Fifteen to twenty years ago there weren’t different types of balls for kids to learn tennis. Kids will usually learn tennis with regular balls. However, nowadays, there are more than 3 different types of tennis balls for kids of different ages and levels to play and learn tennis.
The little ones, kids around 3 to 6 years old, usually start playing tennis with foam balls. But little do most players know that these cute spongy balls can be used by anybody, of any age and level, to improve their game.
A tennis foam ball travels with around 75% less speed than a standard ball. They bounce lower and slower than any other tennis ball, giving players more time to hit the ball.
As a result, foam balls can help your tennis in many ways like to warm up, to fix certain aspects of your game by slowing things down, to practice at home against a wall, and for beginners, who are starting to learn the game, to name a few.
Continue reading to find out more on how including a tennis foam ball to your tennis practices can help you become a better tennis player.
Rallying for a few minutes with foam balls is a great way to warm up prior to your tennis match or practice, especially when there is no court available before. The slow speed of the foam balls allows you to start slow without putting to much pressure on your strokes and effort on your footwork.
Also, you can use the other kind of low-pressure balls like red, orange or green balls. They are also great to use as part of your warm up.
Fix certain aspects of your game
I’ve seen players taking private lessons in order to fix their strokes and bad habits. When the coach feeds regular balls, they are able to do hit the ball with proper technique. However, they struggle when implementing the new and correct form during rallies. Since the body is used to hitting it the old way, it’s hard to make the changes and develop new muscle memory with the new technique.
When this happens, the best way to deal with these issues is by slowing down the rallies by using foam balls. Since the ball is moving much slower than a regular ball, it’ll give you plenty of time to focus on hitting with proper form.
Play at home
With the right foam ball, you can literally practice tennis from the comfort of your home. As long as you can find a place at your house next to a wall where there is enough room to hit the ball and move around. Having the option to practice your strokes, by emphasizing proper technique, can really speed up your learning process, especially if you’re a beginner.
It’s essential that you use the appropriate foam ball; there are many of them. However, the most two preferred tennis foams balls are the Qst 36 and Zsig foam balls. The main differences between them are the size, the bounce height, and the travel speed. The Zsig ball is smaller, slower and bounces lower than the Qst 36. As a result, the Zsig ball allows you to hit the ball in a small space, like at home.
As long as there is enough space to hit the ball and move around, you can even hit against a window or garage door.
If you’re just starting to play tennis, you probably came to the realization that tennis is not as easy as it looks. Practicing with a foams ball will help you to slow things down; the ball will travel slower and bounce lower, giving you plenty of time to work on the proper technique.
I’ve seen many beginner players struggling with timing the ball and getting use the speed of it. This makes it difficult for players to work on proper swings while rallying, therefore, using foam balls will allow you to focus on the proper form and technique.
Sure, you can hit a regular ball with proper technique when the coach is feeding you the ball. However, when trying to rally with regular balls, many beginner players struggle a lot hitting with correct form, and start developing bad habits.
Play with your kids
The tennis foam ball was especially implemented for kids between the ages of 4 -10 to start playing and learning tennis. Before, one main reason why so many kids were giving up tennis so early was that for many years tennis was taught by using regular balls, making it difficult for kids to get used to the fast speed of the ball. Many kids would eventually get frustrated because they wouldn’t be able to rally with regular balls, and a result quit playing tennis.
That’s why tennis organizations around the world, like the ITF and USTA, decided to start promoting the low-pressure balls for kids 10 and under. The implementation of lower pressure balls, smaller courts and racquets is expected to increase the popularity of the sport in the coming years.
So, if you have a kid that will like to play tennis, you should definitely give it a try with foam balls. With a little bit of practice, your kid should be able to start rallying and hitting the ball back and forth.
If you don’t have access to a tennis court, you can make your own improvise mini tennis court at home, as long as you have enough space. All you’ll need are two chairs and a rope for the net, and for the lines, you can use a chalk or masking tape. To find out more about how can you make your own mini tennis court at home read the following article “How to Make a Mini Tennis Court“.
The Not So Good
Although there are many benefits to using foam balls, there are some situations where it can affect your game more than help it. When using foam balls, players need to swing harder to make the ball go far enough. However, some players when trying to hit harder, forget to keep the proper technique they were supposed to work on because they focus more on rallying than hitting with correct form.
Another downside of using foam balls is that some players would start hitting flat instead of with topspin. This is especially true for intermediate level players because, although they are already able to hit with topspin, they haven’t mastered it yet. So, they are more likely to make that kind of mistake when using foam balls.
Remember that when using foam balls to really pay close attention to the mechanic and technique of the strokes.
Even though hitting with foam balls might not be for everyone, I believe that for most players it will be a good alternative or option to have. Using foam balls can be very beneficial when done properly. If you have never tried it, I encourage you to give a shot. Please lets us know your thoughts and ideas on practicing with foam balls. Thanks for reading!
What does ROGY mean in Tennis?
- ROGY stands for red, orange, green, and yellow balls. These are the different types of balls use for the progression of junior tennis. They differ from each other on size, bounce height, and travel speed. The red balls are the slowest ones, follow by orange, green, and yellow balls.
Should you use Qs36 red or Qs36 foams ball to play with your kids?
- The red and foam balls differ in that the foam balls are bigger and slower. If you’re playing on 36 inches foot court (mini tennis court) or a smaller court, the foam ball is more ideal. If the court is 60 feet long, you can use either red or orange balls. Also, it’ll depend on the age and level of your kids.