Explaining How the Universal Tennis Color Ball Rating Works

Explaining How the Universal Tennis Color Ball Rating Works

Earlier this year, 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.

Universal Tennis’ goal is to make the sport more accessible, and the new CBR Rating will help inspire a love of tennis in all young players. 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).

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, court sizes, and formats. For example, for red ball tennis, the court is much smaller and the ball is both bigger and softer than a standard yellow ball.

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). Players progress toward yellow ball by playing often, playing well, and competing in the next color ball level when they are ready.

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. Players can play up or down, and Universal Tennis 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.

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 receives a UTR Rating on their player profie, 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 red, orange or green ball events.

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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