Monday, September 24, 2012

Reality Check: New 10 and Under Tennis Competencies

USTA recently released a set of videos explaining the competencies expected at the various levels of progress in 10 and Under Tennis (red ball, orange ball, green ball). I have not watched all of them yet - there a lot! But my first reaction after watching the first red ball video is the same reaction I have watching most red ball demonstration videos: this player is clearly not a red ball player! They appear to be orange ball or higher level players borrowed for the video. At least when USTA Florida created their version of 10U videos, they stated up front they had an orange ball player playing the role of a red ball player. If the USTA video stars are red ball players, they are the biggest, strongest, most athletic red ball players in the world.

I love that USTA is putting so much support behind the 10U initiative. There is no doubt these players and the skills they demonstrate in the videos are definitely what we instructors should be aiming for as we teach young beginners.  I would have a stronger connection to the videos if the players were more believable to me. I would also love to have courts full of 6-year-olds performing at this level. Are these videos are a little distanced from reality, or is it just me?