For parents and players
Want to start competing?
This page will help you get set up so that your junior (or you!) can start entering LTA competitions
Creating your LTA account
To enter LTA competitions, you must have an LTA account, here’s how:
- Create a FREE LTA account at https://www2.lta.org.uk/advantage/
Adults select “Advantage Play” membership (STSC club members choose ‘Advantage Play+)
Juniors the same, but select “Junior”
Complete the joining process.
- Once signed up you’ll receive details to log in to the LTA website and your ‘Advantage’ number.
- You’ll now be able to enter LTA graded competitions at https://competitions.lta.org.uk
What is LTA Youth Matchplay?
- Lasts 1-2 hours for U8s and U9s, and 2-3 hours for U10s and yellow ball age groups.
- U10s and yellow ball age groups use the FAST4 scoring system, whilst U8s and U9s use a match tiebreaks to 10 points.
- The organiser will give a friendly welcome, energetic warm up and explanation of the rules.
- There’ll be lots of quick matches against players of a similar ability.
- Players not playing in matches will keep score and be ball kids. No hanging around here.
- Players will always compete in singles and doubles matches – this develops both their tennis & social skills.
FAST4 Scoring System
FAST4 speeds up the conventional game of tennis. It’s shorter and faster but still competitive:
- First to 4 games wins a set
- Tie-break at 3 games all to 7 points, 2 clear at 6-6
- Match tie-break at 1 set all to 10 points, 2 clear at 9-9
- No-ad scoring
Match Tiebreaks to 10
This scoring system lasts around 10-15 minutes per match and is a great way for juniors to start of playing competitive tennis.
- First to 10 points wins
- Player A serves for one point
- Player B serves for the next two points
- Player A serves for the next two points, and so on.
- If 9-9, two clear points to win
The LTA tournament grading system is as follows:
- Grade 1 – National level (highest level)
- Grade 2 – National level
- Grade 3 – Regional level
- Grade 4 – County level
- Grade 5 – Local level
- Grade 6 – Matchplays (start here!)
- Grade 7 – Internal club competitions
How good does my child need to be to enter a competition?
This is a great question and one we get asked a lot! We recommend that your child should feel comfortable and confident on the tennis court, being able to successfully:
- Serve – overarm or underarm, in the correct box.
- Rally – be able to hit forehands and backhands consistently over the net and in with another player of a similar age.
- Score – independently count and remember the score, as well as knowing who’s turn it is to serve.
If you are just starting out, then enter a Grade 6 (or 7) LTA Youth Matchplay.
Essential advice from the coaching team when competing
- Create a culture where children can enjoy playing tennis matches. Do this through enjoying success but also allowing children to not be afraid to make mistakes.
- “Trust the process.” Set process goals, such as “I will try to be more consistent on my serve”, instead of focusing on the overall outcome of a match or a tournament. Our coaches can help you with this.
- Support all juniors, not just your own.
- Play fair, respect your opponents and their parents.
- Parents – keep your body language consistent and supportive throughout. Praise ‘difficult’ situations. Allow children the space to make mistakes and to learn from them. Your support is all they need.
- Encourage reflection and problem solving after each match. Ask ‘open’ questions to your child. Here are some ideas to get a conversation going:
Parent: “How was it out there? / How did you find that?”
Keep them talking: “what makes you feel like that?”
Start to problem solve: “what did you do well?” / “what could you have done better?” / “what did you learn from the match?”
- Keep us posted! We always want to know about your child’s tennis journey, don’t be afraid to tell us. Follow & tag us on Instagram