Junior Tennis Players: How much practice ?


This is a question a lot of parents ask, with many different answers from coaches and other players.  Below is the current ITF guidelines and how much the current ITF No1 Junior trained up to now.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) recommendation for junior players:

For 6-8 years olds:  3-4 sessions a week, each session no longer than 45 minutes. Group lessons, practice on mini court. 50% tennis – 50% other sports. Soccer, handball, basketball, swimming, etc.
For 9-11 years olds: 1 hour, 3-4 times a week. 70% tennis – 30% other sport.
For 12-14 years olds: 2-3 hours a day, 4-5 times a week of group lessons. 85% tennis – 15% other sport.
For 15-16 year old (intermediate level): 3-4 hours of training a day, 4-5 times a week.
For 16-18 year old (advanced level): 3-4 hours a day, 5-6 times a week.
Approximate number of tournaments per year (singles & doubles): for intermediate players: 15 – 20, for advanced players: 20 – 25.  Rest for 1 – 2 days after each tournament.

Filip Peliwo‘s Background

I started playing tennis at five years old.  My dad is a recreational player and I would hit balls against a wall while he played with his friends.  I only started playing on a regular basis at age 7 or 8, and really got serious about training when I was 10 or 11.  By that time I was playing or practicing maybe three hours a day, with some fitness drills on top of that.  My dad was my coach until I turned 15; after that I started working with coaches from Tennis Canada at the National Training Center in Montreal.  A typical day is 4 hours on the court and 2 hours of fitness, though that can vary depending on what we’re focusing on.

Let’s do a little math, add up all the hours, and see where Filip stacks up against Malcolm Gladwell’s famous “10,000” hours theory:

Filip Peliwo

“Weekend Warrior” (Age 5-8):  3 years x (approximately) 2 hours on court per week x 50 weeks = 300 hours

“Competitive player” (Age 8-11): 3 years x (approximately) 10 hours on court per week x 50 weeks = 1500 hours

“National-level junior” (Age 11-15): 4 years x 20 hours on court per week x 50 weeks = 4000 hours

“World-Class junior” (Age 15-18): 3 years x 24 hours on court per week x 50 weeks = 3600 hours

Total: 9400 hours of tennis-specific training accumulated by age 18

If Gladwell’s conclusion that 10,000 hours of focused practice is enough for someone to achieve world-class performance in a given discipline, we can see that the theory holds pretty true here. (http://indecentxposure.com/grind/152878f7fb57e00a0dc07875529bdd743aa18a39/ )