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View Full Version : Help choosing a ball machine?


lineitup
01-17-2010, 07:35 PM
Hey guys, this past year I've realllly gotten into the sport, went to the open, watch games, play at the local club etc. I'm not the best player however, and my friends are all upper varsity people while I was jv last year. I'm hoping to be with them on varsity this year and thought that maybe a ball machine could help? Thing is, I'm a highschool kid, not very rich, and neep some cheap options (under 1000).

tl;dr - highschooler wants to get better, ball machine perhaps? no clue where to start looking for a cheap, under $1000 one.

drummerdan
01-17-2010, 07:39 PM
Look into the silent partner series of machines. I have one and they are excellent. Ball machines in general are a great way to get a great workout in a short period of time and, more importantly, they can help you groove your stroke. My forehand went up a couple of levels by hitting twice a week this summer.

My advice, buy one and you'll see your strokes get better.

lineitup
01-17-2010, 07:44 PM
Ahh they have some good prices and their machines seem pretty good. On their site, it says they sell used machines and demo ones, does this sound like a bad idea or a good way to save some dough >_>?

COPEY
01-17-2010, 09:48 PM
Ahh they have some good prices and their machines seem pretty good. On their site, it says they sell used machines and demo ones, does this sound like a bad idea or a good way to save some dough?

Oh it's definitely a good option to buy a used machine from SP if they're available. They're customer support has been touted on this forum time and again. I own a Playmate, but for what you're looking for, I'd say SP is definitely the way to go.

Maverick16
01-18-2010, 11:59 AM
I bought a used Lobster Elite1 ball machine used for about 1/2 the price of new and it works very well and is very light weight which is a big plus if you are dragging it out to your local public tennis courts.

lineitup
01-18-2010, 05:36 PM
So i'm really considering the silent partner star or lite model, but idk if ill hate myself if i dont get the remote but save ~$200

Now to convince my mom I should blow all my money on it XD

COPEY
01-18-2010, 09:23 PM
Trust me - get the remote. It's nuts that they charge $200 for a simple on/off remote, but man...6 months down the road you'll have recovered from the pain of dropping $200 bucks on the remote and loving the fact that you have it. There's a thread in this section of the forum where a couple of guys had to make a same decision you're having to make: to get the remote or forgo it. They opted to get it and now understand just how convenient it really is.

The bottom line is can you do without it? Sure, but it makes life on court sooooooo much easier with it.

HitItHarder
01-19-2010, 11:26 AM
I bought a Silent Partner Edge Lite about six or seven weeks ago and I am very happy with the purchase. The features on the machine are outstanding for the price (side to side sweep, top and back spin, and plenty of power).

I use it once or twice a week with Tretorn balls and I have seen a great improvement in the consistency of my grounds strokes. The quality of the machine seems good and I expect this to last me a long time. Battery life is good in the Lite for personal use (about 2 hrs) and it is portable and easy to move around at only around 35lbs.

Definately can say I am happy with the machine so far and would buy it again.

1st Seed
01-20-2010, 11:42 AM
Plus 1 for the Sp edge series.
My Sp Star edge has been awesome.Rifles balls,Went with the AC option only,Better in the long run.http://i45.tinypic.com/x514if.jpgAndre would run from this Dragon.Good buy!!!!!

kimguroo
01-20-2010, 12:13 PM
Trust me - get the remote. It's nuts that they charge $200 for a simple on/off remote, but man...6 months down the road you'll have recovered from the pain of dropping $200 bucks on the remote and loving the fact that you have it. There's a thread in this section of the forum where a couple of guys had to make a same decision you're having to make: to get the remote or forgo it. They opted to get it and now understand just how convenient it really is.

The bottom line is can you do without it? Sure, but it makes life on court sooooooo much easier with it.

I bought SP lite a year ago. I think I paid new machine for $499.
it's a good machine. in my opinion. it's the best machine for $$$.

regarding on the remote, I don't really think the remote worth $200.
it might be a little inconvenient but it's not that bad.
when you put balls to the machine, simply turn on the machine. you will only miss one ball. maybe two if you walk slowly to the other side of court.
I usually turn on the machine and try to hit running shot at the other side of court :)

even if you have a ball machine, you might not improve quickly so take lessons or go to tennis clinic and some tennis drill class.
Also try to find hitting partners.

the ball machine can't help you to improve significantly without good technique. Also don't forget to practice serves too. when I did not have the machine, I only practice serves (guess hit over 200 balls) then when I got the ball machine, only practice serves about 50 balls ^_^

mark999
01-20-2010, 01:08 PM
there is a large selection of silent partner machines on the big auction site. plenty of selection. new and demo. good deals.

kimguroo
01-20-2010, 02:11 PM
there is a large selection of silent partner machines on the big auction site. plenty of selection. new and demo. good deals.

buy direct from SP and call or email them a little discount for demo items, if you want save money. when SP sells at bay, they will pay about 10-15% fee of the product to bay so SP might give better price than bay if you buy directly from them.

mark999
01-20-2010, 06:21 PM
buy direct from SP and call or email them a little discount for demo items, if you want save money. when SP sells at bay, they will pay about 10-15% fee of the product to bay so SP might give better price than bay if you buy directly from them.

on silent partner's website they direct you to the bay for demo and used ball machines.

COPEY
01-20-2010, 07:59 PM
I bought SP lite a year ago. I think I paid new machine for $499.
it's a good machine. in my opinion. it's the best machine for $$$.

regarding on the remote, I don't really think the remote worth $200.
it might be a little inconvenient but it's not that bad.
when you put balls to the machine, simply turn on the machine. you will only miss one ball. maybe two if you walk slowly to the other side of court.
I usually turn on the machine and try to hit running shot at the other side of court :)

even if you have a ball machine, you might not improve quickly so take lessons or go to tennis clinic and some tennis drill class.
Also try to find hitting partners.

the ball machine can't help you to improve significantly without good technique. Also don't forget to practice serves too. when I did not have the machine, I only practice serves (guess hit over 200 balls) then when I got the ball machine, only practice serves about 50 balls ^_^


I agree, it's not worth $200. I said it's nuts that they charge that much, but it's definitely a worthwhile item to have. It's a convenience, and like almost any other convenience you're going to pay a premium for it. I can definitely see someone not thinking it's such a big deal if they've never had one--that makes sense. But if you've ever used someone elses or rented one and it had a remote, you'd understand why having one is...well, extremely nice. I'll say this: I've never heard anyone say, "man...I wish I hadn't of bought this remote (the simple on/off ones, I mean)!" ;)

As for missing one or two balls...lol. I suppose that's true if you have the feed rate set really low. I have a Playmate Volley, and the feedrate adjustment runs from 0 - 10. I usually set it at 3 to 3.5 which allows me to come close to simulating a medium-paced rally with a hitting partner. Without the remote I would easily miss five balls minimum if I had to run to the other end of the court and shut it off. If that's ok with you - fine, more power to ya, but I love the convenience of a remote.

Lastly, if you ever try to teach with it (which is primarily what I do with mine) and you need to pause the machine to correct footwork sequences, stroke mechanics, whatever, it's priceless. I left my first remote at the park this past summer and had to buy a new one ($107). I'm here to tell ya, I was miserable without it; it spoils you big time. But as I said, I can see why someone who's never experienced the luxury of having one might not think it's worthwhile.

kimguroo
01-20-2010, 08:09 PM
I have a Playmate Volley, and the feedrate adjustment runs from 0 - 10. I usually set it at 3 to 3.5 which allows me to come close to simulating a medium-paced rally with a hitting partner. Without the remote I would easily miss five balls minimum if I had to run to the other end of the court and shut it off. If that's ok with you - fine, more power to ya, but I love the convenience of a remote.

Lastly, if you ever try to teach with it (which is primarily what I do with mine) and you need to pause the machine to correct footwork sequences, stroke mechanics, whatever, it's priceless. I left my first remote at the park this past summer and had to buy a new one ($107). I'm here to tell ya, I was miserable without it; it spoils you big time. But as I said, I can see why someone who's never experienced the luxury of having one might not think it's worthwhile.

our local tennis store has an indoor court and there is a playmate machine so people can demo rackets in the store. I don't know which model is but looks very solid compare to SP. I was very surprised that there were so many features.

lineitup
01-20-2010, 08:56 PM
COPEY : Ha, I'd probably hate myself if I ever knew what the remote was like, but I'm cheap so im gonna opt to just get the lite model i guess...maybe..

Hititharder: Thanks bro, I really appreciate the input and info on the machine, you say battery life is good right? and yeah, it'd be for just personal use, i just hope it doesn't die out on me too soon =/

1st seed: haha love what you said about andre and thanks for the pic

kimguroo: "even if you have a ball machine, you might not improve quickly so take lessons or go to tennis clinic and some tennis drill class.
Also try to find hitting partners."

yeah, ive taken lessons before and have been instructed on the correct forms for bh, fh, volleys overheads etc. its just that in that one hour lesson, i dont hit as many balls as i could with the ball machine (once i get it). so yeah, it'll def. improve my game seeing as ill get muchmuchmuch more control on the ball and my shots

Also, you and mark said something about calling them asking about demo items? elaborate pleaseee? the bay = ****?

kimguroo
01-20-2010, 09:40 PM
I bought new one from them so I did not get a discount (Also it was sales period) but as a demo, there is a possibility.
just ask them. if they said no, it's okay. nothing to lose. think about it.
if they sell it through bay, the fee will be around $25.
ask them if they can sell it directly for $520 shipped, they might accept your offer.

yesterday, I ordered apparels and one item was out of stock. I asked replacing same design shirt in different color ($8 more expensive) then they agree to send it without extra $8 to me.

back to the SP.
you can use the machine about two hours.
I don't know you can add extra battery to new model.
old model can be added the extra battery and I thought about putting extra battery but I don't really need 4 hours of battery life.
good luck with your tennis machine search ^_^

mark999
01-21-2010, 04:53 AM
COPEY : Ha, I'd probably hate myself if I ever knew what the remote was like, but I'm cheap so im gonna opt to just get the lite model i guess...maybe..

Hititharder: Thanks bro, I really appreciate the input and info on the machine, you say battery life is good right? and yeah, it'd be for just personal use, i just hope it doesn't die out on me too soon =/

1st seed: haha love what you said about andre and thanks for the pic

kimguroo: "even if you have a ball machine, you might not improve quickly so take lessons or go to tennis clinic and some tennis drill class.
Also try to find hitting partners."

yeah, ive taken lessons before and have been instructed on the correct forms for bh, fh, volleys overheads etc. its just that in that one hour lesson, i dont hit as many balls as i could with the ball machine (once i get it). so yeah, it'll def. improve my game seeing as ill get muchmuchmuch more control on the ball and my shots

Also, you and mark said something about calling them asking about demo items? elaborate pleaseee? the bay = ****?

the big auction site. E B A Y

HitItHarder
01-21-2010, 01:42 PM
Hititharder: Thanks bro, I really appreciate the input and info on the machine, you say battery life is good right? and yeah, it'd be for just personal use, i just hope it doesn't die out on me too soon =/


I am happy with the battery and it does last right at 2 hours. Unless you have a unlimited supply of balls or someone with you picking up and reloading for you, you will have to stop and pick up the balls. Just turn the machine off while you do it. I think you will be surprised how long two hours of actual hitting time will last when you combine it with the pickup and reloading the machine.

Honestly, I am ready to go after 2 hours. Now if the machine is used by several people at the same time and several times a day, it may be that a bigger battery is needed. But the Lite is fine for my personal use.

z_z
01-22-2010, 12:11 AM
I have a lobster machine for 3 months. So far so good. While it does not really simulate real match play (gotta get use to transitions between the machine and real players in terms of spin and footwork), it does give you a good workout and let you groove your tennis strokes.

The battery last me abt 3 x 2 hrs session. Quite amazed by the battery performance.

lineitup
01-22-2010, 01:48 PM
so i just tried calling them.... no response =(

and yes, it is between 9 and 530 mon-fri

lineitup
01-22-2010, 01:51 PM
damn it, just called and id have to go w/ the bay prices or the new products online, bleh. thanks for all your help btw

xolair
02-03-2010, 01:34 PM
Would anyone have any reservations buying a used machine off craigslist?

I have heard that the Lobster pneumatic machine will last 15-20 years but is very noisy and requires an outlet. Since I will use public courts, my best bet would be to buy a battery-powered unit such as the Tennis Tutor. What kind of life expectancy does an entry-level Tennis Tutor or Silent Partner machine have? Two-three years, or more like nine-ten years or more?