Getting on a USTA team


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How to get on a USTA league team

You might think that just wanting to play USTA league tennis would be all that it would take, you just sign-up and start playing.  It would be nice if it were that easy and for some people it really is that easy.  Getting to play in a USTA league requires that you get on a team and they have only so many openings.  It's like the job market, sometimes there's lots of job openings and getting a job is easy and other times they are too few openings and some people will not be able to find a position no matter how hard they try.   Being a captain of an USTA league team is a lot of work so theUSTA mixed doubles team number of people wanting to take on the workload of a captain usually the limits the number of playing positions that are available for any league.   There are three ways to get on a team:

     1) Contact the local USTA league tennis coordinator and they either forward your contact info to the team captains or the coordinator might give you the contact info of the teams looking for players.   

     2) You contact your tennis playing friends and see if they can help you get on a team by forwarding your contact info to their team captain.

    3) You start your own team.

For most people new to USTA league tennis the first step is to contact the local USTA tennis league coordinator:   Local USTA Tennis Coordinators for the Washington, DC area

Unless the league coordinator is running a few teams they can't get you on a team, only the team captains can offer you a chance to play on their team.  What they are looking for varies with each team captain so just because a team has a few openings doesn't mean that you'll get an offer to join that team.  For example, last year's top teams will often need replacements to fill the spots of players who have moved up in their USTA ratings.  These very competitive team captains will be searching for the best players they can find, attempting to find players that can  help them win 1st place in the league.   A mid-level team might only need a few players, but they often are not as picky as a top team would be.  Teams at the bottom of the rankings will be the least selective and offer the most chances for a new player to find a opening.  The most opportunities are usually offered by captains forming new teams.  They usually need a large number of players and are more likely to take anyone they can get.

Of the three ways of getting on a team you should first try method number 2.  With number 3, starting a team being the worst choice.   Being a captain of a team involves taking on a lot of responsibility, doing a lot of work, and involves the financial liability for your team's matches.  Only very experienced USTA league members should consider taking on such a big job where the negatives usually outweigh the benefits.  Method 1, should only be your backup plan if contacting people you know doesn't work.  Most team captains will try and fill their teams without asking for help from the league coordinator if possible. 

To find a team you should plan on starting the search early; at least one month before the league's starting date.  Since that information isn't always easy to find you can always use the TennisLink website to map out the playing calendar for the leagues in your area.  Look at the schedule for the previous year and for the most part, the playing schedule should be the same for the current year.  See how I've mapped out the schedules for leagues in my area:  2009 NOVA USTA League Schedules. 

Once you decide on the league that you want to play in you can research whether anyone you know is already playing in the league by going to TennisLink and listing out the player rosters for all the teams in the league.   Unfortunately you will be only be able to contact those people that you already have contact information for.   

Team captains will usually try and fill their rosters before the season starts so by starting a month early you have a chance of finding a playing slot before they are all filled.   Also by starting early you get to be a little selective in that you can focus first on the teams that you most want to join and if they don't work out you still have time to try your second choices before the season starts. 

After the third week if finding a spot on a team isn't looking good you should go to your backup plan - contact the league coordinator.  There should be a few new teams forming and those teams will probably be asking for help finding people from the league coordinator.

Good Luck!

p.s.  After you get on a team it doesn't end there.  You never know if the captain will invite you back next season or whether the team will continue past a single season.  So you get to do it all over again and again and again.  Unless you find a team that's a good fit and it continues to be your team into the future.

 

 

Last Updated: 1/24/10   Site Map

Questions or comments about this website may be directed to: Richard T Goulet email address