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USTA North Carolina Notebook

2013 Awards Nominations

2013 State Championships

10 & Under

10 & Under is an innovative new play format that will help to get more children 10 years of age and under into the game. This format, one of the most significant moves ever to introduce tennis to youth, provides a way to bring kids 10 and under into the game by utilizing equipment, court dimensions, and scoring that is tailored to their age and size.

10 & Under appropriately scales down all aspects of regulation tennis—including equipment, court dimensions, and scoring—so that the game becomes specifically tailored to their age and size. The format is broken out into two age groupings, for children ages 10-under and for those who are 8-under, similar to models used successfully in other youth sports (such as youth baseball).

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Children eight and under will play on a 36’ x 18’ court, with the length of the court equaling the width of a regulation tennis court. The set-up utilizes doubles sidelines as the baselines and from the baseline to the service line as the new sidelines. Racquets will be up to 23” in size, making them easier to control than larger-sized racquets. The balls, either a foam ball or a very low compression ball, will also match the abilities of the child, bouncing lower and traveling less distance. This will enable the child to have proper swing technique, with the ball bouncing into their “comfort zones.” The net height will be 2’ 9” (three inches lower than regulation), making it easier for the child to continue the rally. Finally, scoring is brought down to a much simpler and manageable level – best of three games, with the first player to win seven points winning the game – creating a much shorter match time for still-developing attention spans.

For those children 10 and under, the size of the court will be 60’ x 21’ (60’ x 27’ for doubles), with the length of the court extending just beyond the ends of each service area. The racquet will be up to 25” in size—still manageable, but increasing with the child’s body-size and age. The ball, a low-compression ball, travels a little faster and farther than the ball utilized by the 8 and under group, but will still have a lower bounce than the standard tennis ball. Scoring becomes best of three sets, with 4 games winning a set, and the third set being first to 7 points (if necessary).

In addition, the USTA has begun incorporating the play format into its coed recreational tennis league, USTA Jr. Team Tennis, and its tournament offerings. In succeeding years, it will continue to be implemented into programming with the goal of reaching all aspects of 10 and under youth tennis, including tournament, lesson based, recreational and team play.

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