Coach MIKE's Top TEN Tips

To Ensure all Tennis Players

At Classes, Clinics, Drills, Clubs and Matches

Have FUN!



10. Keep the small talk during matches respectful, upbeat, low volume, to a minimum and non-existent when points are being played. Loud, lengthy, talk back and forth across the net is distracting to players on adjacent courts, likely untimely and therefore unsportsmanlike.


9. DOUBLES TIP:  Compliment your partner on impressive shots made. ALWAYS avoid criticizing or making comments on your partner's play in any way. On rare occasion compliment your opponent on highly impressive shots they make as a sign of good sportsmanship. Keep any feelings of personal self-doubt about your skills to yourself so as to not unduly put pressure on your partner. Share those thoughts causing lack of confidence with your Coach during practice or class.


8. If you accidentally roll or hit a ball onto an adjacent court where play is in action by others let it go. Do not immediately go to retrieve it. Wait until their play stops and then either retrieve it (if near) or request that that they throw it to you.


7. If a ball from another court accidentally rolls onto or flies into your court during point play it is considered a distraction and the point in progress should be replayed. As soon as the intruding ball enters your area you should call "LET", play should stop immediately and the point replayed.


6. Hitting, throwing or catapulting randomly stray balls at any time on a tennis court is a danger to all others present. Refrain from this behavior at all times.


5. Balls that hit any part (even a tenth of a million fraction) of a line are to be called IN. When any doubt is shown about whether a ball is out or in it is considered IN.


4. Keep all balls clear of the playing area at all times but when clearing a ball roll it to the fence behind you or into your net, not toward the court next to you.


3. As you approach the tennis courts initially and a match is in progress just inside the gate wait until a break in their play occurs before entering. When entering or exiting a court at anytime always close the gate behind you a gesture of courtesy.


2. Once inside as you proceed to your court always wait for a break in play before moving behind any court where play is in progress.


1. Most of all, be RESPECTFUL, COURTEOUS and FAIR and you, your partner, opponents and players on other courts will have FUN!




You can find the best length racquet for a junior through two different methods. In each case, after finding an initial length, you should adjust for the additional factors noted below. If you're shopping in a store where a junior has hands-on access to a range of junior racquets, a simple way to find the best initial length is to have the junior stand with her arms at her sides and find a racquet that spans the distance between her fingertips grasping the racquet grip (of the vertically standing racquet) and the ground. If you're shopping online or can't bring the junior to a store, you can measure the distance from her to the ground or, if measuring isn't feasible--perhaps the racquet will be a surprise gift for a grandchild--use the standard guidelines for age and racquet size charted below. Using the chart, if an 8-year-old is the size of an average 10-year-old, for example, choose for a 10-year-old.

Move up one racquet length, possibly two, to adjust for exceptionally high physical strength, but adjusting down for lack of strength is almost never necessary. Modern junior racquets are extremely light, and even a total couch potato should be able to wield the racquet designed for her age. Experience is also a factor. The chart and the fingertip method assume a beginner player. An experienced player will often do best with a size or two larger. Experienced players will have enough feel for their strokes to be able to conduct a meaningful demo. As noted on the previous page, if a junior is playing in tournaments such as those run by the USTA, check the rules on maximum racquet length for competition in that age group.

Age: Racquet Length

0-4: 19"
4-5: 21"
6-7: 23"
8-10: 25"
10-12: 26"
12 up: adult size - 27" 

You will notice overlaps in the above chart at ages 4, 10, and 12. At these ages, either size is equally likely to be suitable, but as a general rule, when in doubt, go with the bigger racquet.

Beginners won't have enough feel for tennis strokes to be able to make a firm decision based on an on-court demo, but if a junior is completely torn between two sizes of racquets, here's a test that might help him decide. Have him hold the racquet behind him so that the tip touches his lower back and his elbow is the highest part of his arm. Have him raise the racquet overhead, much as if he were serving, but with a slow swing. If the racquet is going to be too heavy for him, this is where he'll feel it.

Juniors can outgrow racquets quickly, but it helps a lot that junior racquets tend to be inexpensive. Very nice junior racquets at a pro shop will run roughly $25 to $50, and some of the $20 racquets at the big discount chains are quite good, too. When you look at the least expensive racquets, one crude test is to bang the strings on the butt of your hand to get a feel for the racquet's solidity. Avoid racquets that seem lighter or more flexible than the others in the bottom end of the price range.

Below is one more alternative sizing chart that my assistance with sorting out an appropriate racquet for your chile. It allows flexibitly in the cas of your child be bigger or smaller than the average size of their age group. Bottem linie is what feels right to the child (if they can sense it).

Generally recommended USTA racquet sizes (stated in lengths end of grip to end string bed frame) for the various age groups are as follows:

AGES 8 and Under:  17", 19", 21" or 23"

AGES 10 and Under: 21", 23" or 25"

AGES 12 and Under and Above: 27"


USTA TOURNAMENT Search and Registration GUIDANCE 

Go to


You will see 12 menu selections that stretch across the width of the homepage near the top of the page.


Hold cursor over TENNISLINK and pull down to select TOURNAMENTS.


At "National/ Section/District" pull-down scroll down to choose MID-ATLANTIC.

(Note: The Mid-Atlantic Section encompasses VA, MD, DC and part of WVA).


At the MONTH pull-down select the desired calendar month.


At the DIVISION pull-down select the appropriate gender and age category.

(Note: In the Junior Division youth competitors may play their current qualified age level and any category above it. Age categories are sub-categorized in 2-year increments. Competitors must move to the next age category on the first day of the month of their birthday. For example, if the date is 15 August and Joe, currently 13, turns 14 on October 24 he may play in Boys Age 12 events only until 30 September. The computer program will actually place registrants in the appropriate category when signing up and provide all age category option choices.


Select FIND IT. 


Multiple listings per the month selected will appear. Click on the link of the desired tournament of interest.


Within the individual tournament listing you will see CLICK HERE TO REGISTER that defines the registration period.

The categories offered tournaments are Boys and Girls Age Divisions 10 (and under), 12, 14, 16 and 18 singles (i.e. "s"). FMLC indicates First Match Losers Consolation which guarantees a second match if the first round is lost. Tournaments with this feature are more cost effective. The L-# designation in the title designates the skill ranking Level category event. Junior (youth) tournament levels range from L-1 through L-8. For those who have had no prior USTA league, tournament or high school team match experience whatsoever are required to start with an L-8 category.  Ranking points are then accumulated and can be tracked online following each tournament. A player cannot play at the next level, say L-7, until a specific number of minimum ranking points have been each at the L-8 level. 

At the Tournament Search page click on "Find a Ranking" and select the appropriate age category and Mid-Atlantic Section.  


Membership in USTA is required before any tournament registration can be done. Go to the USTA home page as above and click on MEMBERSHIP. The process is self-explanatory. Membership costs $18 includes a one-year subscription to TENNIS magazine.  

Playing in USTA tournaments is my biggest Passion with playing tennis!

Coach MIKE