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Flex leagues new USTA offering

June 18, 2009 08:36 PM

The USTA has a new league program called “USTA Flex Leagues,” and it was designed to help players fit tennis into their busy lives. The concept is similar to the Mercer County Summer League, wherein players sign up for their level in singles or doubles, receive a schedule, and plan directly with their opponent the time (and in this case, venue) to play. Flex players will post scores online. There are no playoffs.

 

Thom Bishop, who coordinates USTA Adult Leagues for men in the NJ District, has taken on the added role of coordinator for the new program and compares it to a tennis ladder. He looks at it as being flexible with a focus on getting people out playing, rather than being overly competitive. Players can also meet and play people outside their current player group.

 

Bishop is responsible for Central Jersey and the Shore Area. There is a specific registration period, and the one for the Shore Area started Wednesday and will run though June 14. The Central Jersey spring league is already up and running, but registration will begin June 1 for the summer. Levels being offered are 3.0-4.5, and a senior division is in the works. About 50 players are entered in this first Central Jersey grouping. Fall and winter leagues are also planned. You do not have to be a USTA member to participate; however, if you are, there is a $10 discount, making the cost $25 for singles and $20 for doubles.

 

This is all very new and Bishop is expecting that, as more people sign up, he can find patterns and group players together geographically. There is a specific formula for which league to enter. Players within a 30 mile radius of Freehold, which is considered the center, would go into the Shore Area league; and the center for Central Jersey is East Brunswick. Interested players may check out the details and sign up on www.ustaflex.com, or e-mail Bishop at thom.bishop@gmail.com with questions.

 

The concept is already catching on. As of April 09, over 3,600 players have submitted their emails on the Web site to request an email notice when a league is offered in their area.

 

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