Tennis Hot Shots player development pathway.

Northcote Tennis Coaching
Tennis Hot Shots Pathway


Moving players from red to orange is one of the most important decisions we can make. Delaying is not so bad, but if you move them up too early, the sight of little players who are starting to develop sound basic shapes, game understanding and excitement about playing and competing is replaced by young children floundering in a space which is too big to cover, having to fight to control the body, the racket and the ball.

It will also point out just how important it is to get the technical foundations and the playing environment right to give our players a chance not just to continue to play, but to continue to improve for years to come.

Just imagine that we decide to move our player from the red group to the orange court. In the week that they complete their last lesson on a red court, they will average approximately 127 cm in height. They will still average approximately 127 cm the following week when they start on the orange court! But in the same period, the court length has increased by 7 metres, and the average ball rebound height has increased from 95-110 cm to 110-115 cm.

Let’s have a look at two most important aspects for a better understanding of what it really means for a child to move from red ball court to orange ball court – court dimensions & the tennis ball.

Depending on which manual or guidelines you read, a red court for official competition will measure 11 x 5.5m to 12 x 6m. The orange court should be 18 x 6.5m for singles. In square metres, this means an increase of 93%. The percentage increase for the height of the child over the same time could be 0%.

A longer court means more time, but orange balls are smaller so they travel faster. They have slightly greater compression, so they fly and bounce a little faster too.
2. Higher trajectories and slightly higher average bounces will result in more variation in the height of their contact point.
Players need to have good receiving skills by the time they leave the red court so that they can continue to progress on the orange court. They need to establish consistent contact points early on so that the range of heights of contact points can be extended as the game becomes more dynamic on the orange court.

At Northcote Tennis, we ensure that we respect players development and we move our students when they are ready to progress to the bigger court and faster balls, not when they can hit 5 balls in or as soon as they reach 8 y.o. For more information about player development and pathways or any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.


180 Victoria Road
Northcote VIC 3070

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0476 032 282