There are four levels of junior mini tennis; Red, Orange, Green and Yellow, each with their own:
- court size,
- net height,
- type of ball, and
- recommended size of racket.
This system allows the kids to play with a bounce and a speed of ball relative to their height, meaning they can develop a better technique on all their shots. Playing on a court size relative to their athletic ability means that they will have longer rallies, enabling them to develop a good understanding of tactical play and consistency. This is also true of racket size which also allows them to learn advanced grips and technique without the risk of injury and most importantly keeps the learning of tennis fun and achievable.
The ages listed below are a rough guide, there will be circumstances where players may be moved up or kept down dependent on their standard or stages of their learning.
Red – for 4-8 year olds (recommended racket size 19-23 inch)
You can fit 4 Red-Level tennis courts on a full-sized tennis court. The Red level is designed for players up to 8 years and uses slightly larger and low-bouncing Red balls to help keep the ball where young players can hit it. The focus is on developing motor skills, footwork, hand-eye-coordination, racket control and build an understanding of forehand, backhand, volley and serve. Players should leave Red stage being able to rally very well with the coach and also be able to rally and play points with other players using a serve to start.
Orange – for 8-10 year olds (recommended racket size 23-25 inch)
The next level is Orange and uses approximately 3/4 of a full-sized tennis court and a lower net height. The ball has a lower compression, meaning they can go for their shots without losing too much control. This stage will be a little bit more technical with focus on correct grips for the full range of shots required in tennis, preparation and finishes, footwork patterns, and an introduction to tactical intentions. Players should leave Orange stage being able to rally consistently with a partner and be able to identify different spins, speeds, directions, heights and depths of opponent’s shots as well as a good idea of how to play them themselves. They should be able to score their own matches and have an understanding of sportsmanship and etiquette on court.
Green – for 10-12 year olds (recommended racket size 25-26 inch)
The next level is Green and is played on a full-sized singles court. The Green ball is compressed at 75% of a standard yellow ball and is a good training ball for older beginners (including adults) as well as for our recently promoted Orange players. A lot of focus now will be on continuing development of strokes and tactical intentions in game situations. Footwork will also be worked on a lot at this stage as they have more court to cover and also an understanding of loading and weight transfer through their shots for power. Players leaving green ball stage should be able to compete in singles and doubles matches and have a good all round game both technically and tactically.
Yellow – for 12 years and above (recommended racket size 26-27 inch)
The final level is the Yellow ball, which is played on a full sized court with normal yellow tennis balls. This is not technically mini tennis so players can vary in age and size and so the groups will be based on standard rather than age. We have four yellow groups at the Avenue and we pride ourselves on having a very popular ‘Elite squad‘ mostly consisting of kids who have played at the club from very young and still love the game!