Is My Child Ready for Tennis Match Play? Where to Begin?

//Is My Child Ready for Tennis Match Play? Where to Begin?

Is My Child Ready for Tennis Match Play? Where to Begin?

The questions above are the most common I’ve received over my years as a tennis facility director or tournament director. Hope this helps you get your child started with the best experiences possible!

Q: When is my child ready for match play (yellow ball or green dot ball)?

A: When your child can get in roughly 5 out of 10 overhand serves and has some rallying ability. The serves don’t need to be overpowering but they need to be in occasionally to enjoy the experience. The child should know how to do standard tennis scoring (15-30-40-game) if playing in orange or above levels. Red Ball uses very basic, first to win 7 individual points wins the set. Scoring for orange and green ball see page 3 and 4 in this link

Q: How about my child, who is in Red Ball or Orange Ball levels?

A: The good news about Red and Orange tennis is students don’t need to take lessons for a long period of time before they are ready for introductory, organized play at these levels. The child should have some ability to rally from both ground stroke sides. Red Ball does not require overhand serving, although it is allowed. The “friendly feed” (drop hit) serves are allowed in introductory league and tournament red ball formats. For orange ball, for USTA Jr Team Tennis (JTT), “friendly feed” is also allowed locally, but for USTA tournaments only overhand serves are allowed.

Q: What is USTA Youth Progression? Why is it important to know about?

A: All players desiring to play in USTA leagues and tournaments need to know about “Youth Progression”. It is a required progression system for youth ages 7-10 to progress through appropriate amounts of orange and green dot ball experiences before moving to the next level/ball and then eventually to yellow ball. Check out the PNW Youth Progression page

Q: What should be my child’s first organized match experience?

A: I was the Washington and Oregon USTA Jr Team Tennis (JTT) Coordinator for 8 years in total, so I’m a little biased but I do believe JTT is the best first match experience on whatever ball they are on. JTT has a less pressure feel than a tournament and teammates are there to support and create a more social feel. My club, Woodinville Sports Club is planning on forming teams for the next upcoming season in all levels, so email our tennis staff if you are looking for to join one of our teams. There are several other locations that do a great job with JTT as well. USTA JTT PNW page. Note JTT in the PNW is also one of the most affordable indoor per match options around 😊 (summer season has outdoor locations as well).

Q: First Tournament?

A: Youth Progression rules apply. I suggest you look for Beginner (Entry) level non-elimination formats. These can be harder to find in Tennislink than the Advanced and Intermediate tournaments because there are not as many of them but recommend doing these first.

Related Blog Posts:

TRoach Approach Blog: Purpose

The Game Starts Love-Love: New Tennis Parents Tips

NW Washington 2020 Junior Match Play Guide (coming soon)

By |2019-10-14T13:20:31-08:00April 16th, 2019|TRoach Approach Tennis Blog|8 Comments

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  1. Womenos August 11, 2019 at 5:22 am - Reply

    I do not care who they play, they need to understand how to follow a game plan.  When they find out whom they play, they need to know the strengths and weaknesses of that particular player.  They may need to call a friend who may know that player.  Find out how the player plays.  If they cannot find out any information on their opponent, the warmup during the match and the first two games should be used to figure out how they are going to play their opponent, and with the game plan in their head, how long could they execute this plan for?  Many junior tennis players cannot stick to a solid game plan for extended periods.  They have mental lapses of concentration during their matches.  Top players have very short mental lapses and others have lapses that can last for games.  It comes down to how disciplined your child is in not only their tennis, but also their lives.  I have noticed that this current generation of children have short attention spans and I think it is due to their surroundings.  Everything is done quickly without taking time to think it through.  The next thing to accomplish during a match is to have a great attitude with a fighting spirit.

    • Travis Roach October 3, 2019 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      Many good points. I think when we teach juniors to be problem solvers on court rather than just teach the technique or shot combos, they become more successful in the long term. Some of the learning process can only happen with more match play and understanding that improvement is a continual process.

  2. Gyn August 29, 2019 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot for sharing such an amazing blog! I hope It will be really helpful for all Parents. I really appreciate the efforts you have made. Keep sharing posts like these. Thanks again!

    • Travis Roach October 3, 2019 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I plan to start blogging more regularly now and excited to help educate tennis families.

  3. Cyprus diving October 3, 2019 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I hope that you won’t stop writing such interesting articles. I’m waiting for more of your content. I’m going to follow you.

    • Travis Roach October 3, 2019 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I wrote these posts earlier this year. Starting this fall we are going to link the blog to Woodinville Sports Club website. I’m planning on posting regularly now and I’m also going to have some guest blogs from some others here on other helpful tennis content. Thanks for following :)!

  4. oprol evorter October 22, 2019 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Superb post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thank you!

  5. j October 27, 2019 at 8:03 am - Reply

    amazing posts

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