Youth Tennis – Stages of Play

Today’s youth tennis programs make it easier than ever to introduce the game of tennis to kids! Any child can play tennis right away, even if they’ve never picked up a racket. Kid-sized equipment allows children to develop skills and learn to play tennis with less frustration and more fun. Smaller rackets, courts and nets plus low compression tennis balls fitting any child’s size and age allow kids to begin rallying and playing within a short time. And they are excited to keep playing!

Stages of Play

Youth tennis programs adapt the size of the court, net, racket, balls to the size and strength of the player. Kids play the game like it’s meant to be played, only smaller, and have fun while doing it! The scaled-to-size equipment allows kids to learn to play the right way from the start, learn all aspects of the game, and develop a love for the sport. The program includes three age-appropriate stages of play.


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The first stage for ages 5-8 uses slower balls on a 36-foot court.  Balls recommended for the 36-foot court include the red-colored foam or the low-compression red felt balls, which are 15% larger than regular tennis balls. These balls rebound slowly off the racket and bounce lower off the ground, allowing children to swing freely while still controlling the balls with more success.



The second stage moves players ages 9 & 10 to a 60-foot court using orange balls, which have approximately 50% the compression of yellow tennis balls.


The third stage brings players to a full 78-foot tennis court using the green ball. Green balls have about 75% the compression of yellow tennis balls which provide for a little extra time for players to react and prepare for each incoming ball, while developing their skills covering a full court.

The Port Huron Tennis House has a variety of lessons and clinics for all kids ages 4 and up. Visit our Junior Lessons page for more information or call us at (810) 987-6868 to discuss introducing your child to tennis.