Backboard (tennis)

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A tennis backboard is a simple wall usually made from some kind of fiberboard and located at a tennis court. It should have a tennis net either drawn or painted at the proper height of 3 ft 6 in. It is designed to allow a single person to practice by hitting a tennis ball against the wall so the ball is returned, much like a second player would return it.[1] Its invention is credited to tennis player Mary Browne in 1926 during her tenure as a coach at the University of Chicago.[citation needed] The main advantage of the backboard is that it provides a realistic and challenging emulation of regulation tennis, while also being more enjoyable.[2] In 1938 a restraining line was added so that players would not stand unrealistically close to the wall.[3]

Many players are said to have been given their first basic strokes by playing for hours at public courts backboards.[4] Though the backboard's death has been touted more than once, many still believe that it is an important tool to basic skill and stroke development.[5][6][7][8][9] Including Roger Federer himself, with a "Backboard Challenge".[10]

See also[edit]

Tennis court


  1. ^ Farmer, Daniel Scott (April 1937). "How We Do It". The Journal of Health and Physical Education: 252.
  2. ^ Wilson, Paul C. (March 1952). "Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation". Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation: 9.
  3. ^ Dyer, Joanna Thayer (1938). "Revision of the Backboard Test of Tennis Ability". Research Quarterly. American Association for Health and Physical Education. 9 (1): 25–31. doi:10.1080/23267429.1938.11802414.
  4. ^ Hastings, John. "Backboard Wall Drills for Tennis". Retrieved Jun 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, Mary Ellen. "Death of the Backboard". Tennis Life Magazine. Retrieved Jun 10, 2020.
  6. ^ "Tennis Backboard Practice". Online Tennis Instruction. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  7. ^ "How To Improve Your Tennis Using A Wall". Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  8. ^ Cook, LaRue E. "Backboards:The perfect partner". Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  9. ^ Kanner, S. Lee (Feb 2, 1981). "Sporting Gear; Tennis Backboard for Practicing". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  10. ^ Sanford, Jordaan (April 10, 2020). "Federer's Backboard Challenge sparks friendly competition online". Retrieved June 10, 2020.

External links[edit]

Original Patent: US Expired - Lifetime US4093218A, Samuel A. Burchers, "Modular ball rebound apparatus", published 1978-06-06, issued 1978-06-06  Most Recent: US Expired - Fee Related US7677993B2, Hugh McTavish, "Tennis backboard", published 2006-12-14, issued 2010-03-16