Key Principles

The ADM brings to life the ways in which the USTA embraces core athlete development principles. 

Key Principles

The ADM brings to life how the USTA embraces core athletic development principles.

Read about the 7 key principles:

Universal Access and Opportunity

Make sure playing tennis is safe, accessible, local, and affordable.

Universal access and opportunity to tennis is a priority for the USTA. The aim is to create an inclusive framework for all children to have access and opportunity to experience the benefits of physical activity and be on the pathway to playing the game on their terms. 


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Developmentally Appropriate Coaching and Play

Emphasize movement skills through developmentally appropriate coaching and play.

A clear understanding of an athlete’s developmental level (as opposed to his or her age) will help coaches appropriately tailor the training, skills, and tactics taught to guide their tennis play.


To be successful, participants should first learn foundational motor skills and then tennis-specific skills before entering a competition. 


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Educate Coaches and Officials

Ensure diverse coaches and officials engaged with all ages and abilities are appropriately trained.

Quality coach education is imperative for athlete success at all levels and includes not only appropriate understanding of the game, but how to effectively communicate, develop practice plans, and ensure proper athlete development. 


The same holds true for officials. They promote better experiences for players when testing their competitive skills in equitable manners. Ensuring a well-run event and high standard of officiating is paramount.   


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A Clear Development Pathway

Integrate tennis into physical education programs in schools and recreational community programs, and transition into age- and skill-based programs and play opportunities.

No matter the age and stage of development or desired goal of the player, the USTA has a place and a way for everyone to play tennis. The USTA’s ADM is committed to allowing American youth to utilize tennis as a path toward an active and healthy lifestyle and to create different opportunities to better define their tennis journey. 


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Support Multi-sport or Multi-activity Participation

Build athletes through a multi-sport approach within tennis programming and cross-promotion with other sports and activities.  

The mission of the USTA’s American Development Model is to attract, engage, and retain more athletes and keep them playing tennis for a lifetime. A proven solution for young athletes is to participate in sport sampling. Sport diversification at younger ages translates into a longer sports career, a lifetime of physical activity, and better overall health and wellness.


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Fun and Player-Centered

Focus on creating a fun, positive, engaging atmosphere within an inclusive team culture rather than wins and losses.

Fun, engaging, and player-centered is essential for any sports activity. The definition of “fun” may change as participants advance to more elite levels of competition, but a standard emphasis on making the process positive and enjoyable is key. This includes team play. Programs that ensure that kids are having fun keeps them playing for a lifetime.  


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Parent/Player Guidance, Education, Health, and Transparency

Provide parents and players the information they need to guide their healthy tennis development.

The USTA is committed to providing the information needed to guide one's tennis experience using the American Development Model framework. We see parents as a key resource to enhance children’s performance, enjoyment, motivation, and overall positive youth development. It is our responsibility to share philosophy, directionality, strategic plans, and tools needed to diverse communities to grow tennis and keep people playing for a lifetime.


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