What Retailers Need to Know About 10U
1. It’s About … the New Rules for Kids 10 & Under
The ITF and USTA have mandated kids’-sized equipment and courts — that’s what all the buzz is about as the USTA and the industry get ready for a historic change in the way kids play tennis. The more retailers can help consumers understand this game change, the better engaged they can become with their customers and future customers.
You need to become a 10U resource in your community, someone parents can turn to for information, equipment and where to get youngsters into the game. Find out all you can about tennis for kids by going to 10andundertennis.com.
2. It’s About … the Equipment
Kids should not be playing with the same size equipment that adults play with. When a child learns with adult equipment, they develop the wrong techniques that will hamper their enjoyment of the game, and potentially turn them off to tennis.
Kids need a ball that is sized and paced to their abilities. (A yellow tennis ball moves too fast, bounces too high and is too heavy for kids.) For 10U tennis, new low-compression balls have been developed and are designed to move slower, bounce lower and travel less distance.
- For 8-and-under kids: Use the Red foam or low-compression Red felt ball.
- For 9- to 10-year-olds: The Orange ball moves a little faster and travels farther than the Red ball, but it still has a lower bounce than the Yellow ball.
- The Green ball is slightly slower than the Yellow ball and is the final transition ball, for players to use on full-size 78-foot courts to slow down play.
Racquets need to be scaled to size, proportionate in length and weight, and with a grip that fits smaller hands to give them more control, and therefore greater success.
- If you are supplying young (5 and under) children with racquets, consider stocking 19-inch models.
- Generally, a mix of 21-, 23- and 25-inch racquets will help ensure the appropriate sizes are being used. (Note: Since 23-inch racquets can be utilized for both 36- (red ball) and 60-foot (orange ball) courts, consider stocking more of them.)
- Most youth-sized racquets will be pre-strung, so you may not have an opportunity to sell stringing, at least not right off the bat.
- Kids’ racquets range in quality and performance. The better the quality, the easier it will be for a junior to transition to a graphite adult frame when the time comes.
- A child’s height is the best criteria for determining the proper racquet size. Manufacturers may have an attractive “size-up” chart, with height marks to indicate what size racquets work best for youngsters.
|Frame Size||Height of Player||Age of Player|
|19”||Up to 3’||up to age 5|
|21”||3’ - 3’11”||5-6 years|
|23”||4’ - 4’ 5”||7-8 years|
|25”||4’ 6” - 5’||9-10 years|
36- and 60-Foot Courts
Many communities are permanently lining courts for 10U tennis, but courts also can be put down on driveways, in parking lots, gymnasiums—anywhere there might be some open space. If there aren’t permanently lined courts in your area, start the ball rolling—it will help ensure the 10U market is a vital part of your business.
- Stock portable nets and throw-down lines so parents and organizers can create the smaller courts for 10U play.
3. It’s About … the Show
Create a 10U equipment area, showcasing the racquets, balls, portable nets and lines—anything a parent may need to buy to get their kids playing tennis.
- Don’t forget kids’ apparel, accessories and shoes. As more and more kids get in the game, this will undoubtedly be a growing market—and in fact, kids grow fast, too, so they’ll be outgrowing their current gear!
- Have a “size-up” chart near your kids’ racquets, so parents and kids can easily find the right frame. Check with your manufacturer’s sales rep for promotional materials.
- Near your checkout counter, have 10U fliers and posters so other customers see what you carry for kids and can help distribute to friends and family. (The USTA has materials you can download for free to help you with 10U marketing efforts. Go to 10andundertennis.com.
- Distribute 10U posters and fliers in high-traffic areas around your community (including schools, fitness centers and other retailers), directing people to your shop.
- Use e-mail blasts to current customers to tell family and friends that you have 10U equipment and can help direct kids into the game.
- Advertise on local community websites, in local newspapers, even in school newsletters and fliers.
4. It’s About … Developing Relationships
To grow the 10U market in your area, develop relationships within your community and with the people who deliver tennis.
- Give local tennis teachers a “pro discount” on merchandise with the understanding that they’ll refer parents to your shop to buy 10U equipment. (In return, support that pro by having their business cards or other information on your counter and website.)
- Become involved in the local tennis community. Help out at tournaments and events, let parks or other tennis facilities know that you’re willing to help them.
- Local tennis facilities that may have a small tennis shop can’t stock all the inventory a standalone store can; develop relationships so tennis facilities refer customers to your shop for a wider selection of 10U equipment.
- Partner with youth organizations such as the YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, and local school PTAs. Let them know you have the equipment needed to get 10U kids into a healthy, lifetime sport.
- Get your manufacturers’ reps on board with your 10U goals. They can help with signage and other material you may need, and in forecasting items to stock.
5. It’s About … Becoming a 10 and Under Tennis Participating Retailer
Sign up and receive a FREE Kit that includes:
- Counter Display for 10 and Under Tennis
- Parents’ Guide to Tennis
- Access to Retail Webinar Series
- Retail Tips on marketing 10U
Go to TennisIndustry.org/Retail to register or email us at email@example.com for more info!
Send us your 10U retailing success stories!
We want to know what you’re doing that works when it comes to selling 10 and Under Tennis and equipment — and may feature your business in an upcoming issue. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t Miss Out on this NEW Opportunity at Retail!
Retailers can be part of the largest national marketing and advertising campaign EVER to get more kids in the game and staying in the game! 10 and under Tennis will be promoted through …
Tennis Night in America/Youth Registration — February 28th.
- USTA is leveraging BNP Paribas Showdown (Agassi vs. Sampras to generate awareness)
- TV Advertising on ESPN, Tennis Channel and other targeted media
High-Impact, Parent and Provider Targeted Print
- Inserts in 9 leading publications including Redbook reaching 6M+ consumers
- Advertorials & Print ads featuring top coaches like Bollettieri endorsing 10 and under Tennis
Youth Mobile Tour
- This summer, a mobile Smash Zone tour will visit key market events/festivals, top US Tournaments and retail locations to allow kids and families to experience kids tennis
Leveraging the Power of the US Open and Olympus US Open Series
- Broad reach awareness of 10 and under Tennis will continue to push this message to consumers
- Stay tuned for future promotions to drive consumers
- To date, more than 100 stories have been generated for the QuickStart Tennis play format, reaching nearly 25M consumers
- 20,000 Promotional Packets have been sent to certified teaching pros, tennis facilities, school and after-school programs across the country
TIA Update search
TIA Update items
- Tennis Leads Traditional Sports In Participation Growth Rate
- Attention Tennis Providers: Update or Add Your Information Now at GrowTennis.com!
- 2011 State of the Industry Report
- Retailers: Stock Up On 10 and Under Tennis Balls
- 'Dashboard' tracks progress on 10 and Under Tennis
- Tennis Retail A Key Focus At Industry Meetings
- Simple Message to Serve As a Rallying Call for Industry Growth
- Tennis Providers: What Does PlayTennis.com Mean for You?
- Resources for TIA Retail Members
- Business Assessment Program for Tennis Retailers