When it is my turn to serve during a game of tennis I find it convenient to keep a spare ball in the pocket of my shorts. That way if my first service is a fault I have the ball for my second service right at hand and I don’t have to waste time chasing after a ball to pick up. That makes me think about ladies’ tennis skirts and whether they have pockets to conveniently hold tennis balls during a game.
Some tennis skirts have pockets in the outer fabric of the skirt for holding balls. Other skirts have built-in spandex undershorts that have expanding pockets for holding tennis balls. More commonly, players will just tuck a spare ball under the leg of the undershorts even if the skirt has pockets.
Let’s take a closer look at the specific design of tennis skirts and how/where ladies are able to keep a spare ball while they are playing.
As opposed to men’s tennis shorts that almost always have pockets to be able to hold tennis balls during play, the tennis skirts and dresses worn by ladies on the professional circuit very seldom have pockets in their outer fabric to hold tennis balls during play. However, there are a number of options available for female tennis players to be able to hold tennis balls during play making it easier for them to play and move easily.
When I refer to the tennis skirts and tennis dresses not having pockets for balls I mean they very seldom have pockets in the outer fabric layer of the tennis skirt or dress. What is more common is that tennis skirts and dresses have spandex undershorts sewn into the dress or skirt. These spandex shorts very often have a pocket the correct size to be able to take a tennis ball. So, while the outer layer of the tennis skirt or dress doesn’t have a pocket to hold a tennis ball the inner spandex shorts layer does.
This means that a female tennis player is able to either put a tennis ball into the pocket of the spandex shorts or, as is more often the case, she tucks the tennis for under a leg of the spandex shorts. In both of these instances, the ball is held close to the leg of the player and does not interfere with the movement of the skirt or dress when she is moving on the court.
Modern tennis skirts have spandex undershorts sewn into them. The spandex undershorts have an expanding pocket into which a tennis ball can be placed. More often than not players simply tuck the ball into the leg of the spandex undershorts as it is far easier and less fiddly than working with the expanding pocket.
There are some tennis skirts that neither have outer pockets nor do they have spandex undershorts making it more difficult to be able to comfortably hold a tennis ball. In this case, players are able to use a special ball holder that can be clipped onto the waistband of their skirt, normally at the back.
Many female tennis players tuck a spare ball under their skirts while serving so that it is available for them should they need to play a second service. While it may look as if the player is just tucking the ball under their skirt, what they are in fact doing is tucking the ball under the leg of their spandex undershorts which were designed specifically to be able to hold the ball more securely than just simply under the fabric of their skirt.
In addition to tucking the ball into the pants leg of their spandex undershorts, what some players do when playing the service is to tuck the front part of the skirt on the landing leg into the spandex shorts as this gives a slightly greater range of motion for their legs, especially in the case of a tight-fitting tennis skirt.
What I mean by this is that when you play the service in tennis, you usually jump as you are serving. As a right-handed player, I will always land on my right foot with my left foot kicked up behind me. When playing in humid, sweaty conditions the front of the skirt could stick to the front of your right thigh as you land from playing a service. If your skirt is tight this feeling of restricted movement feels even worse. Tucking the front hem of the skirt under the right leg of your undershorts prevents the skirt’s hem from sticking to you and opens a greater range of motion for your legs.
Tennis balls are able to stay in tennis skirts simply because the tennis skirt is designed with built-in spandex undershorts that have expanding pockets that are able to hold a tennis ball. Some players just tuck the ball under the leg of their spandex undershorts as it is quicker, easier, and just as secure.
Using the spandex undershorts method of holding a tennis ball is a preferable option to having a pocket sewn into the outer fabric of the skirt. Having a tennis ball swinging around your legs as the skirt moves while you are playing can be very distracting.
Not all tennis skirts are designed to be able to hold tennis balls. There are tennis skirts on the market that have neither spandex undershorts nor pockets sewn into the outer fabric of the skirt. More often than not these will be cheaper skirts aimed at entry-level players who just getting into the sport and don’t want to spend a lot on their first tennis outfit.
The last time I saw a female tennis player on the professional circuit playing in a skirt or dress that did not have a pocket or spandex undershorts to hold a spare tennis ball must have been easily sometime during the 1980s when plastic ball holders clipped to the back of tennis skirts were popular items.
There are two main reasons why tennis players would want to hold an extra tennis ball under their skirt. The first is while they are playing the service they may need to reach for a second ball quickly should the first service be a fault. The second reason for holding a spare tennis ball under their skirt is simply because having tennis balls rolling around on the court during play can be an injury risk should the player step onto the ball and roll their ankle.