Why are you making changes to the Competition Age Group system?
The changes to Competition Age Groups follow an extensive consultation with key stakeholders (including parents, players, coaches and officials) in developing a five-year strategy for competitions beginning in 2019. Its aim is to make competitions more relevant, accessible, welcoming and enjoyable for all players, and is aligned to the LTA’s vision of opening up tennis to many more players. The research revealed that the current age group system is confusing and difficult to calculate for all involved.
The proposal to change the age group system to year of birth to make it easier to understand and calculate received strong support during the consultation and was highlighted as one of the top three priorities to be improved.
The changes also have the benefit of aligning our competition age group system with international tennis selection methods. This is paramount to enabling a seamless and joined up performance pathway from club to international level. The current age group system means that there are national champions who are too old to compete at the same age internationally. This change will mean our national domestic competitions can be reinvigorated as a crucial step on the pathway to international tennis.
Our age groups also need to allow flexibility to support the progression of players. In the current system, there has been minimal flexibility, so player passports have been issued by the Performance Team to a small number of players at 10U age group primarily. This process has often led to queries from players and parents regarding how they have been allocated, so with our new age group systems there will be more flexibility to enable players to compete in the next age group up.