start with the USTA Rating System. As I see it. The purpose is to provide a basis for tennis instructors that are certified by USTA, to give lessons in order to move players from one rating to another with their self evaluation criteria for tournament play. I see only a 1. Novice; 2. a beginner, 3. a person who plays tennis, and 4. a Tennis Player. as being a necessary ranking method.

However, the tennis teacher, as I see it, and the instructors’ ability to disect the stroke, and present it in increments so that the student can grasp how the stroke is produce is sorely lacking. I pride myself in being able to teach any stroke in less than and hour, and have a unique, systematic method, and realistic expection for student to use my technique to develop their own style of play.

If a teacher, who is of tournament skill level, uses a one hand backhand when playing or teaching, and acknowledges that using a two-hand backhand, or two-hand forehand requires the student to run more, and requires quicker foot speed to get to the ball, which would be a handicap to the Senior player, why would the instructor permit the student to use two-hands, when learning to play?

Finally, the work ethic for learning, and practicing around most courts where I play appear to be only playing. There is a sense of entitlement around the Challenge Courts, but little understanding that competition, requires daily attention to your playing ability, not exercising, that drives the accomplished, and winning tennis players.

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