Junior Interclub

How Interclub Works

Interclub competitions are where junior club members compete in teams against teams from other tennis clubs in Wellington city (or greater Wellington region for Regional Grade).

Teams. Juniors are grouped into girls and boys teams with others of similar skill levels, though we also keep friends and established teams together. 

Team managers. Each team is assigned a team manager. This is usually a parent/guardian or other relative of one of the team members.

Pre-Xmas and Post-Xmas Competitions. There are two competitions each tennis season (Spring-Summer-Autumn) - pre-Xmas and post-Xmas competitions. Pre-Xmas competitions are held in School Term 4 (starting mid-October) and post-Xmas in School Term 1 (starting early February). 

Grades. Each team is entered into a girls or boys grade for the pre-Xmas competitions. All the teams in that grade will have similar skill levels. The grades range from Hot Shots (novice) grade, through D, C, B, A, and Regional. There may also be sub-grades such as D1, D2, D3. The two teams with the highest number of points in each grade at the end of the Pre-Xmas competitions will move up a grade for the Post-Xmas competitions. Similarly, the two teams with the lowest number of points will move down a grade. There may be some adjustment to this if there are new teams for the Post-Xmas competitions.

Contests. The teams in each grade (or sub-grade) compete against each other in a series of contests during each competition. There are usually eight teams in a grade (or sub-grade) which means each team will usually have seven contests (or rounds), one against each of the other teams in the grade (or sub-grade).

Contest times. Contests are held weekly on Saturday mornings (for Girls Hot Shots grade and Regional grades) or Sunday mornings (for all other girls and boys grades). Hot Shots/D/C grade competitions start at 8:30am, Regional competitions at 9am, and B/A grades at 10:30am.

Contest formats. At each contest, four members from one team will compete against four members of the other team in a series of singles and doubles matches. Each team member will play one singles match and one doubles match. Thus, there will be six matches (four singles and two doubles) at each contest. Team managers can play more than four team members at a contest if they wish.

Match formats.  For Hot Shots, D, and C grades, matches are best of 13 games (first to 7 games) with a conventional tiebreaker at 6-6. For B and A grades, matches are best of two short sets (first to 4 games with a tie-break at 4-4).  If one set each after the first two sets, a super tie-break is played (first to 10 points). For Regional grade, matches are best to two standard sets (first to 6 games with a tie-break at 6-6).  If one set each after the first two sets, a super tie-break is played (first to 10 points). Short dueces are played for singles and double matches in all grades.

Umpiring. All matches are self-umpired, unless either player requests an adjudicator. Self-umpired means the players call the lines on their side of the court only. Balls should be called in if any doubt. If a player feels he/she is being unfairly treated, they may ask one of the team managers for an adjudicator.

Venues. Contests are played either at Kilbirnie Tennis Club, the host club of the opposing team, The Renouf Tennis Centre, or Hataitai Park. The matches will be played over 2, 3, or 4 courts depending on the availability of courts at the venue.

Draws. Each tennis club Junior Convenor submits the club's teams to Tennis Central. The draws are prepared by Tennis Central and published around two weeks before the start of each competition.

Team size. We aim to have five juniors in each team, even though usually only four play at each contest. The five players provide cover for injuries and unavailability of team members. Team managers will cycle the team around for each contest so that each team member plays a similar number of contests per competition.

Player rankings. The results of each contest are recorded in the Tennis NZ Match Hub system. The wins and losses of every player are used to derive his/her grade and ranking (with respect to all other NZ interclub and torunament players). The club will use these rankings to help place juniors into teams. You can see player rankings here.

More information. More information on the junior competitions can be found in the junior competition rules and conditions document here.


There are additional fees to play in interclub competitions - around $25 per year. The fees partly cover registration and ball costs. The Club Treasurer will send payment requests to parents/guardians of junior interclub players before the start of competitions. The fees are payable once teams have been registered. We are not able to issue refunds after registration. 

How to sign up

Around six weeks prior to the start of interclub competitions, our Junior Convenor will e-mail all parents asking if they would like to sign up their children to play interclub.  Sign-up instructions will be included in the e-mail. E-mail the Junior Convenor if you do not receive a sign-up e-mail.

Parents can also sign up a group of children, possibly forming a complete team, if they wish. Contact the Junior Convenor to discuss.

Is your child ready?

Our coaches monitor progress of children attending the coaching sessions and will let the Junior Convenor know when children are ready to start playing interclub. The Junior Convenor will make contact with the parents of these children. Parents are encouraged to talk to our coaches if they would like to know more about their child's skills levels and how to advance those skills.

Generally, we encourage children to play interclub when they can:

  • judge where the ball is going (even though court coverage is limited)
  • can sustain a short rally of slow pace with other players of the same ability
  • know how to serve (even if successful less than 20% of the time).

This is equivalent to an NTRP rating of between 2.5 and 3.0.

Information for Parents/Guardians of Junior Team Members

Teams: Your Junior Convenor will let you know by e-mail of your team and team manager about two weeks before the start of each competition. Your team manager will be in touch with you to arrange a schedule of play during the competition.

Draws. Competition draws are published here, also about two weeks before the start of competitions. The draw will include the dates and venues of all contests and their start times.

Competition start dates. Pre-Xmas competitions usually start mid-October and post-Xmas competitions start early February. No contests are usually scheduled over Labour weekend and Waitangi weekend.

Arrival time. Your team manager will advise of start times for each contest and required arrival time for warm-up. Please support your team manager by arriving on or before the requested time. If you are unavoidably delayed, be sure to let your team manager know in advance to avoid stressing them out. If not able to attend, please give your team manager 24 hours notice so that an alternative player can be found.

Commitment for season.  Support your team manager and Junior Convenor by making your child available to play as much as possible during the season, barring injuries and illness. Finding fill-ins is never easy.

Interclub Handbook. The Tennis Central Junior Interclub Rules and Conditions document is available online here. This contains useful information, including guidelines for parents, coaches, and spectators.

Club membership. If you haven’t already registered you child as member of Kilbirnie Tennis Club, please register them online as soon as possible here.

FREE Novice Interclub Training. For all children new to interclub or in the Hot Shots grades, there will be free coaching during the interclub season. This coaching serving, rallying, scoring, and strategies. All novice players are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Information for Team Managers

We appreciate the time and effort team managers put in to make interclub enjoyable for our junior teams. We hope team managers also find it rewarding and fun. Here is some information to help team managers with team management.

Draw. Tennis Central will e-mail you when the draw for the pre-Xmas or post-Xmas competition is published. This will usually be a couple of weeks before the first contest. The draw will include the dates and venues of all contests.

Competition start dates. Pre-Xmas competitions usually start mid-October and post-Xmas competitions start early February. No contests are usually scheduled over Labour weekend and Waitangi weekend.

Team contact details. The junior convenor will e-mail team managers with the contact details of team members and other team managers around the same time the draw is published.

Team size. Most teams have five regular players in them. Only four play on in a match-day (contest) though. The extra player is to make it easier for team managers to field a full set of four players for each contest when someone is away or ill.

Team schedule. It is a good idea to prepare a schedule before the first contest based on everyone’s availability. Each team member should play a similar number of games during the competition.

Warm-up time. As with all sports, tennis players need time to get their muscles operating well. It is therefore recommended that you ask your team to arrive at least 15 minutes before each contest so that they can warm up with some team practice. 

Reserve Players. Occasionally you may not have enough regular players to make a set of four players for a contest. This is when you can call on reserves. The team contact details e-mailed by the Junior Convenor will also include juniors who are able to play as reserves, as well as contact details of other team managers. You can use any junior club member, including spare players from other teams at the same or lower grade. Girls from same or lower grade can also play in boys teams, and vice versa, though boys are usually very reluctant to play in girls teams. Feel free to contact other team managers for spare players.

Team communication. As some parents don't seem to look at their e-mails regularly, werecommend that you don't rely on this for team communication. Txts usually get a better response and a Whatsapp (or Viber) group for your team may be even better.

Interclub Handbook. The Tennis Central junior Competition Rules and Conditions document can be found here. It includes:
- competition rules
- what to do if wet weather
- ordering your team by merit
- player etiquette
- guidelines for parents, coaches, and spectators
- team manager duties
- match formats
- venues
- recording results

Team names. Colours are usually used for team names.

Player eligibility. Please ensure that all Kilbirnie players are Kilbirnie Tennis Club members.

Tennis balls. The Junior Convenor will arrange balls for you before the first contest. The balls will be placed in the clubrooms for you to pick up. The Hot Shots teams receive two cans of low compression Tecnifibre Green Dot balls for the pre-Xmas season and another two cans for the post-Xmas season. Grades A-D teams receive two cans of Tecnifibre X-One balls for each competition. As the X-Ones slowly depressurise, hold off opening the second can until after the 3rd or 4th round. Let the Junior Convenor know if your team loses too many balls and you don’t have enough to last until the end of the competition - some used balls from the senior competitions can be supplied.

Marking tennis balls. To ensure return of your balls at the end of each match, it is recommended that you mark your balls when you open a can. This will help distinguish your balls from those of the opposing team.

Courts. The Junior Convenor will book courts 3-5 for your Kilbirnie Tennis Club your home games. The draw will only indicate courts 4&5 are available but you can spread over the three courts. This means you can play one doubles and two singles games at the same time. If you need to reschedule a home game (perhaps because the scheduled game has been rained off), let the Junior Convenor know and he/she will book the courts for you at Kilbirnie. You can check bookings here. You can also re-schedule rained-off games at The Renouf Tennis Centre (outdoor courts only). This may allow you to get a time that better suits you (the Kilbirnie courts are heavily booked over the weekend during the interclub season). There is no charge for re-scheduled interclub games at The Renouf. You can book courts at the Renouf by calling the Pro Shop at the Renouf (04 384 6294) and stating that you wish to book courts for a rescheduled interclub game. You will need to state the competition (Junior), your grade, and the names of the clubs competing. Let your junior convenor know if you have any problems with this.

Hataitai Courts. Some games may be scheduled at Hataitai Park. These have been booked for you by Tennis Central. If anyone is on the courts when you arrive, just nicely let them know that the courts have been booked for junior interclub and ask if they could move to other courts.

Results sheets and entry of results. Results sheets and instructions on how to enter results into Match Hub can also be found here.

Magnetic Scoreboard discs and overlays. These can be found in the cupboard next to the womens bathroom in the clubrooms. Remember to return them after use.

Vouchers. Sometimes certificate/vouchers will be available to award to your team. These will be for such things as “Best Sportsmanship”, “Most Professional”, “Team Mates Choice”, and “Best Effort”. Team managers can award these to their team at their discretion.

Access to clubrooms. The clubrooms will be open from around 8:20am on Sundays for Hot Shots coaching. Let everyone know (including those from the opposition teams) that they can get water and use the bathrooms. If you would like access at an earlier time, you can also get an access card. A deposit is required for a card though, which is fully refundable on return of the card.

FREE Novice Interclub Training. For all players new to interclub or in the Hot Shots grades, additional FREEcoaching is available. This coaching is delivered by our professional PlanitPro coaches and will cover serving, rallying, scoring, and strategies. All novice players are welcome and encouraged to attend. For Hot Shots team managers, please do encourage your team to attend these.

Rules of Tennis

Latest rules of tennis from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).