The 10-and-under competition Rule Change

From 2012 the ITF Rules of Tennis state that competition for players aged 10-and-under must be played with slower Red, Orange and Green balls on the appropriately sized courts. The traditional Yellow ball will not be permitted. The extract from the ITF Rules of Tennis below provides more details regarding the Rule Change for 10-and-under competition.

Extract from ITF Rules of Tennis 2012

APPENDIX VI: 10 AND UNDER TENNIS COMPETITION

Courts

In addition to the (full-sized) court described in Rule 1, the following court dimensions may be used for 10-and-under tennis competition:

A court designated “Red” for the purposes of 10-and-under tennis competition shall be a rectangle, between 36 feet (10.97m) and 42 feet (12.80m) long, and between 14 feet (4.27m) and 20 feet (6.10m) wide. The net shall be between 31.5 inches (0.800m) and 33.0 inches (0.838m) high at the centre.

A court designated “Orange” shall be a rectangle, between 58 feet (17.68m) and 60 feet (18.29m) long, and between 20 feet (6.10m) and 27 feet (8.23m) wide. The net shall be between 31.5 inches (0.800m) and 36.0 inches (0.914m) high at the centre.

Balls

From January 2012, only the following ball types can be used in 10-and-under tennis competition.

  • A Stage 3 (red) ball, which is recommended for play on a “red” court, by players aged up to 8 years, using a racket up to 23 inches (58.4cm) long.
  • A Stage 2 (orange) ball, which is recommended for play on an “orange” court, by players aged 8 to 10 years, using a racket between 23 inches (58.4cm) and 25 inches (63.5cm) long.
  • A Stage 1 (green) ball, which is recommended for play on a full-sized court, by advanced players aged 9 to 10 years, using a racket between 25 inches (63.5cm) and 26 inches (66cm) long.

Note: From January 2012, other ball types described in ITF Rules of Tennis Appendix I cannot be used in 10-and-under tennis competition, click here to download the ITF Rules of Tennis 2012.

Specifications for Stage 3, 2 and 1 balls


SPECIFICATIONS STAGE 3 (RED)STAGE 3 (RED)STAGE 2 (ORANGE)STAGE 1 (GREEN)
FOAMSTANDARDSTANDARDSTANDARD
MASS (WEIGHT) 25.0-43.0
grams
36.0-49.0
grams
36.0-46.9
grams
47.0-51.5
grams
(0.882-1.517 ounces) (1.270-1.728
ounces)
(1.270-1.654
ounces)
(1.658-1.817
ounces)
SIZE 8.00-9.00cm 7.00-8.00cm 6.00-6.86cm 6.30-6.86cm
(3.15-3.54 inches) (2.76-3.15
inches)
(2.36-2.70
inches)
(2.48-2.70
inches)
REBOUND 85-105cm 90-105cm 105-120cm 120-135cm
(33-41 inches) (35-41 inches) (41-47 inches) (47-53 inches)
FORWARD DEFORMATION - - 1.40-1.65cm 0.80-1.05cm
(0.551-0.650 inches) (0.315-0.413
inches)

10-and-under Eligibility

The ITF does not recommend that 10-and-under players compete in 12-and-under competition, unless in exceptional circumstances and subject to the respective National Federation’s competition regulations that are in place. Examples of such exceptional circumstances that would be considered are

1. Significant success and dominant competitive results at 10-and-under competition using the slower ‘green ball’.

2. Technical and tactical competence using the slower ‘Green’ ball during competition.

Extract from ITF Junior Circuit Regulations 2012

Appendix H Age Eligibility Rules, pp84

Competitions for players of 12 & under are permitted with the following: -
b) Players under the age of ten (10) shall not be eligible for entry in any 12 & under international individual tournament sanctioned by a Regional Association and/or National Association. In accordance to the ITF Junior Age Eligibility Rule, the player’s age as of the first day of the tournament Main Draw shall be used. (See ITF Junior Circuit Regulations 2012, Appendix H Age Eligibility Rules, pp84 - Click here)

National Association Specific

Whilst the ITF does have guidelines in place giving recommendations about the age, ball, court and formats, it is up to the National Associations to decide what events the players can play. There are no age restrictions in place limiting children 10-and-under from playing in 12-and-under national events. There are also no restrictions for players who are 8-and-under from playing at the Green stage (Stage 1).

ITF Recommendations

The ITF recommends that players aged between 5-8 years old should be Red, between 8-10 Orange, and advanced players between 9-10 Green. The ITF recommends that players should only move from one stage to another when they have experienced significant success and dominant competitive results in competition at the respective Red, Orange or Green stages and when they have technical and tactical competence at the respective Red, Orange or Green stages during competition.

The ITF does not recommend that 10-and-under players compete in 12-and-under competition except in exceptional circumstances and subject to the respective National Federation’s competition regulations that are in place.

An example of an exceptional circumstance that would be considered is significant success and dominant competitive results at 10-and-under competition using the slower ‘green ball’ as well as technical and tactical competence using the slower ‘Green’ ball during competition. As players move from one stage to the next, they should be encouraged to keep playing in some competition at the previous stage to further develop tactical and technical competencies.

International 10-and-under events

Players aged under 10 cannot play in international events such as the Tennis Europe 12-and-under circuits. According to the ITF Junior Circuit Regulations 2012 (Appendix H Age Eligibility Rules, pp84), Competitions for players of 12 & under are permitted with the following: - b) Players under the age of ten (10) shall not be eligible for entry in any 12 & under international individual tournament sanctioned by a Regional Association and/or National Association. In accordance to the ITF Junior Age Eligibility Rule, the player’s age as of the first day of the tournament Main Draw shall be used.

Players are not allowed to play internationally-sanctioned events and can only play national competition as long as they are sanctioned by the National Federation and their eligibility falls under their respective regulations set.