Ontario Tennis

Ontario Tennis 2017/2018 | Summer 2017

Tennis, Ontario

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28 SUMMER 2017 | TENNISONTARIO.com 14 FALL 2016 | TENNISONTARIO.com SO WHAT WERE THINGS LIKE IN THE MID NINETIES? OT FEATURE S everal people responded to Vic's article with excuses for Canada's poor showing – climate, hockey, poor facilities, small population – but Vic suggested that instead Canada might have adopted a "runner up" attitude when it came to tennis development and thought that more young people might get seriously involved in tennis based on the concept of "Who will create history and lead Canada into the big time tennis world?" As I recall, Tennis Canada was putting very little funding into high performance tennis development in the late '90s and Tennis Canada management were so focused on "the Opens" that it sometimes seemed they had forgotten that without the responsibility for tennis development at the national level, the organization probably wouldn't exist and certainly wouldn't be not-for-profit. But I digress. So how did this turnaround start? I believe that the first crucial steps in the Canadian tennis turnaround were already being taken in the late 1990s under the OTA strategy of building of a comprehensive competitive structure. Such a structure would be accessible, democratic and provide ample competitive opportunities for young players in Ontario. Lots of competition would mean that results over the long term would count and that selection procedures could be objective and transparent. It would also be available to support athlete centred development in which coaches, players and parents could choose how many events and what level of competition best suited the development needs of each player. So what were things like in the mid nineties? There was a competitive structure in Ontario and there were roughly 100 junior tournaments in the summer, including 15 regional qualifying events for the provincial championships. However there were no provincial or national tournaments for under 12s. There were also very few indoor junior tournaments. It was when Jim Boyce was hired as the Executive Director of the OTA late in 1997 that things started to change. Jim quickly turned his attention to building up the OTA competitive structure. He reinstated the position of Provincial Coach and hired Allison Hope to head up the player development efforts. Jim not only wanted to increase the number of tournament opportunities for young players, he also wanted to have the quality and profile of the provincial events improved. Gus Morhart helped out by making singles sticks, score cards and umpire chairs for the courts at Kew Gardens. Jag Gundu was hired to take photos of the players. On finals day, there were chair umpires for all the events and a formal presentation of all the awards including flowers for the girls. The players and their parents saw this as an extremely positive sign that things were improving rapidly. The OTA's resources were very limited at that time, but fortunately, the OTA had a sound leveraged approach for encouraging clubs to run tournaments. Because the clubs collected the tournament fees and only submitted a small portion to the OTA, this meant clubs could turn courts and volunteer effort into increased revenue by running tournaments. This encouraged more clubs to step up to the plate and run tournaments. Indoor provincial championships were added and, after consultation with some experienced junior players, the decision was made to hold indoor provincials during March break each OTA All-Stars Tour Provincial Competitions U12 - U18 Regional Competitions U12 - U18 Grassroots Competitions • 1/2 court 5-8 yrs • 3/4 court U9 • Full Court Transition U10 • Rookie U10-U16 Montreal NTC U12 National Camps Provincial U14 Camps Aviva U14 Camps Provincial Development NTC U9 NTC U10 National Development Rexall U10 U10/U12 Interprovincials NTC U12 Aviva U12 Jr. Davis Cup National Team ITF's Nationals U12 - U18 Provincial Closed Championships U10 - U18 National Team Ontario Selections U14 - U18 Fed Cup Davis Cup Junior Grand Slams Canada Games PRO Coach, Academy and Club Support THE OTA COMPETITIVE STRUCTURE TENNIS PYRAMID 100 APPROX. NUMBER OF JUNIOR TOURNAMENTS IN THE SUMMER JIM BOYCE NEW DIRECTOR OF THE OTA CHANGES COMPETITVE STRUCTURE OTA COMPETITVE STRUCTURE TIMELINE 1990 1997 1998 NO UNDER 12 NO PROVINCIAL OR NATIONAL TOURNAMENTS FOR UNDER 12s UNDER 12 TOURNAMENTS REINSTATED PROVINCIALS RAISE PROFILE OF THE OUTDOOR & INDOOR TOURNAMENTS BY PAM OLLEY OTA COMPETITIVE

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