In the United States of America it is common for kids with an interest in tennis to play in junior tournaments that are sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association (the USTA). By competing in tournaments, junior players can gain ranking points. Players will pursue a ranking in order to either be the best in their age group or to leverage their high ranking for a college tennis scholarship. In the USA, players can compete in junior tournaments starting at the 8 and Under level. Some players will begin to play at the age of 6. In many states, junior players have to complete youth progression or play in a certain number of tournaments before they can play in the 12 and under division. Junior players under the age of 8 use red balls and a 36' court and junior players under the age of 10 use orange balls and a 60'court. Most 8 and under and 10 and under events use a shortened scoring format. The largest number of junior players are in the age brackets of 12-16. Players can compete in USTA tournaments at the levels of state, sectional, and national. For example, a player could have a ranking in North Carolina and a Southern ranking and a National ranking. In order to enter into a USTA tennis tournament you must have a USTA membership. Players who go onto the collegiate and professional level have risen up through the junior tournament system. The ranking system of USTA tournaments also coincides with the tennisrecruiting system of giving players rating stars. A player can have from zero stars to 5 stars. A player that is better than 5 stars is a blue chip player. In the USA, once you achieve a level of 3 stars or better, then you are in contention to play Division One College Tennis. Across the USA, there is a network of players and coaches and parents and academies who are training to win USTA tournaments in order to achieve a high ranking and gain a college scholarship for tennis (example: Smith Stearns Tennis Academy). Another notable example is: if a player is able to win the main draw of the 18s at Kalamazoo then the champion receives an automatic entry into the US Open which is a grand slam professional tournament (example: Kayla Day). It is rare but some blue chip level junior players will turn professional before at the age of 17 or 18 as opposed to going to college (such as the Williams sisters).
Your kids are almost done with school for the summer and it’s time to find them the perfect recreational activity that will give them exercise, sunshine, new friends and memories they’ll never forget. Junior tennis camps are a great way for new, improved and advanced players to enhance their love of the game while also having a blast this summer. Here’s MyTennisLessons ’ picks for the best junior tennis camps across the nation. Check out the camp in your state to see if it’s right for your child!