“Why are there so many different types of tennis balls?”
This is a very common question amongst beginners and experienced tennis players alike. Most of the balls feel and certainly look the same, and luckily, they all share the same tennis ball smell. Despite their similarities, they have subtle yet serious differences that could really change your game.
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First of all, there are three main Classes of Tennis Balls: Professional, Championship, and practice balls. All three serve their purpose, and by no means should you just buy based on price. There are quite a few determining factors on which balls to buy including skill level, age, court surface, amount of play, and many more.
The first type of tennis ball is the Professional ball. These tennis balls have premium, high quality felt that doesn’t fray easily. When you play in a USTA tournament, these are the balls that the tourney organizer hands you for your match. Coming out of the can near perfect, these balls have a high level of pressure upon the cracking of the can, and will hold that pressure throughout the match that you play. Many times these balls get scraped after first use, but they are still serviceable for a bit after.
Best Quality: RF Legacy Tennis Balls
Best Value: Pro Penn Marathon Regular Duty Tennis Balls.
Championship balls are a step down from professional, in both pressure and felt quality, but also in price. This style is best suited for practice play or possibly junior’s tournaments because of their great durability and overall good quality. These balls are designed to go as many rounds are you are willing to, so don’t be afraid to pop the cap early.
Best Case: Wilson Championship Extra Duty Tennis Balls
Practice balls are lower end balls not intended for USTA play – these are for practice. Great for ball machines and loading up a ball basket. Many coaches across the country use these due though their insanely long lifespan and of course, price.
Now there are two types of practice balls. Practice or coach balls still come in a can, but are usually just a tad lower in quality. The second are pressureless balls. They’re long lasting, firm balls intended for ball machine use. They do not play like a regular ball but last longer, as they are harder and much denser.
Best Canned Practice Ball: Dunlop Champion All Surface Tennis Ball 4 Pack (Best Value!!)
Best Pressureless Practice Ball: Pressureless 12 Pack Mesh Bag Tennis Balls
The surface you play on will alter which is the right ball to use. There are four categories: Regular Duty or All-Court, Extra Duty or Hard-court, Grass Court, and Hi-Altitude.
- Regular duty balls are meant for soft clay courts, and indoor courts. They have a softer felt but do not last as long on hard courts.
- Extra duty tennis balls are meant for outdoor hard-courts. The felt on the ball is woven with more wool to help withstand harder courts, and making them last longer.
- Grass Court balls are regular duty balls but with a stain resistant treatment on the felt the grass doesn’t change their color.
- Hi-altitude balls are meant to play in altitudes at 4000ft. or higher since normal balls tend to fly at these altitudes.
Try to think about what balls you are playing with the next time you’re on the court. Maybe you could improve that kick serve or your rallies with your friends by just changing what ball type you use! Visit our site to see the full list of tennis balls that we carry, including the brand new RS by Robin Soderling Black Tennis Ball Can that is sure to blow up this year. It is one of the best, new balls on the market and has already been used at the Stockholm Open and the Memphis Open!