Junior Coaching & Development

Simple & Fun Match Play Ideas

If you’ve listened to any of our podcasts since COVID hit, you know I’m still not playing doubles, which means no league tennis for me here in SoCal. That said, I’ve found my way into a couple of really fun singles opportunities that would translate so perfectly to Junior Tennis!

The first is a group that gets together weekly to play singles in a round robin format (see the photo above). There are 6 of us on 3 courts. After all warming up as we arrive at the site, we move to our assigned court to play as many no-ad games as possible within a 20-minute time allotment. When the timer goes off, we move to the next court and repeat over a 2-hour window.

Each player brings a new can of balls. We open 3 cans, one for each court, then save the rest for the next week. The balls stay on the court at the end of each 20-minute interval.

We don’t keep track of games won, but if a group of Juniors is doing this, they may want to play for a small prize at the end of the session, maybe a vibration dampener or new overgrip? Again, if you’re doing this with Juniors, maybe one player is assigned the task of bringing nutrition bars or cut fruit as a snack for the group each time?

My other singles match play opportunity is structured as a Challenge Ladder set up through my club using the TennisRungs app.

It’s so simple and is all done on your phone! After downloading the app and setting up the ladder, you invite other players to sign up. Players are placed on the ladder in order of rating or ranking and can only challenge players above them. The two players make arrangements to play – there is a deadline for scheduling matches – and you can only have one outstanding challenge at a time in order to avoid backup.

All communication and score reporting is done directly in the app. Once a match is played and the score reported, the ladder automatically updates to reflect the result.

So far, it’s been really fun! I’ve met other singles players in the area and played some great tennis. Our group plays the best 2 out of 3 sets with a 10-point tiebreaker for the 3rd, regular game scoring, but you can use whatever scoring system works best. For Juniors, you could set this up at a club or within a community and open it up to a set rating or ranking level to ensure quality matches.

With the lack of tournaments available in some areas due to COVID, these are two great ways to help your child get in some match play. If you end up trying them out – or if you’re already doing something similar – please share your experience in the Comments below!

Leave a Reply

Signup for our monthly newsletter!

Get the latest articles straight to your inbox