It must look quite weird that you need to have two balls to start a point in tennis. Well, in fact, you can take just one, but if you miss the first serve, you will need the other one immediately.
It is way easier to organize your play with two balls on you, so you don’t have to search for it between serves. Significantly that the spare ball in your pocket doesn’t interfere with the rally.
Tennis players keep balls in their pockets to save time, stay concentrated and have things under control all the time. You always need one ball for the first serve and the other ball in case of missing.
What is more, you don’t want to step on any ball left out of sight on the court. It’s the dumbest way to get seriously injured. Sprained ankle guaranteed. So, you’d better keep an eye on them.
I suggest you make a personal comparison during practice. For half an hour, try to hit without having a second ball in your pocket. Then, change conditions and play another 30 minutes with the second ball in the pocket at all times.
You will see how different and, most of all, better it is to have it around.
Keeping Balls In The Pocket Saves Time
In tennis, every other game, it’s your turn to serve. On each point, you have two opportunities to make it in the correct service box to start a point.
Keeping the second ball in your pocket saves you a lot of time. Do you know why? Because, according to rules, you have only 25 seconds to serve another ball.
You probably think it’s so much time. You’re wrong, it’s not!
Before each serves attempt, everyone has their own preparation regimen. It includes more actions than you’re aware of.
Imagine it’s your turn to serve during the match, and you don’t have ball boys around like in major tournaments.
It will take you 10 seconds or more just to dry your hands and face up.
Another 10 seconds to collect the balls.
Then 5 seconds to set your position at the baseline and bounce the ball before the serve toss.
This way, the rulebook 25 seconds goes unrecorded.
You actually have two choices to avoid stressful situations. Either hold two balls in your non-dominant hand before the first serve toss or keep the other ball in the pocket.
The first solution is somewhat distracting than helpful. I personally don’t know anyone who’d find it comfortable to toss one ball with the other ball in the same hand.
Keeping balls in the pocket saves time and continuous play.
Also read: Why Do Tennis Balls Lose Their Bounce?
You Can Stay In The “Zone”
Do you know how important it is to stay in the ‘zone’?
There were so many championships lost for trivial reasons. Just because the runners-up couldn’t keep their concentration.
If you stay in the ‘zone,’ you feel extraordinarily relaxed and confident. Everything you do on the court is perfect, so are your serves and returns.
You win point by point without bigger effort.
Now imagine you miss the first serve, and there are no balls available. Your thoughts are directed at searching for the balls. Instead of sticking to tactical plans and mental balance, you are busy with something so small.
Lucky you if refocusing isn’t an issue and you easily reset before the next point. But many players struggle with coming back to their emotional best and completely get lost.
Collecting two balls before the next point should become a habit for everyone. It annoys even when it comes to returning, and you see the opponent waste time on it. Don’t allow such detail to ruin your performance.
In any aspect of life if you’re well-prepared you keep calm and succeed. Stay focused on what is important.
Don’t miss out: Can You Hit A Tennis Ball With Your Hand?
Is It Comfortable To Keep Tennis Balls In Pocket?
In professional tennis, some players place more than 80% first serves in. It means that in 4 out of 5 rallies, the play continues with another ball in a non-dominant hand pocket.
Isn’t it limiting movements or blocking racket swings? This is a fair concern.
Perhaps occasionally, but in general, not, and you don’t even remember that the ball stays in your pocket.
Men’s shorts are designed to provide the greatest comfort and range of motion so players could move completely free. Also, the pockets are deep and wide enough for a couple of balls.
It looks a bit different with women’s clothes since skirts and dresses are tighter. The spare ball is often in direct contact with the body, which could possibly bother you.
There are plenty of shorts (Amazon) with deep pockets for maximum comfort.
How Do Women’s Tennis Skirts Hold Balls?
Tennis dresses and skirts usually come with built-in tight or complement shorts. The newest designs have a special ball pocket set-in on the outside for easy access.
Now you don’t have to worry about where to keep the ball.
If you don’t have any pocket, simply squeeze it between your thigh and the tights or shorts. This could be theoretically some limitation in play. Still, you shouldn’t care too much since most professional female players do it like that.
Or you might want to consider an old-fashioned plastic ball holder. It’s firmly attached to the skirt waistband behind your back.
Tennis players need to have pockets in their shorts. This is something uncommon for other sports because pockets could interrupt or limit motions.
Meanwhile, on the court, you want to stay focused on your performance. Tennis is a very mental game, and even the tiniest distraction can lead you to match loss. You definitely don’t want to experience it.
Keeping the second ball in your pocket gives you lots of benefits and no disadvantages.
Save your time and use it to prepare efficiently for the next point. Stay in the ‘zone’ and don’t let your opponent take the lead. Have everything under control with minimizing external distractors’ influence.
What do you actually do with balls during play?
If you had ball boys on court, would you not keep the second ball in your pocket?