I believe that all junior parents and coaches need to read this. If you have a kid, any kid, that is going to play in 12 and under competition, this will effect you (eventually). This is only for the NorCal section, but it seems like it is going to gain steam and be nationwide. I (my kids) are a freaking guinea pigs for this nonsense. Please see linked PDF: http://assets.usta.com/assets/635/15/10andUnderTennisRatingsFlyer1-2-131.PDF There are three stages of the Junior Development Pathway; Red, Orange and Green, each with their own court size and type of ball. If you are new to competition you will be in the ﬁrst level (Red 2, Orange 3, or Green 3) of the color you are age eligible for. After completing the requirements listed underneath the ball in each level you advance to the following level. If you do not complete the requirements in a level and are no longer age eligible to participate you will automatically move into the next color. What is the 12 & Under Pathway? The new 12 & under pathway is the new initiative by USTA to help students progress from red, orange, green, and yellow ball. Based on a players age, not level they will start playing that color and have to complete certain requirements to move to the next level. Red ball is 8 & under, Orange ball is 10 & under, and Green is 11 and older. What are the requirements to move to the next level? All players that didn't play Junior Team Tennis or a Sanctioned Tournament in 2012 will be considered a new player. The lucky one's that are returning players may choose the level they want to play at. If you are considered a new player then you will start at Red Ball for 8 & unders. To move to the next level you need to complete 2 seasons of junior team tennis, 8 play days, and 2 team tournaments. New 9 & 10 Year olds will play at the Orange level and need to complete 2 play days, 6 tournaments, and 2 seasons of Junior Team Tennis, while finishing top 4 at the sectional championships or winning 2 tournaments to move to green ball. New 11 & 12 year olds will play at the Green level and need to complete 2 play days, 6 tournaments, and two seasons of Junior Team Tennis, while finishing top 4 at the sectional championships or winning 2 tournaments to move to regular yellow balls. Will the Pathway be enforced? Yes the pathway will be enforced. Each player will have a box by their name on the USTA website stating what level they are eligible for. What are the problems with the Pathway? Personally, I don't love the colored balls, but I can live with it. The biggest thing I dislike about the pathway is the requirements. It takes all the power out of the player, parent, and coach to decide what is best for the individual. After all tennis is an individual sport. What if your son or daughter is too strong for a level or starts at the perfect level but improves quickly with enthusiasm? It takes about 6-12 months to progress through all the requirements. It is demoralizing for students not to be rewarded for their hardwork. What if my son or daughter is 8 years old and plays orange or green already? It doesn't matter as they system goes by age not level. They will start at the bottom of red. Another problem with the pathway is that USTA doesn't have a system of tournaments and Junior Team Tennis in place. This is the pilot year, which means that we are all guinea pigs. Most of the events and systems in place are piece mailed together as they figure things out just like this requirement. ...................... Are you guys fine with this? Forcing your players play certain levels until they play a season of Junior Team Tennis at all three balls? Maybe having you kid still playing Green Dot at 12 years old? I'm freaking pissed.