The ITF Junior Tennis Initiative operates in over 70 nations worldwide. The national level helps nations to establish a 14 & under junior development programme through the Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI). Nations are first helped to set up training and competition for 10 & under players, using smaller courts and slower balls following the ITF Tennis10s programme in schools and clubs. The most talented 14 & under players from their respective age category are selected to receive performance-based training and access to national 12 & under and 14 & under competition.
The Junior Tennis Initiative involves:
The national Junior Tennis Initiative coordinator is responsible for training teachers to deliver Tennis10s in local schools. In addition, the coordinator should ensure that, where possible, Tennis10s can also be implemented in clubs. Local coaches can also play an important role in implementing Tennis10s training. Dynamic and active tennis delivery is important. Smaller rackets or bats, slower balls and in most cases smaller courts are used for this age group, meaning players will be able to better develop good technique and implement more advanced tactics than they could do if they were playing with a regular ball on a full size court.
Competition for 10 & under players is established by the coordinator in schools and clubs. Competitions use shorter scoring systems and multi-match formats and can be operated in team or individual formats. The competition should provide regular opportunities for the young children to develop in a safe and positive environment, using the appropriate slower red, orange, and green balls, and appropriate court sizes. Competition or informal matchplay will ideally be offered by coaches and teachers to players on a weekly basis. Suitable competition formats can be found at tennisplayandstay.com/competitions.
14 & under high performance training
Talented players who have come through Tennis10s next receive advanced technical, tactical, mental and physical training to help them maximise their potential. Usually these players should train, where possible, for 12 hours per week (mix of tennis and physical/co-ordination) at age 11, with the hours increasing as they get older.
14 & under high performance competition
Access to regular, high level competition is essential and all nations should provide these competitive opportunities as part of their performance programme. High performance competition needs to be provided at 12 & under and 14 & under, with multi-match formats used to ensure all of the players play sufficient matches. The best players from the national competitions will be selected to represent their country in ITF regional circuits and training camps at 14 & under.