In many sports, it is pointless to have anything in your pockets. It mostly will just get in the way, as people are trying to move around and participate. However, in tennis, players find themselves with balls in their pockets almost all the time.
Whenever a person is serving, players will have at least two balls with them. This is to hit the second serve if the first serve is off. Storing that extra ball might differ a bit depending on the outfit.
Where do tennis players keep their balls? The majority of his players keep their extra ball in their pocket. Manufacturers put deep pockets on tennis shorts for this reason. Other storage options include tucking a ball under spandex and using a ball holder on the waist. That is mainly where female tennis players put their tennis balls.
Wearing The Proper Tennis Attire
It might not seem like a huge deal to wear tennis shorts, but some shorts don’t have deep enough pockets to handle a ball. If the ball constantly falls out of the pocket, it’s not only a distraction, but it could cost player points. According to official rules, the first time a ball falls out of the pocket, a player essentially gets a warning. After that, point penalties are a possibility. It is distracting to the other players, and a “let” is called as soon as it happens.
The shorts don’t technically have to be for tennis only, but make sure they have some deep pockets. Of course, the absolute worst thing a player can do is wear shorts that don’t even have pockets at all. In that case, the match is either delayed all the time while the server picks up a ball, or the server is forced to hold onto the other ball with their off-hand. Either way, it is not in any way ideal.
How Female Tennis Players Keep Their Balls
A dress is a pretty common outfit for any tennis player. It dates back to the early days of the sport. The one drawback? Dresses don’t have pockets. Female players get around this mostly by tucking the ball under spandex underneath their dress. Men can technically do this as well, but pockets with shorts are generally a bit easier.
It’s frustrating for some women to warm up to the idea at first, but most can adjust pretty well. It doesn’t provide any hindrance to movement, and it stays pretty secure as well.
Another thing that is great about spandex under the tennis skirt or dress is that it is designed specifically to hold tennis balls. That added bit of protection will make it virtually impossible to lose the tennis balls while moving around. There are, of course, rare occasions where something fluky happens, but other than that, players can stay pretty free to do whatever they want.
Why Do Tennis Players Keep An Extra Ball In The Pocket?
Every time a person serves, they have two opportunities to get the ball in the service box to start a point. To speed up the game and make it a bit more convenient, almost everyone stores an extra ball in their pocket right before they serve. That means if they miss the first serve, they can grab the second one and hit it shortly after.
The only level that this does not happen is at the professional level, but even then, some players are in such a habit that they do it anyway. The only reason why pro players get away with something like this is that they have ball boys who can throw the ball to them whenever it is needed. Players will check the ball and see which one they want to serve with, and then go from there. The ball boys do the maintenance work around the court, so the match isn’t delayed.
As for the third ball in a can, it can be stored in a variety of ways. Some players have all three balls in their possession when they are serving, which means two balls in the pocket at a time. This is a bit riskier since balls can fly out fairly easily, but most shorts are still able to handle that.
In doubles, a partner might hold onto the third ball. This keeps the court clear of any standing balls and speeds the game up a bit as well. In singles, the opposition might hold one of the extra balls, for pretty much the same purpose.
How Tennis Players Choose Balls
At the recreational level, most players are going to just use the first one they grab. It doesn’t make that much of a difference, and the other one is used for the second serve anyway.
At the highest level, players examine the balls to see which one they want to use. Most will use a tennis ball that has the least amount of fluff for the first serve because that might give them just a little bit extra speed on the ball. Since the balls are replaced so frequently, they are always pretty lively. However, a long rally or two might do some damage to a tennis ball, slowing it down more and more until it is no longer in use.
There is, of course, issues where the ball might start to get a little bit gross because of poor conditions. Specifically, clay courts can make a tennis ball look like it has been through a lot and just a short amount of time. When that is the case, players tend to use the balls that look a little newer each time. Everything starts to be a little more standard after a few points, and it no longer is an issue.
Dealing With Wet Tennis Balls
Whether balls are wet due to rain or sweat, there is nothing fun about playing tennis with wet balls. Some people might not realize that balls in a pocket might be doing more harm than good. This is especially true if the clothing is extremely wet.
When that happens, there are a few different solutions. For starters, putting spare balls out of the way will let them dry out a bit during play. It might not be a huge difference-maker, but it beats being in a wet pocket.
Another solution is to constantly rotate between the three balls. If a first serve goes in three or more times in a row, that wet ball becomes soaked if it is sitting in the pocket. Try to rotate the balls as much as possible, or one will end up being extremely wet.
Other Tennis Ball-Carrying Solutions
There are tennis ball waist clips that a person can attach to their clothes if they want to separate the ball from their pockets or spandex. More often than not, women use this with skirts or dresses. The problem with that is the ball is usually exposed, and it might hinder a player who is hitting a certain shot.
The ball can also be tucked underneath spandex on the off arm or upper body. Again, most people refrain from this because it might hinder their movement and overall play. Not only that, but players are less likely to have spandex on their upper body unless it is cold outside.
Find a Solution & Stick With It
Most tennis players will find a solution that works for them and not look back. Once a pair of shorts is identified as not having deep pockets, don’t wear them for tennis again. If spandex works best, make sure to invest in a few pairs so one is always clean.
With one less thing to worry about, players can focus more on their game. No one wants to have to worry about the other ball when the point is being played out.