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Hi all!

My kid has played in a few 10U jr. tennis tournaments beginner level.  He's won 1 tournament and was a finalist in another.  My questions:

1) Should I move him up to an intermediate tourney at 10u or keep him in beginner level but put him in a 12u category for the challenge?  I'm noticing that not many players in my area are signing up for intermediate 10u, so I feel I have no choice but sign up for 12u.  My son is almost 9.5 yrs old.

2)  Why do parents wait till the last minute to sign up their kids for a tourney?  Just curious.  Is this bc of strategy- they want to see who else will sign up?  

3) How often do parents travel out of state for tourneys?  Is it bc of lack of local tourneys or for ranking purposes?

Thanks all!

Betty K

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Great questions! 

My kids play junior USTA tournaments, so I can help with a few of these.

1. All things being equal, I'd leave him at 10s but play in intermediate.  I assume he is playing orange ball for the 10U and that the 12U would be green ball.  Is that correct in your case?   I have turned into a strong believer in the junior development system that USTA is committed to.  The best advice is to not move kids up to the upper ages too soon.  Kids have a lot more fun winning than losing and winning habits breed more winning.

2.  Great question.  I think many players and parents don't want to play unless a significant number of players sign up.  For the younger ages (like 10s) it means that often the draw will just be 3 or 4 kids in which case the director will run a round robin.  I wish there was a way to change this.

3.  I know that many parents travel with their kids to find better competition and usually higher level tournaments.  We have a lot of L6 and some L5's here in Albuquerque.  When we have an L4, suddenly we have a lot of players from El Paso and AZ.  For some it is to get more points and move up the rankings, but I think for most it is simply to play stronger kids which improves your game too.

Is he taking many lessons?


Thanks for your reply!    Yes, that's correct that orange ball is 10u and green ball is 12u, plus bigger court size.  That would be quite a jump for him so 10u intermediate makes sense.  

And yes, he does take lessons, once a week for 1 hr private 1-on-1 lessons.  We used to do a lot more lessons with a local club but there was a lack of challenge. 


Great.  yes, I think staying on the smaller court is a big deal too.

your son should be learning how to create space on the court by using angles.  this will be helpful when he is older on a larger court, when he and his opponent are full grown.  The size of the court being relative to the size of the player is an often overlooked element.



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