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Navigating the USTA

The last few years have seen a number of changes across USTA junior tournaments from a state and national level. These changes affected both the 10 and under portion, as well as the 12-18 yellow ball events. These changes are still in play, and highlighted below.

Navigating your way through the USTA can be difficult, especially for parents that are new to the game, or those that have their first child going through the system. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, hopefully this page will help in navigating some of the options and rules of the USTA. In Nebraska we are a part of the Missouri Valley section of the USTA, one of 17 sections across the country. The Missouri Valley section covers Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. A great resource for parents is the Missouri Valley section page which can be found here.

We have compiled a list of resources that may be helpful reading under the appropriate sections below.

10 and Under Net Gen Pathway

The majority of 10 and Under Play will fall under the Net Generation Junior pathway umbrella. Net Generation is a new initiative from the USTA designed at making the 10 and Under game easier to learn and having that learning take place in a fun and safe environment. More information can be found here

Junior Circuit Events (new): All 10 and under events will fall under the one umbrella. The events are as follows:

  • Junior Team Challenges: A fun, short time frame event (1-2 hours) that has a focus on athletic development and level based matches instead of results:

  • Junior Team Tennis: A league season of junior match play.

  • Junior Circuit: For those that have had experience with the "Smashers" tournaments in previous years the junior circuit will replace these events. 

The youth progression will be tracked on a new system called the Net Generation PlayTracker. A brief intro to this system is available here.

Yellow Ball Tournament Levels

After progressing through (or aging out) of Junior Circuit events, players are eligible to start entering Yellow Ball events. There are a number of different levels of yellow ball events, and something for everyone.

As players move up through levels more Missouri Valley points are on offer, which means better players will be more likely to be involved in the event.

There are a number of resources that are available that may help:


Junior Circuit: New program that utilizes a non-elimination round robin draw format for players of all ages. Designed as a half-day event with the objective of providing a competitive environment guaranteeing individual match play. A USTA Junior Circuit Event can be played with orange, green, or yellow tennis balls.


L7: First opportunity to earn USTA points and gain a ranking. Players are selected from the bottom up, meaning that less experienced players are first selected. Normally small one day events.


L6: The majority of tournaments within Nebraska will be Level 6 tournaments. Continued opportunity to build ranking points. These tournaments will be both a way to build ranking points, as well as serve as a local introduction to tournament play.


L5: This year each district will only be able to offer two L5 tournaments - one open (to anyone in the country) and one closed (Missouri Valley only)


L4: Will begin to feature more players that are travelling across the Missouri Valley district for points and more quality matches. Draw sizes are limited and this is the first level of sectional play.


L3: These tournaments are the highest level of Missouri Valley sectional play. They will be the equivalent to the old Supers and Sweets.


L2 and L1: Tournaments that are dedicated National events. These tournaments are held across the country.


More information on rankings can be found here.

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