Throughout the world ball kids have played an integral part of tennis right up to the highest level. At all the major tournaments we have seen young school children scampering around the court feeding balls to the server and cleaning up strays from play.
What Do Ball Kids do?
Ball kids play an integral role in ensuring that tennis tournaments run smoothly, they are a focal part of every game, be it at the Rod Laver stadium or Wimbledon.
The ball kids job is to feed the balls to the players, make sure the balls are at the correct end and to change the balls when necessary too. They also make sure the towels are changed and supply drinks to the players and umpires.
A ball kid should ensure their decision making is correct and be flexible enough to deal with the unexpected working as part of a team.
Who Can Be A Ball Kid?
Ball kids are aged between 11 and 17 depending on the tournament age restrictions, below are the exact ages for Australian competitions.
- Australian Open – Melbourne (12-15)
- Brisbane International (12-17)
- Hopman Cup (12-15)
- Hobart International (10-17)
- Apia International – Sydney (12-15)
- World Tennis Challenge – Adelaide (12-17)
- Australian Pro Tour – (up to 18)
The Advantages To Be A Ball Kid
There are many advantages of becoming a tennis ball kid:
- Studying their tennis idols
Being on court with your favourite tennis pro can be a thrilling adventure, ball kids get the opportunity to interact with main tennis stars and find out what they are really like.
- The best seat in the house
Second only to the umpires, ball kids have the best view on the court, they can see the play close up and experience the speed of serves from top players.
- Learn shots
Ball kids can see at first hand how the real top players execute their shots, how they move about the court and how they anticipate the next shot. This is invaluable free coaching from the best in the game.
- Being the focus of attention
Being a ball kid you are thoroughly involved in a match from start to finish, without the ball kids intervention and service most top games simply could not go ahead.
- Learn tennis etiquette and understand play
You can never be too young to learn, being on court with professional players will teach young ball kids the right examples of how to behave on court. How to win or lose gracefully and the proper etiquette required playing a match.
Ball kids pick up the nuances of how to be civil to their opponents and to officials, learn how to keep focused and not to let any gamesmanship affect their play.
The second best thing to being actually playing a Grand Slam match is to be on court whilst one is being played. Being a ball kid gives the opportunity for many youngsters to do so and enjoy every bit of the action close up.