Tennis can be a real workout of a sport. Running up and down the court, swinging that racket with all your strength, taking flying leaps in hopes of reaching the ball — it is exhausting. All of this action is the thrill of the game, but one action can quickly prove irritating: picking up the balls.
When you cycle through all the tennis balls you own, you have to stop the game and round them up again. This might not be a problem if those orbs were not so hollow or lightweight. They can soar over the fence or otherwise beyond a convenient reach. Picking them up can be tiring, and not in a satisfying way.
Thankfully, there are a few different ways to approach this annoyance. You could simply get more balls, reducing the number of times you run out during the game. You could also use equipment that speeds up the pick-up parts. Tennis ball hoppers can help with both. Here is some more information on this device, as well as a list of the best.
What Are Ball Hoppers Used For?
At first glance, the average tennis ball hopper appears to be a simple basket with a handle at the top and bars on the bottom. Those bars do not seem big enough for balls to fall through them, making one of their uses obvious. They are designed to hold many of them. Some can carry dozens, while others having an even more impressive capacity. This makes them great for training, which is always more effective with a whole bunch of tennis balls.
The handle shows another of the device’s uses: transportation. Rather than carrying all of your tennis balls in a bag with the rest of your stuff, you can haul them all in the ball hopper. Almost every hopper comes with a handle that can be separated into two parts or locked together. Some samples with higher capacities even include wheels for greater convenience.
Some ball hoppers use those handles for an additional purpose. When you no longer need to hold it, you can bend the handles, pivot them to the ground, and use them as legs. They elevate the basket to waist height, making it even more convenient to pick up and play with their contents.
Okay, What is the Real Reason to Use Them?
At this point, you may be wondering: why not just bring a basket from home? This brings us to the reason the ball hopper was invented, and the reason it took off.
Jake Stap, formerly a tennis camp instructor and gym teacher, invented the tennis ball hopper in the 1960s. According to a New York Times profile, he was getting fed up with picking up after his pupils when he had a big idea. Instead of bending over and groping at each tennis ball, he decided to modify a basket to do some of the work for him. As the article states, “He rigged a wastepaper basket with a rigid wire handle and bars across its bottom: pressing down on a ball would cause it to squeeze through the bars and stay in the basket.”
This creative design choice minimizes the amount of time and effort needed to pick up the balls. Combined with every other design choice, it makes the tennis ball hopper a worthwhile investment for anyone going through training. It is also great for disabled people, seniors, and anyone who is simply tired of squatting down so much on the court.
Best Tennis Ball Hoppers
Gamma EZ Travel Cart 150
We would be remiss if we did not start our list of the best tennis ball hoppers with one of the most popular. The Gamma EZ Travel Cart 150 is widely favored for several reasons. It takes its name from its carrying capacity: 150 standard tennis balls. Moreover, it is optimized to be highly portable. It comes with swivel wheels, both capable of locking in place, and a carrying bag for its fold-up “cross-brace support” legs. The basket itself is really a bag that can be attached to the legs or hoisted on your shoulders. If your job or hobby requires frequent travel, the Gamma EZ Travel Cart 150 makes it easier to take your tennis passion with you.
The Hoag 72 (also named after its capacity) may resemble an ordinary tennis ball hopper, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The bottom bars are great at their designated job, bending just enough to pick up tennis balls and returning to shape before any can fall. On top of this, the material used to make the bars is fortified to extend the longevity of their flexibility. Just in case, the basket’s base incorporates a lid as an extra safety measure. The Hoag 72 is engineered to do its job perfectly and endure a lot of training sessions.
Ballhopper Whopper 140
The Ballhopper Whopper 140 is a top-notch hopper that can quickly pop what you drop. It is capable of holding exactly as many balls as the name implies. Its handles turn into legs that bring the basket within reach of your hands. More notably, the Whopper is stronger and more durable than the average hopper. Its construction, as well as features like wear bumpers, enables it to handle all the conditions you might experience while training in an outdoor court. If your love of the game drives you to play and practice no matter how the day goes, this will hold up quite nicely.
Ball Hoppers at Tennis Court Supply
Tennis ball hoppers can make a massive difference in how you play, train, and enjoy the game. Here at Tennis Court Supply, we strive to provide any kind of equipment that professionals, players-in-training, and enthusiasts might find beneficial. That is why we offer all the ball hoppers mentioned above and a few others with their own merits. Check out our high-quality selection, feel free to explore our store, and order from us today. You will see what a difference tennis ball hoppers can make for you.