I have a passion for USTA Team Tennis. The kind that’s real, that affects your rating, and that you spend hours deliberating over. That’s why this is my favorite time of year in the adult tennis world. We wait all winter for this time to arrive, and it brings an excitement to the courts. All the strategizing, all the gossip, all the pressure built up! Here’s where we find out who’s got what it takes to succeed. It’s competition, ladies, and it’s your key to growth as a player.
Why you need to play USTA Team Tennis this Spring
All the other team genres…Tri-level, mixed, GWTA, NVTL…they are nice, and fun, but they are only “extra credit training” IMHO. Every time you step on the court you are competing, yes. But, without the real pressure of your rating, your spot on your team, your doubles partnership, it’s just not the same. I set up a developmental pathway for my players that culminates with the Spring team season. The summer is usually quiet (your off season), in the fall you add to your arsenal or improve your game, in winter you implement new shots/techniques in matchplay, and then the Spring is for competing! I’ve been using this strategy for years with very positive results. Whatever you do, you must be continuing to work on your game or you will eventually get passed (not asked back to the team, not bumped up a rating level with your teammates, etc).
But I digress…
You need to play USTA Team Tennis this Spring because it’s all about competition. It shows how you stack up against the rest of the league, District, Section, and hopefully Nation! Correction, it’s how your TEAM stacks up. It’s your 8 players against another teams’ 8 players (or 5 on 5 depending on your playing level). You will win some and you will lose some (hopefully you win more than you lose!). Everyone loses at some point though, and that’s why you have teammates you can count on. You win and lose as a team. I’ve coached teams with less talent who believed in each other and went all the way to Nationals.
Why should you play USTA team tennis? Why not! If you lose? You know what to work on going forward and you gain experience. If you win? You learned how to close out a match, built some self-confidence, and probably overcame some obstacles. In tennis, you can’t sub out when you get tired, there is no one to help you when nerves kick in, and you can’t even talk to anyone when it’s going downhill. There is no one to blame or congratulate but yourself when the match is over. That’s the beauty of our sport!
If you’re still on the fence… Play USTA team tennis! Yes, you will hear stories of bad experiences… cheaters and simply mean people. They are not prevalent in 95% of matches. Don’t let a few bad apples affect your decision to compete. Tennis is the ultimate 1 on 1 (or 2 on 2) sport. Get out there and compete. See how you stack up in a match that counts. It’s March already… wow, I better start preparing for my own season!