For over a decade, the USTA has been applying the principles of long-term athlete development within Player Development as well as in its delivery of youth programming. Now with Net Generation – Official Youth Tennis of the USTA – common objectives of curtailing early specialization, developing multi-sport athletes, and increasing youth physical activity are key priorities.
The ADM brings to life how the USTA embraces core athlete development principles. By maximizing these principles, the USTA is committed to giving the opportunity for American youth to utilize sport as a path toward an active and healthy lifestyle and to create opportunities to realize their full potential.
These seven key principles, tailored specific to tennis in the United States, include:
DEVELOPMENTALLY APPOPRIATE TEACHING AND COACHING METHODS
Emphasize motor and foundational skills through developmentally appropriate training and coaching.
A clear understanding of an athlete’s developmental level (as opposed to his or her age) will help coaches, parents, and administrators appropriately tailor the training, skills, and tactics taught to maximize an individual’s full potential while helping avoid burnout.
In order to succeed, participants must first learn foundational motor skills and technique. Coaches, parents, and administrators who jump directly into competition tactics and strategy without emphasizing fundamentals may put their athletes at a disadvantage. To ensure long-term success, participants must be given adequate time and knowledge to develop these essential building blocks for success.
TRAIN ALL COACHES
Ensure coaches at all age levels are qualified and trained.
Quality coaches are critical to an athlete’s development; therefore, quality coaching education is imperative for athlete success at all levels. Quality coaching not only requires a coach to be qualified and highly knowledgeable about their sport, but also to understand effective communication, practice planning, and athlete development. It is essential to have a strong understanding of growth and development as well as an understanding of the process of how people learn. The very best coaches view themselves as lifelong learners and are always working toward improving themselves.
A CLEAR DEVELOPMENT PATHWAY
Integrate tennis into physical education programs in schools and recreational community programs. From there, kids and teens can then advance into age- and skill-based programs and competitions.
No matter the age of the player, no matter the stage of development of the player, and no matter the desired goal of the player, the USTA has a place and a way for you to play tennis. In a concerted effort with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the USTA with the ADM is committed to allowing American youth to utilize sports as a path toward an active and healthy lifestyle and to create opportunities to maximize their full potential.
SUPPORT MULTI-SPORT OR MULTI-ACTIVITY PARTICIPATION
Build athletes through a multi-sport approach within tennis programming and cross-promotion with other sports and activities.
The USTA’s American Development Model mission is to attract and retain more athletes and keep them playing tennis for a lifetime. An area of concern recently has been the occurrence of coaches and parents wanting their athletes to specialize in one sport at a young age. A proven solution to this for young athletes is to strategize with sport sampling. Sport diversification at younger ages translates into a longer sports career, a lifetime of physical activity, and better overall health and wellness.
Top 10 Benefits of Multi-Sport Participation
● Greater overall athleticism
● Improved foundational motor skills and transferable skills
● Lower chance of drop out of sport
● Increased fun and enjoyment
● A wider circle of social relationships
● Reduced chance of overuse injuries
● Longer sports career and involvement
● Promotion of lifelong physical activity skills
● Greater intrinsic motivation
● Opportunity to learn new sports
FUN AND ATHLETE CENTERED
Focus on creating a fun, positive, engaging atmosphere within a team culture rather than wins and losses.
Fun, engaging, and athlete-centered is essential for any sports activity. The definition of “fun” may change as participants advance to more elite levels of competition, but a standard emphasis on making the process positive and enjoyable is key. USTA’s ADM understands the need to have programs that ensure that kids are having fun, as this is what kids want and what keeps them playing for a lifetime.
9 Reasons Why Kids Quit Sports:
● It is not fun anymore
● Pressure to perform
● They are afraid to make mistakes
● It is too competitive
● Too much emphasis on winning
● Not enough playing time
● No longer interested in the sport
● They have lost ownership of the experience
● Pressure from parents and coaches
Make sure playing tennis is safe, accessible, local, and affordable.
Universal access to the ADM is a priority for the USTA. It is the USTA's goal that everyone, regardless of their socio-economic class, gender, ethnicity, background, or physical and mental disabilities, has access to the benefits of the ADM. By providing this access and inclusivity, children will have the opportunity to experience the benefits of physical activity and be on the pathway to realizing their athletic potential.
PARENT/PLAYER GUIDANCE, EDUCATION, AND TRANSPARENCY
Provide parents and players the information they need to guide their tennis development.
The USTA is committed to providing people of all ages the information needed to guide tennis experience and development under the American Development Model. From a youth perspective, we see parents as a key resource to enhance children’s performance, enjoyment, motivation, and overall positive youth development. From an adult perspective, the USTA must ensure that all information pertaining to tennis development is accessible through various outlets, including but not limited to digital platforms and tennis programming. As the national governing body of tennis, it is our responsibility to share the proper information, insights, and tools needed in order to grow the sport of tennis and keep people playing for a lifetime.
Designed to establish fun and positive experiences for tennis players, the USTA’s ADM offers a comprehensive framework for providers, coaches, athletes, and parents. By growing friendships, improving skill, and maximizing the potential of players at all levels, this framework will improve the health and well-being of tennis participants and our sport for a lifetime.
The ultimate goal of ADM is to create positive experiences for American athletes at every level. By using ADM, clubs, coaches, and parents can help maximize the potential for all Americans, regardless of their ability, and improve the health and well-being for future generations in the United States.