The ITF Junior Tennis Initiative operates in over 70 nations worldwide. The programme supports federations to establish a national 14 and under player development programme. The support provided for the programme can include a subsidy to help the federation to hire a national coordinator, free equipment, educational resources and regular visits from the ITF Development Officers who can work with the national coordinator to ensure that the programme is successful.
The Junior Tennis Initiative involves:
The national Junior Tennis Initiative coordinator is responsible for training teachers to deliver Tennis 10s in local schools. In addition the coordinator should ensure that, where possible, Tennis 10s can also be implemented in clubs. Local coaches can also play an important role in implementing Tennis 10s training. Dynamic and active tennis delivery is important. Smaller rackets or bats, slower balls and in most cases smaller courts are used for this age group, meaning players will be able to more easily develop good technique and implement more advanced tactics than they could do if they were playing with a regular ball on a full size court.
Competition for 10 and under players is established by the coordinator in schools and clubs. Competitions use shorter scoring systems and multi-match formats and can be operated in team or individual formats. The competition should provide regular opportunities for the young children to develop in a safe and positive environment, using the appropriate slower red, orange, and green balls, and appropriate court sizes. Competition or informal matchplay will ideally be offered by coaches and teachers to players on a weekly basis. Suitable competition formats can be found at tennisplayandstay.com/competitions.
High Performance 14&U: Training
Talented players who have come through Tennis 10s next receive advanced technical, tactical, mental and physical training to help them maximise their potential. Usually these players should train, where possible, for 12 hours per week (mix of tennis and physical/co-ordination) at age 11, with the hours increasing as they get older.
High Performance 14&U: Competition
Access to regular, high level competition is essential and all nations should provide these competitive opportunities as part of their performance programme. High performance competition needs to be provided at 12&U and 14&U, with multi match formats used to ensure all of the players play sufficient matches. The best players from the national competitions will be selected to represent their country in ITF regional circuits and training camps at 14&U ages.