Tennis Ball: What are they?
A tennis ball is a small spherical object used for hitting or serving. They are made from rubber, usually synthetic, with one end flattened like a golf ball and the other rounded at the top. The shape makes it easier to hit them accurately over the net. Most professional players use tennis or squash tops. Other types include basketballs (basketball), baseballs (baseball) and soccers (soccer).
The most common type of tennis ball is the racquetball, which was invented in 1887 by a German inventor named Hermann Wilzinger. He called it a “racquetball” because it resembled a racquet. It is still manufactured today under various names such as “Wilzinger Racquets”, “Willy’s Racquets” and “Racquette”.
Tennis Ball: How do I choose the right one?
There are many different kinds of tennis ball available in the market. Some are designed specifically for cricket, while others may be suitable for any sport. For example, some tennis ball brands have been developed especially for tennis and squash players. Others are just plain old tennis ball brands that can be used in any sport.
When choosing a brand of tennis ball, there is no single way to go about it. You need to consider several factors including:
How often do you play?
What is your level of skill?
How much are you willing to spend?
Tennis ball: How Should the Tennis Ball Feel?
Before choosing a particular brand of tennis ball, it is also important to consider what it feels like. You should find a brand that best suits your skill and taste, otherwise you might not enjoy the experience as much.
Some people prefer softer, shorter-lasting tennis ball brands. Others prefer longer-lasting tennis ball types. You need to make up your mind about what you want, since there are pros and cons to each type of ball.
Tennis ball: What kind of skin do you have?
Many people also choose the brand of tennis ball based on their own personal skin type. Certain skin types may react better to certain substances. Some people’s skin may be sensitive to certain chemicals or dyes used in some types of tennis ball. You should experiment with different types until you find one that agrees with your skin.
Tennis ball: Are you left-handed or right-handed?
Some types of tennis ball are better for left-handed or right-handed players. Some people are naturally more comfortable using their stronger hand, so they need a ball type that fits their dominant hand. Other people do not feel comfortable unless they use a ball designed for their non-dominant hand. It is important to find a brand that fits your playing style.
Tennis ball: Are you a professional, hobbyist or novice?
There are different types of tennis ball for different types of people. If you are a professional tennis player, you may want to look for long-lasting high-quality tennis ball brands. These types of ball are often more expensive than recreational ones but they last much longer and are more durable.
If you are a hobbyist or novice, you may want to look for cheaper types of tennis ball. They are less durable and don’t last as long but they are also much cheaper, so it evens out.
Tennis ball: How fast is your serve?
Another thing you may want to think about is how fast your serve is. If you have a really fast serve, you will want to get a type of tennis ball that can handle high speeds. Slower type tennis ball brands may not be as suitable for people with fast serves because they don’t travel as far and are more prone to falling quickly after being hit.
Tennis ball: Do you play for fun or competition?
There are also different types of tennis ball for different reasons. Some people like to go overboard and collect different types of tennis ball for fun. These types of ball can be very expensive and are usually just kept in a display case. There is really no reason to buy this type of ball unless you are a collector and have money to burn.
For most people, competition grade tennis ball brands are the best to buy. These types of ball are designed to fly straight, fast and far. This makes them perfect for people who play competitive tennis matches. Since these types of ball are designed to be used in real matches, some people buy them to train with; although there are cheaper alternatives that work just as well for training.
Tennis ball: Do you play on clay, grass or hard court?
There are also different types of tennis ball for different surfaces. Clay courts require a special type of tennis ball that is much denser than other types of ball. The weigh of the ball also plays a factor in how far it will go when hit. Heavier tennis ball types will go farther when hit than lighter ones.
Grassy surfaces require a different type of tennis ball than hard courts. Grass courts are much more slippery than hard courts, so a special type of textured tennis ball is required to give players better grip on the court. Different types of grass will also require different types of tennis ball. For example, clay courts require a much different type of tennis ball than grassy courts.
Do you play on clay, grass or hard surface?
If you play on all three types of surface, you will want to get tennis ball brands that work well on all three types of surfaces. If you play on only one type of surface, you will only need tennis ball brands designed specifically for that type of surface.
Tennis ball: What is your budget?
Of course, the most important thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. Never buy cheap, low-quality tennis ball brands, especially if you are a serious player. You will regret it later, especially when your tennis ball brand decides to explode (yes this happens).
If you are on a tight budget, look for cheaper alternatives. When I was just starting out, I bought cheap, low-quality tennis ball brands and they worked just fine. As I got better, I started noticing I needed a ball that would fly faster and bounce higher. Since the cheaper ball brands wouldn’t work for me anymore, I decided to invest in some better quality ones, and have never looked back since.
Regardless of what type of ball you choose, you will need two of them for each match unless you are playing doubles (in which case you will need at least four).
When you go to the store, you will notice that there are a wide variety of tennis ball brands to choose from. You will also notice that there are different types of ball for different surfaces that you play on (i.e. hard court, grass court, clay court).
Of course, the type of tennis ball brand you buy ultimately comes down to your own personal preference. Some people just like the feel and quality of a certain brand more than another.
Whatever you do, don’t buy the cheapest tennis ball brand at the store (unless of course you are just a casual player). The cheapest brands are the worst quality and are known to break apart easily. Since tennis is a one-on-one sport, you definitely don’t want your tennis ball to break in half while you are trying to hit it over the net.
Tennis will most likely be the only hobby that you will have to constantly buy more gear for. From tshirts and shorts to shoes and socks, you will have to keep on buying more equipment from time to time. Fortunately, you won’t have to buy much when it comes to tennis ball brands. Since you will need at least two of these for each match that you play, the number of tennis ball cans that you buy at one time will be minimal.
As far as price goes, it will depend on the type of tennis ball brand and the number of cans that you buy at one time. The cheapest types of tennis ball brands tend to be the professional grade ones. If you buy these in a small can (i.e.
3 cans or less), they will usually be on the more expensive side. The larger the can, the cheaper they get (i.e. buying in bulk).
There really isn’t a time when it is best to buy tennis ball brands. Since you will always need at least two of them for each match that you play, you will have to make a trip to the store anyway. So, buying them at any time is fine.
One thing that you might want to do is keep track of how many tennis ball cans you have and when you need to buy more. Since different types of ball are used on different types of surface (i.e hard court, grass court, clay court), it might be best to keep a few cans of each type of ball that you play on most often. That way, all you have to do is go to the store when you are running low on a particular type of ball.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy the most expensive ball on the market. Since this is just a recreational hobby for you, the cheaper ones will work just fine. Any money that you save can be put towards your entry fees at tournaments or lessons.
Gloves are an absolute must if you plan on playing tennis seriously. They help protect your hands, which will come in handy if you decide to play for a long period of time or play on a surface that has rough terrain (i.e. rocks, gravel).
There are different types of gloves available in the market. Many of them are made specifically for training, regular matches, and tournaments. If you are still on a tight budget, then the training gloves will work just fine. They are cheaper and are more than adequate for recreational players.
If you can afford it, then buying a pair of gloves designed for regular matches would be a good idea. The only difference between these and the training gloves is that these are usually slightly thicker to provide even more protection for your hands.
Tournament gloves are basically just like regular match gloves except they cost more money. Unless you are in a tournament, there is no real need to wear these.
Most gloves will come in a pair, but you will usually be able to buy left-handed gloves or right-handed gloves separately. Since almost all of the population is right-handed, most people don’t tend to buy the left-handed gloves. If you are left-handed however, you will definitely want to consider buying these since they were made to fit your dominant hand.
Most gloves will have a tag on them that will let you know what size they are. Some will even have the term “FULL” printed on them to let you know that it has been fully stuffed with horsehair. This may sound rather painful, but it actually provides more cushioning and padding for your hands while you play.
Regardless of which pair you choose, you definitely want to keep a few pairs of gloves around for when you need them. Once again, it will depend on how often you play and on what surface. In any case, you will ALWAYS need a pair of gloves for every match that you play and will never be able to play without them.
These are things that you probably won’t need until later on in your tennis playing “career”. For example, most players don’t purchase a radar gun or a heart monitor until they are training for competitions and such. Most of these are rather expensive but they provide an extra edge that can give you an advantage over your competition.
Bags: There are a lot of different bags out there that are specifically made for tennis. Some are just regular duffel bags while others have features such as rain covers or tee holders. It’s really up to you to decide which ones would be the most beneficial for you, but here is some more information about each one so you can make a better decision.
Tennis Equipment Bags
Besides the normal duffel bag, there are also a few bags that are designed especially for tennis players. These have a few different features than your average duffel bag and may be more beneficial to you. Here is some more information about each one.
This is just a regular duffel bag, except it has a few pockets on the outside of it that can fit a rolled up jacket as well as a tennis racket! This bag is a little bit more pricey than your regular duffel bag, but it’s really up to you to decide if the pockets are worth the extra money.
A very large bag that has padded shoulder straps and a pull out handle in the middle for you to be able to carry it like a backpack. There are also several pockets on the outside of it for you to store your gear as well as an extra compartment on the bottom for you to keep your shoes in. This bag is great for people who don’t feel like carrying a bag or for people who have a lot of stuff.
This is the perfect bag for people who don’t have that much tennis equipment but still want a bag with more than one compartment. It’s rather small and has one main compartment, but it also has a couple of smaller elasticized pockets on the outside of it. These are great for storing tennis ball containers, but you can really put anything in them that you want.
This is the most basic bag that you can get. It is a medium sized bag with one main compartment and no outside pockets at all. It’s really up to you to decide if you want to spend extra money on the other bags or if you are fine with just a simple duffel bag such as this one.
Tennis Rackets: Now that you have a bag to put your equipment in, you’re going to need some actual equipment to put in it. You already have a racquet, so now you just need a few tennis shoes, socks, shorts, t-shirts, and undergarments.
Socks: You only need one or two pairs of socks. Yes, girls, I’m talking to you too. Tennis socks have extra padding in the sole as well as the top part next to your feet. If you plan on playing a lot of tennis, you may want to buy 3 or 4 pairs, but one or two should do for now.
Tennis Shoes: You’re going to need a pair of these no matter what because you can’t play tennis without them. You can choose from a variety of different styles, but the cheap ones that cost less than $30 usually do the trick. However, if you are going to be playing a lot of tennis, it would probably be best to buy two pairs: one to wear and one to switch into when the first pair gets soaked with sweat (which they inevitably will).
Undergarments: You’re going to need at least one or two bras and a few pairs of underwear. Girls, feel free to stock up, you’re going to need them. And you’ll need a decent sports bra as well to keep those things in place.
Shorts: You’re also going to need a pair of shorts. These too come in a variety of styles and prices, but the cheapest kind that I saw at my local sporting goods store were these mesh shorts that looked like they would breathe really well, and, like the undergarments, feel free to buy multiple pairs.
T-shirts: You’re going to need a few of these. It is best if they are crew cut or v-neck and quite snug since you will be sweating quite a bit. Again, feel free to buy multiple shirts.
Now that you have an idea of what you’ll need, you’re probably wondering how much all this is going to cost you. Well, the shoes and socks are usually around $20 or less, the bag is about $25, undergarments are $15, shorts are about $30, t-shirts are about $15 or less, and a pair of actual tennis racket equipment is going to be about $80. So all in all, you’re looking at a total cost of around $210, or, in other words, less than one third of the price of that new smart phone.
So congratulations! You’ve now saved yourself enough money to buy a nice new phone, AND you have more than enough to spend on tennis lessons or at your local tennis club.
So now that you know what equipment you need and how much it will cost, the only other thing left to decide is where you’re going. If you’re planning on taking lessons, your decision has already been made for you. Just go to the tennis court or facility that offers lessons. However, if you’re planning on playing at a court or facility where you won’t be taking lessons, you’ll have to decide whether you want to go to a public one or a private one.
In other words, whether you want to use public courts or club or private ones. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.
First of all, public courts are obviously the cheaper alternative. There is usually a court near most towns or cities. However, they can get pretty crowded on the weekends and during the spring when it gets warm out and during the summer. I would also recommend joining your local tennis club if there is one since it’s a great place to play and socialize with other people who like to play tennis, especially if you’re new to the area and don’t know many people.
They usually have better facilities than public courts as well. So if you’re in the market for a new bucket, I would definitely recommend visiting one of these places. They also usually have lessons available, but as I said before, make sure that the classes you take are taught by a skilled pro or you could end up wasting your time and money. Also, many of these clubs have different courts with different surfaces. For example, some might have hard courts, some clay, some grass, and so on. You should try to join a club that has a variety of different courts so you can practice on the surface you’re most familiar with.
Also, private facilities are another alternative. If you’re very lucky, you might live in a gated community that has it’s own private tennis facilities. If you’re not that lucky, or you just like the idea of getting to know your neighbors, you might have a neighborhood club that you can join. Once again, these places tend to have better facilities than public courts.
Also, if you’re really lucky, you might live in a mansion.
It should go without saying that these private facilities are going to be more expensive than their public counterparts. Not only are you paying for the privilege of using their facilities and equipment, you’re also paying for a small part of the mortgage on the place. So it’s not uncommon to see annual fees in the hundreds or thousands of dollars for private clubs. However, if you can afford it and you find a place that you really like, it could be worth it to you.
That’s entirely up to you and your bank account.
As a beginner, you might be tempted to try to save money by buying the cheapest ball you can find. I can tell you from personal experience that this is not a good idea.
Because of their low price and thin cover, cheap tennis can be very hard. Not only will it hurt your arm if you’re not used to the lower quality ball, but it won’t have as much bounce even when new.
There are many different types of tennis ball brands, but the main ones are:
1. Nitaku – Made in China.
These are the cheapest and least desirable type of tennis ball.
2. Penn – Made in U.
S.A.. They’re better than Nitakus, but still not great.
3. Dunlop – Made in Malaysia.
These are decent practice/training ball and pretty durable, but they don’t have the best bounce.
4. Wilson – Made in U.
S.A.. These are a good quality practice/training ball and they have a pretty good bounce to them.
5. Slazenger – Made in U.
K.. These are also a good quality practice/training ball and they have a pretty good bounce to them.
6. Babolat – Made in France.
These are premium quality practice/training ball and they have the best bounce of all the brands.
Personally, I always buy the cheapest Nitaku ball I can find because it’s the best value for my money. Sometimes you’ll get a dud and the ball will explode after an hour of play, but that only happens like 1 in every 12 or 15 boxes, so you aren’t really losing that much.
Regardless of which ball you settle on, you’ll still want to pick up some pills or patches to help soften your arm up after playing.
Now that you have all your gear, it’s time to choose a club to join. There are quite a few different clubs in the area, so you’re going time to do some research and narrow it down.
When I was looking around for a club, there were several factors that I considered before choosing one:
1. Price –
How much does it cost to join the club? Are there monthly dues, or is it pay-as-you-go? How much is court time? What about the price of renting a racquet? What about shoes and other equipment?
This can get very expensive, so you need to make sure you’re choosing a club within your price range.
2. Facility –
Is the facility clean and well kept? Are there showers for after you play? Is the parking lot well-lit and not full of potholes? If you’re a woman, does it smell like testosterone in the clubhouse?
3. Atmosphere –
Does the club have a friendly, welcoming atmosphere? Do most of the members seem like fun people that you’d be happy to meet and play with? Or is the club socially cliquey and reserved?
Sometimes it’s better to be on the outside looking in…
Factors – Is the club involved in any competition or team events? Is the club part of a league? What is the average skill level of the other members?
Here in the Washington, D.C. area, I would say that there are three major clubs: Sport and Health, The Washington Tennis and Fitness Club, and The Arlington Tennis and Swim Club.
I joined the Arlington Tennis and Swim Club because it was closest to my house and met most of my requirements.
The main things I like about the ATTAC Club are that it’s clean, the showers work, there are no pesky cliques within the club (and everyone seems to be friendly with one another), and most of all: The price is right!
The only thing I really don’t like about the ATTAC Club is that you have to pay for court time. (Which can get expensive if you play a lot! Which I do!)
The other thing about the ATTAC Club is that it’s not part of any league or competition. (Well, there’s a club competition, but it’s just to see who can drink the most beer after play.)
But, the lack of competition and team events are enough to make me overlook the one major drawback.
So, if you’re looking for a good club to join and you live in the greater Washington D.C. area, I would suggest you look into the ATTAC club. (Great for beginners and casual players!)
Though honestly, you’d probably have just as much fun playing at the park.
I mean, it’s free…
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Oh, and don’t forget to vote!
Until next time.
Sources & references used in this article:
Methods to determine the aerodynamic forces acting on tennis balls in flight by SG Chadwick, S Haake – Tennis science and technology, 2000 – shura.shu.ac.uk
Method of making tennis balls by FT Roberts – US Patent 2,210,954, 1940 – Google Patents
Tennis balls judgment model based on numerical simulation by F Li, L Liu, Q Wang, K Qin, Q Hu… – … on Sports Science …, 2017 – ncssc.edpsciences.org
Device having coacting wheels for projecting tennis balls by D Peeler, D Holloway, W Payne – US Patent 3,777,732, 1973 – Google Patents
The dynamic impact characteristics of tennis balls with tennis rackets by SJ Haake, MJ Carre, SR Goodwill – Journal of sports sciences, 2003 – Taylor & Francis
The aerodynamics of tennis balls—the topspin lob by A Štěpánek – American Journal of Physics, 1988 – aapt.scitation.org
Tennis ball cover by DW Ellis – US Patent 2,023,673, 1935 – Google Patents
Measurements of drag and lift on tennis balls in flight by R Cross, C Lindsey – Sports Engineering, 2014 – Springer