Released, May 30, 2011, TOTT, America’s Tennis Decline, As I see it.
It's the Talk of the Town!
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, and not just as the result of injuries.
Some attribute the decline to the lack of Clay Courts in the United States, and offers that up as the reason for Spanish Players' new 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 in their day.
The tennis magazines will often highlight, and promote the playing style, ball spin, and service speed, of the most popular player, rather than calling attention to the players form, the early, or lack of early shot preparation, or the players’ ability to anticipate, or the tennis acumen of the player, or the player’s shot selection, as I see, or how players should 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. Using the USTA rating format, 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 believe it is more important being able to teach the fundamental, and the basics of 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, as I see it, where I play appears to be only actual play. There is also a sense of entitlement around the Challenge Courts that if you wait, you will get a chance to play, but little understanding that competition, requires daily attention to your playing skills, and ability, not just exercising, that drives the accomplished, and winning tennis players.
Hey! That's my perspective. What's yours?