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The ultimate goal is to produce Grand Slam winners, you can’t produce them. The USTA high performance program is for a handful of players and it is not supporting the group of our best American players.

The whole world is training elite tennis athletes and the USTA can not come up with a program that is working. A program that is focusing on our top American junior talents. Junior tennis athletes that don’t have the financial support, don’t have a good national ranking and are in most cases never been looked at. There is a big difference between the official USTA ranking and the real performance, check out the USTA ranking and compare it with the tennisrecruiting.net ranking. The USTA ranking just measures points per tournament, however the tennisrecruiting.net measure “the performance strength”. In other words the USTA TOP 10 ranked juniors may not be the best talented players with potential. Continue to read at http://ustennisparents.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/is-the-usta-tennis-...

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Dear U.S. Tennis Parent(s),

My name is Jason Lampione. I certainly can relate and understand your deep concerns with the stability and growth of your most precious children struggling to make the necessary leaps and bounds needed to be successful in the United States as potential future players. I grew up in New York and the only opportunities that was afforded to me at a young-age was my will, love and passion for the sport that kept my motivation and desire to improve my game in every aspect day-to-day, week-to-week and so forth. My average day of playing was waking up early iin the morning before school and work-out by running and doing cardio excercises, then coming home from school my tennis on-court tennis conditioning commenced. I had to create my own drilling formats, serve patterns and pre-and-post match review during and after my high school matches. I did everything in my power to ensure that I was maximizing my mind, body and spirit for the game. I read books on the "inner game of tennis," "winning ugly," and watching video clips of my favorite players and after years of conditioning I started seeing the results I've been exerting over my long-term dedication.

I completely understand how you feel as a parent going through some of the patterns you've been talking about in your article, because I experienced every phase of development myself by going to the local park and just hitting tennis balls against the wall. I'd try to pick up a game with "anyone" who would be willing to have a hitting session with me just so I can work on my mechanics and on-court strategy. I started playing tennis at the late age of 15 and wish I had the opportunities that many of the juniors have in this day and age. However, being a loving parent who cares deeply about their own childs development and growth cannot be replaced by any coach or entity. This is the very core and most influential factor in your child's development over the long-term and having a coach is a plus, however, it isn't the end result.

The United States Tennis Association in my opinion is trying very hard to support and grow as many players as humanly possible and since many districts of the U.S.T.A. have different budgeting mechanisms it certainly makes it a challenge to reach out to every player without sacrificing quality of any existing programming. I would recommend trying to find a local club that you can build a relationship with and maybe make it a priority to reach out to other like minded parents and form a cluster-group of support this way the more you have involved the cheaper traveling, entering tournaments, indoor court-rate and coaching can decrease a great deal. I'm even willing to coach your child for absolutely "nothing," because my love for this sport is that great and having any child left out of any opportunity to maximize his or her talent is something that I cannot just sit by and watch.

At your earliest convenience, please contact me directly and I will give you as much knowledge, insight and support as I can and if you'd like to spread the word the more the better. I look forward to our next communication.

Sincerely,

Jason Lampione.

The USTA player development program is totally flawed.  I live in Florida and we attended both the part time and full time program in Boca.  It was a total disaster and very un-friendly environment.  The coaches are very negative and do not want any parental involvement, even if the parent is /was the coach.    I saw Mr. McEnroe 2 times in a year and a half.  The directors are totally disconnected and the whole culture is totally political. Not the best players get the most opportunities but the ones that "agree" and suck up to the coaches.  Most of the coaches have no development experience (i.e. Eric Nunez) and other coaches have anticuated methods (i.e. Andy Brandi)

Maybe they view parental involvement in the coaching process as a big no-no. What do you feel about that? What do you think about Donald Young and his parents?

There is a multitude of successful parent/player stories which made world class players.

Well, I'd count Murray and Nadal in that category. But what if the parent is not technical minded?

You find a coach that has proven developmental experience. Who has the USTAPD developed?

I am not defending the USTA in any shape or form. If anything, I am of your opinion. But I would tend to think it is better to leave parents out of the training process, unless he/she are technical minded.

There are many roles the parents can take from general support to actual training. But they are an important part of the equation for success

As long as they don't "yo yo" the emotions of the young player. I have seen that way too many times at the local level. Too much chastising and downward talk.

It is hard being a tennis parent.  Only tennis parents can relate.  But only the parents really know their kids more than anybody.

I did a sixty page research project on USTA junior development and its results. Pretty sad, that a 20 million a year budget has produced zilch over 20 plus years. Currently pretty much a good ol boys network. i feel money would be better off spend tracking local coaches who have knack for producing high ranked and skilled players  on a consistent and provide them funding, with special attention to providing lessons for lower income kids that show an interest in tennis. Sadly, the USTA PD just wants to pick off top kids and separate them from their coach and parents and claim any success because of their handy work, Sad situation.  

Well, there's your answer Fernando. Hal knows what he's talking about. Too bad it very well might be the case.

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