If you’re working with 10U players one of the decisions you’ll have to make quite regularly is to make the decision about when you’ll progress a player from red to orange or from orange to green. It seems like an easy thing to say, you just inform the player and their parents that it is time to move up. However, there is a lot more to it and I want to break down some of the details because although it seems simple to say it, there is quite a lot behind the statement and we just need to think about the kids. We need to think about the implications.
Transitioning Players: Traditional age-related transition criteria
Kids are traditionally progressed from red to orange and orange to green when they reach a certain age. The trouble with that is that age tells us nothing about a player’s ability.
Time and time again I see a kid who is struggling to make a rally on the red court moved to the bigger orange court. I don’t think that makes any sense. We’re asking them to move up before they’ve developed the skills they need on the bigger court.
Think about this; would you ask a child who can’t swim across the width of a swimming pool to swim the full length? No, of course, you wouldn’t. So, maybe it’s time to think about different progression criteria.
Court statistics – the red and orange court
- Red court: 5.5m x 11m
- Orange court: 6.5m x 18m
- Area increase: about 90%
- Additional serve length: 3.5m
- A wider range of transition shots are needed
- There will be more volleys in the mid court area
- More space for opposition players to lob and pass a small player on the bigger court
Basic court statistics – the orange and green court
- Orange court: 6.5m x 18m = 117
- Green court: 8.23m x 23.77m = 195.6
- Area increase: about 67%
- The bounce of the higher pressure green ball drives kids deeper so they spend more time moving backwards and forwards on the court. We know that kids are not great at moving backwards and forwards.
- The bigger court allows players to attack more – with the result that kids progressing to the green court now need to know how to defend; physically, mentally and tactically.
- Kids feel vulnerable when they come into the net.
- We must make sure that kids can serve over-arm with a fluid action.
- It’s important that kids have got a continental grip so that they can put shape on the ball to build some advantage.
Video: Transitioning players from red to orange and orange to green
If we don’t equip kids thoroughly with the ability to adapt to the bigger court then kids will suddenly find this game very difficult to play. That’s not what we want. We could suddenly find that there is the potential for kids to drop out.
Other articles on Transitioning Players