Tennis-To-Scale (10 & Under Tennis (10UT)) Instruction


Children are not young adults.
They are different physically, physiologically, emotionally, and socially. Therefore, youth sports should fit the special needs of children.

Kids need play now more than ever!
Four in 10 children and adolescents who previously played sports face reduced services from their community-based sports provider or travel sports organization, according to a new Aspen Institute Project Play survey of parents. School sports programs have fared best during COVID-19, but also have been the most likely to return with limited services.

Click here to read State of Play 2021.


With Tennis -To-Scale,( also known as 10 and Under Tennis (10UT)), kids can start playing tennis at the age of 4- 5, enjoy discovering and playing tennis more than ever while their bodies are developing.
In order to achieve this, for only the fifth time in the history of tennis, the Rules of Tennis changed in 2012.

10 and Under Tennis allows players to grasp the fundamentals of the sport. Participants learn about grips, preparation, swing path and ball placement. The equipment and courts are tailored to skill level, so kids can see their improvement and have fun right from the start.

The most important changes are the equipment.
Smaller courts, smaller sized racquets starting from 23’’ to 25" (compared to 27’’ full size racquets) and low pressure balls (Red, Orange,Green) allow kids to start playing tennis at a much younger age. This lets them enjoy the sport and have fun without frustrations of having trouble handling full size racquets and high and heavy bounce of regular balls.

10UT Attributes:

  • Smaller an scalable courts

    SCJTL courts for ages 5 to 8 - 36ft to 42ft (Service Boxes) court - 21 to 23" racquet - New to advanced beginners.

  • Smaller and scalable sized racquets

  • Low pressure balls for each age and stage of development.

    SCJTL uses10UT balls as need for each age group, skill development, as needed for the intended training result.

Before the introduction of 10 and Under Tennis, kids had to be 7-8 years old to be able start playing tennis.  In this case, ‘’starting playing tennis’’  refers to being able to hold the racquet and swing with success to connect with the ball once. This would allow the coach to teach proper technique and stroke mechanics. The first year or two of the beginning stage of learning was oriented on how to hit the ball before kids were able to play the game. Of course there were and still are kids with more than ordinary athletic abilities and sports specific talents who can do much more than hit the ball at that age, but still there are benefits for them in utilizing modified equipment even though they are able to handle the regular balls and full size courts.

Now with 10 and Under Tennis (10UT) kids can start tennis at the age of 5 years old and progress through their development pathway until they’re ready to move on to the full size court, racquet and regular balls.

SCJTL 10 & Under Tennis Instruction

in 2020, SCJTL re-designed Summer Tennis League divisions based in the balls used for the age and skill levels of participating players.

Benefits of Playing Tennis at an Early Age

Benefits of starting tennis at the age of 5 years old may not show right away in terms of hitting the ball and sustaining rallies, but activities and games oriented at that stage helps them develop their basic motor skills, ball tracking, sending and receiving skills, reaction, racquet skills, social skills and over time all this is engraved in their muscle memory as they become better athletes at the later stages. By the time they are 7-8 they already know how to hit the ball and they start to learn how to play the ball.

In the chart below, you can see the varying court sizes for 10UT programs*.

Tennis Court Sizes for Children of Different Ages

Since modified equipment and skills developed at earlier stages allows them to sustain longer rallies and play out the points, kids start to learn where to hit the ball, where to position themselves, how to score, and how to compete. They start to learn how to think on the court and problem solve, which in part will help them in later stages to be tactically smart and mentally strong players.

*Please note:
Chart shows Green Ball (Division) specifications.
New tennis players 11yo to 13yo start best with Green Dot Ball play on full size tennis courts. Minimum tennis racquet size 26", temporarily, progressing to 27" (full size).

10UT Benefits:

  • Develop basic motor skills

  • Ball tracking

  • Increase receiving skills

  • Increase reaction time

  • Racquet skills

10UT Equipment:

tennis_kids_racquetsNot only does tennis promote flexibility, balance and hand-eye coordination, but it's also a great lifelong skill that can be improved upon for years to come. Set your child up for tennis success by selecting the right racket for their young bodies.

Click here to learn more at the SCJTL Equipment Site.

History of SCJTL and 10 Under Tennis

In July 2006 the Suffolk County Junior Tennis League was among the first 27 sites selected throughout the Unites States to test the  QuickStart Tennis format ( formerly known as Project 36/60).
In 2007 the SCJTL adopted QuickStart Tennis as standard programming format for the SCJTL Summer Tennis League Red and OrangeDivisions forming 36' and 60' court teams.
The SCJTL Red and Orange Division Challenges held at the end of the Summer Tennis League program feature Team 36 and Team 60 competitive match play.

August 10, 2007

Joe Arias Selected as "Specialist" to first 
USTA National QuickStart Tennis Specialist Team!

In one of the most important projects for young players in the United States the USTA Community Development and Player Development departments have joined forces to create QuickStart Tennis.  
This project is America’s plan for children age 10 and under and 8 and under to play tennis.
The QuickStart Specialist Team (formerly known as 36/60 Advisory Team) is a small group of RCW National Coach Trainers selected as an advisory group for this project (See acceptance letter) .  
This group of specialists will review the new materials and plans.  They will be assigned special workshops dedicated for age 10 and under children and will serve in an advisory capacity to answer questions and provide direction and support to local providers.

Update: December 9, 2007

Joe Arias certified as one of 34 National and just three QuickStart Specialists in New York State and the only one on Long Island.  
USTA QuickStart Tennis Specialist training and program development workshop took place in San December 4th through 6th in San Destin Florida. Attended by 25 National RCW coaches, the training included QuickStart Tennis format specifications, development and application. The 24 QuickStart Tennis Recreation Specialists were joined by 10 USTA National High Performance Coaches (Joe Arias is a USTA National High Performance Coach) to implement the QuickStart Tennis format under the USTA National Player Development program.

About QuickStart Tennis:

QuickStart Tennis format  is tennis scaled to the size and abilities of young players. It is based on six key specifications: court size, net height, age, ball speed and weight, size of racquet and scoring. QuickStart Tennis has been also known as 36/60 which  reflects the length in feet of the courts for children under eight and ten years of age. A 36 foot court is used by eight and under children and a 60 foot court for children ten and under. This is a collaborative effort between the USTA Player Development and Community Tennis departments, TIA, USPTA, PTR, and Tennis Equipment Manufacturers.

The new USTA QuickStart Tennis format is a graduated length system to help young players achieve success. It converts school gymnasiums, playgrounds, or any level surface to a tennis playing area in seconds. This concept is spreading rapidly throughout the world, (known as Play and Stay ) and is being used extensively by many tennis federations including Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, England and Canada.  Smaller courts and slower balls result in increased ball control and success, keeping a higher percentage of children coming back for more. The "36" portion turns a tennis court sideways and play from alley to alley, since the doubles sidelines are 36 feet apart. Caution tape becomes the net allowing 12 children to play at one time on one tennis court!

The "60" portion is stage two in the progression. A 60-foot court is created by moving the baseline 9 feet forward on each side. Low Compression tennis balls as a perfect transition to full-sized tennis.