By Tammi Copelli, Junior Leagues Vice President
Welcome to 2021 and the Junior Leagues. Despite COVID-19 and having to cancel the 2020 spring season, we were able to complete the entire fall season of the Junior Leagues, and now we are more than encouraged and excited to get our 2021 spring season up and going.
We are fortunate that tennis is conducive to social distancing, which makes it the perfect sport coming out of this pandemic. With so many winter school sports being canceled, ALTA Junior tennis is a perfect alternative. Please know confidently that we will continue to follow ALTA Junior Leagues COVID-19 guidelines/recommendations for our spring 2021 season. The safety of our juniors is of utmost importance.
If you are an adult reading this and have some junior age children, and they are not playing on a tennis team yet, I highly recommend you start a team for them. It’s what I did for my kids many years ago. It is one of the best things you can do for your neighborhood kids. ALTA has 10, 12, 15, and 18-and-under age groups, which include both girls’ and boys’ teams. So, if kids are anywhere from seven to 18 years old, they can play on a junior team. We do not have mixed teams as of yet in the Junior Leagues, but we are always discussing new things and looking for ways to improve the Junior experience.
Hopefully by now, you are thinking of a few kids who might like to play tennis. All you need to do is create and enter a new roster. If you have any questions on how to do this, no problem. Go to the ALTA website (www.altatennis.org), look under FAQ’s, and you will find directions on exactly what to do. ALTA will start accepting new rosters through Feb. 5, 2021. Play will begin Saturday, Mar. 6, 2021.
For those managing teams, remember we now have a 15U level which replaced 14U. That gave us a more defined split between middle school and high school players. There is no more penalty for moving your players from 1S to 2D and vice versa from 2D to 1S, giving you more flexibility in your line ups. Age eligibility moved to the front of the season so players can now continue playing with their friends for the duration of the school season. These are a small representation of the exciting changes we made in 2020.
My space here is limited, but I hope my thoughts will inspire you to engage/promote tennis with the young ladies and gentlemen in your life. If your neighborhood does not have a Junior team, please consider starting one of your own. After all, you only need eight players to form a roster, and you can never underestimate how far-reaching the benefits of playing tennis can be for those children. Google the benefits of kids who play tennis, and you’ll see what I mean.
Lastly, I wanted to let you know that we could never have a Junior League without supportive Junior League parents. Being one once, I understand and appreciate all that you do. You are what makes the Junior Leagues possible. The first thing always on our agenda is to thank all the parents when we get to see them at City Finals or other matches. I’d like to welcome all of the returning Junior teams and we are especially excited to welcome our new ALTA Junior players this spring season.