| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: David De Lossy

USTA Eastern recently launched a “youth progression pathway,” designed to create a greater experience for children beginning and developing in tennis competition. The pathway ensures young players, ages 7-10 years old, will compete at appropriate levels of play as they progress through competitive stages based on age, participation and achievement. The best-in-class system will track the progress of junior players as they advance from the orange level, to the green level and then to the yellow level competition.

“We are enthusiastic to be one of several USTA sections that will be using the national 10 and under youth progression system,” said Julie Bliss Beal, USTA Eastern senior director, Competition. “This new pathway will reinforce the importance of the orange and green ball courts for a player’s overall development. I believe that not only will this system create high performance players but will also help new players to have fun and see immediate success in our sport.”  

The new system serves as a guide for coaches, parents and players to help ensure that kids 10 and under participate in events using the appropriate ball and court for their skill level.

“A youth progression pathway gives young players the opportunity to participate in suitable levels of competition, while allowing them to develop their games tactically and technically,” said Craig Jones, USTA director, Junior Play. “This system rewards players for competing and inspires them to play more often.”

Players collect stars for tournament participation and 10U Junior Team Tennis participation. Additionally, players collect trophies for winning a tournament, reaching the final of a tournament and winning tournament matches.

USTA Eastern offers two levels of orange ball tournaments and one level of green ball tournaments. Players will need to earn a total of 20 stars and/or trophies in order to progress to the next level.

Players can track their progress on TennisLink’s “My Player” page. There, participants will see how many more stars and trophies they need to acquire to reach the next level. Each player’s page will track their progress and accumulation of stars and trophies as opposed to ranking points.

“Now tennis has the best of both worlds, for those just beginning the tournament process, there is a defined starting point, followed by advancement based on your performance,” said Jason Wass, director of tennis, Sportime Kings Park and regional U10 director, Sportime Clubs. “This will allow players who ‘earn’ the opportunity to play against older/stronger players to compete ‘up’, while eliminating the guess work for players and parents who simply are unsure of where to begin or where to go from here.” 

For more information, please visit the Orange and Green Play page on the USTA Eastern website