The Junior Development program is the follow on stage from the My Progress program in the My Vida Journey. Players have now made the transition from the Hot Shots orange ball to using a green ball on a full-size court. This area of the tennis pathway is broken into two areas:
- Green ball
- Yellow ball
Players continue to develop their skills in the 6 key development learning areas of tennis:
- Ground strokes
- Net play
- Serve and return
- Game base
- Physical development
Lessons are held on a full-size tennis court and use either green ball or yellow ball, depending on the skill level of the player. While there is an age guide as to when a player transitions from one ball to the next, this is largely based on the competency of the player. A key theme in these lessons is ‘play’. Players continue to develop their technical skills in line with a tactical outcome.
The Green Ball Junior Development stage is a great time for players to experience the play opportunities tennis has to offer. Lessons focus on the six key learning areas with an overarching theme of ‘play’.
At this stage, the player has the choice to enjoy the game on their own terms with either the play theme or transition to ‘compete’.
There are two phases of development to help guide players through to the yellow ball stage of the program:
- Hit attacking balls or use defensive skills as required in a rally
- Hit different spins on FH and BH
- Control the ball into the cross-court or target area in a rally
- Approach the net at the appropriate time during a rally and volley the ball away from the opponent
- Time the correct footwork movement with the contact of the ball
Serve and Return
- Place a serve in different locations in the service box (target areas) from the baseline
- Do a split step on the return of serve at the correct time and move forward into the return
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
- Play honestly and fairly and show good sportsmanship
- Develop flexibility and mobility for tennis, other sports, and everyday activities
- Understand the movement patterns on the wide, short, and deep ball
- Use the different stances depending on the tactical situation
- Baseline rally position (rally with varying height, depth, speed, and spin over the net)
- Have awareness of correct recovery positions
- Perform a volleys rally with a partner (on the baseline) using the correct grip
- Understand how to hit a drive volley
Serve and Return
- Baseline serve position
- Start to understand the difference between first and second serves (speeds and spins)
- Develop an understanding and awareness of singles and doubles point play tactics
- Continue to develop speed/agility by progressively increasing the challenge of the activities while ensuring quality form
The Yellow Ball Junior Development stage starts when players are ready to use the regular hardball on a full-size court. Lessons continue to focus on the six key learning areas with an overarching theme/s of ‘play’ or ‘compete’.
There are a range of programs, competitions, and match play opportunities that link to this stage in the My Vida Journey. We place a high priority in grouping players correctly to ensure each one continues to develop and enjoy the sport. Coaching sessions continue to challenge players and enable progress through the various group and squad-based programs.
The Yellow Ball Junior Development stage takes players through to the adult stage of the My Vida Journey program.