Our Tennis Programs
Little Aces Minor League (Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer)

An exciting tennis program where yougsters aged 6 to 16 play against others of similar ability in a team environment.

 

What is Little Aces Minor League?

The Little Aces Minor League is a tennis program that provides participants with the opportunity to combine practice and play, with a focus on skill development through match play. Games are played using the Kid’s Tennis format, which includes appropriate equipment (based on age and skill level) with corresponding court sizes. The minor league is structured in six divisions, with a unique court set up for each division.

  1. Red Ball, ½ Court (recommended ages 6-8)
  2. Orange Ball, ¾ Court (recommended ages 8-10)
  3. Green Ball, Modified Full Court (recommended ages 8-11)
  4. Green Ball, Full Court (recommended ages 9-11)
  5. Regular Ball, Full Court (recommended ages 10-12)
  6. Tenns Regular Ball, Full Court (recommended ages 13-16)

Players are placed on teams in a manner that ensures teams are of similar strength and the format ensures that players play matches against others of similar ability. Scores are kept and the results are counted towards a team’s overall score to ensure that every participant’s efforts are rewarded.

The league, which is open to the public, runs at the indoor/outdoor facility of the Ontario Racquet Club on Sunday afternoons.

 

Why is the league different from traditional lesson programs?

Historically tennis has been a sport where it is perceived that a fairly high level of skill is required to compete. This led parents to often choose lessons as the method to get their child involved in tennis. This resulted in children often not getting the opportunity to play long after being introduced to the sport, the general feeling is “they aren’t good enough to play yet.”

This minor league concept provides the participant the opportunity to play right away and be part of a team. The minor league introduces tennis as a game, where playing as part of a team is the main focus. Children learn as they play and have fun while improving. As soon as they can start the point with a feed, they can play. This can be accomplished in the first few weeks of the league before official match play begins. Once match play begins the practice portion of each day of the league provides children with basic tips on how to improve their game for match play.

Even though points will be short and technique will not be refined yet, kids will have more fun if they are playing and scoring points for their team. Over time the points will become longer and the technique will develop. Through team play, children will be hooked on tennis and will often be motivated to further develop their skills and seek additional training.

The minor league operates much like a recreational house league and fills the gap between lessons and tournament competition. It serves the greater number of kids who like to play tennis recreationally but in a competitive environment. This is structured similarly to hockey or soccer leagues, where there are playoffs at the end of the season, which gives purpose to the league.

 

Why Parents like it?

Parents like it because they see that (1) their kids are playing tennis with their friends and other kids; (2) their kids are having fun and smiling; (3) their kids are visibly improving; (4) their kids are gaining confidence; (5) their kids developed a positive competitive spirit in the sport and (6) as their kids progress from one division to another division, this structured progression puts tennis in equal footing with other sports like hockey and soccer, in which there is a clear progression from one level to the next.

 

Why Kids love it?

Kids love it because they (1) get to play right away – there is no more wait in line to hit a ball; (2) make good friends; (3) have fun; and (4) it is awesome to play in a team and get recognized for their efforts.

 

The Minor League Program Structure

The Minor League is an 11-week program which runs 4 seasons in a year; in the Fall, Winter, Spring and summer. Here is the structure of this 11-week program:

Week #1 Assessment of playing levels for the purpose of establishing balanced teams.
Week #2 Re-grouping assessment and an introduction to playing format.
Week #3  Scrimmaging. Players will be divided into 4 teams and we’ll do a trial run and re-balancing of teams, if necessary
Weeks #4-9 Regular Season. The league will begin in week 4 with all teams having their distinctive team shirts! Each team will play against each other a total of 2 times over the next 6 weeks.
Week #10 The Play-Offs Begin. The No.1 ranked team will play against the No. 4 ranked team and the No. 2 ranked team will play against the No. 3 ranked team in the semi-finals.
Week # 11 Play-off Finals. Between – the two winning teams of week 10 along with a consolation match between the two losing teams. This will be followed by the awards ceremony (each participant will get a medal) and pizza.

 

Weekly League Playing Format

The Minor League combines practice with match play. with a focus on skill development through match play. Practice is an integral part of the league, as it will provide an opportunity to help the participants improve their ability to perform during their competition stage of the league. Our practice portion of the league is based on the 5 Fundamentals of Kids Tennis as endorsed by Tennis Canada.

Each week two teams will face each other. Each match is scored by a simple 1 point for every point won (1, 2, 3, 4, etc…). Each match result will contribute to the overall score of their team, in other words regardless is a player(s)/team wins or loses their point total in each match will be tallied to determine the overall winner of the dual match. For example, the red team could have 104 points and the blue 100 points, thus the winner would be the red team. This will consist of three rounds of 15-20 min timed matches:

  1. Singles
  2. Singles with a different opponent
  3. Alternate Hit Doubles or Doubles

 

Play-Offs and Awards Ceremony

As in any league competition, we track the weekly results and post the league standings.

The playoffs are the highlight of the league and determine the overall champion team. In the semifinal playoffs (second last week of the program), the team that finishes first will play against the 4th placed team and the 2nd and 3rd place team will play against each other. In the finals, the winning teams will play for the championship and the losing teams will play for the 3rd and 4th place.

The match play format during the playoffs is the same as the regular season format.

The awards ceremony will take place immediately following the championship play-off matches. All the players’ participation and improvement over the course of the league is recognized. Each kid will get a medal. Additional awards may be given to the most improved player, sportsmanship, etc. The awards ceremony will conclude with a pizza party to celebrate the end of the league.

 

For Spring 2019 Season Program Guide and Registration, click here.

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