Monday, June 15, 2015

USTA League playoffs are in full swing and each section is a little unique

It is that time of year when regular season play in Spring USTA leagues is complete and playoffs have begun.  This past weekend saw playoffs occurring in some Southern states as well as the Pacific Northwest and I was fortunate to help a number of teams with reports across both and was excited to see some advance on to Sectionals.  It wasn't from this weekend, but I have actually worked with a team that is already headed to Nationals!

Because of regional and geographic differences, it is always interesting to see how playoffs progress.

For example, in the Southern section, each district is a complete state and teams may advance directly to "State" or some may play a local playoff against another team or teams from their local area to qualify.  But oftentimes there are wildcards that qualify to advance too so it isn't uncommon to see multiple teams from an area at State.  The winners from State then advance on to Sectionals, and again I think there are cases where a wildcard, say the second place team from a state, may advance on to Sectionals.

In the Pacific Northwest, we have what are called our local playoffs, but they are effectively our Districts as the winners advance on to Sectionals.  But this is typically more than just a playoff against one other team, most levels have a draw of 6 or 8 teams that must be won to advance on to Sectionals, but again, sometimes there is a wildcard that also advances.

Northern California has Districts and Sectionals, but they don't actually have different districts organizationally, they just take a subset of the areas to play Districts with winners advancing on to Sectionals.

There are a few areas in Eastern where the road is even longer though with potentially local playoffs, Regionals, Districts, and Sectionals having to be navigated to get to Nationals.

The easiest path to Nationals?  Typically that is to come from the Hawaii section.  There, you may just have to win a handful of matches in local league to get your spot at Nationals.

If you've qualified for playoffs, congratulations.  If your local league is still playing, you still have a shot to get there!