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ktowntennis
04-07-2004, 08:08 PM
I am a newly certified teaching pro and I am considering investing in SpeedBalls (foam training balls) as a teaching aid. I would like to hear from any other teaching pros out there regarding the pros and cons of using SpeedBalls for teaching purposes.

Bungalo Bill
04-08-2004, 09:24 AM
Can you clarify "speed ball". That term has been used for different things.

Are you talking about the Pro Penn Stars ball? Or are you talking about that weird shaped Z-ball that bounces in different directions? I have used both and just want to be sure we are talking about the same thing. Or maybe your talking about something I have not heard of.

jagmeister
03-07-2005, 07:50 PM
I believe he is referring to the Dunlop Speed Ball. It is an oversized nerf ball that many young very beginners use to develop their strokes.

Geezer Guy
03-08-2005, 10:12 AM
I'm not a pro, but I've seen the pro's at our club use them fairly often with different levels of players. They can hit the ball hard, yet control it, and keep rallys going a long time.

raftermania
03-08-2005, 12:48 PM
Hi, we used these Dunlop Speedballs when we toured some elementry schools in my city. The kids love them, sort of a misnomer calling them "speed" balls because they are a lot slower than regular tennis balls.

I'd say they would ideally suit the youngsters because of their foam nature. Adults, I'd think would feel unconfortable not playing with the "real thing." The speedballs are soft and slower, which helps children's poor coordination skills adapt to the physics of the ball. Also, other children can be hit by these balls without casualty.

I definitely recommend these balls for the young beginners. They help reduce the large amount of unforced errors which discourage and frustrate a lot of kids out of tennis. If my memory serves me, I think I saw them listed on TW.

FiveO
03-08-2005, 12:57 PM
Raftermania,

Thanks, I was waiting to read if anyone knew what SpeedBalls were, especially with BB not knowing of them. Are they weighted and sized conventionally? Do they travel shorter distances as well as keeping speeds slower? Now, I'm interested as I'm starting my 4 yr. old out this spring.

JackD
03-08-2005, 07:14 PM
I use the speedballs with my students. Fiveo- they are foam and bigger then a standard ball. They have some weight to them so you can hit them hard but they just check up in the air more. I like using them with young kids because they can rally longer. The ones I use are bright red and yellow which also shows spin on the ball much better for beginners. I also make more advanced players use them when they are making technical changes because they have a bit more time to think about what they are working on. They also last awhile so a dozen will go along ways. I think they started in Eurpoe and the PTR branch in Europe uses them extensively (from what I hear). I like to start kids on the speedballs then switch to the softies (yellow/green pta balls I think made by penn) and then the real deal.

I've got a 4 year old and we hit them around the house. (warning often not encouraged by female ruler of the house) Get a couple and try em out I think you'll like them. Like Rater... said they really can help beginners of any age sustain rallies making tennis so much more fun.

papa
03-08-2005, 07:20 PM
The ones I've seen are not foam but sponge like - there is a smaller version for golf. Kinda fun unless there is any wind. I think Wal-Mart and Sports Authority carry them.

JackD
03-08-2005, 07:26 PM
sponge is a better description...thanks papa

FiveO
03-09-2005, 04:32 AM
JackD and Papa

Thanks fellas. Sounds good. And JackD thanks for the reminder about my female ruler of the house, too.

JackD
03-09-2005, 08:45 AM
No problem...I have often been "reminded" that inside the house is not the place to start "grooming the 4 year olds strokes". But its cheaper then getting indoor courts for those of use located well above the Mason Dixon. The speedballs work really well for half volleys off the window even on the carpet.

Kaptain Karl
03-09-2005, 10:05 AM
JackD - Do they have "similar" bounce / rebound? How long do they last?

My wife asked me to teach her tennis last summer. These *seem* like a useful way to bring a newcomer along....

(I cannot locate them on TW, but on *other* sites I cannot tell if you are buying a package of them -- or just one -- for about $3.00. What can you tell us?) Thanks!

- KK

eagle
03-09-2005, 10:37 AM
Sports Authority have the Gamma version:

http://www.thesportsauthority.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1861708&cp=714770.714793&page=2&doVSearch=no&clickid=mainnav_browse_txt&pageBucket=0&parentPage=family

r,
eagle

Roforot
03-09-2005, 12:50 PM
Is not Speedball that racquet sport that Maria Sharapova endorses. It's like tennis w/out a net for $20?

takeuchi
03-09-2005, 01:17 PM
i think thats speedminton

Roforot
03-09-2005, 04:52 PM
Thanks for the clarification Takeuchi.

JackD
03-09-2005, 06:16 PM
KK- they bounce really well and last longer then a regular ball I think. I don't know how they would work on clay. A really gritty hardcourt may chew them up quicker. They fade kind of quick but are pretty durable. Eagle's link has a good picture. I havn't tried Gamma's mine are Dunlope and say PTR Speedball but I'm sure they are all the same.

raftermania
03-09-2005, 10:13 PM
I don't think playing the speedballs on clay would be too wise, the clay particles would get stuck in the pores of the speedballs!

LivingNet
11-13-2005, 09:03 AM
I highly recommend them as a training/teaching aid. They help them understand spin better also because of the dual color (and slower ball) it is easier to see. I ordered some Gamma revolutions but sent them back because they do not bounce as high as a regular ball or the Dunlops. I only use the Dunlop speedballs now as I think they best duplicate flight of a real ball.

Tiger Paw
11-13-2005, 09:35 PM
Ktowntennis,

I've used them regularly for several years since they were introduced. I would not walk onto a kids' court without 12-24 balls! They are great for getting kids to rally. And immediately all your games become much safer. They are a must in a school gymnasium setting because of the floor. For all level players, they slow the stroke process down so that musle memory can better be achieved. In particular, with 6-10 year old beginers, I like to use a games based approach where we play actual tennis in the short court. Often doubles. Slowly, on their own initiative, they take bigger an better cuts at the ball instead of just bumping it over. Start with bounce serve. Then introduce regular serve after a week or two. Explain the rules as you go along (two serves, ball touches line is in, alternate serve side, etc) They play "real" tennis, not some funny game. An believe me kids know the difference! It is the SpeedBall that makes this posible because the bounce is controlable and the distance covered by a hard hit ball short. Because the ball bouces slowly, it is easier to track... which is the number one beginner problem.

I have actually seen pro's at the Pilot Penn use them to warm up with!