With only a few tournament experiences under our belts, we’re already learning that there’s a ton of rules, regulations, protocol, etiquette, etc that will not only help your child compete with confidence, but will underscore a positive experience for him/her.
This is the second part of a two-part blog in helping you prepare your child for competitive tennis.
Once on court, your child will have five minutes to warm up (this includes serves) and you won’t be able to offer advice. Well, if they split sets, you’ll be able to ‘coach’ her.
After the five minute warm-up, the kids start playing their match. The server calls out the score and if the receiver doesn’t agree with the called out score, she should speak up now. The players can walk to the net and discuss what they think the score should be. If disputes arise, a player should put down her racquet and go seek an official. Parents and spectators are not allowed to answer questions or call lines. However, in 10 & Under Tennis, the tournament staff can appoint a court monitor to help out with tiebreaks and scoring.
Players changes ends of the court after the first game, then again on each odd game. This is the player’s opportunity to take a 90 second break. Prior to competition, encourage your child to drink a few sips of water or power aide during these changeovers--even if she swears she’s never thirsty during match play.
After the last point has been played, it’s customary for players to met at the net and shake hands, signaling the end of the match. The winner is responsible for reporting the score and turning in the tennis balls, but both players are responsible for verifying when their next matches start.
NOTE: never assume your child is ‘out’ of the tournament; check the draw and the desk to confirm.
In addition…if play format states ‘third set match tiebreak in lieu of third set’ your child might play three matches in one day. And if your child has registered for doubles, she could play three singles matches and one doubles match in one day.
On-Court SuppliesYour child is allowed to bring her tennis bag, a small cooler and a water jug on court.
What to pack in her bag? A small first aid kit customized for your child’s needs, i.e. Tylenol, bandages, allergy medicine and sunscreen. Also, pack something like, ‘second skin’ in case blisters occur. Blisters can really interfere with performance levels and ‘second skin’ helps alleviate additional pain caused by shoes or racquets (depending on where blisters are located).
Packing a hat, visor or sunglasses helps against sun glare. T-shirts, socks and flip flops help to regulate body temperature after matches. Including snacks and candy like skittles can provide a quick energy boost during extremely long matches. Never eat anything when you aren’t hungry. Also, some people recommend packing mustard packets which is supposed to help players recover with muscle cramps.
No matter how prepared you still will probably run into something new during each tournament. After all, there are a bah-zillion rules and regulation to USTA sanctioned events.