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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: USTA Grassroots

From: Ron Woods <>
Date: Mon 17 Jun 2002 22:52:44 -0500

<x-charset iso-8859-1>Dear Mike,

The issue to which you are referring is one that seems to be an ongoing
question -- "What is the role of the different organizations involved in
tennis today"?

What is the role of the USTA? What is the role of the USPTA? What is the
role of the PTR? What is the role of the ATP? What is the role of the TIA?
What is the role of the WTA? What is the role of the ATA? and on and on.

The USTA is recognized as the "governing body of tennis" in America. It is
run by a Democratic process through volunteers that is supported by a
highly paid Administrative Staff. The USPTA is a democratic organization
run by the membership and is also supported by an administrative staff. The
PTR is run, in my opinion, by an administrative staff as they do not have
the networking of divisions and sections that the USPTA and USTA enjoy.

The TIA is a group that is composed of the various organizations within the
tennis industry and actually provided the impetus for the now famous or
infamous USTA "Plan for Growth". In my estimation, this is the organization
that should really be the "governing body of tennis" in this country as they
have no real agenda in who gets credit for the growth of the game in this
country and will actually listen to all facets of the industry.
Unfortunately, the USTA wants all the credit for growing the game in our
great country and with all the money coming from the U.S. Open it is hard to
battle their branding barrage. I personally find it unbelievable that the
USTA would not use other organizations in this country to help promote the
growth of the game to their fullest extent. But they always seem to want to
reinvent the wheel. I will use some incidents to back my claim:

1. The USTA decided to create a great marketing tool to promote tennis in
May with "Play Tennis America" The USPTA had "Tennis Across America " in
place for nearly ten years before this idea came to the USTA. Why not use
the networking capabilities and theme of the USPTA in a joint effort to
promote tennis in the Month of May. Why reinvent the wheel and step on the
toes of an established 75 year old well respected tennis association? Why
does everything have to be branded by the USTA? Use the 17 USPTA divisions
by providing some USTA advertising dollars to really develop a huge market
hype for our great game. The USPTA has a very limited budget to do this,
but does a great job with what they have to work with.

2. At one point in time the USTA wanted to certify its own coaching staff
to teach tennis for it's programs developed to grow the game. The USPTA was
already testing and certifying teaching pro's and had been doing this for
many, many years. Why reinvent the wheel? Why not use and fund this
organization to do just what they had been doing for years instead of hiring
additional staff, making up new tests, creating new courses, etc., to
accomplish the same thing.

3. USPTA "Little Tennis" is a great curriculum to teach youngsters coming
into our sport. It took years for the USTA to finally recognize USPTA
"Little Tennis" as part of the 1-2-3 Pathway. The USPTA had a curriculum
and template in place for teaching junior tennis. Why reinvent the wheel?

Why not use all the resources in our country available to the "governing
body". Shouldn't the USTA be an umbrella over our heads to nurture tennis
in all areas and utilize the efforts and talents of any and all tennis
organizations in America? Admittedly, the USTA has the money to probably do
whatever it wants to do, but it would stand to reason that this "governing
body" would want to nurture all entities that are in the business to promote
the game of tennis in whatever manner.

This brings me now to your question about encroachment ---- The USPTA
has voiced concern about some of the "Plan for Growth" initiatives,
incentives, and branding practices since the USPTA "Position Paper" on the
issue of the USTA certifying coaches. The USPTA stepped up and challenged
the USTA and its tactics for "Growing the Game" at the expense of existing
organizations. Our organization continues to do so and very recently
objected to the very issue you are alluding to in your question about the
USTA certifying people to teach. The USTA is conducting developmental
coaches workshops and the USPTA has just added a "Deveopmental Coaches"
category to the existing membership. The USPTA, as mentioned earlier, has
been doing coaches workshops for many years before the USTA besides
Certifying teaching professionals, testing professionals, and educating
professionals through seminars, conventions and workshops. This new Coaches
Category will enable a tennis teacher that is not interested in a full time
career as a tennis professional to aquire and take advantage of certain
USPTA educational opportunities to enhance their abilities as a part-time
teacher or coach.

I am not against the USTA and it's programs. I am a USTA member and help run
USTA programs, but only those that don't encroach on others territory. I am
against the way the USTA is muscling in on the turf of other organizations
involved in our great sport.

Again, why reinvent the wheel? Why not use the resources of those tennis
organizations in the United States that have had a hand in our great sport
for years. Recognize and fund those organizations to really "Grow the Game"
instead of trying to encroach on their territory.

It is a tough call in our democratic society to really know when a business
is just looking for success in the market or building a monopoly.

Ron Woods, uspta
Corpus Christi, Texas

Received on Tue Jun 18 2002 - 08:20:55 CDT

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