Behind the invention of Speedball is an interesting story that
occurred in the early sixties of the last century, particularly in
1960 when a young boy at the age of ten named / Hussein Mohammed Lotfy
who was a junior tennis player coached by his father Mr.Mohammed
Lotfy. The father noticed that the tennis balls which were broken in
his son's training, when dropped from a distance from the ground
bounce back in a similar way and for a nearly the same height as the
undamaged balls, hence he got the idea that if he ties the tennis ball
by a thread and this thread is allowed to loop around a metal pole,
his son can practice hitting the ball with the tennis racket without
having to go a long way to get the ball back, Hussein started to
practice in the backyard of their house and shortly after this the
idea of a new ball and racket sport flashed in the mind of Mr.Lotfy
who started to play against his son and then playing two teams each
consisting of two players, he tried these types of play with the
members of his family, his wife and their five children who were
between the ages of 6 and 16 years of age.
development of Speedball equipments: Mr.Lotfy kept on improving the
equipments of the new sport and he called it "Beach-ball" as it was
practiced on the beach as a recreation game like beach racket, the
Lotfy family made some demonstrations to the people on the beaches of
Alexandrea and after the success of the Beach-ball in attracting
people from all ages to play it, Mr.Lotfy decided that it should be a
sport and not only a game for recreation on the beach. The first
official court was constructed 1n 1962 in the city of Port-Saiid where
Mr.Lotfy was living at that time, The name of the new sport became the
"Turning-ball" and strong competitions started and attracted the youth
Mr.Lotfy got the official Egyptian patent for his new sport in 1962
and published the rule of the game, at that time the rule was simple,
as instead of the present plastic pulley there was a metal spiral so
that when a player plays forehand he wins the game when the ball
reaches the upper end of the spiral, while the opponent who plays
backhand wins if the ball reaches the lower end of the spiral, the
match ends when a player wins three games. On the way of his improving
the equipments of the game several steps were taken till he reached
the present specifications of the Sport these were:
The Racket: It passed in the following steps of development: Regular
tennis racket, was long. Short tennis racket, was quick. Wooden
racket, was heavy.
And then he designed a special wooden racket with holes to reduce its
weight and reduce the air resistance but it was coasty and not
suitable for mass production.
Finally he reached the current (polyamide) plastic racket, this final
racket design got the USA patent in 1985.
The Pulley: Started with a metal spiral then a metal pulley and
finally the plastic pulley (Speedball).
The Ball: Started with a Tennis ball attached to a thin 1.4mm thick
nylon thread, now a specially designed more durable ball made of one
piece of rubber, the nylon thread became 1.8 mm thick. The new ball
design eliminated the line of intersection between the two halves in
the previous tennis ball so it became more durable, this ball got the
USA patent in 1981.
The name of the sport: Beach-ball (1960-1961), Turning-ball (1962) and
finally Speedball for which Mr.Lotfy obtained the USA patent in 1973.