Title: “Understanding the Net Generation PlayTracker: A Summary Guide for Tennis Parents”
The Net Generation PlayTracker is an innovative tool developed by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for young tennis players aged 5-10 and their parents. It aims to streamline the tracking of a player’s progression in USTA competitive events and shed light on the recommended development pathway using the American Development Model (ADM) framework.
Key Features of PlayTracker
- Integrated Tracking: PlayTracker enables users to track a player’s progress conveniently within the player’s USTA.com account profile, under the Family tab. You can find information about a player’s current competition ball color, coach-assigned skill level, and total points at each competitive level.
- PlayTracker Point System: Players can accumulate points on their PlayTracker by participating in various USTA programs, such as USTA Team Challenges, USTA Junior Team Tennis, and USTA Junior Circuits. These points are divided into play points and win points, with certain restrictions on the maximum number of play points that can be earned in each ball color.
- Coach’s Role in Progress Assessment: Coaches play a critical role in the player’s progress. They can control whether their players are ready to compete in the green ball competition and can modify a player’s skill level through the Net Generation mobile app using the assessment tool.
Ball Colors and Age Requirements
The Net Generation PlayTracker uses a color-coded system to reflect a player’s progress:
- Red ball programs are recommended for players aged 5-7 years.
- Orange ball programs are suggested for players aged 7-9 years.
- Green ball programs are designed for players aged 9-11 years.
To advance to the next ball color, a player must achieve a certain number of play points. For instance, seven and eight-year-olds that reach 1,000 play points in orange ball are eligible for green ball, provided they pass a coach assessment. All players in green ball will be required to meet 1500 points on the PlayTracker in order to play in yellow ball events. At least 1000 of these points must come from win points. At age 11 players will age out of the PlayTracker.
Eligible Play Opportunities
PlayTracker points can be earned from participation in red, orange, and green ball USTA Team Challenges, USTA Junior Team Tennis, and USTA Junior Circuit programs. These range from low-pressure introductions to competition to a series of non-elimination tournaments.
Parent Education Videos
The USTA offers educational videos for parents or guardians registering a player for the first time in a ball color. These short videos, available on the Net Generation mobile app and USTA.com Player Profile, explain the skills required to play in a USTA competitive product at that ball color.
The Net Generation PlayTracker is a significant advancement in supporting young tennis players’ development. It provides a clear and comprehensive view of a player’s journey, encourages consistent participation, and rewards progress. As parents, understanding the functioning of the PlayTracker will help you better support your child in their tennis journey.
For more detailed information about the PlayTracker, visit the Net Generation PlayTracker page on the USTA website.