Palmetto Dunes

Shorter is Better – At Least for Young Tennis Players

As with just about any sport, music instrument or creative endeavor, kids gravitate toward what offers early successes. That’s one reason why kids playing tennis at Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center will appreciate the kid-sized tennis courts.

Palmetto Dunes is one of the first tennis facilities on Hilton Head Island to shorten its courts for children 10 and under per new U.S. Tennis Association guidelines. Previously, children played on the regular 78-foot court designed for adults, but new regulations for tournament play require a 36-foot court for children.

“The change helps put tennis on the child’s level,” says John Kerr, director of tennis. “It makes it fun faster and they experience success sooner, which makes it more likely they’ll want to stay involved in tennis.”

Thanks to a grant through USTA, we modified the lines on two hard courts. The lines are just slightly darker green than the surface of the courts and thinner. Don’t worry, the lines are unobtrusive so adult players won’t be distracted. And the new lines stop 3 inches from the regular lines.

USTA is also requiring different balls for youth players. A regulation tennis ball moves too fast, bounces too high and is too heavy for the smaller racquet. Instead, foam balls or balls with low-compression are required for youth play, which our Tennis Center has been using for the last few years.

Have your little tennis players tried out the new courts yet? Let us know if you think this is a good change and how shortened courts have impacted your child’s play.

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