What is Mini Tennis?
Mini tennis introduces children to the game. It uses specially adapted equipment and courts to help children learn and enjoy playing tennis in a way that is appropriate for their size and ability. The standardisation allows Schools, Clubs, and parent to identify progression and for age and skill appropriate competition.
There are three stages. Red used the smallest court and slowest balls. The slower balls give the player more time to see the ball and develop skills and court position. As the players skills develop, they progress on to Orange and then Green levels. At each stage, the balls get quicker and the courts larger preparing the player for the full game.
How do I set up a court for mini tennis red?
The standard competition courts have been designed to work on both badminton and full-sized tennis courts, indoors and out. However, they can be set up on any appropriate surface.
Adapting a badminton court
The dimensions of a badminton court are 11.88m x 6.10m. To adapt a badminton court for mini tennis competition, use the following boundaries:
Width – outside lines as sidelines
Length – inside backline as baseline
Service box – measure 4m from the net and use throw down lines to create the service line. Extend the centre line to the net using more throw down lines
Adapting a standard tennis court – two mini tennis courts
Two courts can be set horizontally across a full sized court using service lines for guidance
Width – use the baseline and service line of a standard court
Length – use the outer sidelines as the baselines
Service box – use the inner sidelines and throw down markers to create the centre lines.
Adapting a standard tennis court – four mini tennis courts
An additional two courts can be added to a full court. The courts will require additional throw down lines to mark out and will extend beyond the baseline. Having the standard net up or down is at your discretion and dependent on your risk assessment. Some find it helps to divide the space others that it gets in the way of play.
What do you need to know to start playing?
Red foam balls are use indoors and the red hard or felt balls are for use outdoors.
Getting started – The Spin
Spinning the racket works like coin toss with the string knot up or down. The player not spinning the racket get to chose ‘up’ or ‘down’. The winner of the spin gets one of three choices
- Serve or receive.
- Choose the side of the court.
- Ask your opponent to choose.
Scoring is numerical 1,2, 3 etc. rather than traditional scoring of 15, 30, 40 etc. The Lawn Tennis Association scores first to 10 points wins. Some tournaments however have limited time so the winner is the player with the most points within the time. If it is tied a final point can be played to declare the match.
The first serve of the game is always from the right-hand side.
Serves can be over arm or underarm but the ball must not hit the floor before it is hit.
When serving the ball should always be played into the diagonally opposite service box
When serving the player will stand behind the baseline, and when they hit the ball the players feet must not make contact with the line or the court.
After the first point has been played the other player serves for the next two points starting on the left hand side. Then swapping sides for each following serve.
Service rotates between the players every two points.
Players do not change ends.
First Serve, Second Serve and Let
If the first serve lands in the net or outside of the service box it doesn’t count, and server will take a second serve. If on second serve the ball lands in the net or outside of the service box this is called a double fault and the point is awarded to the other player.
A let ball is when the server hits the ball so that it touches the net but still lands in the service box. In this instance the serve is replayed without penalty.
Who wins the point?
Points can be won in a number of different ways.
- The ball goes outside the lines. If the fist bounce of the ball is off the court then it is OUT and your opponent wins the point.
- The ball goes in the net – if the ball doesn’t cross the net the point goes to your opponent.
- The ball can only bounce once – you can hit the ball before it bounces, this is called a volley, or after it bounces once. If it bounces more than that the point goes to your opponent. The serve is the only time this is a little different. In this case the ball must bounce before it is hit, no volleying allowed, or the opponent wins the point.
- The ball hits a player – if the ball hits a player the point goes to their opponent
In or out?
The ball is IN if it lands within or touching the outer lines of the court. If the goes beyond the line it is OUT. If the ball goes OUT the player should say OUT after it bounces nice and clearly so the other player can hear.
The end of the match
When the match has finished meet the other player at the net to shake hands, thank them for the game and compliment them on a game well played. If social distancing rules are in place this can be adjusted accordingly.