Has your child been taking tennis lessons and now eager to play competitively? Then it might be time to sign them up for their first tennis tournament! Here’s how to get started.
Can your child keep score and maintain a rally?
Before you begin, make sure you ask your child’s coach if your son or daughter is ready to play in a tournament.
Is your child age 10 or under?
If so, they’ll be playing with shorter courts, larger tennis balls and modified scoring. If your child hasn’t been learning with QuickStart equipment, then make sure they know how to play with it before entering them in a tournament.
What is USTA?
USTA stands for United States Tennis Association, the organization that runs most junior tennis tournaments across the nation. In order to register for a USTA tournament, you need to first become a member. A one-year membership for juniors costs $20.
How do you register for a tournament?
In order to find a tournament in your area, you’ll need to visit TennisLink. There, you can search for a tournament based on zip code, start date, age group and more. You can also check a box to “only show entry level events.”
Let’s look at an example tournament.
The weekend of Oct. 2-4, Bur Mil Park in Greensboro, NC, is hosting an L5 Eligibility tournament for boys and girls of all ages. L5 Eligibility simply means that no top-ranked players can participate, making it the perfect choice for your child’s first tournament.
How do you find out when your child plays?
Typically draws will be posted on the tournament page a few days before start date. Times for the subsequent matches will vary, so make sure you check with the tournament staff to find out when your child plays next. Most tournaments include a consolation bracket, so your child is guaranteed to play at least twice. To get in even more matches, sign up your child for doubles — the tournament director can pair them with someone else who doesn’t have a partner. It’s a great way to play more and perhaps make a new friend.
What should you bring?
- Plenty of water and either a thermos or cooler to keep it cold
- Gatorade or similar sports drink
- Healthy snacks, like bananas or granola bars
- Extra tennis clothes, especially extra socks
- First aid kit to treat blisters
- Hat or visor
- An extra racket if you have one
Playing tournaments will be an exciting experience for your young tennis player. Get ready to call yourself a tennis parent!