Whether you are playing competition or not, have started playing tournaments or have newly joined into weekly club match play there is no hard and fast rule on how many times per week that a junior or senior player 'must' play tennis each week. This is a personal choice; it will depend on each individual's commitment and approach to the game. It will also come down to your current level and the grade that you are playing or the level you would like to achieve. We highly recommend that you follow our tennis playing guide as follows: LEARN PRACTICE COMPETE
Key factors and questions to ask yourself and to be asked when deciding to start a training program may include;
This process will see you on the right path to approaching tennis correctly, improving your game and sustaining your current and desired level. From there you can ascertain how much time you should allocate on court vs your end goal. This should always be clarified in a partnership (TEAM) that includes parents or guardians, your coach/es and yourself and reviewed at least quarterly or every 6 months.
2a) AGE GROUPS
There are three (3) main age categories that you can put yourself into to determine what level of competition may suit you or be the goal that you are trying to reach. Top Tennis believes that you can it as simple as possible in terms of your age, however there will be exceptions to the age rules whereby some children aged 10 are good enough to play against teens and subsequently some teenagers can play against adults at a younger age than others.
2b) PLAYING LEVELS
Playing levels or grading are a system of allocating the most even level competition for all players based on past performance, current standard and potential future exposure. Your coach and the club can guide you towards the right competition in regards to regular weekly club competitions and these competitions may include doubles and singles at local association levels with leagues, events and pro events involving tournaments, team events and club events.
The competition framework level system across Tennis Australia is as below in the following diagram.
SET YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE
3a) PLAN - you will need a plan full stop, there are no exceptions. This plan must contain a weekly calendar or a daily diary or both (digital, a phone-based app, paper diary or what you go to regularly) you can even create a simple excel sheet to work out a program.
3b) BACK UP - you must have a secondary back up plan incase of weather, holidays, missed sessions and cancelled matches, do not leave your improvement to chance by missing any sessions or weeks.
3c) GOALS - you must set a realistic weekly schedule that you can complete that has a means to achieve your goals. If you are preparing for a points tournament (for example) then tennis once per week will just not work as it's not enough time on the court, but neither will only be playing tennis 3 times per day for 7 days prior up to the 1st match, this is unbalanced too far the other way.
3d) BALANCE - what this really means that is you need a combination of learning, practice and competing equally, it's that simple, so therefore and once again stick to the playing tennis guide below.
LEARN - WITH COACHING LESSONS (talk to your coach about your goals, your strengths and weaknesses)
PRACTICE - WITH OTHER PLAYERS (organise matches with players that are likeminded or around similar or stronger ability. Play points, sets, tie breakers, singles, doubles and play on different surfaces)
COMPETE - WITH A TEAM OR INDIVIDUALLY (liaise with your coach regularly to set goals about competition, the times and days that you can play, plus what local, regional and state events that you are eligible to participate in)
3e) ACTION YOUR SCHEDULE - put your off-court scheduling and plans into the on-court reality. Make the phone calls, send the emails, text your contacts and speak to all your tennis community, which includes coach/es, team managers, tennis captains, competition organisers, tournament directors, club presidents or committee persons, fellow players, peers and friends. Make your off-court plans equal the time you want to spend on court.
BEST OF LUCK!