At NJTP we have spent 20+ years perfecting our tennis program. Over the years, we have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in developing junior tennis players.
We are here to help guide you and your child through this junior tennis development process. When properly followed, this process enables students to realize their full potential, in tennis and in life!
We call this the Pathway to Success.
Choosing a Goal
The first step toward success is to identify what goals you and your child have for tennis; for example:
- Play tennis recreationally, to have fun
- Play on a high school tennis team
- Play on a college tennis team
- Become a professional tennis player
The goals you choose determine the level of time and effort that you and your child need to invest in tennis!
5 Factors for Success
There are five major factors that lead to success on the tennis courts:
- Group lessons
- Private lessons
- Match play
We discuss these factors in more detail in the next sections.
Group lessons are an inexpensive way for your child to learn tennis. And, learning in group classes is crucial for kids’ social relationships.
Kids play tennis for three main reasons: First, it’s fun! Second, to be with their friends. Getting better at tennis is a distant third. (Getting exercise and staying in shape isn’t even on the map, but it will become important for them 20 or 30 years down the road!)
Without the elements of having fun and playing with friends, tennis becomes less important for kids and they tend to lose interest.
NJTP’s group tennis classes fulfill these needs by offering many fun multi-player drills and game variations that let kids interact with their friends and build relationships while improving their tennis skills.
History repeats itself over and over: kids who take private lessons will improve faster and more efficiently. If you want your child to play competitively, such as playing on a high school team, on a college team or at the open levels of tennis, private lessons are a MUST.
We recommend at least 1 or 2 private or semi-private lessons per week for students who aspire to any of these goals. To find out more about our private lessons, just ask your NJTP coach or you can use our Contact page.
It is a proven fact that kids who play tournaments will be better players. Tournaments give kids a reason to commit and practice hard, and it teaches them to set goals.
Playing lots of tournaments gets kids used to handling the challenges and ups and downs of competition, and it teaches them to develop strategies to win against new, unknown opponents.
There are three types of USTA-sanctioned junior tournaments in this area: novice, satellite and open. Your NJTP coach can recommend the best type of tournament for your child to play at each stage of their development.
See our Tournaments page to learn more about USTA junior tennis tournaments.
When tennis students are not practicing in groups, taking private lessons or playing tournaments, they should be playing matches—lots of them!
Regular match play lets students use and solidify the skills they develop during lessons as well as helping them develop strategies to win.
Match play also helps kids prepare for tournaments in a more relaxed environment, and it helps them get used to playing against a variety of different opponents.
NJTP offers a variety of different types of match play opportunities:
- Most of our group classes have match play days every week (we are even adding match play on Saturday mornings for 36′ court / Red Ball players!)
- We regularly hold SSV tournaments, which provide a guaranteed number of matches each time you play, against opponents of a similar skill level to yours.
- We are starting teams for USTA Junior Team Tennis, which provides regular match play opportunities against players from other clubs in our area.
- We hold quarterly Lightning tournaments, which offer a good competitive challenge against other NJTP students as well as players from other schools and programs around the area.
- Several times a year, we host USTA sanctioned tournaments, which provide a great opportunity for working on your competitive skills, right here on our home courts.
Time is Ticking…
Conventional wisdom holds that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill or trade.
For example, at 3 hours per day, 6 days per week, you will reach 10,000 hours in about 10 years.
Each day that your child doesn’t practice or play matches is lost time that you can’t get back!
Kids always think that they will have lots of time, but competitive tennis is a young person’s game. If your goal is to play in college, then by age 10 your career is already half over!
The bottom line is this: time is of the essence, so use it wisely and practice, practice, practice!
There will always be a place in tennis for children (and adults!) who want to have fun, be social and stay in shape. Tennis is a great sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
But for students who want to play in high school, college or beyond, wise and efficient use of time becomes much more important.
The founders and coaches at NJTP have been through this process not just for themselves but on behalf of countless of their students. We can show you the shortest path toward achieving whatever goals you may have in tennis.