Which Ball Next?

You ever notice how some players (both pros and club players) ask to have the same ball they just won the point with to hit next?  Or, intentionally change balls after losing a point?


Do they think there is some kind of “good karma” in that winning ball?  Or a jinx on re-using that losing ball?  Of course, it is all in their heads … buuuuuut what is in your head can really impact what your body does.  So, maybe choosing the “best ball” helps them play better.

What I Do

My pattern does not concern the winning or losing ball; but a wet ball.  The next ball I usually use is the one that was in my pocket.  Why?  Because, in the Florida heat, I usually sweat pretty good and that ball is sitting in a wet pocket; so I want to rotate them.

How about you… what is your pattern, if any?

Washing Tennis SHOES?

As a follow-up to the “Washing Tennis Hats” conversation, a friend told me that he puts his leather tennis shoes in the washing machine to clean them!  He claims they come out smelling and being clean, with no adverse effects.

I have never heard of – or tried – that.  Anyone with other experience???

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7 thoughts on “Which Ball Next?

  1. Interesting George! I’m very aware of rituals and superstitions on the court. I try not to give them to much weight when it comes to my own play. A ball that just won a big point needs a rest, so I’m inclined to serve up a different ball. If I did have a ritual of sorts , it would be that the last song I heard in the car on my way to the courts is what normally plays in my head during rallies. I tend to play well when either Paul Simon or Billy Joel is running through my head! lol

    JIm, good choices! george

  2. I tend to re-use a ball that just won a point for me. If I lost the point, but it was a ball that flew from my opponents racquet straight and true and found a corner or a line, I will re-use that ball also because it must be a well-built ball. If a ball is rolling toward me after a point, no matter the previous point, I will play that ball because it is obviously saying that it wants to play and will do it’s best for me. I listen to my balls when they speak to me. Some want to play. Some are tired after a long point. Some are bored and want to get away – they find my frame and use it as an excuse to fly over the fence. I usually let them go. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them here.

    Terry, LOL! george

  3. George, I am one of the superstitious types who likes to continue playing with a winning ball. However, in contrast I usually rotate the two balls for first serve I like each point. Sometimes when down 30-0, it’s time to put a different ball in play. Anything to give you a little better Karma.
    On the pros I doubt they can keep track of the winning ball very well with six balls that are all pretty well new. I think usually they are just looking for the newest one to crank up.
    My shoes are too big, 14’s, I’m afraid would damage the washer

    Larry, I have seen pros (Stan W?) ask the ball boy on the other side to send back his winning ball to use again. Big feet… big shoes… small washer. thanks, george

  4. The shoes only go into the washer occasionally, but it definitely does them some good. As a ridiculously heavy sweater, they’ll sometimes be “sloshing” as I walk. Same with my shorts for the other part of this edition’s subjects. Often have to have opponents hold the third ball because my wet, plastered shorts would cause the ball to fly with rooster tails should a ball have been stored in the pocket. Along with that excessive sweating come the old full body cramps.

    Amazed that such a sharp (and talented) a guy as Larry T would be superstitious. 🙂

    Kevin, think of Rafa and his rituals! george

  5. George….. Texas summers like Florida can lead to some stinky shoes after a while. My technique is to submerge them in a big plastic bucket (home depot) filled with water and about a cup of bleach. The shoess still want to float so I put a couple big river rocks on top to hold them down. Leave for about 30 minutes….. then pour out the bleach/ water and repeat with clean water to rinse. Then hang inverted outside to dry. The bleach will kill the bacteria that is causing the smell but won’t bleach out the colors in these new modern synthetic upper shoes. (Colorfast) I’ve almost never had to repeat as I usually wear them out before they ever get stinky again (some of the bleach must be retained as they always have a clean (bleachy) smell.

    Tom, with leather shoes too??? george

  6. Hey George,
    As I lay here in my convalescence from my second car accident, I enjoyed your question immensely. I have had that superstition for years and I suspect its somehow hooked in with OCD but I could be totally wrong. I have actually been trying to change it because it does seem to add another thought and I have been trying to go the other direction of quieting my mind from my mentor Steve Yellin who wrote the book I lent you. The more silence, the deeper peace every shot comes from so I trying to give up worrying about which ball I am using to approximate sanity.

    Dave, sorry to hear about your accident! Yes, the more we can focus on “the next shot” the better we can play. Get well and back on the court soon. george

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