By: Andrew Robinson | USTA Missouri Valley
It’s not just the Australian Open that’s starting this weekend. The quest for stars and trophies in the United States Tennis Association Missouri Valley Youth Progression program officially begins Friday with six tournaments across the five-state area.
Last year, the USTA Missouri Valley created a “Youth Progression Pathway” that serves as a guide for coaches, parents and players to help ensure that kids 10 and under participate in events using the appropriate ball and court for their skill level. Bottom line, the more kids play, the more virtual stars and trophies they earn through their online tennis profile. Best of all, they improve their skills along the way.
Tournaments begin this weekend across the USTA Missouri Valley. Overland Park, Des Moines, Wichita, Springfield, Lincoln and St. Louis will all host tournaments at various times during the weekend. To date, there are over 150 tournaments scheduled across the five-state area for 2017.
Players will compete at appropriate levels of play as they progress through stages based on age, participation and achievement. Participants in orange-ball tournaments play on 60-foot courts, using tennis balls with 50 percent of the compression of a regulation tennis ball, while participants in green-ball tournaments play on a regulation-sized court using tennis balls with 75 percent of the compression of a regulation tennis ball.
A child can advance to another level by earning the required amount of virtual participation stars and trophies. Players will have to collect a combination of 20 stars and/or trophies to advance to the next level.
In its first year using stars and trophies, the Youth Progression program had nearly 800 participants across the USTA Missouri Valley’s five-state area.