By Tammi Copelli, Junior Leagues Vice President
It’s hard to believe another spring season is in the books. At the end of our spring season last year, I dedicated my article to our wonderful ALTA coaches. They have been more than instrumental in making ALTA a great avenue for kids and young adults. This time, I would like to dedicate my article to our team managers. Without them, we absolutely could not have a junior ALTA program.
Many years ago, I was a team manager for the team on which my two sons played, so I know well what type of dedication it takes to manage a team, season after season. First, our team managers start by recruiting players. Eight players are needed to submit a junior roster. Junior rosters are a bit challenging because players are always aging up to the next level, so there is always an influx of new players. We have 10U, 12U, 15U, and 18U age levels in both the Junior Boys and the Junior Girls Leagues.
The next step is making sure all players have their dues up to date, which for juniors is only $15. Once there are eight players available, each with a current ALTA membership number, a team manager and a co-manager, and a facility to play out of, the roster can be submitted. Of course, this is all done online with built-in instructions on the ALTA website. Shortly thereafter, ALTA takes these rosters, and with the work of the Junior League overall coordinators and the office staff, level and map the teams. This spring, we had close to 400 teams. Once the team managers receive their schedules, this is when they get to work.
First, they check if there are any spring or fall break matches they might want to play early as ALTA does let their teams play early but never late. The next thing they do is check the availability of their players, which helps them organize their lineups for the season. Many teams are fortunate to have coaches that help out with lineups. ALTA also has a lineup checker on our website. Setting up the matches, the team managers coordinate between each other the necessary information, such as directions to their facility, how many courts they will have, and the order of play. On match day, the team managers often drive many of the players to the match; this is where they definitely should be awarded the badge of honor. They typically go above and beyond the call of duty.
During the matches, team managers are the resource person for questions and do crowd control, mainly because cheering is not allowed in the Junior League, so the manager typically reminds the spectators to silently cheer. And of course, ALTA provides a team manager handbook throughout it all to help them navigate the season. Team managers are a huge reason juniors have a pleasant experience and season. They truly are our tennis angels.
Here are a few words from Teresa Traylor, long-time team manager for Crooked Creek. She has managed 15 teams, has had six division wins and four City Final Championship titles:
“Being a junior team manager is not a role I take lightly. Three of my children have played on my ALTA league team, so it’s been very important that I lead by example, always showing integrity and sportsmanship. My players know that, whether we win or lose, we do it as a team. Managing teams has challenged me through the organization of matches, communication with opposing managers, lineups, and the all-important match recaps sent to parents, players, and coaches. To me, supportive parents are just as important as great players, and they go a long way in creating successful teams. I’ve been lucky enough to have some of the best of each. After 15 seasons of leading teams from 10U beginners to 18U advanced, it is still exciting to watch my players take the court.”
Thank you to all our team managers for all that you do. We are grateful to have you, and we look forward to seeing you again in the fall season.