10 and Under Tennis, featuring the QuickStart Tennis play format, is quickly becoming a top priority for the USTA and the Northern Section as it is the future of tennis. 10 and Under Tennis is designed and structured for kids to learn, rally and play quickly in a way that is both enjoyable and rewarding.
Although different than what most adults grew up with, tailoring tennis equipment and court sizes for those under the age of 10 makes sense. Think about it…you do not see kids playing soccer or baseball with adult-sized equipment or on regulation size fields, and now with 10 and Under Tennis using the QuickStart Tennis play format, you will not see tennis players doing that either. You also won’t see players waiting in lines to hit the ball or see tennis balls bouncing over a child’s head. What you will see is kids having success and enjoying the game right away, while wanting to come back for more and developing a passion for this lifetime sport.
“Scaling tennis down to the size of children promotes greater participation and ensures that young kids can play tennis much more quickly," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "10 and Under Tennis is critical to the long-term growth of our sport, and ultimately will help us develop new generations of talented players."
One of the biggest challenges facing 10 and Under Tennis is educating the masses, whether it is parents, facilities, teaching professional and others, about the advantages of using the modified equipment, court sizes and training techniques found with the QuickStart Tennis play format.
“Kids have immediate SUCCESS with QuickStart Tennis,” former USTA Northern President and Rochester Athletic Club Teaching Professional Brent Frueh said. “We have to sell this concept to everyone that is working with tennis. Many people are afraid to change, but once you witness the success…it means everyone will be having more fun.”
USTA Northern has over 121 registered 10 and Under Tennis programs which use the QuickStart Tennis play format. To find a program in your area, visit www.10andundertennis.com or contact Christine Nickels in the USTA Northern office at (952) 887-5001.
QuickStart Tennis Play Format: 101
The USTA Northern Pathway and how 10 and Under Tennis fits in it, click here.
For an adult player to succeed at tennis, racquet control is essential. Same goes for kids. But since kids are smaller than adults, kids have trouble controlling full-size racquets. They're too long, they're too heavy, and the grips are too large. Kids need racquets that are proportionate in length and weight and have a grip that fits their smaller hands.
· For 8 & under, the racquet should be 19, 21 or 23 inches
· For 10 & under, the racquet should be 23 or 25 inches
Kids need a ball that's sized and paced to their playing abilities. A regulation tennis ball moves too fast, bounces too high and is too heavy for their smaller racquet. Each age group, therefore, uses a ball better suited to their size and unique playing ability.
· For 8 and Under, a foam ball or a very low compression ball moves slower, bounces lower and travels less distance.
· For 10 and Under, a low compression ball moves a little faster and travels farther than the ball used with the younger group, but it still has a lower bounce than the original.
The QuickStart Tennis play format uses courts and nets that are scaled to the size and ability level of young children.
· For 8 and Under, children will play on a court that is 36-feet long and 18-feet wide. The net is 18 feet long and 2-foot, 9-inches in height. Portable nets and support systems are available from many manufacturers, or temporary nets can be constructed using tape or caution tape tied to existing nets, fences or even chairs.
· For 10 and Under, a regulation net is used on the 60-foot court. If you are not using an existing court and net, the net height for the 60-foot court is three feet.
The scoring system has been modified as well. Gone is the traditional 15, 30, 40, deuce system.
· For 8 and Under, there are only seven points in a game, so match play is short and sweet. Kids play the best of three games; the first to score seven points wins the game. The first to win two games wins the match. The longest the match will last is approximately 20 minutes.
· For 10 and Under, players should play the best-of-three sets; the first to win four games wins a set. For the third set, the first player to win seven points wins the match.
The USTA just passed a new rule effective for the 2012 competition season that is similar to the International Tennis Federation rule adopted earlier in 2010.
· For kids ages 9 & 10, tournaments must be played on 60-foot courts using orange low-compression tennis balls and regulation nets (3 feet at the center) or, for those more experienced and more skilled players, on 78-foot courts with green lower-compression balls. USTA Northern is adopting the 60-foot, orange ball option only and will implement the rule effective one year earlier than both the USTA and ITF starting January 1, 2011.
· Tournaments for those 8-and-under are to be played on 36-foot courts using red foam balls and nets at a height of 2 feet, 9 inches.
Put QuickStart Tennis Lines On Your Courts Today!
With the 10 and Under Tennis movement taking over tennis programming, now is the time to put permanent QuickStart Tennis Lines on your courts! The Cook County Tennis Association in Grand Marais, Minn., did just that and was one of the first facilities in USTA Northern to paint permanent lines on three of their brand new courts.
“The lines have been great for the 10 and Under Tennis program here,” John Muus said. “Permanent QuickStart lines are definitely worthwhile if you have a good number of junior players in your program who are going to use them. I am glad that we have them.”
Did you know USTA Northern offers a grant to those facilities wishing to paint permanent lines on its courts. The current cost for lining courts ranges from $250-$500 per court. For more information on how your community can benefit from permanent QuickStart Lines or the grant program for equipment and other needs, click here.