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10 Useful Life Hacks for Tennis Players (On / Off the Court)

Ball boy holding tennis balls at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Leonard Zhukovsky /

People are always looking for ways and tricks to simplify their lives and become more efficient, and tennis players are not an exception. Today, I’ll share with you some ideas that will hopefully help you make your tennis life easier, on and off the court.

These are 10 life hacks for tennis players:

1. Use rubber bands instead of dampeners.

What is a vibration dampener?

A tennis dampener, also known as a shocked absorber, is a small piece of rubber that is placed on the racquet strings. Its primary purpose is to reduce the vibration of the racquet strings when players hit the ball. Although they reduce the vibration to a certain degree, there is no evidence that they’ll help avoid any injuries. Nevertheless, many players use them due to the feeling they provide when contacting the ball.

tennis player Rafael Nadal preparing for the Australian Open

Fall off and get lost

One main problem with tennis dampeners is that players constantly lose them. On many occasions, when players hit the ball, the dampener would come off the racquet and land many feet away, making it difficult to find them. Although they are not that expensive, it can be annoying to be regularly replacing them.

Rubber bands

So, a great alternative to using dampeners is rubber bands! You can tie a regular rubber band in your racquet strings, and it’ll have the same vibration reduction effect, as a tennis dampener.

Convenient & cost-effective

Using rubber bands as vibration dampeners are very convenient and affordable. They’re much cheaper than buying regular dampeners, and in the long run, it’ll help you save some money. Although rubber bands might snap every once in a while, they, for sure, don’t fall as often as regular dampeners.

2. Have trouble rallying? Use low-compression balls.

Your rallies are not consistent

There can be multiple reasons for not being able to engage in long rallies. For example, If you’re a beginner, perhaps you’re still working on your eye-hand coordination, and might find it challenging timing the ball. Or, if you haven’t played in a long time and your ball timing is off. Whatever the reason might be, there are times when, as much as we try, we have trouble being consistent in our rallies. So, what can we do?

Low-compression balls

One great solution is to use low-compression balls; I use them with my students that are having difficulties with timing the ball and cannot engage in long rallies. Since the ball travels slower, it gives players more time to prepare, making it much easier to hit the ball back and forth.

basket of practice tennis balls on tennis court
FloridaStock /

Types of low-compression balls

Depending on your age, skill, and level, the appropriate low-compression balls that you should use will vary. There’re three types of low compression balls.

  • Red: 75% slower than yellow balls
  • Orange: 50% slower than yellow balls
  • Green: 25% slower than yellow balls

These kinds of balls are used mainly with kids, so it can be easier for them to play tennis. However, I strongly recommend it for adults, who are having trouble with their tennis game; It’s a great way to work on timing, as well as, technique. For most adults, I’ll recommend using green balls. However, if you’re still struggling to rally with green balls, try hitting with orange balls.

A way of practicing

Remember that the primary purpose of using these low-compression balls it to practice. If you’re an adult, you should try to rally with these low-compression balls until you feel very comfortable with them, and then go back to using regulars balls. You can go back and forth, with green and yellow balls, until you find yourself hitting well with the regular balls.

Practicing with a low-compression ball is, also, a great way to work on technical aspects of your strokes.

3. Use a can of tennis balls as a water bottle.

Official Wilson tennis ball of US Open
Karolis Kavolelis /

The importance of staying hydrated

Drinking water or sports drinks before, during, and after your tennis match or practice is essential to perform well. Dehydration can potentially affect your performance, making it harder to maintain a high level on the court. The more dehydrated you become, the more likely you’re to get cramps, lose proper coordination, and feel dizzy. In extreme situations, especially during a hot summer day, not drinking adequate amounts of water (or other drinks) can cause you to get heat exhaustion.

Forgot your water bottle?

As it might have happened to you, on many occasions, I forget my water bottle for my tennis practice. And although many times, I’m able to buy my own drinks, there are sometimes where I have no choice but to drink from the water fountain. I don’t mind drinking from the water fountain; however, it can be annoying, when you have to come out of the court every time you want to drink water. So, one way I deal with this is by using a can of tennis balls as a water bottle.

Can of tennis balls, a temporary fix.

Three new yellow tennis balls in plastic container
design56 /

Although I don’t suggest that you use a can of tennis balls as your new water bottle, it can be definitely convenient for that occasion where you forget your water bottle and don’t have any other option. Just make sure to rinse it with water before you use it.

4. Tired of using sunscreen? Use arms and legs sleeves.

Protecting your skin from the sun

Many tennis players, especially during the summer, are usually exposed to long hours of intense solar radiation; as a result, it’s vital for them to find ways to protect their skin from the sun. Nowadays, people are more aware of the health risk associated with UVA and UVB rays from the sun. However, most tennis players are not fans of wearing sunscreen.

Slovakian tennis player Daniela Hantuchova
Mai Groves /

Most Tennis players don’t like sunscreen

Having to apply sunscreen during the summer is probably one of the things that I dislike the most, especially when playing tennis. And I’m not alone; many tennis players don’t like to wear sunscreen. The main reasons for this are that sunscreen makes your hands slippery, and it gets Into your eyes; both situations can have a negative impact on your game. Besides, the process of applying sunscreen can be really annoying.

Long sleeves shirts & pants

One obvious option is to use long sleeves shirts and pants as an alternative to applying sunscreen. However, in some circumstances, it can be very inconvenient. If you play often, you’ll have to update your tennis wardrobe to long sleeves and sports pants. On top of that, let’s be honest, is not that appealing, especially for men, to wear pants and long-sleeved shirts on the court during a hot summer day.

Arms and legs sleeves

One way around this situation is to use arms and legs sleeves that will allow you to use your current tennis outfits. This is a great way to reduce the use of sunscreen, as well as, not having to update your tennis outfits with pants and long sleeves. If you want to take it to the next level, you can use a face towel under your tennis cap so you can protect most of your face from the sun.

I personally use these arm and leg sleeves, you can find more by clicking on each link.

5. Reuse your grip by turning it inside out.

Tools and accessories for the repair of a tennis racket
Constantine Pankin /

Grips get dirty

If you play tennis, you know how quickly a brand new grip can get dirty, especially if it’s a light color. The first time you use it looks and feels good. However, after playing a couple of times, the grip will probably not look that neat, especially if you’re playing on Clay or Hard-Tru courts.

Turn it inside out

If you’re looking to save money, and don’t mind about the stickiness of your grip, one great hack is to use the reverse of your grips. As you probably notice, when removing your used grip, it looks dirty, but the reverse side of it looks brand new. So, you can re-grip your racquet by turning the grip inside out, and Voila! You have a nice-looking grip again!

Not recommended for everyone

Although this hack we’ll make your grip look new, it can have a detrimental effect on your game because the grip won’t be sticky and will be sort of slippery. So, if you’re a competitive player, or even a recreational player, who is taking tennis seriously, it might not be a good idea to use the reverse of your grip.

It’s important to use a good quality grip because it’ll help you to have a firm but at the same time relaxed grip while holding the racquet, which is crucial for playing good consistent tennis.

Mostly useful for young kids

As a tennis coach, who has the opportunity to teach kids of around 5 to 10 years old, I’ve seen how meaningful is for kids to have a grip that looks nice. Kids tend to give a lot of attention to the colors of the racquet, grips, and shoes, to name a few. So, many times, I use the reverse of their grips, and they really like it because it looks new. Although the grip might not be sticky, having a “brand” new-looking grip can have a motivational boost on kids of that age, which is great to keep them playing more tennis.

6. Use foam balls to practice tennis.

two tennis foam balls

What are foam balls?

These lightweight training balls are made of foam material and travel 75% slower than the standard yellow balls. As a result, foam balls are great for young kids and beginners to practice their game and learn the basics of the game. Although these balls are mainly used for beginners, they can be used by players of all levels to get some extra practice off the court and work on control, as well as, on technique.

These sponge balls will allow you to practice your strokes against most walls at home, making it very convenient for those days that you have no option but to stay at home.

Practice against any wall

With foam balls, you can literally practice against any indoor wall, where there is sufficient space to move and swing the racquet around. Since they are made of foam material, the chances that you’ll break something inside your house, are very slim. If you have kids, these are great balls for your kids to use without having to worry about them breaking things like windows or lamps. Pretty much, you can practice at any place where there is a wall, and you have around 80 square feet of free space.

Play on an improvise mini tennis court

These foam balls are, also, suitable for playing tennis on a mini tennis court. You can make an improvised mini tennis court at home; you’ll just need to be sure that you have enough space. There is actually a sport called Touchtennis, which is a variation of tennis, that is played on a mini tennis court with foam balls and small racquets.

Some places where you could make your mini tennis court are in your garage, driveway, parking lot, and/or an empty room, among other places. If you’ll like to find out more about how could you play tennis from the comfort of your home, check the following article “How to make your own mini tennis court at home! Under $20!”

Take a look at this video of Touchtennis to have a better idea of how to play with foam balls.

Video source: YouTube / touchtennis

Work on technique and control

Besides being very convenient, foams balls can, also, help with working on proper technique and control. Since the ball travels much slower, it gives players the ability to focus on the technical aspects of each stroke without having to worry about keeping up with the ball. Also, if you’re a beginner and are having trouble being consistent on your rallies, practicing with foam balls can help you to improve your eye-hand coordination, and as a result, develop better control of the ball.

Zsig foam balls

Although there are many types of tennis foams balls in the market, with the Qst 36 being the most popular, I’ll suggest you try the Zsig mini-tennis foam ball. These foam balls are smaller and slower than the Qst 36; therefore, they allow you to practice in places where space is limited. If you’re looking to introduce your young kids to tennis, this is the type of foam ball I’ll recommend you to use.

7. Buy demo or used Tennis racquets

The price of new tennis racquets

A brand new racquet can cost around $50 to $250. Some of the most well-known tennis racquets brands are Wilson, Prince, Babolat, Head, and Yonex, among others. Besides the brand, the price of the racquet will depend on the model and type of racquet you’re looking for. Obviously, the beginners’ racquets are more affordable, but if you’re serious about this sport, you’ll probably want to look into intermediate and, or advanced racquets.

Regardless of the racquet you choose, it’s always nice to have an alternative to paying full price. Interested? Keep reading to find out how can you save some money buying a demo or used tennis racquets.

Demo racquets

These racquets are available, for a small fee, for customers to try out. Before you decide on which racquet to buy, you’ll have the option to try demo racquets to see which one do you feel more comfortable with. However after some time, new racquets come into the market, and as a result, new demo racquets are also available. Consequently, stores have previously used demo racquets that are no longer being requested to try out.

These demo racquets are, usually, in better shape, and have less cosmetic wear than used racquets.

A tennis player waiting for a serve during a match
Maxisport /

Used racquets

As its name implies, these racquets have been previously used and owned. The quality and condition will vary between racquets, so make sure to buy them from reliable places. You can purchase used tennis racquets online on websites like Tenniswarehouse, eBay, and Craigslist, to name a few.

If you’re serious about buying a used tennis racquet, I’ll recommend you to try; they have a diverse selection of used tennis racquets at affordable prices. Besides, they offer a 90-day guarantee on all of their used racquets, which is necessary when buying a used product. Plus, they have a grading scale system of used racquets that’ll give you a better idea of their condition.

Get them at a discount and save money

Many times stores are willing to sell demo and/or used racquets at a discount. On some occasions, they don’t explicitly advertise them, however, if you go to a tennis store, just ask if there are any demo or used racquets available for sale. This is a great way your desire tennis racquet at around 20 or 30% discount, or even more, of its original price. Nevertheless, make just sure to thoroughly examine the racquet to see if it has any significant damages.

8. Attend ATP & WTA Tennis tournaments for free.

World-Class Tennis

Watching world-class tennis from the stands is a privilege not everyone has experienced. If you’ve seen tennis pros in real life, you know that is far more exciting than watching it on your TV. As tennis players, besides getting motivated, there are so many things we can learn from watching tennis pros play and hit in real life. And what better way to be able to experience this than for free! Continue reading to find out how can you watch the best tennis players in the world for free.

Arthur Ashe Stadium during the US Open
Osugi /

Tournaments qualifying rounds

Most tournaments have qualifiers before the main draw event starts. In these qualifiers, usually, top 100 to 200 ATP & WTA players participate. And on many occasions, admission is free for spectators and fans. For example, two of the most important tournaments in the United States, the US Open and the Indians Wells Master, offer free admission for their qualifying tournaments. As a result, many New Yorkers and Californians get to enjoy and see great tennis at no cost.

It’s likely that any tennis tournament close to you offers free access to the qualifiers. Make sure to check that out, so that you don’t miss the chance to watch live tennis for free.

Tournament practice sessions

Although during the qualifying tournaments, you’ll get to see an exceptional level of tennis, you most likely won’t get to view your favorites tennis players because they’ll be participating in the main draw. So, if you’ll like to see the top tennis players, who are already qualified for the main draws, for free, you can do it by attending their tennis practice sessions before the main draws start.

For most tournaments, during the week previous to the main draws, most players have practice sessions. Sometimes, they even post a schedule of when each player is practicing, and normally attendance is free of charge.

Keep your money

So, next time there is a professional tennis tournament that you’ll like to attend, make sure to use these hacks to see live world-class tennis without having to open your wallet.

9. Take lessons from a college tennis player.

Tennis lessons are expensive

As you probably already know, tennis lessons can be expensive. This is one of the main reasons why not more people play this game. Besides being a difficult sport to learn, it can be even more demanding for your budget. However, when learning to play tennis, it’s quite beneficial to have somebody, who can help and guide you through the proper forms and techniques. If you’re a beginner, it’ll be very challenging to notice your own mistakes, so it’s, definitely, helpful to have a coach.

College players

One way to reduce the cost of private lessons is to take lessons with college players. Usually, college students are looking to work on the side, and for many college tennis players, teaching tennis is a good source of income. Since they don’t have too much teaching experience, they might be willing to teach for less money than an experience certified tennis coach.

school children take an outdoor tennis lesson
flydragon /

On some occasions, I’ve also seen high school tennis players teaching tennis on the side; so that might be another useful option.

A decent coach

Keep in mind that being a good tennis player doesn’t make you a good coach. So, be sure to find a coach that has some teaching experience, or at least is familiar with how to teach. Remember that even If you’re just getting started in tennis, it’s still crucial that you find a coach that knows how to teach beginners so you can learn the proper fundamentals.

10. Buy a tennis rebounder and practice at home.

The need to practice

If you’re a tennis player, you probably know how important is to practice regularly to improve your game, or at least to maintain your level. However, there’s only so much time we can spend on the court. Sometimes, we just don’t have enough time to practice consistently. As a result, people are always looking for ways to get some extra practice off the court. Many do conditioning and footwork drills, however, there are not too many options besides that.

A tennis rebounder

Although some of you might know about the tennis rebounder, I realized that not too many people are familiar with this tennis aid and how beneficial it can be for their tennis game. Hitting against a tennis rebounder is similar to practicing against the wall, but with the convenience of not needing so much space. Therefore, tennis players have the option to practice anywhere they can set up the tennis rebounder.

Practice at home

The best part of the tennis rebounder is that it’ll allow you to practice your game from the comfort of your home. You just need to find a place where you can set it up, and you’re all set. Make sure that you have enough space to move around and swing your racquet.

Two different types of tennis rebounders

Although there are several tennis rebounders on the market, two that I prefer are:

  • XK Sports Tennis Rebounder – This is the one being used on the previous video. As you can see, it allows you to practice in small spaces, making it very convenient. One complained I keep reading is on the how difficult it can be to set up. However, they have an instructional video on how to assemble it, so it should not be a problem.
  • Tourna Rally Pro Adjustable Tilt Rebounder – I actually own one of this. For this rebounder, you’ll actually need much more space. If you have enough space for this rebounder, I’ll recommend you getting this one because is more affordable and also is more realistic; besides, you can adjust the screen net to get different types of bounces.

Below is a video on the Tourna Rebounder

Everything Considered

Although I don’t expect you to find all the ideas useful if at least one of them makes your tennis life easier, then writing this post, will have been worth my time. One hack that I didn’t mention is the various ways you can use a tennis ball. There are many excellent resources on tennis ball hacks; one that I like and found useful is the article “15 crazy (but useful!) Tennis Ball Hacks”. Check it out, it has interesting ideas on how to use tennis balls.