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League News: Tips For Having A Successful Junior Spring Season

ALTA Junior player

By Wendy Fee, Junior Leagues Vice President

As a player, are you ready to play your best tennis season ever? As a team manager or coach, are you ready to lead your team in such a way that the kids have the most memorable tennis experience?

Each year brings on new expectations. Many coaches and players make New Year’s resolutions which help them to have a more positive and enjoyable tennis season. You might think about taking more coaching so you can achieve your athletic goals and improve your performance. Some might concentrate on their lifestyles, such as telling yourself you will get plenty of rest the night before your match and that you plan to stretch more to prevent injuries while on the court.

One resolution of mine as the VP of the Junior Leagues is to better guide the Junior coordinators who are in direct contact with the team managers and coaches. They are volunteering to help everyone have a fair and more pleasurable experience. They work hard for the team managers and coaches all season so that the players may have their best tennis adventure yet.

The Junior Leagues have the largest turnaround among the ALTA leagues. The players move up through each age group until they are old enough to play in the adult leagues. It’s exciting that new players and team managers join us each season. We have four age levels: 10U, 12U, 15U, and 18U. Novice tennis players may join ALTA as young as 7 years old or even as old as 19. We want this to be a fun, friendly recreational environment, where members can play and learn how to be competitive in matches but still maintain an enjoyable, healthy experience. All this leads me to providing helpful tips for a successful spring season:

No cheering/clapping/coaching. This may seem like an unusual rule, but it is in place so that the kids play a fair match without stresses or influences from outside the courts. Although it is hard to wait until a match is over to congratulate a player, it is one of the most important rules in Junior League play. Many of these young players are nervous and need to concentrate while learning to have fun at the same time.

You can play matches early to help other teams or even your own team due to spring and fall breaks or any conflicting schedules. Just NEVER play a match LATE or after the scheduled match date and time (unless you experience a rain out). Please text or email your coordinator with any early play information; it’s best to keep things documented.

Always check your roster before you play your matches. Sometimes, you think a player has been added only to find out you played someone illegally or forgot to add them. You have until midnight the night before a match to add a player. Making sure team managers use the ALTA lineup checker is essential in making sure the players’ lineup is legal (no “sandbagging”). Sandbagging is when you move a winning player or pair down in order to move a losing player or pair up in the lineup. Using the lineup checker is a free tool ALTA provides for all teams.

Always exchange your scorecards before the match begins. If the team manager can’t be there, designate an adult or parent who knows the rules to step in to manage the scorecard.

Have the correct balls for the specific age group that is playing: 10U–orange, 12U–green dot, and 15U and 18U use USTA-approved yellow balls.

Always default from the lower position, 2S and 2D. Remember, a default at 1S or 1D results with points forfeited at 2S or 2D if played.

Make sure you are on the correct court playing against the correct matched player. It seems simple, but players can end up playing against the wrong opponent on a certain line accidentally.

Stay connected with fellow teammates and join the ALTA Juniors Instagram @Juniorleaguealta. My hope is that these tips and guidelines will help you to have the best tennis season yet.

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