I love how much N is engaged with tennis. I don’t think he’s obsessed – he certainly doesn’t want to play every night like he used to last year. If I get him a rebounder he might change his mind about that – and he might be fighting me off it! But he really enjoys playing both lessons and in matches. Whether he wins or loses, he can take positives from it.
Mini tennis does make it lots of fun, but also gives them something to aim for, if that’s their thing. While mini red and the lower mini orange stages are about participation, they can still feel like they’re achieving by playing, because match participation counts.
At 20 eligible matches played, they get sent a mini red t shirt.
At 40 matches played, if they’re in their last/2nd to last season in the age group, they get an Orange 4 rating and can play in orange ball matches as well as mini red. Although the latter won’t count for their future rating.
N has finally reached his 40 mini red matches. It took longer than it should, because of the 60+ matches he’d played, so many were against opponents without a British Tennis Number which meant they didn’t count. (If your kids play tennis for fun and don’t have a BTM number, please sign them up for one, if only so that their opponents get to include all of their matches in their count even if your children don’t use them).
We knew it was going to be complicated. Frustratingly there was a club match that his coach said she’d add, but didn’t. If that had gone on his match list, he’d have hit the 40 3 weeks earlier.
The last team league match of the season meant he would hit 40 that Saturday. But on the Sunday he was signed up for an orange matchplay tournament.
We were counting on the fact that the Saturday match results would get entered quickly, and the Sunday tournament would take a few days to add on like usual. So he’d get the Orange rating before the second results were up. It didn’t work like that. The Sunday matches got loaded straight away, while the Saturday red ones went up on Sunday. His Red rating didn’t move to Orange for 3 days after that. So he missed out on the Orange matches counting towards his orange rating.
All very confusing. But when I contact the LTA to see if they should be counting they said they should as the rating changes as soon as they hit the 40 matches. But that damned dashboard takes too long so it hadn’t worked smoothly.
Luckily the customer service lady manually updated his 6 orange matches to count and that meant he immediately moved up to Orange 3. His next target is 20 more orange matches to get to Orange 2.
I’m not sure what will happen when he’s getting near that level. Given there’s usually not many mini orange team matches in the Warwickshire winter season, it’s going to take him a long time to move up again unless he starts playing in individual tournaments. N seems quite interested in doing some, so it could mean us travelling round the 2 or 3 counties near us to try different tournaments over the next few months.
I’m a little wary of him going straight into U9 orange tournaments. He’s still young enough for U8 til the end of summer, and it might be good to try at least one U8 one. Just in case he gets annihilated in U9 orange and it puts him off. But N’s all about getting the match play in for his orange matches to count towards his rating, so maybe he’ll be fine to launch straight into orange.
One of the great things about him playing tennis is he’s got a school friend who really enjoys it too. They’re a similar standard, but his friend needs to reach his 40 to get an orange rating so they can both play in the orange team together next season. His friend’s still young enough to play in mini red because of his birthdate whereas N has to move up due to age this year.
Hopefully the 2 of them will challenge each other, as well as the other tennis friends he has, as they move into their next stage of playing.
Exciting times for him, and time to step up onto the next size up court, and playing against older children with more powerful games.
Recent tennis results
N coped ok with a big weekend of matches at the end of team season. His mini red match was at a lovely club. With only 3 players we lost by 2 rubbers (4 of the rubbers were walkovers for them, so we actually won more matches of the ones played). It meant we held on to 3rd place in the league, and N and his friend ended up third and second in the player stats for the number of wins in their league.
In the Orange matchplay tournament, N only won against his team mate and lost against all the orange players as expected. But he really steps up his shots on the larger court and did some great serves. He’s definitely ready to move to the bigger court as it gives them more space to think about and reach for shots, rather than not having as much space to get further away from the ball to hit it. I think he’s going to enjoy the challenge of moving up to orange ball, and keep progressing as he has been.
The coach has also been checking their game on the orange court at training. Still using red balls on the orange tennis court, but he said he’ll do another week checking how they get on with the bigger court. Then the last couple of weeks he’ll move them up as a transition to the orange stage training group. It means they also get an extra half hour of training which is good.
N can’t wait. He’s getting a bit exasperated being in with children much younger who don’t concentrate or want to work as hard.
Find out more about getting children playing tennis
How have your children been going in their sporting achievements?