The USPTA Adult Tennis League is a rewarding program developed by the USPTA to increase tennis participation and expand tennis activities at all facilities. The adult league has a unique doubles-only squad format, and the flexibility offers players competitive on-court action and off-court camaraderie.
The league is flexible enough to adapt to different seasons and areas of the country, as well as to each USPTA member's special needs and facility requirements. Doubles teams of various playing levels make up a squad, which means that players with an NTRP rating of 4.5 are playing at their own level, but are part of a squad that includes teams at the 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 levels, too.
Besides an adult doubles league, the same format could be used for:
- Interfacility leagues using one doubles team at each level, plus substitutes.
- One-day, pro-set tournaments.
- Singles competitions for juniors from different age groups or class levels forming a squad or team.
The league is open to recreational players 19 years or older. Professional players and full-time teaching professionals are not eligible. The USPTA does not require membership in any organization to play in the USPTA Adult Tennis League.
Adult Tennis League FAQ
What makes the USPTA Adult Tennis League unique?
One of the most striking aspects of the USPTA Adult Tennis League is its format, which is flexible enough to adapt to different seasons and areas of the country, as well as to each USPTA member's special needs and facility requirements. The format only requires that a facility have 2 courts in order to participate in the league. This makes the league popular at both small and large facilities, even during prime tennis hours.
The doubles-only format is open to men, women or mixed doubles. A facility may have 1 or more squads and each squad consists of 8 teams divided between NTRP levels (or the equivalent) of play (2 players per team and 2 teams per level). The recommended levels are 3.0 and below, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5/5.0. The league's flexibility allows pros to adjust the levels and team numbers within squads to meet player availability.
What is the mixed-level format?
When the USPTA introduced the Adult Tennis League in 1992, it also introduced a new concept. The mixed-level format includes 1 men's doubles team and 1 women's doubles team at each of the 4 levels within a squad. This format is popular among couples who would like to earn points for the same squad, but play at different skill levels.
Why does the USPTA suggest 16-player squads?
Even on a squad of 16 players, there are only 4 players at each of the 4 different levels, which should actually encourage participating facilities to sponsor more squads.
An added bonus is the opportunity for players to win at either, or both, the team level or squad competitions. A weaker team at one level still might become a winner on a successful squad, or a strong team still might win its competitive level even if the larger squad loses.
What if there are not enough players at a level to form a squad?
Recognizing that some areas may have few players available at certain levels, the USPTA designed the league with flexibility that accommodates such conditions. Tennis teachers may adapt the squad format to include the 4 most popular levels within their area. For example, squads within a league may consist of 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 levels. Pros also may duplicate levels within a squad, if most players participate at that skill level.
With so many players on a squad, how can facilities with few courts or limited court time get involved?
The USPTA Adult Tennis League requires only 2 courts for play. When scheduling league matches, 2 levels will play at their own facility, while the remaining levels play at the opponents' facility. This type of schedule allows clubs and facilities of various sizes to participate in the league without reserving large blocks of court time. It also promotes sociability among league participants and introduces a number of marketing opportunities for pro shops and clubs.
Why did the USPTA decide to run a league?
A study conducted by the Tennis Industry Committee indicated that leagues are a powerful medium for increasing tennis participation at both the competitive and non-competitive levels. Other recent findings indicate that an estimated 83 percent of all people participating in tennis leagues are between the ages of 18 and 54 – corresponding closely with the ages of club members at USPTA pros' facilities.
The survey found that league tennis participants are more likely than their recreational counterparts to play, take lessons and use court time, and are much more likely to involve their children in tennis and to purchase new shoes, apparel, or racquets.
As an association of tennis-teaching professionals, the USPTA has long been involved in running leagues. USPTA members are trained in all aspects of the tennis industry, including club and pro shop management, tournaments and leagues, and junior and adult programs.
Does this league conflict with any other existing leagues?
It is not intended to conflict with other leagues. Most USPTA pros already are involved in USTA leagues and it wouldn't make sense to conflict with our members.
There are several good league programs throughout the United States, such as the USTA leagues, World TeamTennis leagues, the ALTA leagues of Atlanta, and the Phoenix Challenge League for seniors in the Southwest. The intention of USPTA is not to compete with any organization or to take over their events. It is the Association's hope that if organizations think there is a need for additional tennis activities, they will get involved. Wherever there's a need, USPTA will promote, encourage and support any tennis activity.
What is the criteria for participation in the league?
A player must be affiliated with a sponsoring club, facility or organization and be 19 years or older. The USPTA would like to expand the league to include companies with access to tennis facilities, such as schools, hospitals, and health clubs. To increase overall participation, the USPTA has minimized eligibility requirements in order to accommodate most, if not all, players.
Is it expensive to join the league?
The USPTA Adult Tennis League promotes fun on the court at an affordable price. Local squad entry fees may vary depending on costs of court time, tennis balls, clinics, or special league events. However, each player pays only a small share of the entry fee. If substitutes are added, each player's share becomes even less.
How is the league established in an area?
USPTA professionals serve as Area Directors who coordinate leagues within specific geographical locations. Area Directors select the weeks of league play, solicit pros to organize squads, determine the league's doubles format, and schedule the matches.
Site Directors recruit players for squads at tennis facilities. They are responsible for communicating regulations to players, reserving court time, gathering player information and collecting entry fees. Site Directors do not have to be USPTA professionals and may be well-organized recreational players who would like to organize a squad.
Champion of Champions
Most clubs have a championship tournament. Those championships may be made more meaningful by creating a Champion of ChampionsSM tournament, pitting the champs of each club against one another. This could end up large enough to resemble a city championship of sorts or a smaller event that includes the finalists or semifinalists from just a few participating facilities.
Champion of Champions is an event that adds incentive for members to play in their own club championships; brings together old playing partners and new friends from different facilities; unites the local tennis community; and provides competitive draws.
Also, tapping into new markets or growing existing ones is easy with this format. For example, divisions for seniors and for children and families from 10 and Under Tennis may be added to the singles and doubles draws for men and women. Age groups and father-son, mother-daughter, parent-young child and husband-wife divisions might be easy to include, provided there is enough court space.
By calling a few fellow tennis professionals and inviting them to join in a Champion of Champions event, you may be able to start an annual tournament with lots of possibilities. The event might rotate to a different host facility each year or be a Lessons for Life fundraiser. Players from each facility could act as a team, gaining points with every individual match toward a facility championship trophy.