Something very important for players when serving is having two balls on them.
This is because if they miss the first serve, they immediately have another ball available to hit.
If they only have one ball and need to waste time getting another, it can affect their focus.
As a coach, I’m always nagging players to bring shorts that have pockets to keep an extra ball for when they serve.
But what about women who wear skirts?
Surely professional tennis players don’t stop carrying a second ball just for the style of wearing a skirt.
Where do you store tennis balls if wearing a skirt?
Tennis skirts or skorts will come with a layer of spandex underneath. The spandex is used on skorts for the sole purpose of storing tennis balls. It is possible that a tennis ball could fall out while playing, but it is very unlikely.
In this article I will be covering:
- Whether women store several balls at the same time, like men
- If tennis skirts come with pockets
- Where women store their tennis balls while playing
If you would like to learn more about storing tennis balls whilst wearing a skirt, read on!
Do Women Keep Multiple Balls On Them Like Men?
When training, many players will fill their pockets completely. They do this to save time and make the most of their time on the court.
If I just hold one ball in my hand at a time, I will be using a lot of energy walking back and forward, picking up more balls from the basket.
Professional players will come to the line to serve with two balls in matches. No more and no less.
If they carry loads of balls, the odds of them falling out of their pocket and interrupting the point increases.
Taking one ball to the line, they will have to waste time walking back to pick up another ball if they fail on the first serve.
These examples apply to both men and women. Even though women’s outfits on the court are stylish, they don’t come at any expense.
Therefore, skirts must allow them to store multiple balls simultaneously as men can with shorts.
When training, most women will carry several balls to maximize playtime. If the balls fall out, it’s not a major problem as they are not playing points and have nothing to lose.
There is, of course, a risk of tripping on the ball, but it is minimal.
The issue for women is that skort pockets are often smaller than those found in classic shorts.
When playing points, women will do exactly the same as men. Come to the line with two balls just in case they miss the first serve.
When returning in a match, players will have no balls on them, and as they are not serving, they don’t need any.
It would just be excess weight to carry and unnecessary risk of the balls falling out.
Another thing women often use for storing balls is a tennis ball clip (Amazon).
While the tennis ball clip is aimed primarily at women wearing skirts that don’t have pockets, men can also use them.
I am always surprised at how many men play with shorts with no pockets.
I often suggest that they use a tennis ball clip if they don’t have any suitable shorts with pockets.
Do Tennis Skirts Have Pockets In Them?
All reputable tennis skorts/skirts made today will come with internal pockets for tennis balls.
While professional female players and their sponsors think about fashion, they are more concerned about playability.
No serious player will sacrifice important characteristics like pockets just because a skirt looks nice.
I haven’t been able to find the exact date that tennis skirts began to come with internal pockets for balls.
Watching a video of the 1961 Wimbledon Final between Angela Mortimer and Christine Truman, I did notice something.
When the players serve, they have a tendency to hold two balls in their hands at the same time. Instead of placing one ball under the skirt, they throw the ball up to serve while still holding the second ball.
I know the feeling of throwing a ball up while holding a second. It’s definitely possible but is a little uncomfortable and harder to control where it goes.
Back in 1961, it would not be as much of an issue today. The main reason is the backhand.
Today, most players are two-handed, but in the 1960s, almost everyone played with one hand.
They only used one hand, so they didn’t need their non-dominant arm for the backhand. Thus, it was not as big an issue if players had a spare ball in their hand.
Even if a player is one-handed, they will benefit from having their non-dominant hand empty. This is because they can hold and support the racket on the take-back.
An iconic image of Federer shows him taking the racket back with his left hand on the throat for support.
Where Do Women Keep Tennis Balls?
So far, I’ve mentioned two places where women store tennis balls. The first is within the skirt, second is on a ball clip attached to the skirt.
It is somewhat misleading to describe tennis skirts like that. The reason for this is that they aren’t really skirts at all.
They are actually shorts designed to look like a skirt. This is where the name skort comes from.
The clothing is a cross between a pair of shorts and a skirt.
If you lift the skirt section up, you will see that it looks pretty similar to a standard pair of shorts underneath it.
The big difference is the pocket looks a little different. It is a little, tight flap that the ball goes in. The pocket opening is also facing downwards.
At first glance, it might not look very secure. The material is elastic and stretchy, but when the ball is placed in the pocket, it will hug against it.
This will make it very unlikely that the ball will roll out in the middle of play.
Ball clips are also a simple solution. They will clip onto the top of the skirt or pair of shorts. It will snap into place as you push the ball against the clip.
The ball will then be secure.
You will sometimes need two hands to take the ball off the clip. Occasionally, the ball will get stuck to the clip, and when you try to pull the ball away, the clip will come with it.
Also read: Are Tennis And Golf Skirts The Same?
When it comes to storing balls, the most important thing is that you can carry two when serving. It will help you stay focussed as well as keep the match flowing.
There is no rule stipulating that women must wear skirts. There is thus nothing stopping you if you would prefer to wear tennis shorts.
If you want to wear a skirt, I would recommend purchasing one that comes with internal pockets.
What do you prefer? A ball clip or skort with pockets?