Start playing tennis
Where to start with junior tennis
Interested in junior tennis? We can help!
The USTA welcomes you to the sport of a lifetime. We work in conjunction with many facilities across the Midwest to offer tennis programming and play opportunities that benefit junior players.
Entry-level programs at community parks and tennis clubs are great ways to encourage kids to get involved and increase their interest in tennis. The information below is designed to help youth and their parents understand the benefits of tennis, select the right equipment, find places you can play and ways to get involved. While looking for your first tennis program, we highly recommend that you participate in a program led by a USTA Safe Play-approved provider.
The benefits of tennis:
- Develops young players’ minds and bodies
- Enhances problem-solving and strategic skills
- Enhances agility, balance, hand-eye coordination and movement
- Improves social skills and teamwork as players make new friends through practice and competition, which also promotes sportsmanship and responsibility
- It's a safe non-contact sport that can be played for life
- Tennis is FUN!
Equipment to get started:
Comfortable attire (athletic bottoms with pockets)
Shoes (nonmarking/tennis-specific for safety and stability)
Water bottle and hat or visor for outdoor programs (optional)
Racquet - Size is tailored to height/age of the player
- 21-26” pre-strung (ages 10 and under)
- 27” pre-strung and performance (ages 11 and over)
Balls – Low compression ball colors
- Red: Ages 7 and under
- Orange: Ages 7 to 9
- Green: Ages 9-10
- Regulation yellow: Ages 11 and over
Note: Ages/ball types are to only be used as a general guideline.
Where can tennis be played:
- Tennis courts can be found in public parks, neighborhood communities, recreational centers, school facilities and indoor and outdoor private clubs.
- Court sizes will vary depending on age/skill set. Court sizes: 36’, 42’, 60’ and 78’.
- Learning the game can also take place in almost any open space such as a playground blacktop, basketball court, gym floor or even a vacant parking lot.
Options to get started:
Many of the places to play tennis that are listed above offer entry-level and high-performance tennis programs for juniors and may provide a pathway of opportunities as the player's skill level advances. Some of these options include:
Community facilities and private clubs may offer (ask facility):
- group programming, private 1on1 with coach/student, structured match play or fitness and motor skill development
The USTA also offers team experiences and individual opportunities at many facilities:
- Midwest Youth Team Tennis (aimed at first time players)
- Junior Team Tennis (for kids wanting to be part of a team setting)
- Junior Tournaments (singles and/or doubles matches in tournament format)
USTA Net Generation PlayTracker for players ages 10 and under:
- Team Challenge: Entry-level, team match play (single or series of events)
- Junior Circuit: Individual match play (single or series of events)
- Junior Team Tennis: Team match play (season-based, 3-6 weeks on average)
- Click here to learn more about PlayTracker and how to progress.
All the above options are not offered at every facility, so it is recommended to contact the respective facility.
Click here to search for a tennis court near you.
What is Safe Play?
As the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States, the USTA is committed to providing a safe and respectful environment for athletes to thrive in. Safe Play is the USTA’s comprehensive athlete safety program consisting of education, screening, reporting tools, and policies for appropriate conduct in tennis.
To find a Safe Play-approved provider, click here to search.