The green ball is fast approaching come January 1. Thankfully my daughter is turning 11 in February, so the new green ball policy only affects her for one month. She was invited to the satellite masters in late January but declined because she doesn't want to play with the green ball. I know quite a few outstanding 7, 8, and 9-year-old kids who will no longer be able to play to their full ability. The speed and power they developed will be neutralized, by design, by the green ball. What do they do now? Are they really supposed to put aside all the hours of training with the currently-mandated yellow ball and backtrack to the green ball, only to have to go right back to the yellow ball at a later date? Lack of fairness aside, how does this aid the development of some of the most promising kids? Is having them play with 12-year-olds really the answer? If I have a talented 10-year-old and she plays with the green ball for one year, then goes back to the yellow ball when she turns 11, will that player really be better off than if they had just continued with the yellow ball? Does anybody really believe that? In talking to our USTA section junior competition leader, I tried to drum home the point that the fatal flaw in the policy is that it is age-based rather than skill-based. It assumes that every 11-year-old can handle the yellow ball but no 10-year-old can. Starting on January 1, we will see 12U novice tournaments played with a yellow ball, and 10-year-old open players using a green ball! Interestingly, when watching Tennis Channel Academy do a report on the USTA Development Center in Carson, CA, I didn't see any of the coaches using the green ball with the young kids. Could it be that the coaches are putting the priority on skill rather than age?