Can Swingball Improve Tennis? (And How Andy Murray Owes His Tennis Success to Swingball)

Cartoon of Steve in shirt and tie

Have you ever played swingball? 

It’s like tennis, but not really. 

You play it with a racquet and a ball, just like tennis, but you don’t need a full court to do it. 

Swingball can also be played solo, unlike tennis. 

In this article, we will discuss the differences and similarities between swingball and tennis. 

Also, can swingball improve your tennis game?

Let’s find out. 

Swingball, also known as totem tennis or tether ball, is a game played with a racquet and a ball tethered to a pole by a string. It is usually played with two people trying to one-up each other. It is similar to tennis because the goal is to hit the ball and gain more points than your opponent. While it doesn’t use as much strength as tennis, swingball is still a good way to improve your tennis game. 

Swingball and Tennis: Similarities and Differences

Tennis ball

There are similarities and differences between swingball and tennis:


Both games use racquets. 

However, the swingball racquet, also known as the swingball bat, usually has the following characteristics:

  • Head size: 9.6” x 7” 
  • Length: 15.7”
  • Lightweight
  • Made of plastic
  • Sturdy
  • Colorful

A tennis racquet is bigger and much heavier and usually has the following characteristics:

  • Average head size: 96 to 100 square inches
  • Average height of 27”
  • Average weight of 300 grams
  • Average of 16/19 strings on the racquet head


Both tennis and swingball also use balls. 

However, a tennis ball is made of rubber covered in felt. 

The ball used in swingball is usually a sponge ball with a diameter of 2.4”.

Meanwhile, the tennis ball has an average size of 2.57” to 2.7” in diameter, as mandated by the International Tennis Federation

Sometimes, a real tennis ball is tethered to the swingball set. 

Play Area

Tennis is played on tennis courts. 

It is often referred to as lawn tennis because it was originally exclusively played on grass courts. 

Swingball can be played anywhere. 

Swingball is basically a pole with a base. The ball is tethered to the pole with a string. 

You can play it indoors or outdoors. 

You can also take it with you if you want to bring entertainment to an event as most swingballs are portable. 

Most swingball sets can be dismantled and come with a bag. You just need to add water to the base to make it stand. 


In tennis, two people or two teams of two take turns hitting the ball across a net for points. 

The person or team with the most points wins. 

In swingball, two people also take turns hitting the ball either clockwise or counterclockwise. 

Whoever brings the ball to the end of the coil wins the game. 

While it’s not as fun, a person can play swingball on their own.

But such is not possible in tennis. 

Is Swingball Good for Tennis?

Because of some of the similarities between swingball and tennis, playing the former could help improve your tennis skills. 

Tennis is more intense because the play area is much bigger and the racquet and ball are heavier. 

However, since you cannot play tennis on your own, swingball is a great way to practice tennis if you don’t have a sparring partner. 

Here are reasons why swingball is good for tennis:

Upper Body Strength

When playing tennis, your whole body moves. 

You need to have fast and strong feet. 

More importantly, you need upper body strength to hit the ball harder for both the serve and cross-court shots. 

Developing your body will also help you become more resilient to injuries. 

Hand-Eye Coordination

Hand-eye coordination is very important in both tennis and swingball. 

You need to keep your eye on the ball so you can anticipate how you hit it back. 


The goal for both swingball and tennis is to win over your opponent. 

Strategy comes into play during the game, whether you are playing tennis or swingball. 

So, in case tennis courts are not available for practice, you can always improve your tennis skills by playing swingball. 


You need flexibility to return shots in either swingball or tennis. 

Playing swingball, which is easily available, can help improve your flexibility for tennis, which is a harder sport to play. 

For a more intense session of swingball, there is a swingball pro set available. 

It has more spirals for a more powerful game that lasts longer too. 

Swingball pro can also help with your endurance, which is another important skill in tennis. 

Andy Murray: Proof That Swingball Makes You a Better Tennis Player

If you’re still not convinced that swingball will help improve your tennis skills, just ask Andy Murray. 

Murray is a British tennis player who was once ranked #1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). 

In his close to 20-year career, Murray has won 46 ATP tour singles titles, two Olympic gold medals, and three Grand Slam titles.

Murray’s mother, Judy, said the tennis star would regularly beat her in a game of swingball when Andy was just four years old. 

“We had a swingball in the garden. Andy really liked that and would even beat me when he was just four. He is a great returner of the ball now and I do often wonder if it was down to those games of swingball.”

Judy Murray

Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard is also known to enjoy swingball every now and then. 

Final Thoughts

Cartoon of Steve in shirt and tie

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. 

But it’s not always easy to find a court to play tennis. 

If you have the itch to play the game but don’t have the facilities, a game of swingball can do the trick. 

It is also a game that uses racquets and a ball. 

Fortunately, swingball is portable and can be played anywhere. 

If you have kids who you want to train in the game of tennis, let them start with swingball.

The game can help develop their upper body strength, hand-eye coordination, technique, and flexibility. 

In no time, they will be ready to play tennis. 

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