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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: High School Tennis Seasons

From: Joe Rill <>
Date: Tue 30 Oct 2001 10:52:48 EST

I am delighted that Ray surfaced this issue. Because of a Title 9 court
challenge, many states decided to "align" Girls and Boys Tennis seasons
during the same time. I heard that the majority of schools˘especially
those in the rural areas˘have little or no problem with both teams playing
at once. Their ADs see a simple solution in scheduling boys home and girls
away. They also have small teams consisting of 6-7 players with very few
tryouts each year. Because the rural schools are in the majority, they
call the tune. I also hear that Virginia (where Ray and I coach) is one of
the 3-4 states that haven't yet "aligned."

While I am not qualified to criticize the legal aspects of the issue, I do
feel competent to highlight many of the team coaching shortcomings involved.
The larger AAA schools have larger teams and a higher level of interest in
sports like tennis, girls' lacrosse, rowing, and other sports that might
not be available in most other high schools in the state. In our Northern
Virginia district and region, it is not unusual to have 16-20 kids on the
tennis team. At our school each year, 15-30 kids (mostly freshmen) sign up
for tennis tryouts. It is absolutely essential to have enough courts and
equipment to conduct evaluations, round robins, and challenge ladders in
order to select and rank order the team for league competition. Once the
team is formed they need practice facilities and equipment. There is an
efficiency curve involved in the number of players per court during drills
and teaching situations. Even the best coaches cannot compensate for
cutting the resources in half to satisfy the same number of team members. _

Something has to give. Sometimes it will be the coaches. You can measure
the turnover rate of coaches to identify the magnitude of this impact. But
you cannot measure the shock to the kids when they get a new coach every
year as we found when we started five years ago. Sometimes the impact will
be the reduced number of team members. These statistics are also available
although they will not identify the "lost opportunity" aspect on cut-
students who could have made the larger team or team members who would have
developed into better players had additional facilities been available.

What concerns me most is the likelihood that High School decision makers
including ADs and the state high school league officials will misinterpret
the adverse impact on high school tennis programs across the country after
they see what happens. They might look at what was once a successful
program and say, "Oh well, there was never any interest in tennis anyway.
Here's an opportunity to throw some more money into a different sport that
generates revenue."

Joe Rill

Received on Tue Oct 30 2001 - 13:34:52 CST

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