Going to tournaments is going to be an average part of a tennis parents life. Tournaments can be fun and it is exciting to watch your child go out and play, but they can also be stressful. One of the best ways to relieve some of the stress is by making sure you know the rules. The more knowledge you and your child have when it comes to tournaments, the better prepared you will be for anything that might happen. The rules for tournaments vary slightly from section to section, but they should be fairly similar.
Maximum Matches per Day
How many matches your child is allowed to play depends on their age group as well as the match format. In general, kids are rarely allowed to play more than four matches a day. Here are some of the most common match formats and combinations of how many matches your child might be allowed to play.
Best of 3 sets with a super tiebreak in place of a third set or short sets
A super tiebreak is when kids play a tiebreaker to 10 points (win by two) instead of 7. They play the super tiebreak instead of playing a full third set. A short set is a set played to 4 instead of 6.
|Max Singles Matches Allowed||Max Doubles Matches Allowed||Max Total Matches|
Best of 3 sets with a super tiebreak in place of a third set and 8 game pro-sets
An 8 game pro-set is when kids play a single set played to 8 instead of 6 for the match. The kids only play the one set to 8. This format is usually used for doubles and consolation singles matches.
|Max 3 set matches Allowed||Max Pro-Set matches Allowed||Max Total Matches|
Rest Between Matches
While kids don’t necessarily have to rest between matches, they are guaranteed time to recuperate. How much time depends on the format of the match played.
|Format of Match||Rest Time (min)|
|Best of 3 with Super tiebreak in place of 3rd set||60|
|Pro-set or Short sets||30|
Sometimes matches can start late at night. Unfortunately, this is something you might have to endure. Tennis clubs can often have a tough time handling big tournaments and have obligations to other parties they must keep. While there is no real limit on when a match can start (except maybe in the 10U age group), there is often a time limit on how late a match can be reasonably scheduled. In other words, when creating a tournament schedule, the club has to believe that in a perfect world a match can start by the scheduled time.
Latest Scheduling Times
- Non-school night- 10pm
- School Night- 7pm
For the most part, matches shouldn’t start before 4 pm on weekdays(Because of School and Work), and 8 am on the weekends. That being said, a match time can always change with the consent of all parties (tournament director, parents, and players).
Being late for a match will cost your child. Being more than 15 min late can result in your child being defaulted from the match. Penalties are normally applied at the scheduled start time of a match and in 5 or 10 min intervals afterward depending on the tournament.
- Late- 1 game and loss of toss
- More than 5 min late- 2 games and loss of toss
- More than 10 min late- 3 games and loss of toss
- More than 15 min late- default
- If both parties are equally late, then there is no penalty
You should assume that the lateness clock starts at the scheduled start time.
Coaching is almost always prohibited during USTA matches. It is prohibited in all ways whether signals, verbal, or otherwise. The only time coaching is allowed between 2nd and 3rd set in full best of 3 set matches. Violation of this regulation renders the player and coach or advisor liable to disciplinary action, which may include disqualification of the player and/or removal of the coach or advisor from the premises. If you see coaching going on while a player is playing a match, you should report it to the tournament director. Coaching is allowed before and after matches.
Medical Time Outs
Injuries happen and when they do you are allowed to take some time out to address them. Your child can take up to three minutes per injury per match. The clock for a medical timeout starts when all of the medical supplies are on the court. If there is no medical trainer available, the player can select who gives treatment. That means that the parents can be the ones giving treatment. That being said there is still no coaching allowed and a staff member will most likely be there to make sure no coaching is going on.
Bleeding Time Outs
A Mandatory bleeding timeout begins as soon as visible bleeding is discovered. Kids will receive up to 15 minutes to address the issue. Once the bleeding has been stopped, the playing area cleaned up, and someone has disposed of contaminated items, play should resume. Be sure your child double checks the tennis balls to ensure no blood is on them. If there is they should ask for new balls.
When your child is out on the court battling it out in a hard match, emotions tend to run high. That being said it is important that you and everyone watching keeps their cool for it can be a distraction to the match. If for some reason someone is starting to become abusive, the staff can ask that person to leave the area. If problems continue, officials will apply the point penalty system to the abuse. The point penalty system generally goes; warning, loss of point, loss of game, loss of a set, loss of the match.
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