Bruce Tarran: Mini Tennis – How A Good Idea Got Complicated

The “CA Tennis” Blog is doing a series of articles on implementing Quick Start/ROG (Red, Orange, Green Balls) in the United States.  The series is also a response to the Wayne Bryan letter we have been excerpting here.  This is from the first article in that series.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * doesn’t take a particular stance on the subject, we hope that, for everyone’s benefit, the truth will be synthesized or distilled through a civilized discussion. In the meantime, we are proud to present the following article(reproduced with the permission of the author) by Mr. Bruce Tarran.

Bruce’s backgroundBruce Tarran is an LTA Licensed Professional Tennis Coach. He is currently Head Coach at Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Club, an 18-court members club in Leicester, England. He was a county and regional coach for many years, and individual coach to a large number of county and national juniors. His last two clubs were awarded LTA performance status. He believes that there are few pleasures in life like watching children learn to love tennis. For more information, please visit or

A few months ago I put some videos about the negative effects of the current British mini tennis structure on youtube.

As elements of this structure are now being rolled out around the world, it seems that the experience of British coaches who have worked under this system should be taken into account. Let me say straight away that I believe low compression balls and appropriately sized racquets and equipment are superb teaching tools when used appropriately. The problem isn’t the balls; it’s the complex system which has been constructed around them.

Good teaching demands progression. It must allow for children to be grouped together by standard as well as age. The mini tennis competition structure insists that players are grouped together by age only, so, according to their date of birth an 8 year old cannot play with a 9 year old who cannot play with a 10 year old who cannot play with an 11 year old. Each age must play with a different ball on a different sized court, without mixing and regardless of their standard or rate of improvement. It is not the transition balls that are bad, it is the prescription placed around them.

In competition different ages are not allowed to mix. There is a passport system where players can supposedly move up (from red to orange, for instance). But in practice because of the number of competitive matches required in a short space of time, this happens in a minimum of cases. Most British juniors compete in their designated colour throughout, whatever their standard, and whatever their ability or skill level.

To read the whole article – CLICK HERE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: