Many coaches are now teaching young children through the games-based approach to tennis.
This allows children of a young age to quickly start competing. It teaches the fundamentals of the game through emphasis on learning how to rally, court positioning, where to place the ball and how to score.
Children under 10 start playing Mini Tennis, a shortened form of the game using smaller rackets and lower-bouncing balls which allow players to develop good technique and have fun very early on.
Following on from Mini Tennis is Yellow ball, the full court game which young players progress to around the age of 10 or 11.
When your child first starts out the clubs should provide some internal competitions, which could be organised by the coach during lessons, or in the form of mini competitions at the club.
These competitions are designed to get children feeling good about competition, learning to score, experience winning and losing and also develop self confidence to take further steps.
As players progress there are other opportunities available through inter-club competitions and events organised by the local county association.
To take part in LTA sanctioned competitions, players need to have an Aegon British Tennis/Mini Tennis rating, which is a free benefit of British Tennis Membership.
Our Guidelines for Training and Playing offers some good indicators, but you'll need to find what is right for your child - and that of course that will vary. Considering some of the factors below should help you:
Read our guide to getting started in tennis