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So You Want to be a Tennis Ball Boy

  • It's an easy job
  • Sorry, you don't get paid
  • Ugly kids need not apply
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Clay Tennis Court

So, you want to be a tennis ball boy. One of the perks of professional tennis, is that you don’t need to be picking up any of the balls lying around the court. That job falls to the ball boys/girls. Either kneeling by the net or standing to attention at the back of the court, it all looks very easy. But just what does it take to run around collecting the tennis balls or offering a towel to a player?

Introduction: So You Want to be a Tennis Ball Boy

Without meaning to be sexist, and to make life easier, we shall henceforth call these guys and gals, “ball boys”. English sports book sites mention that you’ll find that there are two basic positions on the court. Either crouching by the net post or standing at the very back of the court. There are six ball boys on the court at any one time, two at the net and one in each corner. Any balls that are stopped by the net are collected by the “net” ball boys, with each boy having responsibility for his side of the net. The ball boys at the back of the court, collect balls nearest to them, hold onto them, and then throw them to players when requested. There are “shifts” normally lasting between 30 – 60 minutes.

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Tennis Match

Be a Tennis Ball Boy: Hold My Balls

As a tennis ball boy, you’ll be too young to bet with Bet365. But one job you can do is be a kind of unpaid butler/slave to the pro tennis player on your side of the court. To that end, you need to hand them a towel or drink when asked, as well as hold an umbrella to shield them from the sun. Whatever you do, don’t keep them waiting. And remember that when the players switch sides, their towel goes with them. No one wants to put their face in some other player’s sweaty towel! On the whole, if a professional player asks you for something, then it’s your job to do it. And be quick about it!

A Happy Player

Once a player has played a ball, he or she will request a new one from you. Your throw to the player, should allow for one bounce that rises to about waist level. If you have no more balls to give, then display your open hands. Whatever you do, think about what’s going to keep the player happy. That way the crowd will be content and everyone can get on with the job at hand. Now if you want to be a ball boy there are certain steps that can help you. But, as with all things, there are some prerequisites to keep in mind.

At the Tryouts

First off, you need to be between the ages of 11 and 15 years old. OK…this can vary sometimes, but take it as a given for most major competitions. Because there’s a fair amount of running and crouching, you’ll need to be pretty fit. This assumes that you actually belong to the tennis club in question. Online sports book news says that when you see a tournament advertised, then you should contact the organizers about ball boy positions. Most tournaments have tryouts that you can sign up to. There’s some basic paperwork and then the tournament staff will put you through your paces. They’ll be looking at your speed, throwing accuracy and general proficiency for the tasked asked of you. This can last from just a couple of weeks, to up to two months if it’s a major competition bound for television.

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Standing at the back of the tennis court

TV Friendly Looks

So, at this point we know that there’s really no chance for fatties to be a tennis ball boy. Or for kids with retarded throwing abilities. But there’s another no-no that no one really talks about. Simply put, you’ll need to be good looking.  Wait…what!! To spill the tea; as competitions progress, there are less and less matches in play. And so it follows that less ball boys are needed. Most big matches are televised, with the potential audience growing till we reach the final. Because no ugly people exist in TV land, then the chances are that you are not going to make the cut. Once someone’s placed a bet with Bet365, the last thing they want to see is your lardy ass waddling around the court on their wide screen TV. Along with your spastic throw which couldn’t hit a barn door at 5 meters. In point of fact, there are a coterie of “veteran” ball boys who clean up when it moves up to serious competition level.

That Superior Feeling from Peeing on the Court

But, (as every loser says), it’s not the winning that matters, but the taking part. You’ll not be paid, (unless you’re part of the exclusive US Open’s Tournament in which case you’ll get $11 per hour), so forget about buying a new Xbox or PlayStation from your earnings. On the plus side, some tournaments let you keep the sponsor kit you’ll be wearing. Also, as a tennis fan, you’ll have access to the amenities and seats others are denied. And finally, if you need to pee during training, then it’s perfectly acceptable to pee on the grass. Afterwards they sprinkle sand on it. So now you know!

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