Tennis Ball Baskets: Get an Idea of Why They’re Essential for Keeping the Court Neat and Tidy

Jake Stap, who ran two Wisconsin tennis camps in the 1960s, spent way too much time gathering the tennis balls spread around the courts, as getting the kids to pick them up was too of a bugaboo for him. While driving to his job as a gym teacher one day, Jake pinched the ball rolling on the seat beside him. And when the rubber yielded under his fingertips, he had a revelation. 

Later that day, Stap made a wastepaper basket with bars across the bottom and a stiff wire handle so that when pressed down on a ball, it would squeeze through the bars and remain in the basket. That’s how Stap invented what he later called a ball hopper. After applying for a patent, Jake opened a company and manufactured ball hoppers out of his garage, selling 87 of them in the first year. And when the tennis mania of the 70s arrived, everyone wanted a ball hopper.

The Stap family sold the patent to big-chain pro stores, and that’s how we got to buy what appears to be one of the most helpful tennis court accessories today. As with all tennis equipment, choosing the right tennis ball basket for your club is important, and helping you with that is the final goal of this article.

Why Do You Need a Tennis Ball Basket?

Wilson 75 Ball Pick Up Basket

A basket for tennis is a great asset if your goal is to enhance your game or help someone else improve theirs. Here are some of the reasons why tennis clubs and players decide to invest in high-quality tennis ball baskets.

Quick and Easy Ball Collecting

The first and foremost use of a tennis ball basket is to speed the process of collecting the balls. If you’ve ever picked up more than a handful of tennis balls individually, you understand how tedious it can be. While a ball machine might save you time and effort because it frequently features large ball capacities that enable players to get the most out of their repetitions, the more balls – the more you need to pick them. A tennis ball basket is essential if you have a tennis ball machine. 

Transporting Tennis Balls

How do you transport tennis balls? Instead of packing a separate bag or keeping a lot of tennis balls in their racquet bag, players frequently grab a tennis basket to carry a lot of balls to and from the court. If this is you, you should opt for a cart with a cover that you can close to keep the balls from spilling while transporting them.

Feeding a Student or Friend Balls

Using a tennis cart to practice with a buddy or student—especially if it’s one of your kids—is another fantastic reason to get one. Practising the same shot by feeding multiple balls to the same spot is an excellent method for improving a player’s talent. If you’re buying a basket for this use, you should probably go for one with handles that you can fold under the basket to serve as legs when it’s time to feed.

Practising Your Serve

The serve is one of the most important to master among the few shots a player may practice on their own, and one of the most incredible tools for the job is a ball hopper. You can bring a few balls to the court to practice your serve, but carrying many (read fifty) to get enough repetitions under your belt is much more effective.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Tennis Basket

Tourna Ballport Deluxe with Wheels Blue - 80 balls

Here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing one of the many tennis ball baskets.


How many tennis balls can fit in a basket? Most options can hold between 40 and 140 tennis balls; the bigger they are, the more balls they can contain. A tennis ball cart with a capacity of 50–75 balls should be more than enough for most players. If you decide to get a bigger ball hopper, you must also buy more balls, which can get expensive over time. The more balls, the harder it is to move the basket and collect them when they fill up.


Even though it might not seem like much, the weight of an empty basket can build up when you add tennis balls, as an average ball weighs between 55 and 60 grams. It’s important to remember that the convenience factor decreases significantly as the basket size increases. If you’re working with children, you’ll want a smaller basket to keep the weight lower. Materials also affect a hopper’s weight, so if you’re searching for the lightest one, a plastic design would be perfect.


Steel and plastic are the two materials most frequently used to make ball hoppers. There may be a trade-off between the durability of a steel basket and its increased weight. Some options come with coatings to help protect them from the weather.  It’s something to consider if elements worry you and if you want a more long-lasting solution.


Wilson Teaching Cart 150 Ball Capacity

Different tennis baskets have various levels of construction to give them more durability. Some manufacturers use thick steel and sturdier welding to make their products last longer. Others employ a floating wire to the bottom, making pressing down on balls and collecting them simpler. That’s a helpful feature if you’ve had trouble picking up balls with a regular hopper previously.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.