Coaches encouraged to grow tennis rostersWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many high school athletes competing for spots on their tennis teams no longer need to worry about not making the squad thanks to the No-Cut Initiative, a program encouraging coaches to keep every player who shows up with a racket.
The initiative officially began under the United States Tennis Association (USTA) based in White Plains, N.Y., which according to a release, has drawn more than 2,400 coaches across the country to sign on.
In the Toledo area, however, the practice has been more common due to a lower interest in the sport.
Libbey High School girls coach Thom West explained that his team hosts exhibition matches following play, allowing younger kids to gain experience and improve their skills. The longer players remain in the program during their careers, the better their opportunity to vie for spots on the roster.
“In any given season, I’ll have probably between seven and 10 kids who are match-ready,” West said. “And they generally compete to play, sometimes on a weekly basis, sometimes not quite that often, depending on the quality of the kids.”
A member of USTA and South Toledo Tennis Association, West helps efforts to spur interest in the sport. Although graduation causes a rollover effect, he noted a growing interest by area youth to become involved in tennis programs. Girls high school tennis takes place from August to October, but other programs continue throughout the year.
Ottawa Hills High School Athletic Director Tim Erickson also cited higher turnout and anticipates nearly 20 players to show for practice beginning March 9. Unfortunately, despite a no-cut policy, the field sometimes drops, with fewer players challenging for a limited number of singles and doubles positions available.
“There’s been some years that we’ve only had 12 or 13 kids come, but others, nearly 20,” Erickson said. “Usually what happens is sometimes kids when they see who’s coming out, they will elect not to play because there are only so many spots between the JV and the varsity that are typically going to play.”
For more information, visit www.USTA.com/no-cut.