WHEN AND HOW TO START COMPETING

Mini Tennis has not only introduced many more young players to the game but also allows competition to take place at a very early age. It teaches the fundamentals of the game through emphasis on learning how to rally, court positioning, where to place the ball and how to score. Competition at this young age is a hotly debated topic in the world of tennis and questions like “Should young players be playing so much competition? “and “When should my child start competing” are frequently asked.

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Competition, if handled correctly, is an important part of a child`s development. It takes a relatively long time for most children to develop the necessary skills needed to play Mini Tennis Red successfully and some develop these skills quicker than others.  A good analogy is to compare the development of children in tennis to building a house, where the most important part (which takes the longest and is not seen) is the foundation.  If a child is thrown into competition too early before developing the necessary physical and mental skills it can not only be a waste of time, but can also be very demoralising for the child. We at the BPTA have Competition Squad programme that was created to prepare children to start competing on a regular basis. The Red Competition programme is split into two squads with “Red Comp A” and “Red Comp B”. Players who are training in our Red Competition A squads should be competing on a regular basis by looking to be playing at least two LTA Competitions or Matchplay events per term. These players will be aged from six years upwards and will only be in these squads when we feel they are ready to start competing and will be working on the goal of improving their mini tennis rating and trying to get down to a level 1.

The Red Competition B squads are where we look to prepare the players to start competing by building more confidence when rallying and serving as well as introducing them to the basic tactics and tactical intentions. We will then start to introduce these players to some grade 7 matchplay events which are within their squads and will invite them to some internal competition days. These are both a great way to get children feeling good about competition, learning to score, experience winning and losing and also develop self-confidence to take further steps. They will also give the coaches an idea of who is ready to start competing. Parents will then be notified when we think their child is ready to start competing and how they can go about this, or they will be informed of this in the players BPTA Progress Report which all BPTA players will receive twice a year. Please click here to visit our BPTA PROGRAMME AND TRAINING STRUCTURE for details.

HOW TO START COMPETITING

When parents are notified their child is ready to start competing they can read up on the best events to enter in our FINDING THE RIGHT COMPETITION section. Entering a Competition or Matchplay is fairly straight forward these days and there are thousands of events held in the country annually.

If you click on the link below it will take you to the LTA Competition page. You will then see the MINI TENNIS EVENTS option which is from 5-10 year olds. If you click on this you will be able to view every mini tennis event in the whole country for that competition season (around 1600 as it stands, although I`m sure more will be added throughout the season). You can then refine your search to find exactly what you are looking for regarding location, age, grade, gender etc. You will see the Berkhamsted Grade 6 Matchplay events that John Bruley runs at our club. These are normally held on Sunday afternoons.

http://www3.lta.org.uk/Competitions/Search/

We will always be on hand to help so if you do get stuck then please don`t hesitate to ask for help.