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Yarra Glen hosts inaugural Hot Shots Red Ball Tournament

15 Mar 2017

Yarra Glen Tennis Club has identified the gap in the pathway for junior tennis players to progress from participating in ANZ Tennis Hot Shots coaching to playing junior competition. The jump in standard is often too much for the kids and consequently the player chooses another sport.

This issue is all too common in local tennis clubs. To address the gap in required playing standard, Yarra Glen has implemented their own tiered structure to encourage more players to continue playing tennis.

Introduce Hot Shots > Hot Shots social tournaments (such as this event) > Hot Shots Match Play > Junior Competition

“The Red Ball Tournament is the second step in our pathway for juniors, offering a first taste of competition tennis in a friendly, non-competitive and fun atmosphere,” said Yarra Glen Tennis Club Coach and tournament organiser Anthony Glynn.

There are a number of benefits associated with offering participants another option to play besides weekly coaching lessons, including;

  • enhancing player skill development outside of coaching
  • providing an opportunity to practice skills learnt in coaching
  • teaching participants important values in tennis – honesty, sportsmanship and the ability to self-govern

Yarra Glen hosted the tournament on a Wednesday morning during school holidays from 8.30am – 12.30pm. 52 children aged between 7 and 9 were recruited both from Yarra Glen TC and neighboring clubs, and put into teams of 2. A $20 entry fee was charged per player.

Tournament Format

  • 14 ANZTHS courts, comprising 4 Hot Shots courts per full court (2 full size courts used) + 6 dedicated Hot Shots courts
  • 8 teams per full size court, 2 teams per dedicated Hot Shots court
  • 2 x singles, 1 x doubles per match
  • 7 matches per round
  • 3 minute matches
  • Scoring 1, 2, 3…end of time, highest score is the winner
  • After the first round is complete, teams are grouped according to ability and results
  • Court supervisor organises the first round of matches, then participants have the ability to take initiative and continue organising themselves while a supervisor is there to provide assistance if needed.

The club conducted a small amount of advertising to attract numbers for the tournament. A media release was provided to the local newspaper, and emails were sent to club presidents and coaches in the local area to generate interest and garner additional support. An ‘email tree’ system was implemented, whereby the email with details of the tournament sent out to neighboring clubs was then forwarded by the club on to their respective members.

The tournament was highly successful, with the club making plans to host future events such was the demand. A vision for the tournaments to coincide with each of the four Grand Slams has been established, with a fifth event held prior to Christmas. Yarra Glen hopes to expand the tournament to include 8 clubs, so that the event may be rotated around each venue, with each club entering a team of 4 players. 

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