If you are a tennis enthusiast and have ever tried playing a game with an old tennis ball that has lost its “oomph” (a technical word for internal air pressure), you know that it spoils the game when the ball just doesn’t bounce properly. Now, most professional tennis players will tell you to buy a new set of tennis balls. However, some of us just don’t have the money to buy new equipment every year. Here’s how you can re-inflate a tennis ball, and play like a pro, with that “lucky ball” you’ve grown to love.
First of all, if you don’t have old ones to start with, buy a pack of tennis balls. Tennis balls normally come in packs of three: one for you, one for your opponent, and one for the dog. They are sold in most stores that sell sporting goods, and some pet stores.
When you get to the store, try to find a pack that is defective, with balls that are already somewhat flat. If the balls are already flat, they’ll be easier to re-inflate. (Plus, the store may give you a discount if you can show them they are defective. If you can’t find defective ones, you might be able to surreptitiously bang them up a bit and ask for the discount anyway.
Next, pierce one of the balls with a sewing needle or other sharp object. This serves two purposes: it lets the pressure out, and it gives you a hole for putting air in, to get the pressure back up. Avoid using hypodermic needles, as they can carry diseases.
Now, take a drinking straw or thin coffee stirrer (the kind in your office kitchen at work), and stick it in the hole you made with the needle. If it’s difficult to get through the hole, try putting all your weight on it by laying the ball on the floor, straw over the hole, then doing a hand-stand above it while pushing the straw in with your mouth/teeth.
Finally, blow as hard as you can into the straw. To check the pressure, you may wish to install a tire pressure gauge in your cheek, which you can look at from the corner of your eye while you blow. Or if you’re really nerdy, you can wear eyeglasses with a rear-view mirror to view the pressure gauge.
You should start feeling a little light-headed while you blow, especially if you are still doing a hand-stand. This means you are getting all the air out of your brain and into the ball, which is what you want.
Once you achieve the desired pressure in the tennis ball, quickly remove the straw and cover the hole with duct tape, caulk, or a piece of chewing gum.
The tennis ball is now ready to serve!