Explaining How the UTR Sports Color Ball Rating Works

Explaining How the UTR Sports Color Ball Rating Works

Earlier this year, UTR Sports (formerly Universal Tennis) introduced the first-ever color ball rating for 12-and-under players who play red, orange, and green ball. The CBR Rating (Color Ball Rating) ranges from red (R1) to green (G3) to emphasize the progression from color balls to yellow ball and, ultimately, UTR Rating.

How the UTR Sports Color Ball Rating Works

UTR Sports’ goal is to make the sport more accessible, and the new CBR Rating will help inspire a love of tennis in all young players and put the right tennis ball in their hands. The CBR Rating was researched and piloted in conjunction with Tennis Australia, which refers to the rating as Colour Ball Rating (as does the United Kingdom and Canada).

The CBR Rating is the first-ever rating for color ball rating. Other sports like golf and table tennis don't have a progression ball for young, beginning players.

What is color ball tennis?

Color ball tennis, also known as progression ball tennis, creates a positive learning experience for young players, allowing them to develop their skills and develop through level-based play while using right-sized equipment, different colored tennis balls, court sizes, and formats. For example, for red ball tennis, the court is much smaller and the tennis ball is bigger and softer than a standard yellow ball (red tennis balls are bigger and softer with a gentler, consistent bounce).

Young boy hits orange color ball

How does CBR Rating work?

The rating ranges from red (R1) to orange (O1 or O2) and, finally, green (G1, G2, or G3). The levels refer to the colored balls and each color reflects a harder, heavier ball, with the yellow color being a regular tennis ball. Players progress from red ball toward yellow ball by playing often, playing well, and competing in the next color ball level when they are ready. Yellow ball is a reference to standard tennis played with a yellow tennis ball (a regular tennis ball) on a regulation-size court.

Want to get rated or get your child rated? Click here.

How do players progress?

Progression through the colors is dependent on matches played and when a player is ready to move up. The youngest and newest players will get started with red balls. Players can play up or down, and UTR Sports doesn’t restrict movement. So, for example, a player with a CBR Rating of G1 can go down and play orange ball again, and a player with a CBR Rating of G2 can move over to yellow ball.

Transitioning between ball colors is contingent on player matches for each ball color. The goal is to make it to yellow, traditional balls.

To transition from red to orange ball, once players have their first match result from an orange ball event, they will transition to O1.

Young girl in orange shirt hits orange ball with racquet

From an orange ball to a green ball, most players will go through a trial period, an important time for development. When starting the transition between the orange and green balls, the rating algorithm will provide you with a “trial period” of five matches. Players can play green ball, it will not impact the rating for the first five matches. On the sixth green ball match, it will count towards the green level rating. In other words, the trial period will end and the player will enter the Color Ball Rating of G1, G2, or G3.

What is the goal of CBR Rating?

The goal of young players is to eventually play with yellow balls on a regular-sized court, and get a UTR Rating. But the CBR Rating and UTR Rating are two different ratings. Once players receive a UTR Rating on their player profile, they will not go back to having a CBR Rating.

Young boy poses with trophy and orange ball after winning tournament

How do players get started?

To find color ball events, go to the search bar on the web browser or mobile app, select “All Events”. You'll see a new “Ball Type” filter where you can specify for each different color (red, orange, or green ball).

To get a young player his or her CBR Rating, a parent and/or guardian can go to their child's profile page and click the “Get Rated” button. Just answer two simple questions, “Are you a color ball player?” and if yes, the parent will be prompted to answer the following question, “What ball type do you mostly play with currently?” 

Want to learn more about how CBR Rating works? Click here.

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