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Determining your equipment needs is an essential part of developing a successful junior program. Ideally, every child should come to class with his or her own tennis racquet, but sometimes kids do not have racquets or forget theirs at home.

 

If you are responsible for providing equipment for the program, make sure that there is one racquet for every child (as opposed to having kids take turns using equipment). This will help ensure that the kids stay on task and the time spent developing skills is maximized.

 

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Kids' Racquets

A mix of 21-, 23- and 25-inch kids’ tennis racquets will help ensure that the appropriate racquets are being utilized for junior play. Since

23-inch racquets can be utilized for both 36-foot courts (red ball) and 60-foot courts (orange ball), it is recommended to order a large quantity of this size (typically half of the racquets you need). If you are working with very young children (5 and under), it is recommended to include 19-inch racquets.

 

Tennis Balls

Kids need a ball that is sized and paced to their playing abilities. A yellow tennis ball moves too fast, bounces too high and is too heavy for smaller racquets. Each age group uses specific kids’ tennis balls best suited to their size and playing ability.

 

For kids 8 and under, a red foam or low-compression red felt ball moves slower, bounces lower and travels less distance. For

9-10-year-olds, a low-compression orange felt ball moves a little faster and travels farther than the red ball used with the younger group, but it still has a lower bounce than the yellow tennis ball. For ages 11 and older, the green felt ball has a slightly reduced bounce than the yellow tennis ball.

 

Tennis Courts and Nets

Portable nets and throw-down lines allow organizers to create multiple 36- or 60-foot tennis courts, on a variety of surfaces, for junior play. It is recommended that you use one set of throw-down lines for every four players in your program. You can also use tennis tape or pennant flags as an alternative to a net, as well as chalk or painter’s tape to create the lines for the court.

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