Here is some general info that I recently sent to a junior player (she is 11 years old) about the process of getting ranked in California and the different divisions. The divisions go from Novice (just starting to play tournaments, there are not many of these and they are more loosely organized and played) to Satellite to Open. Satellite is for players with some experience, but still learning the game. Open is pretty competitive and is where the serious players reside.
There are rules about which divisions a junior player may participate in, designed to keep the matches as fair and competitive as possible. For example, once a player wins 2 Novice-level events, then she must move into the Satellite division. The Novice events are one-day affairs where juniors play in a round-robin style over a few hours and play several different players.
Satellite divisions are for players with little tournament experience, but replicate the organization and time commitment (usually a weekend) of the full on Open division. “Satellite tournaments are for players that are not ranked in the top 50 in Southern California (or top 40 in the 10’s),” according to the SCTA tournament website that you can link to here.
This is for players with tournament experience or who do not mind playing tough players with experience. You may start at this level, but it is advisable for the ego to at least play a few Satellites before tackling the Open divisions.
Here’s some links to tournaments that you should try to get her into this summer. She has to play at least 8 tournaments per year to get a ranking or play the sectionals and 6 tournaments. She could try to win a couple Satellite tournaments within the next year then move to the Open Division and get a ranking in the 14s, 16s, and the 18s and maybe pay for college or something like that if the competitive fire is there, which I think it is!
1. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SUMMER JUNIOR OPEN, SATELLITE & NOVICE TOURNAMENT entry deadline July 20th for July 25-29, 2011.
2. SAMO JUNIOR SATELLITE TOURNAMENT entry deadline July 24th for July 29-31, 2011.
3. RANCHO CIENEGA TENNIS SHOP SUMMER JR NOVICE entry deadline Aug. 3 for Aug. 6-7, 2011.
4. 12TH ANNUAL SAFE PASSAGE TENNIS JR OPEN TOURNAMENT entry deadline Aug. 19 for Aug. 22-26, 2011
5. 82ND SANTA MONICA JR OPEN, JR SATELLITE & JR NOVICE TOURNAMENT entry deadline Aug. 18 for Aug. 22-26
6. SOUTH BAY TENNIS CENTER LABOR DAY JR SATELLITE TOURNAMENT entry deadline Aug. 30 for Sept. 3-5, 2011
You may also enter “sectional” tournaments once she gets a ranking so that you can receive a ranking beyond Southern California’s section, for a larger region of the United States . Then there are national level tournaments and international tournaments (ITF). Here is a link to getting a national / international junior tennis ranking. There are many levels of tournaments to achieve this. Eight annual tournaments are counted toward her ranking. Eight seems to be the magic number when playing tournaments and getting ranked for the year end.
One more note for parents and coaches from the USTA tournament rules: “Coaching is not permitted during a tennis match, except during the authorized rest period between 2nd & 3rd sets. (except Boys & Girls 18’s). Use of a foreign language is not allowed to converse with a player.”