Eyes on the Ball Tennis - Stages of Play


When people think of a tennis match, they often envision the classic adult game, played on a 78’ court with a full-size net and a high bouncing yellow tennis ball.   However, for children, appropriate-sized courts and equipment are used for lessons and tournaments.  There are 3 sets of balls/court sizes based on combination of age and skill level – red, orange, and green.  Contact us with any questions or register for a session to get started!

Red Tennis

Foam or felt red balls are used. They bounce lower and slower than other tennis balls.  It is played on a 36’ by 18’ court with a lower net. A 19", 21" or 23" racquet is used. The target age is about 4-9 yrs. in tennis programming.  However, these balls are great for early skill development (and fun to play with) at any age, creating successful rallies with good strokes and movement.   Ages for USTA events differ slightly.

It can be set-up on a full-size court, in a gym-like room or any outdoor paved area.  When a full-size court is used, it is played in the area between the service line and baseline, with the portable net placed perpendicular to the full-size net and some extra lines added. 

It has been called “driveway tennis” since a court can easily be created with some chalk lines and a rope “net” tied between two chairs.  Kid’s can also practice and on a local court using the full-size net and a small section of the court (service box plus alley).

Orange Tennis

Orange ball programs are available for those with little or no tennis experience.  However, ideally, children have progressed through all of the stages of red ball skills development and will begin to add variations to their strokes (spin, depth, height) and develop tactics and strategy with the orange ball.  Balls move slower and bounce lower than yellow tennis balls but are faster and higher-bouncing than red balls.  Orange balls are often used solely based on the age of the child (age 9-10), rather than their age/experience, but older children can benefit from their use, also. USTA Community Tennis even uses orange ball up to age 14.  This uses the full-size net and a 60’ court.  A 23" or 25" racquet is used.

Green Tennis

Green balls are typically used for ages 11-12.  It is played on a full size court.  Ideally, children have progressed through red and orange ball skill development but green ball programs are available for those with little or no tennis experience.  These balls provide the final transition to playing with the yellow ball.  A 25" or 26" racquet is used.