Melbourne, 15 November 2011 | Tennis Australia

From 1 January 2012 all 10-and-under tennis competitions will be required to use low-compression balls and be played on smaller courts.

This rule change, implemented by the International Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia, will accelerate the learning process of Australia’s youngest players, as skills will be acquired faster and more easily.

The modified balls are a major factor in increasing the chance of early success for under-10 players, which will improve the likelihood of their continued participation in the sport.

“This global initiative, which supports our MLC Tennis Hot Shots program, gives tennis a great opportunity to be consistent in our delivery to young kids. And, most importantly, it makes tennis that much more fun, easy and accessible,” Tennis Australia’s Director of Tennis Craig Tiley said.

Low-compression balls are already a cornerstone of Tennis Australia’s kids’ starter program, MLC Tennis Hot Shots. As children develop through the program, they progress from the red ball through to orange and finally green, encouraging a natural progression to the full-size game.

In the past children have been taught basic tennis skills on a full-size court with a yellow ball. For small children the court is too big and the ball bounces too high, causing potential problems with technique and frustration at not being able to return the ball.

“It’s the way to go in respect of the bounce of the ball and the ball bouncing at a more appropriate height for the size of the player,” said Matt Bull, the inaugural winner of the Coaching Excellence – MLC Tennis Hot Shots award at the 2010 Australian Tennis Awards.

“It’s going to be much better not only for their technique but also their tactical play.”

By using low-compression balls, kids can learn and practice correct stroke technique, and they have the ability to score from the first time they take the court. The modified approach has been approved and recommended by the International Tennis Federation, with similar programs running in dozens of countries worldwide.

“The rule change is all about making tennis accessible, easy and fun for the kids,” said Craig Morris, Tennis Hot Shots leader.

“To have instant success is a critical factor in encouraging young people into the sport and developing a love of tennis that will bring about lifetime involvement. MLC Tennis Hot Shots is all about letting kids play tennis with their friends and family by learning the skills correctly, encouraging more opportunities, more success and more fun for everyone involved.”

The rule change will apply to all Tennis Australia sanctioned 10-and-under tournaments and competitions from 1 January 2012. In addition, younger players in open-aged tournaments will be encouraged to use the low-compression balls.

The range of red, orange and green balls are available from the Australian Open Shop online and Rebel Sport.

For more information about the rule change, go to