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. Its invention is credited to tennis player Mary Browne in 1926 during her tenure as a coach at the University of Chicago. The main advantage of the backboard is that it provides a realistic and challenging emulation of regulation tennis, while also being more enjoyable. In 1938 a restraining line was added so that players would not stand unrealistically close to the wall.
Many players are said to have been given their first basic strokes by playing for hours at public courts backboards. 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. Including Roger Federer himself, with a "Backboard Challenge".
- Farmer, Daniel Scott (April 1937). "How We Do It". The Journal of Health and Physical Education: 252.
- Wilson, Paul C. (March 1952). "Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation". Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation: 9.
- 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.
- Hastings, John. "Backboard Wall Drills for Tennis". chron.com. Retrieved Jun 10, 2020.
- Wilkinson, Mary Ellen. "Death of the Backboard". Tennis Life Magazine. Retrieved Jun 10, 2020.
- "Tennis Backboard Practice". Online Tennis Instruction. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- "How To Improve Your Tennis Using A Wall". top-tennis-training.com. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- Cook, LaRue E. "Backboards:The perfect partner". Active.com. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- Kanner, S. Lee (Feb 2, 1981). "Sporting Gear; Tennis Backboard for Practicing". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- Sanford, Jordaan (April 10, 2020). "Federer's Backboard Challenge sparks friendly competition online". tennis.com. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
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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