USPTA’s Junior Circuit Offers Tennis Competition for Novice Juniors
With summer right around the corner, playing tennis is a great way for older children to have fun and stay active. They may play with friends or family, find a tennis camp or lesson program or join a general sports camp that includes tennis. But sometimes just playing for fun or taking lessons is not enough. Children may want to compete with their peers and have an event to look forward to. If they have not played tournaments before, it is important to find a format that will meet their needs as novice competitors.
The USPTA Junior Circuit™ provides the perfect opportunity. It is a series of tournaments created to introduce less experienced junior players, ages 10 to 18, to competition and allow them to prepare for higher-level tournament play. The junior circuit introduces tennis and healthy competition to thousands of young players who can play the sport their entire lifetime.
In addition, this year it is tied into Tennis — for the health of it!SM, the USPTA’s newest initiative, which strives to make the general public aware of the tremendous health, fitness and psychological benefits of tennis and encourage people to get out and play the sport as a part of their regular fitness regimen. The USPTA strives to encourage and enable kids across the nation and world to live a healthy lifestyle through the sport of tennis. Also, the USPTA and its members are the delivery force through which the public can receive these benefits through lessons and other tennis activities.
The majority of local or regional tournaments are typically designed for players with competitive experience, and they draw the area’s top tennis athletes. Being matched against one of these players may make for a negative experience for a novice. Events like the USPTA Junior Circuit help ensure a positive experience. In addition to promoting and increasing local tennis activity, the program’s flexibility places no requirements or restrictions on tennis teachers or on the beginner competitor and helps build positive tennis experiences for junior players and enthusiasm for the sport throughout the community.
Core elements of USPTA Junior Circuit are:
* Tournaments that target lower-level competition or recreational players - Advanced players have a sanctioned tournament schedule. At USPTA Junior Circuit and similar events, more juniors can compete with peers of similar abilities, giving them something to look forward to and helping them prepare for high-level competition, if they choose to advance.
* A tournament series - The series might be every Saturday in July, the first weekend of three consecutive months or another recognizable pattern.
* Local events in one city or a metro area - The series is held at one facility or rotated among local clubs, parks, etc., so that novice players and their parents do not have to travel far or incur high expenses.
* Consistent format - The series should use one format, such as playing pro sets (shortened match format) for one-day events or traditional scoring at three-day events. That makes things easier for players, parents and professionals. Age groups might include from 10 and under to 18 and under.
* A point system - A point system rewards all participants, even if they do not win a match, and lets them track their standings. Masters tournaments might be held for point leaders at the end of the circuit, and top players there might qualify for divisional playoffs.
Junior circuits are run by individual USPTA members. To find a junior circuit or similar program, please contact your local USPTA-certified professional. To find a USPTA member, visit usptafindapro.com, where typing in a city name or ZIP code will provide a list of area professionals. More information about USPTA Junior Circuits can be found at uspta.com.
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