Ball boy

Last updated

A ball girl at the 2014 French Open in tennis Roland Garros 20140528 Roland Garros ballgirl.jpg
A ball girl at the 2014 French Open in tennis
The skaters in yellow vests in the foreground are ball boys at this bandy game. Hanninhauta 2014.JPG
The skaters in yellow vests in the foreground are ball boys at this bandy game.

Ball boys and ball girls, [1] also known as ball kids, [2] are individuals, usually human youths but sometimes dogs, [3] who retrieve and supply balls for players or officials in sports such as association football, American football, bandy, cricket, tennis, baseball and basketball. Though non-essential, their activities help to speed up play by reducing the amount of inactive time.



Ball boy (left) and line judge (right) during the 2005 Australian Open Linesperson and ballboy 0484.jpg
Ball boy (left) and line judge (right) during the 2005 Australian Open
Two ball girls in pose offering balls to the player Ballmadchen.jpg
Two ball girls in pose offering balls to the player

Due to the nature of the sport, quick retrieval of loose balls and delivery of the game balls to the servers are necessary for quick play in tennis. In professional tournaments, every court will have a trained squad of ball boys/girls with positionings and movements designed for maximum efficiency, while also not interfering with active play. As well as dealing with the game balls, ball boys/girls may also provide the players with other assistance, such as the delivery of towels and drinks. [4]



Feeding is how the ball boys and girls give the balls to the players. At different tournaments, they use different techniques for feeding. At some tournaments, bases have both arms in the air, feeding the balls with one arm; at others, they have one arm in the air which they feed the balls and the other arm behind their back. When feeding the ball, they must also be aware of a player's preference. Most players accept the standard, which is for the ball boy or girl to gently toss the ball (from the position with their arms extended upwards) such that it bounces one time then to the proper height for the player to catch the ball easily.


There are various methods for selecting the ball boys and girls for a tournament. In many tournaments, such as Wimbledon and the Queen's Club Championships, they are picked from or apply through schools, where they are selected by tournaments and they have to go through a number of selections and tests. [4] In some other tournaments, such as the Nottingham Open, Australian Open and the US Open, [5] positions are advertised and there are open try-outs.

Applicants are required to pass a physical ability assessment. In addition to fitness and stamina, the abilities to concentrate and remain alert are essential.

Association football

A ball boy at a football match in China in 2007 Ball boy.jpg
A ball boy at a football match in China in 2007

In 2006 the IFAB Laws of the Game for association football were changed to allow multiple balls to be used under the direction of referee. Higher level organised matches now commonly use 6+ balls with ball boys scattered around the pitch to quicken the pace of play. Typically positioned behind advertising boards surrounding the pitch, ball boys will try to be in possession of a spare ball at all times, so that this can be given to the players prior to the loose ball being retrieved.

Methods for selecting ball boys vary between grounds. [6] On occasion, away teams have complained about perceived favour of ball boys towards home sides. [6]

Association football ball boys hit the headlines in England in a 2013 Capital One Cup match when Eden Hazard, a member of the away team, which was trailing at the time, appeared to kick at an apparently time-wasting ball boy Charlie Morgan who was lying on top of the ball. [7] Hazard was subsequently sent off for violent conduct and suspended for three games. [8] It was later revealed that the ball boy had tweeted the day before that he had intended to waste time. [9]


A ball girl retrieving a foul ball at a Baltimore Orioles game Foul Ball (35819434331).jpg
A ball girl retrieving a foul ball at a Baltimore Orioles game

Ball kids are stationed in out-of-play areas near the first and third base foul lines to retrieve out-of-play baseballs. They should not be confused with batboys and batgirls, who remain in or near a team's dugout and the home plate area, primarily to tend to a team's baseball bats.

As ball kids are stationed on the field, albeit in foul territory, they can occasionally interfere with play; such events are governed by Rule 6.01(d), the main point of which is that if the interference is unintentional, any live ball remains alive and in play. [10]

Since 1992, the San Francisco Giants have employed older men as "balldudes", instead of the traditional youths. In 1993, Corinne Mullane became the first "balldudette", and she and her daughter Molly, who began working as a balldudette in the 2000s, have since been included in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first mother-daughter ball-retrieving duo in baseball. [11] [12] [13]


Ball boys are stationed around the field just outside the boundary to retrieve any balls struck into the spectator stands or to the boundary rope. In India, disabled people are not allowed to be ball-boys anymore after a controversy occurred in 2017, after criticism of the Board of Control for Cricket in India surrounding the appearance of a polio-afflicted fan who had been serving as a ball-boy for a few years. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tennis</span> Racket sport

Tennis is a racket sport that is played either individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court. The object of the game is to manoeuvre the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. The player who is unable to return the ball validly will not gain a point, while the opposite player will.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rounders</span> Bat-and-ball team sport originating in England

Rounders is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams. Rounders is a striking and fielding team game that involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a wooden, plastic, or metal bat that has a rounded end. The players score by running around the four bases on the field.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wimbledon Championships</span> Tennis tournament held in London

The Championships, commonly known simply as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts, with retractable roofs over the two main courts since 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Real tennis</span> Racquet sport played in a walled court.

Real tennis – one of several games sometimes called "the sport of kings" – is the original racquet sport from which the modern game of tennis is derived. It is also known as court tennis in the United States, royal tennis in England and Australia, and courte-paume in France. Many French real tennis courts are at jeu de paume clubs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hawk-Eye</span> Computer vision system

Hawk-Eye is a computer vision system used in numerous sports such as cricket, tennis, Gaelic football, badminton, hurling, rugby union, association football and volleyball, to visually track the trajectory of the ball and display a profile of its statistically most likely path as a moving image. The onscreen representation of the trajectory results is called Shot Spot.

The question of the origins of baseball has been the subject of debate and controversy for more than a century. Baseball and the other modern bat, ball, and running games – stoolball, cricket and rounders – were developed from folk games in early Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe. Early forms of baseball had a number of names, including "base ball", "goal ball", "round ball", "fetch-catch", "stool ball", and, simply, "base". In at least one version of the game, teams pitched to themselves, runners went around the bases in the opposite direction of today's game, much like in the Nordic brännboll, and players could be put out by being hit with the ball. Just as now, in some versions a batter was called out after three strikes.

Town ball, townball, or Philadelphia town ball, is a bat-and-ball, safe haven game played in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was similar to rounders and was a precursor to modern baseball. In some areas, including Philadelphia and along the Ohio River and Mississippi River—the local game was called Town Ball. In other regions the local game was named "base", "round ball", "base ball", or just "ball"; after the development of the "New York game" in the 1840s it was sometimes distinguished as the "New England game" or "Massachusetts baseball". The players might be schoolboys in a pasture with improvised balls and bats, or young men in organized clubs. As baseball became dominant, town ball became a casual term to describe old fashioned or rural games similar to baseball.

Mary Ewing Outerbridge was an American woman who imported the lawn game tennis to the United States from Bermuda.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sports equipment</span> Object used for sport or exercise

Sports equipment, sporting equipment, also called sporting goods, are the tools, materials, apparel, and gear used to compete in a sport and varies depending on the sport. The equipment ranges from balls, nets, and protective gear like helmets. Sporting equipment can be used as protective gear or a tool used to help the athletes play the sport. Over time, sporting equipment has evolved because sports have started to require more protective gear to prevent injuries. Sporting equipment may be found in any department store or specific sporting equipment shops.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maud Barger-Wallach</span> American tennis player

Maud Barger-Wallach was an American tennis player of the early 1900s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sidney Wood</span> American tennis player

Sidney Burr Wood Jr. was an American tennis player who won the 1931 Wimbledon singles title. Wood was ranked in the world's Top 10 five times between 1931 and 1938, and was ranked World No. 6 in 1931 and 1934 and No. 5 in 1938 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frank Parker (tennis)</span> American tennis player

Frank Andrew Parker was an amateur & later professional American male tennis player of Polish immigrant parents who was active in the 1930s and 1940s. He won four Grand Slam singles titles as well as three doubles titles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chuck McKinley</span> American tennis player

Charles Robert McKinley Jr. was an American former world no. 1 men's amateur tennis champion of the 1960s. He is remembered as an undersized, hard-working dynamo, whose relentless effort and competitive spirit led American tennis to the top of the sport during a period heavily dominated by Australians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bob Falkenburg</span> American tennis player (1926–2022)

Robert Falkenburg was an American amateur tennis player and entrepreneur. He is best known for winning the Men's Singles at the 1948 Wimbledon Championships and introducing soft ice cream and American fast food to Brazil in 1952. He founded the Brazilian fast food chain Bob's.

Thomas Sylvester Howard is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played 11 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1990 to 2000 for the San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals. On April 11, 2000, he hit the first grand slam at Minute Maid Park.

A ball boy is a person who retrieves balls for players or officials in tennis and other sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of tennis</span>

The racket sport traditionally named lawn tennis, invented in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, now commonly known simply as tennis, is the direct descendant of what is now denoted real tennis or royal tennis, which continues to be played today as a separate sport with more complex rules. The first Lawn Tennis Club and tournament was held in Royal Leamington Spa on 1 August 1882.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Multiball system</span>

The multiball system in football permits a match immediately to resume with another ball when the original match ball goes out of play. The International Football Association Board laws of the game were changed for the 2006/2007 edition to make it legal to use more than a single ball per game.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frank Okey</span> American tennis player and squash player (1919–2023)

Frank A. Okey was an American tennis and squash champion, born in Rochester, New York, whose career spanned from 1929 until 1999. Okey won between 200 and 250 tennis tournaments between 1949 and 1999, including wins from throughout western New York State, Florida, and other regional, national, and international circuits. His local achievements in tennis include 85 tournament wins in the Rochester District Tennis Championships.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amanda Clement</span> American baseball umpire

Amanda E. Clement was an American baseball umpire who was the first woman paid to referee a game, and may have also been the first woman to referee a high school basketball game. Clement served as an umpire on a regular basis for six years, and served occasionally for several decades afterwards. An accomplished athlete in multiple disciplines, Clement competed in baseball, basketball, track, gymnastics, and tennis, and has been attributed world records in shot put, sprinting, hurdling, and baseball.


  1. "Ball Boys and Ball Girls". Wimbledon . Archived from the original on 5 September 2015.
  2. "Ballkids and Officials". Australian Open . Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  3. "Rescue dogs acted as ball boys and girls at the Brasil Open tennis tournament — and the pictures are amazing". Business Insider . 3 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  4. 1 2 About Wimbledon - Behind the scenes, Ball boys and ball girls.
  5. Official Site Archived 2009-06-27 at the Wayback Machine United States Tennis Association - 2009 US Open Ballperson Tryouts.
  6. 1 2 Taylor, Louise (24 January 2013). "How football clubs choose their ballboys – and ballgirls". Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  7. Hytner, David (25 January 2013). "Chelsea's Eden Hazard may face longer ban for ballboy altercation". Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  8. "FA rules out increasing Eden Hazard's three-match ban for ballboy kick". Guardian. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  9. "Swansea City ballboy Charlie Morgan boasted about time wasting before Capital One semi-final with Chelsea". Telegraph. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  10. "Bat Boy or Ball Boy Interference". 15 August 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  11. Moffitt, Bob (29 March 2019). "How An Elk Grove Woman And Her Mother Ended Up Honored In The Baseball Hall Of Fame". Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  12. Jenkins, Bruce (10 May 2020). "How first Ball Dudette landed in Hall of Fame". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. B1, B6.
  13. Gates, Jim. "Hall of Fame 'balldude'". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  14. "Polio-afflicted fan Dharamveer Pal 'lives for cricket', BCCI wants him away from boundary". The Indian Express. 22 October 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2020.