July 9, 2014

Maximizing the Effect of Competition for the Junior Tennis Player By chuck kriese Tennis should have two unique goals/ objectives for our youngsters: #1 – Competitive development goals: which includes all junior tournament structures and any programs that aid direct or non-direct pathways to highest levels of competition in the world. #2 – Participation goals; which includes everything else to get our youth to play. While multiple avenues might be used to accomplish participation objectives, competitive structures should be developed in formats that provide best opportunity to test the youngster’s body, mind and spirit. Formats for best competitive growth opportunity should address: The Physical Challenges - that is the best indicator of who is the best player and also is equal to or exceeds the challenge and competitive structures we face from the other nations of the world. The Mental Challenges – that mental endurance and stamina of thought process under pressure are trained for the multiple momentum changes that happen in tennis. The Emotional Challenges – to maximize the emotional growth opportunities that take place through heart-engaged competition for a prize that has substance and meaning no-matter the level of play. Best Competitive Formats for Maximum Physical, Mental and Emotional Growth (in order of effectiveness for growth goals to be accomplished in youth): 1. Best for true result: 3 of 5 full-sets with regulation scoring 2. Next Best: 2 of 3 full-sets with regulation scoring (the following should be used sparingly (if at all) for best junior development) 3. 2 of 3 sets (set 1 and 2 are full sets. Set #3 starts at 2-2,3-3….maintains teaching of momentum principles 4. 2 of 3 sets ( set 1 and 2 are started at 2-2 and third set is a full set) (This format is the best abbreviated format played under 2hrs. still rewarding 3rd set play as full set. 5. Set 1 is a Ten-pt TB – set #2 and potential 3rd if needed are full sets. 6. 2 of 3 sets (all sets start at 2-2) (may be good for young age group multiple matches) 7. 2 of 3 sets ( set 1 and 2 are full sets – TB for third set * 8. 2 of 3 sets – no ad scoring** 9. 2 of 3 sets – first 2 sets no-ad scoring. 10 pt breaker for third set* 10. 8 game pro-set (regular scoring) 11. 8 game pro-set (no-ad scoring)** *Most Learning takes place in the 3rd set of a Match. Tie-breakers for third sets does not teach the most important mental skills of the game; nor does it fully reward hard-earned successes while likewise teaching the important lessons of a tough-lossl. **No-ad scoring formats should never be used in Junior Competition as learning important dimensions of the game are compromised. (Traditional Tennis Scoring is based one’s ability to win points in groups of 3’s and to manage momentum once it has been earned. Subtle technical and tactical advantages become big differences as a tennis match progresses. No-ad allows radical momentum swings of scoring that impact the game disproportionately more than these hard-earned competitive skills.) Learning opportunities should never be minimized in Junior Competition as the result of a hybrid scoring system.

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