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My Wish List for Junior Tournaments


It’s the Friday morning before a Saturday-Monday junior tournament, and my son’s first match times still haven’t been posted. He can’t plan his morning warm-up because he doesn’t know what time he’ll play tomorrow, and the tournament site will only have 2 available warm-up courts after 8am, likely necessitating an alternative practice site if he plays later than 8. Hence, this Wish List for Junior Tournaments . . .

Dear Tournament Directors,

Given that we Tennis Parents are typically spending 1-2 weekends each month at your events, and given that the cost to travel to these events is continuing to increase, I would like to suggest that you offer the following:

  • Post the list of selected players at least one week prior to the first day of the tournament so we can make travel plans (if necessary) and take advantage of any discounts.
  • If you’re using a tournament hotel that provides complimentary breakfast, alert the manager that players will need to have breakfast available by 6:30am each morning during the tournament to accommodate warm-up and early match times.
  • Post the first match times at least 2 days ahead of time so our player can arrange warm-up courts and practice partners.
  • Post the seeding at least 3 days ahead of time.
  • Have a certified medical trainer on site, at every site.
  • Forego tournament check-in the day before play. Let players check into their 1st match site one hour ahead of time.
  • Conduct a meeting with all tournament officials so that they’re all on the same page as to how rules will be enforced. Will players get a warning before a code violation is issued (Friend at Court says no warnings but some officials still warn players anyway – what’s this tournament’s stance on that?)? How are “ball abuse” and “racquet abuse” defined – be specific! Will point penalties be issued for multiple overrules on line calls (Friend at Court leaves that to the discretion of the tournament referee)? Will the 12-hour rule be observed? How will medical timeouts be handled? Once these issues are decided, post them on the tournament website so players, parents, and coaches know exactly how your officials will operate.
  • Have ice and water available at all sites to players.
  • If you use multiple sites, make sure each site director has access to you and the tournament referee throughout the tournament.
  • Do some little things to make your tournament special. Here are a few ideas: get local restaurants to sponsor your event then set up a booth on-site to provide discounted meals to participants; personalize t-shirts for each tournament; if there’s space, set up a ping-pong or Foosball table for players to let off steam before and after their matches. Take a look at Help Wanted: Director of Fun for more suggestions.

Happy players lead to happy parents and coaches which leads to a successful tournament all around. Here’s to more successful tournaments!


A Very (Overly?) Involved Tennis Parent



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