BECK COLUMN: Too much tennis? Impossible?

  • Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012 12:58 a.m.

Is it possible that league tennis is hitting a saturation point?

Although participation numbers might not support that possibility, some type of recreational tennis league is going on virtually year-round.

Is it possible that tennis players have too many playing options? Not only are the regular adult/senior spring, fall, mixed and combo seasons available, the new 40-and-over senior league is on the scene as well as singles and flex leagues.

As a captain of eight different adult league teams yearly, Iím starting to see a trend of more players not having time to attend practices. Of course, part of this could be due to the economy, gas prices and heavier work loads.

Or is it possible that saturation has reached a point where it is having an impact on organized practices, the glue that holds league tennis together.

Because of their flexibility, singles and flex leagues are great for individuals with difficult schedules. Yet, they could be impacting the team chemistry of league tennis. A growing number of players appear to be skipping practice in favor of participating in singles and flex leagues.

Everyone should realize the importance of organized practices to the health of teams and league tennis in general. Without the team aspect of practice, league tennis could lose some of its popularity.

Does league tennis have too many seasons? Things started getting hectic a number of years ago with the intrusion of the Southernís combo doubles into the otherwise all-USTA formula.

The spring season has always been excellent, followed by the increasingly popular mixed doubles season. When the combo league entered the equation, captains wanted to keep at least the core group of their players together rather than risk losing them. As a result, everyone seemed to join the combo parade.

High school update

Class AA Bishop England and Academic Magnet, and Class AAA Berkeley, have experienced a short playoff season. All five local Class AAAA playoff teams have been eliminated.

Defending state champion Bishop England appears to be on another collision course with Waccamaw in Thursdayís Lower State final. On Tuesday, the Bishops hostAynor and Academic Magnet is at Waccamaw. The winners advance to the Lower State final where top seed BE should host.

Winning the Class AA state title should be more difficult for the lower state champion this year with perenniel power Christ Church moving up to Class AA after capturing another Class A crown. The Bishops defeated Emerald in last yearís AA state final.

In AAA, Berkeley plays at defending state champion Hilton Head on Tuesday.

Local notes

The Charleston area will soon have the top official in the USTAís largest section. Mount Pleasantís Bud Spencer has been nominated to become the Southern Sectionís board of directorsí president and CEO for the 2013-14 term.

A 16-player team representing Mount Pleasantís IíOn Club won the 9.0 adult title in the recent Southern mixed doubles championships in Macon, Ga. Captain Amy Whiteís unbeaten team is headed to Tucson, Ariz., for the Nov. 9-11 national championships. The mixed teams of Jeffrey Burton/Kristen Whitehead and Ryan Sechrist/Maria Rask Elliott posted wins for a 2-1 victory over Knoxville in the Southern final to run the local teamís record to 20-0.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.

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