The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has launched a new program, intending to rack up the numbers of youth introduced to the sport of tennis. Upon hearing of this new initiative, my thoughts were, I thought Quick Start Tennis , which has been around for less than ten years was to solve that problem. Net Generation is the youth tennis brand of the USTA. The objective being to encourage and make tennis accessible to kids in the five through eighteen age group.
American tennis is on a downward spiral and the USTA is desperate to stop the bleeding.
Their all-out mission is to recruit as many children and adults and get them involved with growing the game from the ground up. They have taken the saying “grow or die” to heart. With older adults leaving the game and the small number of kids taking up the game, the USTA had to take action.
Net Generation Tennis coupled with the QuickStart Tennis philosophy may get the job done
The USTA couldn’t do much about those leaving the game, but growing the game from the ground up is possible. Accordingly, the courts have been shrunken, the nets lowered, the balls have less air so the bounce isn’t as threatening, and the racquets are age-appropriate. This was all done with the introduction of QuickStart Tennis.
What of the millions who learned the game without the help of Net Generation or Quick Start?
Those were my thoughts when I first heard of the plans for QuickStart Tennis. Not me only, but teens I’ve spoken with who currently play high school tennis, but didn’t have the benefit of little courts and little racquets. They also question the changes.
Here is the plan:
Introduce the game to kids when they are in school. Let them play during the year in school, have a summer program in place when school lets out which gets them accustom to being on the tennis courts regularly. Tennis becomes a part of their lives. The hope is, they’ll play Junior Team Tennis, and they’ll play tournaments, possibly on the local and national level. Many adults play tournaments and leagues well into their seventies, eighties, and nineties.
Net Generation Tennis is to drive the message home
We must grow the game of tennis! It’s not just the kids the USTA is after. They are after any and everyone who can help them accomplish their mission. That includes teachers, coaches, parents, and—any other able-bodied adult who can contribute to the cause.
The challenge of continuing to produce tennis players from the United States who can compete on the world stage is no small undertaking. The Williams sisters have held up the banner for over two decades; most of their playing days are behind them. We have decent players in the top 100 in the world, men and women. It is the job of the USTA to grow those numbers. Accordingly, we in the tennis community must lend our support to Net Generation Tennis so we’ll have a next generation of world champions.