Episode:#40 Shaun Boyce & Bobby Schindler

In this episode we talk to Chase Hodges, Vice President of Universal Tennis. This is the technology company that brought us the UTR rating system, has Professional Tennis events in about 30 countries with guaranteed prize money, and according to Luke Jensen wis a game changer when it comes to college recruiting.

More about Chase Hodges:

A native of Hickory, N.C., Hodges played two years collegiately at North Carolina State University before finishing his career at UNC-Wilmington. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNCW in 1998 and a master’s degree there three years later while working with the Seahawks as a graduate assistant.

Hodges and his wife Vanessa are the proud parents of 13 year old, Gabriella Hodges and newborn Chase Hodges II.

https://www.universaltennis.com

https://ggcathletics.com/sports/mens-tennis/roster/coaches/chase-hodges/192

Shaun Boyce USPTA: [email protected]

https://tennisforchildren.com/ 🎾

Bobby Schindler USPTA: [email protected]

https://windermerecommunity.net/ 🎾

Geovanna Boyce: [email protected]

https://regeovinate.com/ πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ‹οΈ

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Transcript
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(upbeat music)

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Welcome to the Atlanta Tennis Podcast.

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Every episode is titled, "It Starts With Tennis"

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and goes from there.

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We talk with coaches, club managers,

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industry business professionals, technology experts,

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and anyone else we find interesting.

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We wanna have a conversation as long as it starts with tennis.

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(soft music)

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- Hey, hey, this is Shaun with the Atlanta Tennis Podcast,

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powered by GoTennis!

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Check out our calendar of Metro Atlanta Tennis events

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at LetsGoTennis.com,

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where you can also find deals on equipment, apparel,

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and members get 10% off our shop.

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So go get yourself an Atlanta Tennis Monster shirt.

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I've got mine and I wear it all the time.

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In this episode, we talk to Chase Hodges,

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Vice President of Universal Tennis.

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This is the technology company that brought us

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the UTR rating system.

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They have professional tennis events in about 30 countries

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with guaranteed prize money.

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And according to Luke Jensen,

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was a game changer when it comes to college recruiting.

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Have a listen and let us know what you think.

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(soft music)

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- We have the honor of talking to our own friend

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and colleague and most recently when I met you Chase,

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you were pretty much undefeated for thousands of years

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in the college, in the world.

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So if nobody's heard of you from that point,

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you've probably moved into a less public role almost

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in the Universal Tennis world.

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So Chase, I appreciate you making time.

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And if you don't mind, give us a quick introduction.

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We put the biography, we put your bio in the show.

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Everybody can find that, but a quick little pay-up chase

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and really a figure kind of thing, right?

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- Yeah, yeah, absolutely Shaun and Bobby,

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appreciate you having me on.

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Obviously appreciate all that you guys are doing

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for tennis in the Atlanta area and beyond.

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In terms of my background,

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really been a college tennis coach for about 25 years

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at numerous different universities throughout the country.

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Last stop was Georgia Gwinnett, where I was there for 10 years

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and you know, had a great experience there at Georgia Gwinnett

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and recently went out to recent,

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but you know, about a year and three months ago,

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transitioned into this role as vice president

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of Universal Tennis and super excited

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about this current role and really utilizing all my prior knowledge

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not only as a coach, but obviously Shaun and we had worked together

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as a business owner with Gwinnett Tennis in the past

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and really just using my experience

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to help Universal Tennis and all the missions that we have

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and not only here in the Atlanta area,

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but globally all over the world.

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So thanks for having me on and look forward to the discussion today.

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- Yeah, we'll jump into the main reason,

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I think I used to phrase earlier that I baited you into coming in,

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but I looked at my life the other day,

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I'm like, I've got to get Chase!

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I know how to do it.

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I've got the clip where we're talking about the player segments.

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Not yet, let's get some time.

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Let's see.

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But you've been with you,

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you've been with Universal Tennis over a year now.

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- Yeah, it's been over a year.

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It's about 15 months and you know, Shaun and Bobby, you know,

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I feel like I've been with a company for you know,

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over a decade in terms of running events, you know,

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really the running countless events,

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UTR events in the Atlanta area.

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UTR at Lanna is something that's,

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you have events literally every weekend in the city

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or greater metro area.

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So being a provider of events was really where I got started

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with Universal Tennis and then obviously,

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from a recruitment standpoint,

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in terms of utilizing the rating as the gold standard,

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in terms of bringing players in internationally and domestically,

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that was where Universal Tennis was started.

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From the rating now, we morphed into Universal Tennis.

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As a business, we're not known as UTR anymore.

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However, a lot of people still see us in that light,

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but we ventured into having our own pro tour,

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which were in close to 30 countries now

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that entire pro tour is streamed on Amazon Prime.

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You know, we have flex leagues, we have junior circuits,

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we have 96% of college coaches on our platform in terms of

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using it as a recruitment measure and having their digital clubs

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and digital pages set up.

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We become a big player in the camp space.

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We're in the number two provider on college campuses

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for college camps.

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And you know, those are just a few of the things out there

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and then obviously just trying to be as innovative

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and creative as possible and bringing new ideas

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to the marketplace.

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Some of the things that we've done is putting on Pepperdine

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and Southern Cal at the BMP.

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We initiated an NIT national championship.

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We announced in March, we had this idea,

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we brought it to life in May that was on Amazon Prime.

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We picked 18s on the men, eight on the women

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that were selected for the NCAA

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and had our own national championships.

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So, you know, just doing bazillion things like that

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in the market, we just announced UTRP,

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which is a pickleball rating.

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We're becoming a force in the pickleball arena,

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APP just announced us as the official rating for pickleball

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in the high school space from a tennis standpoint.

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NFHS just announced us as the official rating

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for the national federation of high schools

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all across the country.

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And we have 27 states currently that are under recommendation

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or mandate to use UTR.

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So, I won't go, that's enough for now,

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but I mean, I could keep going in terms of things that we're doing,

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but it is vast, but it's exciting and challenging.

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And I can say it's, I have going to work every day

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with my laptop, being a remote company.

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We're based in Silicon Valley, having the opportunity

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to work remote and as a company and work with my peers

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and create these ideas and do things that are help,

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going to help the tennis ecosystem is ultimately what we want to do.

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And obviously you guys would go tennis or supportive

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of all tennis initiatives and certainly appreciate

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your support of universal tennis.

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We do, we love it.

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And I was thinking, Bobby and I were talking the other day,

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we were thinking about you in that role,

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and I thought, oh man, universal tennis has just got that,

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we're going to take over the world mentality.

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And I had a question, Bobby and I were talking about this earlier,

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it was a really interesting question because he said,

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well, we're going to ask about the universal tennis origin story.

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And it made me realize, I wonder if and I don't know

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if you have the answer.

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I would guess it would have been on your,

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your insurance when you were filling out the forms

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for who was taking the job.

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But the origin story, did you, did you,

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universal tennis feel like they were fulfilling a need

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with UTR that they were failures elsewhere or was it,

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hey, we've got a way to just do this better.

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Let's just go ahead and do it.

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Does that make sense?

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Yeah, yeah, I think that, obviously gave how in 2008,

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Virginia Beach, basically the rating in terms

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of from a founding standpoint, I think

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the initial idea, Bobby and Sean was an opportunity

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to help make tennis better from a rating standpoint

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in terms of college recruitment.

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When you really think about UTR, it

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was really centered around college recruitment

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in terms of being able to establish an algorithm

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to help college coaches in terms of being able to identify,

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tell it, make sure that they're bringing in a player

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that fits their needs.

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And that's across all five divisions of college tennis,

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since the AD1, D2, D3, and AI in junior college.

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And over time, what has happened is it's become a fabric

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in terms of the tennis ecosystem, in terms of just general

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communication amongst tennis players in terms of the rating

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being paramount in that regard.

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And if that's something that really back in 2008,

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the beginnings of UTR, I mean, now here we are 15 years later,

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a lot of people--

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I don't really see us as a start-up anymore.

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I see us as a fabric in the tennis world.

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And I will say to kind of answer your question,

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the college tennis recruitment aspect is so firmly

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ingrained with college coaches that that's something

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that we will always attribute our success to as we move

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into all these different areas that we are doing currently

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as a business.

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So it didn't even exist before, really.

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I mean, if you're talking about-- because Luke Jensen made

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a comment to us the other day, he said,

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it was a game changer for global recruiting.

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And that's something you chase Hodges.

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You had that global ability to look around

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and find the best talent and bring them

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into a little school like GGC, but just

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to have the resource of that number.

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Yeah.

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Well, it didn't even exist before.

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It wasn't like you were competing at NTRP or a USTN.

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Right.

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And to be honest, I will attribute from a recruitment standpoint,

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being kind of early decade ago, really using UTR as the gold

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standard as the number one metric now, it's more worldwide.

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They're accepted amongst college coaches.

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I think that really helped in terms of getting out

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of the gate strong at George Wannack.

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Yeah, Hodges secret weapon.

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Well, it helped.

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It's not much of a secret anymore, but at that time,

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it definitely helped because I was able to quite honestly

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not make mistakes.

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It allowed me not to make any mistakes from a recruitment standpoint.

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I'm not saying that it's bullet proof or anything like that.

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But what I am saying is it did help me make sure that the talent

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that I was bringing in was at the level that I was really

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hoping it to be at.

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And obviously, when in some titles, actually,

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I can attribute back to UTR.

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And obviously, as Bobby and Sean, once you have the players,

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when you have the level, then it's a matter of just maintaining it.

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But it's a lot easier to maintain than to build something from nothing.

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So yeah, I would say it definitely helped in that regard.

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So from a recruiting point of view, back to the original question

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where Bobby and I were talking on, I don't remember what episode five

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of the podcast is so long ago, it seems, Bobby,

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you were telling a story of the parent that comes to you

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and says, "Ah, my kids, a 4.7.

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Can you play in college?"

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The parents are trying to figure out what's going on.

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But Bobby, you were talking about, as a coach,

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being able to have that metric in a goal.

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Can you talk more, Bobby, about where you were going with that

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and how that led us to talking about UTR as a helpful tool?

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Well, I think the great part of what Chase has said,

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and I'd like to know just about the algorithm.

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Because obviously, Chase, your success proves it,

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in its infancy was a lot better than a ranking

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and a coach's eye, that you shook the world up with an NNI

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going in and beating George a tech.

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But he's all of a sudden saying, who is this powerhouse

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that was rivaling John Wooden in consecutive championships?

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So what makes the algorithm of UTR so much better

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than just, which the always the ranking system was based

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on more probably participation than necessary all wins?

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That's a great question.

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And what makes it phenomenal, in my opinion, is it's all about

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the level that you are right now, Bobby and Shawn.

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It doesn't care about how good you were two, three years ago,

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or even anywhere outside that 12 month window.

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We're only factory and results within the last 12 months.

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So we can start there.

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It really gives you an idea of where a player is performing

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at a current time, which would be now, let's say.

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With that being said, it's factory in the last 30 results

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in that 12 month window.

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So having the ability to really look at those last 30 results

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within that 12 month window, that's a big body of work

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in terms of us being able to make sure that this rating is

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going to be accurate from an algorithm standpoint.

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And with that being said, that gives you 100% accuracy

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in terms of determining the rating.

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And one of the things that a lot of people may not know

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is that 30th match will roll off when you play another.

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So it gives you the ability to keep looking at how am I currently

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competing at this moment in time.

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And from I-N, that's where one of our biggest strengths is

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is from a timing standpoint and then the number of matches

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and not to mention in terms of competing every game count.

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So if Shawn and I are playing a very, very competitive match,

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6/4, 7/5, whatever it may be, there's this misconception

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that if I am a higher rated player, it doesn't benefit me

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to play a lower rated player.

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And that's completely false.

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I mean, your UTR can move up if you're taking care of business

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against lower rated players and beating them 6262-fascin,

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let's say you could move up.

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So regardless of who you're competing against,

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regardless of their rating, you have an opportunity

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to move up or potentially move down because that scoring

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really comes in where every game counts, every point matters.

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So you want to be competitive, you want to compete,

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you want to give it a 110% and let the algorithm take care of itself.

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Last thing I'll say with that body is, as a company,

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in terms of using UTR, we advise, obviously,

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we want players to use it as a metric.

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We want players to use it to promote level-based play.

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We want players to utilize it in a fashion that it's getting

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used in a healthy manner.

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You're always going to have some players that are just super

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hyper-focused and kind of over-analyzing things at times.

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And I would just stress to those players,

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let the algorithm work.

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It's a black and white algorithm.

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There's no politics attached to it.

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And it's proven.

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We wouldn't still be here talking if it wasn't proven.

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So we're going to continue to do whatever we can to help the Tennessee

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ecosystem, but to kind of answer your question, that's ultimately

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what it comes down to.

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Well, I think you just brought up a great point in itself

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is the misconception about playing--

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that people don't want to play the less her player.

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That's a great thing to address, because that is a misconception

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out there that I don't want to play the less player.

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It's not going to help my ranking.

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Yeah, 100% right, huge misconception.

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If I'm 7.7 and I'm playing, say, a 6.2,

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I still should be highly motivated to play that match,

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even though the player is 1.5 points below me, simply

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because I can increase that 7.7 with the convincing win.

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So every match, regardless of who you're competing against,

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you have the ability to do that.

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So the more we can educate parents and players

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that that is in this conception and the better for the whole

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community, because the last thing that we want is players

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pulling out of events, withdrawing, et cetera, due to the fact

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that they don't want to put a rating on the line.

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That's not what we're about.

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That's not what tennis needs to be about.

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And people need to understand that it goes both ways

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in terms of the rating.

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It can support the higher player or the lower player,

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regardless of really any of that.

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I mean, it's one thing I would like to stress is,

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we do have, right now, so everyone is aware of.

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If you are playing in its match and its two points difference,

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it does not factor into the rating just so everyone's aware.

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We found that that's been in existence for years and years.

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So if I'm a 5.5, I'm playing an 8.3, that match will not

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go into the rating.

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However, Bobby, let's say I get to the point where I move up

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to say a 6.5, that match against the 8.3 will retroactively

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go into the rating since I'm within that two point window.

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So I don't want to get too specific into things.

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Hopefully you guys follow that.

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But I just wanted to make sure everyone was there.

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Yep.

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Yep.

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Well, I think it's also cool.

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And again, a great point that you just brought up, the cultural

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aspect of tennis that is obsessed with always playing

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the better player.

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And as a coach, you sit there and say, guys,

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there's always going to be somebody--

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who did better or practice with?

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Who did know that?

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Practice with if you're always looking for a better player.

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So that misconception of that you need to play a better player

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in order to improve.

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No, it's about effort.

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It's about focus.

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It's about doing the job required that day.

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And UTR is not only helping with the ranking,

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but with changing the culture, hopefully,

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of that mentality.

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If I'm not playing that, I don't want to be there.

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Exactly.

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And as a former coach, when I was looking at results,

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one of the-- if I'm recruiting, say, a 12.2 UTR,

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for me, a major metric in my brain

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was how did they perform against lower rated players?

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Did they take care of business?

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What's going on in these matches?

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Making sure they're not withdrawing or not pulling out.

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They're actually participating and competing.

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And that's a big part of it.

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Coach, look at that.

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So to your point, I think that all of this is extremely valid.

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Jason, I think we're going to-- I'm going to commission you.

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I want to be the ultimate guide college recruiting

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by Chase Hodges.

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Yeah.

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It probably could be one phrase, UTR.

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Thank you.

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That'll be $20.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I mean, obviously UTR is a big metric there.

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I think majority of college coaches,

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it's their number one metric.

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But with that being said, there's

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got to be a ton of other metrics there.

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You want to make sure that you're recruiting the right kid,

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the right player for your culture, the right teammate,

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the right student athlete, good academics.

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Someone that's really looking to graduate college

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and maybe potentially play professionally

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or depending on where your program is,

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they may have ambitions there.

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But ultimately, it is a metric, but there

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are so many different other areas that college coaches

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need to be looking at when they're recruiting players.

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And that's something that really goes into place

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of being able to actually meet them in person,

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have the opportunity to meet their parents,

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get an opportunity to meet their coach,

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do your research, follow up on recommendations on a player.

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I would encourage coaches all across the country

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to make sure you're doing your homework

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because at the end of the day, most cases,

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you're going to be with these players for four years.

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And I want to make sure that that is going to be a good environment

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for not only you, but for the player.

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And just being able to promote that culture for me

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was huge in terms of recruitment.

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But yeah, UTR was for me, it was the number one metric, 100%.

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When you talk a lot about culture,

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Bobby is the same way.

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It matters so much.

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I think you had enough Spanish speakers on a few of your teams.

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You was a lot of media, right?

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Was basically the--

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Not familiar.

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Yeah, not familiar.

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Was the concept in creating a family.

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And Bobby, as he runs Windomere, he's got a culture

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in a similar way.

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And you don't really have to buy into it in the same way

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because it's not like these people are moving in

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to live with them for four years and really be there every day.

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But these people live there in the neighborhood.

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So it's a culture becomes important.

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And that's probably one thing the UTR might actually

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help with a little bit is if I'm taking care of businesses,

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you say, if I'm winning those matches, oh no,

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that I should be winning.

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We're back in the day just for fun.

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We'd nuke some kid oh no, but we'd put it in as 6, 7, 7, 6, 7, 6,

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just so it looked like fun on the board.

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But now you can't just write in scores anymore.

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So now really getting that culture of--

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if I'm a college coach and I care about winning,

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and I care about how you win, and are you there,

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like you said, to compete?

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Or are you going to be nice to a guy and all of a sudden

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lose momentum?

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And then we're in trouble.

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Right.

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Yeah, I mean, you said it.

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I mean, taking care of businesses obviously

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extremely important.

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And that's something that, you know,

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coaches are going to be looking forward to.

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And regardless of the body of work that we talked about,

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it could be a one result here, another random result there,

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the beautiful thing about the algorithm is, you know,

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we're looking at those last 30 within 12 month windows.

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So, you know, regardless of--

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say you had a bad day, you know, six months ago in an event,

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you have the opportunity to redeem yourself

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with your next event.

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So, you know, just keeping that positive mindset

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in terms of, you know, basically looking at the algorithm

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as more of an opportunity to better gauge your level.

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We have this product.

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It's UTR College Fit, where you have the opportunity

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to literally just type in your UTR and see every program

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in the United States that you would be in a top six on.

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So, you know, the reality here, Bobby and Sean, is, you know,

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when a coach is looking at a player and vice versa,

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it needs to be a realistic, you know, attitudes here

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in terms of, based off my UTR, this should be a good college fit.

Speaker:

And, you know, I feel like we've been able to crack the code

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in that regard.

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And, you know, one last thing that has been valuable

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if we have some recruits here, you know, listening, you know,

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it's always good to use the metric on the statistics

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on your bio, you can search and you actually see your best

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picture, you know, so if your best picture is, let's say,

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you beat a 9.37, but you're sitting there as an 8.29,

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you know, that picture over a 9.37 could carry a lot of weight

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in terms of recruitment and looking at school.

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So, you know, there's a lot of opportunities there.

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Yeah, what I'm capable of.

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Yeah, exactly.

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So, you know, having the ability to do that, I think,

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is extremely important.

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And, you know, as a technology platform,

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really, we're trying to bring players together.

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And we have pretty much every recruiting agency utilizing

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the rating in terms of, you know, using it to help their players

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and coaches, kind of bridge that gap and making sure

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that, you know, they're being placed accordingly.

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So, we'll continue in that regard to provide the best service

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we can to make that process as good as possible for these players.

Speaker:

That sends me to a question in Bobby.

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I was going to let you go next, but something jumped into my head.

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Is there a negative consequence to me going online and finding out

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I'm not planning college?

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And having that player, like I said, with Bobby's story

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where he gets parents coming in saying,

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"My kid's pretty good.

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Can he play?"

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And having that realization where there is a,

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there is empirical evidence you're not going to make.

Speaker:

And in that case, is that a negative,

Speaker:

like everything, all the positives come from some negative.

Speaker:

It's always going to be something.

Speaker:

Do we have some kids that end up giving up

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before they normally would?

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Because they see that metric and it's just unattainable?

Speaker:

Yeah, well, that's a great question.

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And, you know, let me first preface, you know,

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our rating is not, you know, just for college.

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I know we're talking a lot about college right now,

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but, you know, we have recreational players.

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We have a Green Dot program, Colorball Arms for juniors.

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We have, you know, our junior circus in the high school space.

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You know, state associations are using UTR for seating.

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You know, they're using it just for general matches.

Speaker:

So, you know, in terms of your rating being helpful

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outside the college space, 1,000% is there.

Speaker:

You know, you're going to find this answer, I don't know about you, Bobby,

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but I'm going to say something that I think is a lot of people don't know,

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but I can tell you this with very high level of confidence is,

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there is a college program for every player.

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And the reason I say that is now, it may not be the school

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that you really are, is number one of your radar.

Speaker:

But when you look at, you know, Division 310 and then,

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you know, Division 310, Division 2 in a I-10S, Junior College 10S,

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Community College 10S, you know, there's scholarships that don't even get utilized some years,

Speaker:

where, you know, you have men's and women's programs not able to utilize a four-aroster,

Speaker:

and there's opportunities out there every year for players,

Speaker:

really regardless of level to find an opportunity if that's what they want to do.

Speaker:

Now, to your point, Sean, if they, if they're, if they're, you know,

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hell-bent on going to University of Georgia, and they're just simply not good enough,

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that's another story. It's not going to happen, but if they're all willing to look at,

Speaker:

you know, a community college, junior college, something that that extent,

Speaker:

there's an opportunity there. So, that's my viewpoint.

Speaker:

I think there's plenty of opportunities, but if it's a situation like you mentioned,

Speaker:

where it's a player that really wants to attend somewhere that's just not possible,

Speaker:

then yeah, that conversation needs to be at.

Speaker:

There's, you know, you have club tennis at those schools, and you're a mural tennis.

Speaker:

You know, you can find other needs outside of the college space that maybe a power-five type school

Speaker:

or you could still be competitive in the tennis space.

Speaker:

I think that answer helps you a bit with some of your members.

Speaker:

Well, I, I, I select the, the wide ranging where we're going, the net that,

Speaker:

that Chase is throwing out there. When would you say that UTR became the,

Speaker:

the focus point for college recruitment? What year would you say that occurred?

Speaker:

I can say it when it occurred to me, which was 2013.

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And you were, you were early to the game. So we, yeah, I mean,

Speaker:

I'm looking at UTR saying really post-COVID where you had a bunch of schools,

Speaker:

especially on the mouse side getting rid of men's tennis.

Speaker:

UTR is really saving tennis because it is lighting a metric.

Speaker:

It is streamlining the recruitment process and it's making it more affordable.

Speaker:

And I think that, as Chase said, now you have, you can continue to play tennis

Speaker:

because it's never been a revenue producing sport.

Speaker:

So it's always in a precarious position, but UTR is now simplified through technology

Speaker:

made the process better. And now it's not as expensive to run the program as it used to be either.

Speaker:

That's right. That's right. And that's, to your point of glad you mentioned COVID,

Speaker:

Bobby, because that's where we experienced our greatest growth.

Speaker:

That would have been my case, but I wanted to do say it.

Speaker:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, you guessed accurately. So, you know,

Speaker:

you're in COVID when really pretty much the tennis world shut down.

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We were really the only ones out there still having events being played.

Speaker:

You know, we eliminate the red tape and the politics in terms of putting events on the platform

Speaker:

in terms of promoting level-based play.

Speaker:

The process is extremely easy to run event, but to your point, you know,

Speaker:

that's where really we were able to explode into the market and, you know,

Speaker:

we were able to keep that momentum. You know, as you looked at, you know,

Speaker:

just in general in terms of timeline, in terms of, you know, when coaches started using us

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were maybe it was after COVID, maybe it was pre-COVID.

Speaker:

What really happened was we went into these schools, these high schools, these colleges,

Speaker:

and we have hundreds of high schools and close to almost six to 700 colleges

Speaker:

that are running camps off their digital page that are running one day UTR Verify Match Play,

Speaker:

that are running weekend camps and what's happening or weekend tournaments and what's happening is like our college circuit product.

Speaker:

You know, we've run over, you know, 100 college circuits across the country on college campuses

Speaker:

and coaches are making millions of dollars in 2022.

Speaker:

Coaches make millions of dollars using our platform, giving them an opportunity,

Speaker:

whether that money was used to help their program, hire an assistant coach, you know,

Speaker:

assist with a budget need, whatever it may be.

Speaker:

We're starting to see more and more coaches take advantage of the platform and using it away to further support their programs.

Speaker:

And, you know, that's where the tech piece comes in.

Speaker:

As a coach, you have the ability, you know, Bobby, if I want to run a tournament next weekend,

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I go on UTR, I set the event up, I publish it, it's done.

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It's that simple.

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I'm able to really move quick and be innovative when creative.

Speaker:

And I can host whatever event that I want, one of the cool things of our pro tours,

Speaker:

if it's unlike any other tour out there, every player gets at least three matches, they may get five matches.

Speaker:

You have the ability to play an innovative format, those matches are on Amazon Prime.

Speaker:

This is truly preparing players to be pros because they need those matches.

Speaker:

It doesn't benefit you, Bobby, to go to California to some pro event and play one match and lose and you're done.

Speaker:

You know, under this format, you get multiple matches stretched out a real week at one location.

Speaker:

You know, you're going to be there for a long time.

Speaker:

It's guaranteed prize money for every player.

Speaker:

And it's turned out to be a huge success.

Speaker:

We're almost in 30 countries now.

Speaker:

You know, with that being said, it opens up the doors to be innovative and creative.

Speaker:

Well, you read in my mind again, it's just kind of fascinating because that was my next step was to go in that direction because

Speaker:

with the, as you saw the progression, I love what you guys are doing.

Speaker:

Try with with your tour. Where do you see it being?

Speaker:

Because you know, as a coach, a lot of it is obviously there's a difference between when it's a college as opposed to when it's your job.

Speaker:

That progression, the mentality, where do you see?

Speaker:

How long do you think it'll take for the players on that tour?

Speaker:

To, you know, to gear up where there it's going to be essentially a great building block and a great opportunity for the kids who, you know, like you said, travel in halfway around the world to play one match.

Speaker:

It's not cost.

Speaker:

You know, it's not cost efficient.

Speaker:

You know, where you guys, what's your timeline where you see you're going to start really start putting players that you're on your tour are going to start making an impact on the big tour.

Speaker:

Well, we've already seen it.

Speaker:

You know, you look at the player not even Quinn, but the other one who had committed to Georgia, he made that run at the in Newport.

Speaker:

I think he made the finals.

Speaker:

His name's escaping me from California, but make a loss to a short E1 at UTR Pro Tour tournament last year that kind of springboarded him to a position where he is now.

Speaker:

He has a player like Taylor Townsend as part of her comeback. She was playing UTR Pro Tour events to get her game back.

Speaker:

You know, in the college space, our pro tour, we have 1500 players that are actively college players or former college players that are looking to get into pro tennis.

Speaker:

And when you look at our schedule, you're starting to see more and more of these UTR Pro Tour events on campuses all over the country.

Speaker:

When our next week, we're at University of Tennessee, they were at Baylor, they were, I think, at Michigan.

Speaker:

You know, we're really Kansas is coming up.

Speaker:

We're really positioning ourselves all over the country on college campuses to give these players the opportunity.

Speaker:

And, you know, it's exciting to see it grow. And now it's exploding in the Europe in Japan and Australia.

Speaker:

And, you know, it's continuing to grow. And, you know, we've had phenomenal feedback from the players.

Speaker:

And, you know, that's why PTPA, that's Novak Jokovitch's players union.

Speaker:

They've been a big supporter of UTR and what we're doing because, you know, we're all about the player, Bobby and Sean.

Speaker:

And, you know, we want to provide the best experience for these players to help them in their pathway to pro tennis.

Speaker:

And, you know, their feedback is vital for our growth. And that's what we want to continue to do as a citizen of the players and give them the best product possible.

Speaker:

How do you deal with the current tournaments, per se?

Speaker:

I mean, I don't think people realize that the majority of tournaments are played on clay courts because they're not here.

Speaker:

Obviously, you know, and people don't realize the preponderance of clay court events that are throughout the world where, like you said, just what you guys are doing to simplify it, I would think the only people that might not love it or the current tournament that are out there, you know, trying to maintain their position.

Speaker:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously, you know, yeah, I mean, that's a good point.

Speaker:

You know, and it goes back to, you know, we are disrupting the market in terms of answering your question. We are, but with that being said, you know, we feel that, you know, we're elevating this for in doing it in a creative and innovative way.

Speaker:

So, you know, I do think that, you know, if a player has the option to play, you know, a UTR pro event or this event, you know, really is up to that player.

Speaker:

And then you know, you know, you know, you can get into, you know, get guaranteed prize money and get multiple matches and be on Amazon problem.

Speaker:

I'd say we're a pretty good option. But with that being said, you know, being on a clay court, which we have plenty of our pro events on clay courts in Europe, you know, whether it's, you know, in France or, you know, it could be in Spain, wherever it may be.

Speaker:

They have the ability to play our event all over the world. It is based off UTR rating in terms of getting in, but, you know, we have seen a lot of players that are very loyal to our tour.

Speaker:

And you can see them just going from venue to venue and just following the tour. And, you know, when they're ready to, you know, have an opportunity to, you know, potentially play say an ATP challenger or some type of event like that.

Speaker:

We feel like they're going to be better prepared. And ultimately, that's, that's what we want to do is help prepare.

Speaker:

So if I'm going to the University of Tennessee next week, how much is it going to cost me as a fan to go watch one of your events?

Speaker:

Three.

Speaker:

Oh fantastic.

Speaker:

Yeah, yeah, it's free. You can walk right in and, and you that event, you know, I think the one in Knoxville.

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I think it's going to be a great event. I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's going to be a great event.

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I think it's just Atlanta that's fine globally, anything.

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Yeah, I think it goes back to what we were talking about prior with Goat Tenants is.

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I would just try to eliminate the politics as much as he was impossible.

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Because I think that it gets you nowhere as a sport.

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So the more that we can address that and put ourselves in a position where.

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You know, we have an open market and, you know, we have an ecosystem where, you know, providers are able to run their events or tennis academies or clinics.

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Then the better off we're going to be as a sport.

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You know, so many times, you know, red tape gets in the way and bureaucracy, etc gets in the way that you start losing sight of what the common good is.

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Now I do understand that.

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Just some degree that is needed, but the more that we can get away from that mindset, then I think the better off will be.

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I think that's a great answer.

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And if I push back a little bit, we'll cut it out if we have to, but if I push back a little bit and I say get rid of the politics and I love that, I love that answer.

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But I always try to look for an example and I say, OK, everybody says, Oh, we want to make it more affordable. OK, how?

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I want to make it more accessible. OK, give me something tangible as to how, so do you have any ideas as to how we remove some of the politics from what we're dealing with?

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Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, not to say I'm cliche, but obviously the more communication that we have with, you know, these organizations and the better and putting ourselves in a position where if you look at, you know, the general landscape of tennis, you know, giving everyone opportunities, whether it's, you know,

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the junior player, the tennis pro, the high school coach, the college coach, let's find out the best way to connect these players in the general tennis ecosystem and let's eliminate the barriers and we can start to see progress.

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So, you know, it's a matter of just putting effort in. You got to get your hands dirty a little bit, but what that being said, if you're able to properly connect those channels that you can have phenomenal success.

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You guys are doing that. You've already proven that by being better. I think the college adaptation, that was not the norm. How many years ago where now it is the norm and that was just by because you guys did your job better and presented a stronger alternative.

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And that's why I'm curious if you know where I love to see where the tour is going to lead and where that next step takes us because it's just by being better and that's why it's exciting.

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As you said that you're really in your infancy. You're in a pretty exciting time and you tears already proven that it works.

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And they're the shining example of just be better. Do what you do. Get your hands dirty. Give it some time and you'll see this success and they're doing that.

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Yeah, well, thanks Bobby for that. Appreciate that and Sean. Yeah, I mean, not I could also add, I mean, Bobby, you know, appreciate the kind of words in terms of being better and no one thing that could add is, you know, we're only going to get better.

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Like we realize we can improve too. I think that's a big part of it too, Bobby is, you know, yeah, we've done a lot for the sport.

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But can we get better and improve? Absolutely. I think if you have that mindset and greater things are to come and we're going to keep pushing away, pushing envelope and trying to make things happen and get better every day.

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And that's the mentality that really the employees at Universal Times have and, you know, it's a inspiring, you know, climate to be involved in to be quite frank with you guys.

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So we're just going to keep doing it and, you know, let me know when I can get back on with you guys and we can talk about more developments down the road.

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I like I'm writing that new new tagline be better. Simple as that. Chase. I really appreciate it. Bobby is always we will, we will follow up soon and get you on again. I appreciate your time.

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Appreciate it. Yes. Thank you.

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Well, there you have it. We want to thank Rejovenate.com for use of the studio and be sure to hit that follow button. For more tennis related content, you can go to Atlanta tennispodcast.com.

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And while you're there, check out our calendar of tennis events, the best deals on technic fiber products, tennis apparel and more.

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If you're a coach, director of any racket sports or just someone who wants to utilize our online shop, contact us about setting up your own shop collection to offer your branded merchandise to the Atlanta tennis world.

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And with that, we're out. See you next time.

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