In televised tennis matches, the players on the court are the main focus. However, there are people on the court who run just as much or more than the ones who actually have racquets in their hands. They are the young men and women chasing the tennis balls. Tennis ballboys and ballgirls are a vital part of any professional tennis match. They help keep the match flowing smoothly and keep the players from having to chase after balls. Tennis ballboys and ballgirls follow rules and guidelines for a match to be successful.
Good Athletic Condition
Ballboys and ballgirls for professional tennis tournaments must be in good athletic condition. They must be able to run back and forth across a tennis court for the duration of a match, which can be anywhere from less than one hour to three hours long. Ballgirls and ballboys must be able to roll balls accurately to others and bounce balls accurately to the players. Accuracy is important because players do not want to have to chase tennis balls, Ballboys and ballgirls are also required to stand and squat for long periods of time. There are no height and weight requirements. There are no age requirements for ball persons, but most of the duties are recommended for those who are between the ages of 12 and 20.
Know the Game
Ballboys and ballgirls must be very familiar with the game of tennis and its scoring system. Although it is not their responsibility to keep score, they must know when players are going to change sides and when a game is going to end. Ballboys and ballgirls need to follow the score of each game so they know which side of the court a player will be serving to and where the balls might land. Ballboys and ballgirls who are familiar with the game will help a tournament run smoothly and make the support staff look professional.
Written And Performance Tests
In addition to registering for a tennis tournament, ballboys and ballgirls may have to pass written tests and training tests. Each tournament is different in its requirements, but most professional events require that ballboys and ballgirls pass written tests. The written tests pertain to the scoring system and the rules of the game. Training sessions ensure that ball handlers know what is expected of them during a tournament. These training sessions include ball-bouncing practice with a target and a person, and running to pick up balls. Major tournaments such as Wimbledon and the U.S. Open require that ballboys and ballgirls commit to a minimum number of days for each tournament. Ballboys and ballgirls do not get paid for their efforts during a tournament, but they do get access to the players in ways that fans do not.
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