Being a ball boy at a tennis tournament is a highly sought-after position. Aspiring professional tennis players want these jobs to maximise their exposure to world-class players and environments. Although requirements may vary from place to place, most ball boy or girl requirements have similarities, and many try to emulate the requirements of more prestigious tournaments. Wimbledon's rules are an excellent representation of the ball boy rules and requirements for a tournament.
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Ball boys and girls (BBGs) are nominated from the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, the tennis club's junior program, and from a number of local schools. Nominees, who average 15 years old, must be physically fit, be able to give priority to training, have no exams during the championships, and have a knowledge of the rules of tennis. There are no height or weight requirements.
After nomination, potential BBGs must complete a number of qualification tests. A written test judges candidates' knowledge of tennis rules and scoring. Candidates must then show good speed in shuttle runs, pass hand-eye coordination tests, be able to run a lap and immediately stand still for three minutes, roll three balls straight over flat ground, and pivot and stand using proper stance and foot movement.
Once selected, training begins in February. BBGs attend biweekly classes until Easter, and then four two-hour sessions weekly through June. These sessions include training on general fitness, ball skills (such as feeding, which is bouncing a ball to a player), scoring and set pieces such as tie breakers, starting and ending a game, suspended play and other eventualities.
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