I used to use all the balls that I have, only if there is no one playing at the area.

But if there are other people playing at the area, I don't want the balls mixed up with others, or stolen by their kids (it happens). So I'd use just 5 to 10 balls.

The fenced-in area is big enough (3 courts). With only 10 balls, collecting the balls is really burdening us.

If any of you have the same experience, what will you do to avoid collecting the balls so often?

4 Answers 4


One very simple solution - buy a set of balls in an uncommon colour. I have one set in neon orange - which I haven't seen anyone else use. Doesn't matter where they end up - I can see them.

If you can't do that - you could try initialling them with a Sharpie.

Golfers use marked balls - you can too.

  • Rory - what brand of neon orange balls are you playing with? It doesn't adversely affect visibility for you? Also, depending on when you mark the ball (new or after some use) it's likely to be gone after a while of hitting.
    – jamauss
    Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 22:01
  • 1
    jpricebath.co.uk/page5.html for coloured balls. Marked balls still show the mark for a couple of months in the summer, which is pretty useful.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 9:00
  • Ah, I'm guessing you live over there? (UK). Are you saying you play with the same balls for a couple of months at a time? I could never have a ball last me near that long. The maximum number of times I use the same balls is 2 times out (about 2-3 hours each time out). By then most of the fuzz is gone and they hardly bounce anything like new balls do. Typically I open up a new can every time I play.
    – jamauss
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 9:23
  • I can understand marking may not work for you (I am a complete amateur when it comes to tennis :-) - there are places that sell coloured balls to the US, but they do all seem to ship from China. Visibility is fine on most courts I play on - mostly grass or dark all-weather surfaces. Haven't tried on clay - might be difficult against orange/red clay...
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 9:41

There really is no good answer for this. If you have options on where to play, I would say play at some courts that have decent dividers (screens, fencing, whatever) between courts. The only other thing I could recommend is if a ball is hit wide off the court to try and track it down and grab it then, instead of letting it go and potentially rolling even further away.

Most places I play at, if the ball from another court comes onto my court I hit it back to them to help out and vice-versa by them - it's kind of an unwritten rule/courtesy while you're playing. But I understand younger kids sometimes don't do this and don't even think to give you the ball back so it's tough.

By the way, are you playing sets or just rallying/practices/drilling ?

  • to be honest, I just realized that we ignore the balls coming to our court and vice-versa. I think that the unwritten rule/habit is a really good thing to start from ourselves :) Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 22:05

Try just using two or three balls max. It's an excellent exercise in consistency (which should be part of any practice session, unless you don't really care). After emphasizing not missing and safer shots for a while, you'll be great at just playing with one or two balls only.

  • Absolutely - even if you're playing a match you should only need 3-4 balls (a can's worth, right?). Also, if you miss your first serve, make sure it goes over the net, otherwise you might have to go pick it up before your second serve (if it rolls back from the net) - guaranteed to put you off!
    – ChrisH
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 22:32

Hit with only slice. The balls won't run away as much. :D

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