Tennis Balls and Court Size for Kids

by | Feb 13, 2020 | Tennis Coaching

This is a subject that tennis parents ask me sometimes: what type of tennis balls should their child play with and whether they should play on a full-size court or a smaller one.
I personally encourage the idea of children to progress from slower to faster balls for the following reasons:
– slower balls let them swing harder without being afraid of missing deep (biggest fear)
– they have more time to prepare for the shot (good technique)
– promotes longer rallies.

tennis ball for red level kids play1. Red Balls – these are the slowest and largest of the balls and are recommended for little children aged 4-7. Along with the red balls, players can also use sponge balls which are both oversized, and about 75% slower than a regular adult tennis ball, giving beginning players time to prepare for the shot and add a big swing without being afraid of missing deep.
The court size that the red balls should be used is a small one (36 feet long). Beginning players using red balls or playing red ball tournaments have the net placed along the center service line or between the service line and baseline and the points are played between the doubles lines.

orange ball for kids tennis2. Orange Balls – are about 50% slower than regular tennis balls and are recommended for children between the ages of 7-9. Used on 60×21 feet tennis court (show how the lines are positioned: baseline is 9 feet / 3 meters inside the regular baseline; singles sidelines are 3 feet / 1 meter inside the regular sideline)

ball for green level kids tennis3. Green Dot Balls – are about 25% slower than regular tennis balls and are recommended for kids who are 9 or 10 years old.
Those who play green ball tournaments use a full-court, are fast enough to cover larger areas and are almost ready to move up to a regular yellow tennis ball which bounces higher and moves faster.
They are also called transition tennis balls.

adult tennis ball4. Yellow (Adult) Tennis Balls – should be used by children who are at least 11 years old and my recommendation is that the transition should be done gradually using practice balls that are slower and lower bounce than tournament balls.

It is important to not start the beginning players with balls that the child finds difficult to control in regard to speed and height because they can develop bad habits in order to adjust to the new ball, such as a western grip (to hit high bouncing balls), tight arm (being afraid to not lose control of the ball), poor footwork, etc.
Transitioning from one ball type and court size should be done under careful supervision and the before-mentioned technical aspects should be monitored so that the child’s technique and footwork are not affected.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.


  1. Noushin

    Many thanks for sharing your invaluable knowledge and information.

  2. Mariana Saenz

    Hi Cosmin, I love your programs and use them to coach my children. I appreciate very much all the work you do. I have a couple of questions now that I am coaching my children.

    1) USTA requires the use of the orange dot ball for U10 tournaments. However, I have read that it is better to transitioning kids to the green dot balls as quickly as possible. I read your comments above on choosing balls. Do you see slower development on kids that do not transition quicker to green dot balls?

    2) For junior balls there are “dot” balls and “quick kids” balls. The dot balls are yellow with the dot, and the “quick kids” are like the red balls but orange like balls (size/compression) supposedly to teach topspin. Do you feel stronger about one? any recommendations?

    3) I have have seen your videos and you recommend to teach eastern forehand grip for kids. My girls hits the ball and keeps hitting tall balls. Do you recommend to use a semi-western grip? Would that you recommend semi-western as she grows older and improves her tennis (and learns topspin)?

    Thank you,

    • Cosmin {WebTennis24}

      Hi Mariana, thank you for your questions; I’m happy to answer them:

      1) “Do you see slower development on kids that do not transition quicker to green dot balls?”
      Not necessary. The faster the child transitions to the green dot balls, the better, BUT only if the child is ready, meaning she/he shows the physical abilities to handle the faster ball. Do not rush the kids to move quickly to the next level unless their technique is good, and they do not struggle to cover the bigger court that comes with this faster ball. For example: when transitioning from an orange ball (lower bounce, slower) to a green dot ball (higher bounce, faster) your child will have to get in position to hit it sooner, and many times it will bounce higher and the child will often make contact with the ball above shoulder level, developing a western forehand grip… Unless the footwork is good enough to back up and let the ball drop to waist level.

      2) I am sorry, but I do not fully understand the second question. Please feel free to send me links to such kids’ tennis balls, or any other info.

      3) “I have have seen your videos and you recommend to teach eastern forehand grip for kids.”
      This statement surprises me because I do mention that an eastern forehand grip can be used, but I recommend and teach all my students a semi-western forehand grip. This is a more natural grip that acts like an extension of the palm, it allows good ball control and spin. Just make sure to keep an eye on the child to not easily switch to the western grip, a transition that is made when the balls bounce too high and the kid makes contact consistently above shoulder level.
      So in the case of your girls who use an eastern forehand grip and the balls travel to high, have them move their hand one bavel away from the eastern, or two bevels from the continental.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions, Mariana. πŸ™‚

  3. Mariana Saenz

    Thank you so much. The grip clarification helps. I will watch out for the grip positioning and make sure my daughter is using semi-western.

    I also wanted to share with you we are starting a U10 team where I live and I am coaching the children. I am so glad I came across your program. Teaching someone requires a lot of learning. Putting in practice all your knowledge on the courts. πŸ™‚

    I am sending the link about the ball types. Thank you again. Mariana

    This is the gamma quick-kids:

    This is the orange dot (most people will know about this one):

  4. Cosmin {WebTennis24}

    Hi Mariana, looking at the two types of balls (links above), I do not see any difference between them other than the fact that one type of ball has two colors (yellow, and orange) made for kids to see the spin better, and the other has only one orange dot and a number so that when they use them in tournaments to not mix them with a ball from another court.
    Everything else is the same, as you can see in the specifications: made for a 60′ court; they have a 50% lower bounce than a regular ball, etc.
    In my opinion, the two types of balls are the same, just different designs. πŸ™‚


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