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View Full Version : Ball machine on a ladder to practice returns?


10isNE1?
10-04-2008, 07:38 AM
I have a PlayMate ball machine (which is awesome by the way), but I would love to be able to practice returns, which is by far the weakest part of my game, especially the heavy topspin returns that bounce up around my head. I read that Andre Agassi's dad used to put his ball machine on a ladder for him to practice his returns. Anyone have any experience with something like this? How did you secure it so the machine was stable? Was it effective for you?

mrw
10-04-2008, 10:08 AM
yikes, I can't imagine dragging my SP Pro up a ladder. Try it and report back

Il Mostro
10-04-2008, 10:11 AM
If anything calls for a video, this is it. Good luck and be careful, man.

dcottrill
10-04-2008, 12:32 PM
yikes, I can't imagine dragging my SP Pro up a ladder.

Even if you could get it up there, imagine watching the thing fall over. :shock:

dcottrill
10-04-2008, 12:42 PM
I have a PlayMate ball machine (which is awesome by the way), but I would love to be able to practice returns, which is by far the weakest part of my game, especially the heavy topspin returns that bounce up around my head. I read that Andre Agassi's dad used to put his ball machine on a ladder for him to practice his returns. Anyone have any experience with something like this? How did you secure it so the machine was stable? Was it effective for you?

Since you have a Playmate, if you have a few (thousand) bucks laying around, you could always get yourself a Serve Lift.

http://www.playmatetennismachines.com/serve_lift.htm

autumn_leaf
10-04-2008, 04:28 PM
well it would have to be freaking bolted down in my opinion. i read on a thread here a guy saw such a thing (not ladder per se) and every time it shot the kick back moved it a bit so you would have to adjusts it's position frequently in my opinion.

b0oMeR
10-04-2008, 08:39 PM
What if you do a crosscourt forehand/backhand and BAM the ladder goes down along with your machine. :D

dman72
10-05-2008, 05:51 AM
I have a PlayMate ball machine (which is awesome by the way), but I would love to be able to practice returns, which is by far the weakest part of my game, especially the heavy topspin returns that bounce up around my head. I read that Andre Agassi's dad used to put his ball machine on a ladder for him to practice his returns. Anyone have any experience with something like this? How did you secure it so the machine was stable? Was it effective for you?

How about bringing a folding table to at least get some downard angle (raise up the back of the machine and put the elevation all the way down), and the moving it right up to the net? How high is a serve when it's going over the net?

Il Mostro
10-05-2008, 05:56 AM
No matter how you rig this thing, you had better have someone holding it down. Volunteers?

Mansewerz
10-05-2008, 01:16 PM
How about a forklift? That seems stable, and not laborious.

b0oMeR
10-05-2008, 05:01 PM
Its safe to assume practicing service returns is not cheap/easy?

Unless you have a hitting partner of course.

Blade0324
10-06-2008, 09:22 AM
I actually have a Tutor machine and have rigged up a device for practicing serve returns without much concern. I got an old SUV tire from the local tire store (free). Filled it with concrete with a hollow alluminum pole mounted in the center of it. The pole is 4" diameter and about 4 ft. tall. I then have another slightly smaller pole that slides down inside this one that is about 6ft. long. Both pieces have whole in them on 2 sides that I drilled out at eqaul distances apart. I have an aluminum platform with a collar welded to it that fits over the top pole. Using solid pins with clips at the end I can attach the whole thing together in about 5 min. The machine sits on the platform and a ratcheting tiestrap is used to hold it on the platform. I have 3 small rope ties that attach to the top of the pole with clips and 10lb. sand bags at the ground for stability. Serves come from about 8ft. up. It looks pretty funny and I get some looks when I take it to the local courts but it works very well. Everything cost me about $80 to buy what I needed. The poles and platform were the most expensive. I used more expensive aluminum as it's lighter.

dman72
10-06-2008, 09:46 AM
I actually have a Tutor machine and have rigged up a device for practicing serve returns without much concern. I got an old SUV tire from the local tire store (free). Filled it with concrete with a hollow alluminum pole mounted in the center of it. The pole is 4" diameter and about 4 ft. tall. I then have another slightly smaller pole that slides down inside this one that is about 6ft. long. Both pieces have whole in them on 2 sides that I drilled out at eqaul distances apart. I have an aluminum platform with a collar welded to it that fits over the top pole. Using solid pins with clips at the end I can attach the whole thing together in about 5 min. The machine sits on the platform and a ratcheting tiestrap is used to hold it on the platform. I have 3 small rope ties that attach to the top of the pole with clips and 10lb. sand bags at the ground for stability. Serves come from about 8ft. up. It looks pretty funny and I get some looks when I take it to the local courts but it works very well. Everything cost me about $80 to buy what I needed. The poles and platform were the most expensive. I used more expensive aluminum as it's lighter.

McGyver? ???? :)

tennisdad65
10-06-2008, 10:19 AM
:idea: If you have an SUV + rack, drive to a deserted road or cul de sac, and put the ball machine on the rack, with a friends help. :)
make sure to take your tape measure, marking chalk, and portable net along :)

ps1.. dont break your SUV windows
ps2.. to simulate lubijic's serve use it on top of a Bus. :twisted:

dman72
10-06-2008, 10:44 AM
How about bringing a folding table to at least get some downard angle (raise up the back of the machine and put the elevation all the way down), and the moving it right up to the net? How high is a serve when it's going over the net?


I still like my moving the machine closer to the net theory......you don't need get the thing up 8 feet, maybe just 4.

misterchris
10-06-2008, 06:30 PM
You could get two identical aluminum folding ladders and a board long enough to go across the top of both ladders.

Drill holes in the board in several places and use wire to attach the board to the tops of both ladders. Also wire the bottom of the adjacent legs together.

Put the ball machine on top of the board between both ladders. Strap the ball machine to the board.

Cost, about $50.

Will it be stable? Probably. If not, you would need to attach a cross beam at the foot of the ladders.

tennisdad65
10-07-2008, 07:53 AM
You could get two identical aluminum folding ladders and a board long enough to go across the top of both ladders.

Drill holes in the board in several places and use wire to attach the board to the tops of both ladders. Also wire the bottom of the adjacent legs together.

Put the ball machine on top of the board between both ladders. Strap the ball machine to the board.

Cost, about $50.

Will it be stable? Probably. If not, you would need to attach a cross beam at the foot of the ladders.

:) good thinking. I think this will work, is cheap, and will be very stable too.

tennisdad65
10-07-2008, 08:08 AM
$164 = Little Giant Ladders Systems 6 Ft.-9 Ft. Aluminum Telescoping Work Plank

This may be the best out of the box solution at home depot, similar to misterchris's advice above. Basically a work plank connecting 2 ladders. Holds upto 250 lbs. Just have to strap the ball machine real securely to the work plank.

ps.. the $164 is only for the work plank. gotta have 2 LGLS ladders for about 200-300 each.. making this a ~$600-800 out of the box solution. much costlier than I would have imagined for this sort of thing.. Still $800 is much cheaper than the $4400 for the Playmate Serve Lift.

mrw
10-07-2008, 09:07 AM
I am already dragging 3 buckets of balls, one hopper, the ball machine and tennis racquets to the court.

Add to that ladders,braces,platform and antigravity grease and i would need a bigger car.

Right now I am thinking about either a Honda Fit Sport or a Smart Cabriolet. So less stuff not more is my mantra

tennisdad65
10-07-2008, 09:22 AM
^^ I doubt any of us wants to drag 2 ladders and a work plank to the tennis courts :)

But if I was a serious junior training to get to college level, I would probably rent/setup something every couple of months, and only practice service returns for 3-4 hours.

misterchris
10-07-2008, 10:15 AM
$164 = Little Giant Ladders Systems 6 Ft.-9 Ft. Aluminum Telescoping Work Plank

This may be the best out of the box solution at home depot, similar to misterchris's advice above. Basically a work plank connecting 2 ladders. Holds upto 250 lbs. Just have to strap the ball machine real securely to the work plank.

ps.. the $164 is only for the work plank. gotta have 2 LGLS ladders for about 200-300 each.. making this a ~$600-800 out of the box solution. much costlier than I would have imagined for this sort of thing.. Still $800 is much cheaper than the $4400 for the Playmate Serve Lift.


Basic aluminum painters ladders are about $25 at home depot. You should be able to build the rest for cheap -- no reason to go with a professional solution.

mark rodgers
10-10-2008, 09:38 AM
I think Home Depot or Lowes sells ladders that are racheted in a couple places so it can become a short scaffold.

beernutz
10-10-2008, 11:27 AM
This may be the funniest and most creative thread I've ever read at TW.

Blade0324
10-10-2008, 01:14 PM
McGyver? ???? :)

I'm gonna have to get an avatar for that

mtnpaul
10-14-2008, 12:47 PM
Think of the advantages !

1. Simulate Karlovichttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttqsFMQqllo serves.

2. It doesn't mar the court service since neither the ball machine or the crane will touch the court (crane parked outside the court.

3. No trucking the ball machine from the car to the court, as a matter of fact you could even leave the ball machine in the trunk of the car. Just use the crane to pickup the whole car from the parking lot and swing it out over court.

4. No need for extra batteries, or outlet plug on the court. Just plug the machine into the cigarette lighter. On idle a full tank of gas should last your about 6-8 hours.

5. No danger of knocking down a ladder and breaking the ball machine.