tennis.com demonstrates the advantages of the QuickStart Tennis format
There is a new approach to getting children involved in the sport of tennis; this approach is called QuickStart Tennis Play Format. It is imported from European countries such as France and Belgium where it has been used to successfully develop players like Justine Henin and Oliver Rochus.
The QuickStart Tennis format is about fitting tennis to kids based on age and physical size. By modifying the court dimensions, equipment (racquets and balls), net height and scoring system coupled with a play component, kids will develop better technical and tactical skills. When each of these elements is used collaboratively, kids will achieve early success and stay in the game.
To give kids the confidence and ability to cover the entire court, score points and build an all-court game, the court is shorter and narrower for both age groups. The net height is lower, too.
Cerritos Tennis Center divides kids into two age groups: the first is ages 5-6 and the second group is ages 7-8. By putting kids with similar physical and social skills together, they have more fun while learning and developing skills. For more information about these clinics at Cerritos Tennis Center, click here.
Ages 5-6 and Ages 7-8
For the five- to eight-year-olds, the court dimensions are 36' long and 18' wide. Children play across the width of a normal tennis court, with a portable net or tape dividing the court in half. The length of the court stretches between the doubles sidelines. The width spans from the baseline to the service line. Temporary lines (e.g., throw-down lines, tape or chalk) can be used to mark the boundaries. Since the dimensions are smaller, as many as four courts can be set up across one full-size tennis court. For this age group, the net height is 2' 9". Kids need a ball that's equal to their playing abilities. A regulation tennis ball moves too fast, bounces too high and is too heavy for the smaller racquet. Each age group, therefore, uses a ball better suited to their unique playing ability. For 8 & Under, a foam ball or a very low-compression ball moves slower, bounces lower and travels less distance. 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. The QuickStart Tennis scoring system is simple. It helps organizers plan a competition and it gives parents and players a start and finish time. With 8 & Under there are only seven points in a game, so match play is short and sweet. Kids play the best of the three games; the first to score seven points wins the game. The first to win two games wins the match. The longest a match will last approximately 20 minutes.
Players are introduced to the fundamentals of tennis through activities designed to build a solid foundation for long term athletic development. Activities are focused on developing the ABCs (agility, balance & coordination) all while forming the skills necessary to serve, rally & score. Use of red foam & felt balls & 36-foot Red Courts.
The 36 Red format is played on a 36-by-18 foot court, with a red foam or red felt ball & 19- to 23-inch racket. Players in this format are being introduced to the proper grip, preparation & swing path for each stroke as well as learning the basic footwork patterns & stances. Tactically, red players are acquiring the skills of consistency, placement, & basic spin as they learn to control the ball & rally. To begin points, red players are developing a consistent toss and rhythmic service motion to minimize double faults & learning to apply the proper ground-stroke technique.
In this class, players continue to sharpen their ABCs (agility, balance & coordination) while beginning to develop more dynamic movement & footwork patterns that focus on sending and receiving. Introduction to topspin & underspin on both forehand & backhand strokes & the different grips used. Ability to intentionally place the ball short, deep & side-to-side is crucial before graduating to next level. Typically, this is the developmental stage with the greatest duration.
The 60 Orange format is played on a 60-by-21-foot court, with an orange ball & a 23- to 25-inch racket. Players In this format are developing more advanced stroke technique, greater court coverage & improved recognition skills. Orange players need to develop greater racket-head speed to control the ball with improved pace, spin, height & depth. Tactically, orange players are developing high percentage patterns with the forehand as a weapon from the baseline & improving net transition skills on a larger court. Orange players are progressing in their ability to hold serve with greater spin, power & control & are learning to read the serve & adjust the size of their backswing on the return accordingly.
Green Dot Ball
Players in this class are technically sound & tactically engaged. Players are beginning to determine their style of play & how it matches up with other styles. This class will incorporate both singles & doubles strategy & play. Players are now working on developing weapons in their game & implementing more advanced patterns of play. Players will be experimenting with singles & doubles tactics as well as the foundation of mental toughness.
The 78 Green format is played on a full-size 78-foot court, with a green ball and a 25-27-inch racket. Players in this format should display refined stroke technique, movement skills & recognition to properly cover the full-sized court. Green players have the correct grips, preparation & swing paths for all strokes & a higher level of spin, pace & control than orange players. From the backcourt, green players have developed the forehand as weapon, a reliable backhand & sound decision making. Tactically, green players have improved their ability to defend & also to attack the net with proper positioning & dependable execution of volleys & overheads. On the serve, green players are continuing to develop the serve as a weapon with refined spin, placement & consistency. When returning, green players have the ability to use the block return on more powerful first serves & have developed an aggressive second-serve return.accordingly.