New regulations from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) are making tennis more enjoyable for younger players with new balls, racquets, court lines and nets.
The new regulations were introduced to the Ahwatukee Foothills community during a 10 and under promotional event at the Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center on Sept. 29. Mike Henneberry, director of tennis for the Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center, said he can see how the new format makes tennis easier.
“It’s really just the equivalent of what baseball, soccer and basketball have done for years,” Henneberry said. “It makes it just a little bit more user friendly for kids to get started so they’re a little bit more successful right off the bat.”
For kids under the age of 8 the USTA has come out with a larger red ball and a smaller net. The net will also run sideways on the court to create a smaller court.
There is another size ball, in an orange color, for kids 10 and under who will play on newly drawn lines on the court but with a regulation-sized net.
The next step up is for kids to use a “green-dot” ball on the regular court and eventually transition to a regular yellow ball on a normal court.
These new balls and courts will be the norm from now on at all USTA tournaments.
“I can see the success of the kids,” Henneberry said. “It’s easier for them. It’s a terrible pain for us with so many different balls and nets, but I think the kids like it better and I think we’ll get more participation out of it.”
According to the USTA the new balls bounce lower, don’t move as fast, and will be easier for kids to hit. The hope is that kids will learn to rally quicker, which will get them more excited about playing.
The Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center has begun using the news balls and nets in their classes.
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