How many balls you use for doubles?

Eddie G

New User
Ok, too few balls and you have to pause the game a lot for ball pickup. Too many balls and you risk having balls behind you that you'll trip over.

What's the recommended number of balls to use when playing doubles? This is for recreational tennis
 
If you use 3 for singles, why would you use a different # for doubles?

You could argue you don't need more because there are twice as many people which means the distance to retrieve any given ball should be less.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Usually 3, sometimes 2 if we've lost one.

Why would anyone open a second can of balls? Has the value of money dropped so much that we can throw $5 away to save ourselves a few extra steps?
 

mixtape

Rookie
For rec tennis, 3 balls is enough. On occasion, I'll throw in 1 or 2 decent used ones in the mix, but I notice we tend to push them away and gravitate to the original 3.
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
Usually 3, sometimes 2 if we've lost one.

Why would anyone open a second can of balls? Has the value of money dropped so much that we can throw $5 away to save ourselves a few extra steps?
It is not that more is convenient but rarely is there an empty court on either side. And you want to spray 6 balls on an occupied court?
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Usually 3, sometimes 2 if we've lost one.

Why would anyone open a second can of balls? Has the value of money dropped so much that we can throw $5 away to save ourselves a few extra steps?
Here we play multiple times with same balls. Quality balls can be open for a month with no prob, two cans last twice as long. No waste of money.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
All the doubles players I see use 3 balls and like all doubles the majority of time is spent getting ready to serve then a couple shots and pick up balls and serve for 2-3 more shots and rinse and repeat.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
For warm-ups, we bring out at least 8-10 used balls. But for the match, someone usually opens a new can of balls and we play with only 3 on the court. We try to simulate an actual match.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
New to once used can of four balls as usual, also for singles.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Can't stand warming up with only three balls among four players - I want to warm up my hitting, not my picking up. I'll crack an extra can if we don't have fresh spares in our bags. Three for match time.
 

JEDBERG1

Rookie
Can't stand warming up with only three balls among four players - I want to warm up my hitting, not my picking up. I'll crack an extra can if we don't have fresh spares in our bags. Three for match time.
I agree four people warming up with three balls is terrible.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Your group is easy! The people I play with always ask for new balls, even just for one set.
I guess it's environment where players are used to playing with new balls...

At our amateur competition league the rule is new balls, so competitive matches are like that. However we come from the system on which you could not afford to waste a good can of balls after just a match, so players are used to using open cans more than once. Luckily.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
When I was younger, I preferred playing with 2 cans (6 balls) to reduce pick up time. Now that I'm older, I don't mind the breaks picking up balls to catch my breath. Since the tourneys usually provide the balls, it takes some effort to get that 2nd can, so I've stopped trying and am content with one can now. Also, most opponents are so used to three, it takes some convincing to get them to play with 6. Back in the day, we'd face the same opponents frequently enough, working out the details was worthwhile. Lately, we seldom see opponents more than once or twice a year.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
I guess it's environment where players are used to playing with new balls...

At our amateur competition league the rule is new balls, so competitive matches are like that. However we come from the system on which you could not afford to waste a good can of balls after just a match, so players are used to using open cans more than once. Luckily.
When I played in a league we also played with new balls and loser ended up "paying" for the can. Now I just play doubles and singles with a fixed group most of whom play like mediocrely which I mean to say that I see very little benefit from new balls. :) Any used balls, except completely flat, are more than good enough for our games. An advantage of this is there are always abundant of them over time. (A personal advantage for me is that I am not affected by the different pace, bounce, looks produced by used balls LOL).

But being fair and trying to avoid other players' ******** I have to routinely supply new balls. :) Sometimes I get annoyed that people have to have all 3 new balls in possession or stop the game and look for the third missing ball.
 
But being fair and trying to avoid other players' ******** I have to routinely supply new balls.
How is that fair to you? If they are sensitive on the issue, shouldn't they supply the new balls? Or, at the very least, pitch in so everyone participates?

if they whine about their car getting dirty, are you going to wash it for them? :p
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
How is that fair to you? If they are sensitive on the issue, shouldn't they supply the new balls? Or, at the very least, pitch in so everyone participates?

if they whine about their car getting dirty, are you going to wash it for them? :p
Shirley we all know guys who never, ever open or even bring new balls to a match. They got one tin can of Spaldings from 1981. Saved from the last Zombie Apocalypse,

 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
How is that fair to you? If they are sensitive on the issue, shouldn't they supply the new balls? Or, at the very least, pitch in so everyone participates?

if they whine about their car getting dirty, are you going to wash it for them? :p
True.
I told them that a couple of times. If they're so bothered, then supply their own new balls. Otherwise, I always carry decent (used) balls, and if no balls then I open a new can. But some people are really picky about balls (new balls every 2 sets, my turn, your turn requirement) and they tend to blame their losses on balls, strings, opponent making noises, etc. After some time it's no longer worth arguing with them. So whatever.

It's true that there are quite a few who never, ever bring new balls. However, in their defense, I have never ever seen any one of those guys complain about not having new balls to play with. Meaning, they don't provide, but they are also ok with any used balls they can find. I'm perfectly fine with that. No judgment.

Let me reiterate. I don't think majority of recreational players hit so well and accurately that 5 sets old or a couple weeks old balls make an adverse difference. The wackiness and variety from wide range of rec player styles should be your first concern.
 
Let me reiterate. I don't think majority of recreational players hit so well and accurately that 5 sets old or a couple weeks old balls make an adverse difference. The wackiness and variety from wide range of rec player styles should be your first concern.
Agreed.

But, just like some prefer the ritual attached to uncorking a bottle of wine vs twisting a cap, so do others prefer the ritual of the new can.
 

Kevo

Legend
Here we play multiple times with same balls. Quality balls can be open for a month with no prob, two cans last twice as long. No waste of money.
Do you actually hit the balls? If you keep them in a pressurizer that might save the bounce, but playing with worn tennis balls that still bounce well is like cheating if someone knows how to serve. Aces and unreturnables all day! Plus they go right through the fence if they happen to hit where the wind breaker doesn't cover.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Do you actually hit the balls? If you keep them in a pressurizer that might save the bounce, but playing with worn tennis balls that still bounce well is like cheating if someone knows how to serve. Aces and unreturnables all day! Plus they go right through the fence if they happen to hit where the wind breaker doesn't cover.
Well I didn't tell the important. I play on red clay. Felt on red clay lasts possibly twice as long (and if you use two cans that actually last four times as long, in comparison), while bounce (unless court is soaked with rain) usually bounces high anyway. Anyway, balls with felt on which still bounce well are not that much different than new ones, hand on heart. I'd lie if I said I notice a big difference. Once the felt wears off we open new balls.
 

Kevo

Legend
Yeah, I very rarely play on clay, and mostly green so I'll take your word for it. It kind of makes sense that the felt would last somewhat longer. The bounce I'm not sure about but the bounce is different on clay so maybe it would work out better. Probably even more so if the people you play with aren't big hitters.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Yeah, I very rarely play on clay, and mostly green so I'll take your word for it. It kind of makes sense that the felt would last somewhat longer. The bounce I'm not sure about but the bounce is different on clay so maybe it would work out better. Probably even more so if the people you play with aren't big hitters.
If you use same balls, bounce is somehow proportional to slowness of the court. Faster courts will let the ball skid more, producing faster pace yet lower bounce, unless there's so much top on the ball to completely change the trajectory so ball hits from up above. In this case it will bounce high anyway. But difference will show with some usuall hits, clay will slow the ball down but bounce it yet higher. I sometimes play on indoor surface which is not actually hard court (not sure what it is) and it does slow the ball down as well and produce good height. I also used to play long ago on outside hard court (we called this colour set) which are really fast and bounce balls noticeably lower.
 

Kevo

Legend
Yeah the courts and type of ball can make a big difference and clay is quite different. I've played on both green and red, just not very often. Red I think only once actually. Green quite a few times. I just don't have enough experience to know what would happen to tennis balls if I played on clay all the time. I know on hard courts the felt comes off pretty quickly and the bounce goes away even faster. If you don't do something to maintain the pressure you might get 2 matches out them if they are a quality ball and you're not baseline bashing in both matches.

It's fun to hit with a bouncy feltless ball though. You can hit shots that are simply unreturnable and you can punch them through the fencing too. Just get an old basket of practice balls and put them in a pressurizer for a week or so. Lots of fun. :)
 
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