A Message from Patrick McEnroe about QuickStart:
One of the goals of USTA Player Development is the establishment of a network of Certified Regional Training Centers to enhance the training and development of our most promising young talentâ€”especially those players ages 8-12. The network is based on a three-way partnership between USTA Player Development, our countryâ€™s best coaches and our sections.
A critical component behind the success of this goal is the recruitment and retention of Americaâ€™s best young athletes, which brings us to the vital importance of the QuickStart Tennis play format and its continued success. USTA Player Development fully supports the QuickStart Tennis Initiative as a play format and as the right way for children ages 6-10 to play and learn the game of tennis. The QuickStart Tennis play format will introduce tennis to players at a young age, allowing them to rally and play right away and develop a bond with tennis that will keep them involved in the sport for life. In turn, that increased level of interest and participation gives us in Player Development a unique opportunity to recruit, retain and develop these promising young athletes.
We in Player Development believe that not only does the QuickStart Tennis play format offer our young players a fun, safe and sensible way to start playing the game; it also accelerates skill development and enhances the competitive experience for young children. We have proudly supported the fine team of QuickStart Tennis innovators working in Community Tennis by spearheading rule changes in 8-and-under and 10-and-under competitive play formats. These rule changes will provide competitive scenarios that include non-elimination play formats to encourage children of all levels to compete in a welcoming environmentâ€”one which emphasizes enjoyment and play.
In Player Development, we view the game of tennis as being played in a sequence comprised of three distinct, yet interrelated components: 1) the eyes and mind, 2) followed by the feet, 3) followed by the hands. Eyes and mind refer to ball recognition and shot selection; feet refer to footwork, movement and balance, and hands represent the playerâ€™s grips and stroke production. The QuickStart Tennis play format enhances the development of all three competencies through the following:
- The smaller court and slower- and lower-bouncing ball give young children the time they need to track the ball and recognize opportunities and choices in their shot selection.
- The slower- and lower-bouncing ball and smaller court also give young players the time to move with balance, recover, change direction and move in all directions on the court. This re-enforces an all-court game and rewards net play.
- The height of the bounce and the age-appropriate weight and length of the racquets enable the players to maintain the appropriate grips and swing paths that re-enforce an all-court game and reduce the risk of injury.
In addition, the undocumented competition, shortened matches and non-elimination play formats such as compass draws, round robins and team play championed by the QuickStart Tennis Initiative make tennis fun and rewarding, contributing to childrenâ€™s enjoyment of competitive opportunities by reducing the discouraging effects that losing in the first round and finishing last have on many newcomers to our game.
QuickStart Tennis is the ideal play format for players ages 6-10. To ensure its sustained success, we will continue to work actively with Community Tennis to dramatically increase the talent pool of great young American athletes in years to come!
What is QuickStart?
QuickStart Tennis is an innovative new play format that will help to get more children 10 years of age and under into the game. This format, one of the most significant moves ever to introduce tennis to youth, provides a way to bring kids 10 and under into the game by utilizing equipment, court dimensions, and scoring that is tailored to their age and size.
QuickStart Tennis appropriately scales down all aspects of regulation tennis - including equipment, court dimensions, and scoring so that the game becomes specifically tailored to their age and size. The format is broken out into two age groupings, for children ages 10-under and for those who are 8-under, similar to models used successfully in other youth sports (such as youth baseball).
Children 8 and under will play on a 36' x 18' court, with the length of the court equaling the width of a regulation tennis court. The set-up utilizes doubles sidelines as the baselines and from the baseline to the service line as the new sidelines. Racquets will be up to 23" in size, making them easier to control than larger-sized racquets. The balls, either a foam ball or a very low compression ball, will also match the abilities of the child, bouncing lower and traveling less distance. This will enable the child to have proper swing technique, with the ball bouncing into their comfort zones. The net height will be 2' 9' (three inches lower than regulation), making it easier for the child to continue the rally. Finally, scoring is brought down to a much simpler and manageable level - best of three games, with the first player to win seven points winning the game, creating a much shorter match time for still-developing attention spans.
For those children 10 and under, the size of the court will be 60' x 21' (60' x 27' for doubles), with the length of the court extending just beyond the ends of each service area. The racquet will be up to 25" in size - still manageable, but increasing with the child's body-size and age. The ball, a low-compression ball, travels a little faster and farther than the ball utilized by the 8 and under group, but will still have a lower bounce than the standard tennis ball. Scoring becomes best of three sets, with 4 games winning a set, and the third set being first to 7 points (if necessary).
The QuickStart Tennis play format will roll-out this spring in over 1,000 facilities across the country, which are each expected to incorporate it within their existing 10 and under programming. The USTA will also organize and implement training sessions, both to coaches and volunteers including parents, to help early adoption of the format. In addition, the USTA has begun incorporating the play format into its coed recreational tennis league, USTA Jr. Team Tennis, and its tournament offerings. In succeeding years, it will continue to be implemented into programming with the goal of reaching all aspects of 10 and under youth tennis, including tournament, lesson based, recreational and team play.
More QuickStart Tennis Links
USTA Announces Official Launch of QuickStart Program
What is QuickStart Tennis?
How to get Started
Grow your Tennis Business
Equipment Pricing Sheets