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New Changes for Juniors in 2012

New Changes for 10s & 12s Age Divisions in 2012

 
With the USTA’s continued focus on 10 and Under Tennis and getting children acclimated to the sport using age-appropriate equipment and court sizes to maximize not their fun but their ability at a young age, certain changes will begin taking place starting in January 2012 in the competitive format in the younger 10s and 12s age divisions.  

These changes are being implemented here for all junior tournaments across the Southwest to ease children into competition and with an eye on their longer-term development as players.  

Southwest junior parents with children in younger age groups should please take the time to read over and familiarize yourself with this short overview of the tournament progressions and some of the changes coming in these younger age divisions.  

Please click here for the 2012 Junior Player Development Handbook.

Click here for a list of FAQ's about the new rule changes.

To view the Player Regulations for the Orange/Green/Yellow Ball Progression please read below or click on the link.

Also, please look at our USTA Southwest Junior Player Ball Designation List to see what division your child is placed in. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call USTA Southwest Junior Competition at 480-289-2351 x. 106.
 

Player Regulations For Orange/Green/Yellow Progression

Overview

The new 10 & 12 and Under systems are developmental divisions that should focus on participation and developing a players competitive skills through match play. The new system places emphasis on participation and promotes play in both orange ball and green ball events.  

The new system is structured to keep young players in orange and green ball events long enough to develop technically and tactically. The structure will enable a player to progress through participating in events with little emphasis on winning or losing. It is not a race to the yellow ball.  

 

Orange Ball Division

A. Orange Ball Eligibility

1. A player can start competing in orange ball any time, as long as the player has not reached the maximum age for the division.

2. A player may elect to move to Green Ball 12 and Under Division by meeting one of the following criteria:

a. Earn 10 participation points in singles sanctioned tournaments during a 12-month period and be at least 9 years old.

b. Win the singles division of four Level 5 or higher Southwest Section tournaments and be at least ( years old.

3. Participation points are earned as followed:

a. One participation point may be earned by competing in any 10 and Under Orange ball singles sanctioned tournament

b. One participation point may be earned by completing any USTA Junior Team Tennis league season

c. One participation point may be earned by playing a cross-sectional team event.

4. A player may elect to move to Green Ball 12 & Under once he or she has reached 10 1/2 years of age even if the above criteria has not been met. 

 

B. Orange Ball Match Formats

1. Matches will be played in accordance to the guidelines of 10 and Under tennis.

2. Court size: 60 foot court.

3. Racquet length: no longer then a 25 inch racquet.

4. Orange low compression balls.

5. Best two out of three short sets (first to 4 games) with a seven point tie-breaker in lieu of a third. Ad scoring applies.  

C. Tournament Formats and Rankings

1. No rankings lists will be published. Participation points lists will be published to keep track of the number of points a player has accumulated.

2. It is recommended that Level 6 tournaments should be played in any non-elimination format such as a compass draw or round robin to ensure guaranteed competition. Players should be placed in flights similar to other players level.

3. It is recommended that the 10 & Under division at Level 6 tournaments be completed in one day.   

Rationale: The Junior Competition Committee emphasizes that it is not a "race" to the Green Ball Division. The priority is on maximizing participation and playing matches with the orange ball. This helps in the fundamental development of the child and helps a child progress as they get older with learning the correct technique without picking up bad habits.  

Additionally, it places a player with size right equipment, court size for their age, and a ball bounce that is in their strike zone for their height. A player can move up if they have satisfied the criteria as it proves that they are ready to move up to the Green Ball Division.  

The Junior Competition Committee places no minimum age on when a child can play in the Orange Division. Players under the age of 8 are encouraged to play 8 and Under competition using the red ball, however they have the option of playing in 10 and Under Orange Ball if they are ready or there is no available Red ball division.

 

Green Ball Division

A. Green Ball Eligibility

1. A player can start competing in the Green 12 & under when he or she has satisfied either of the criteria from the 10 & Under Orange Ball division, or when the player has reached 10 1/2 years of age. 

2. A player may elect to move to Yellow Ball 12 and Under Division by meeting one of the following criteria:

a. Earn 10 participation points in singles sanctioned tournaments during a 12 months period and be at least 10 years old.

b. Win the singles division of four Level 5 or higher Southwest Section tournaments and be at least 10 years old.

3. Participation points are earned as followed:

a. One participation point may be earned by competing in any 12 and Under Green ball singles sanctioned tournament. 

b. One participation point may be earned by completing any USTA Jr. Team Tennis league season.

c. One participation point may be earned by playing a cross-sectional team event.  

4. A player may elect to play in any Yellow ball age division, for which he or she is age eligible, only after completing the Green ball criteria listed above.

5. A player new to Southwest Section tournament play may elect to play in any Yellow ball age division for which he or she is age eligible, as long as he or she has reached 12 years of age, even if the above criteria has not been met.  

B. Green Ball Match Format

1. Matches will be played in accordance to the guidelines of 12 and Under tennis.

2. Court size: 78 foot court.

3. Racquet length: no longer than a 27 inch racquet.

4. Green low compression balls

5. Any USTA approved match format. 

C. Tournament Format

1. All Level 6 Southwest Section tournaments 12 and Under will play as a Green Ball Division. No yellow ball 12 and under will be given as an option in Level 6 tournaments.

2. Level 5 and above tournaments will use similar draw types as other divisions for Green Ball divisions.  

Rationale: The Junior Competition Committee believes that using the Green low compression balls, on a full-sized court will allow players to use the appropriate technique along with learning how to construct points better. In the Southwest, we have a considerable amount of areas of altitude where the ball travels faster than at sea level. The Green ball will serve as a great transition tool to the Yellow ball and will enable players to have longer rallies at altitude.

This improves a player's thinking skills and enables a player to learn how to construct points, a skill which can be transferred when the player starts to compete in Yellow ball tournaments. The length of time a player spends in the Green and Orange ball divisions is developmentally important. Players have the option to accumulate one point for every tournament played and should be encouraged to enter as many tournaments as is practical.

 

Transitioning to 2012  

Players caught in the middle

Players may be eligible to move up an appropriate division if they have exceptional and notable results. The Junior Competition Committee will decide based on results whether a player is able to move up a division.

 

Rationale: The changes are designed to look forward to the future with the new generation of players. However we know that there might be a few "caught in the middle" during the transition which is why the Junior Competition Committee will consider moving exceptional players.

Conclusion

The new Southwest 10 & 12 and Under systems integrate the USTA National rule changes and philosophy in boosting participation, enabling kids to have more success, enabling small, young participants to have more fun, and develop a new generation of players with sound, fundamental techniques. The 10 & Under system preserves the integrity of Orange ball events, emphasizing participation, experience, the development of young tennis players and, most importantly, having fun!  

The 12 and Under system provides players with much-needed experience and tactical awareness, which is imperative in a high-altitude Section as well as for overall technical development. The system of progression as a whole helps players gain success from a young age, whether they win or lose, by equating success with participation rather than winning or losing. 

 

Administration

The USTA Southwest Section office will monitor entry into the appropriate orange, green or yellow ball division.  

Level 6 tournament directors will be able to view the participation point list starting January 1st 2012. It is their responsibility to make sure that the players entered are in the appropriate division according to their earned participation points as stated in the rules above.  

Level 3, 4 and 5 tournaments - All tournament will be reviewed by the Southwest Section. The Junior Program Development Manager (JPDM) will place players in the appropriate division according to their earned participation points as stated in the rules above. 

 

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