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MonkeyMuggs
02-13-2010, 05:57 PM
The only portable (battery) operated models/brands of tennis ball machines that I'm aware of are:

Lobster Grand Slam IV
Lobster Grand Slam V
Lobster Grand Slam V L.E. (limited edition)

Silent Partner Quest

How easy/hard is it to program various shots/drills on these machines? Is it difficult to "use" or "enter" the different shot/ball parameters you want into their respective control panels? I'm worried that it might be so time consuming and/or difficult to utilize the programming function/features on these machines, that in the end, one ends up not using it!?

My other worry is whether any of these machines can really be programmed to feed "short" (closer to the net) balls. I'm not talking about drop shots. I'm pretty sure they can not do that. But I really don't know, because there is really no way to demo these machines before buying. I'm not concerned about these machine's ability to feed balls horizontally (left to right). I'm also not worried about their ability to feed deep balls. It's the vertical (short) ball that I would like to also program (mix in). What I'm hoping for and wondering is whether they can reliably be programed to feed balls to at least the service line. With the ball being launched from so low to the ground (I'm guessing about 8") its hard to believe, due to geometry, that these machines can really place balls somewhat close to the net.

I would also like to know/hear about the "Pre-Programmed Drills" that come on the Lobster machines. I do not think the SP Quest has any simulated player drills. The Lobster Grand Slam IV comes with 3 pre-programmed drills. The Lobster Grand Slam V & V LE come with 6. For those who own or are familiar (played) with these machines - how do you like the pre-programmed drills? Are the balls/shots (speed, spin, short, deep) really varied and mixed? Are you given mostly deep balls or do the drills really challenge you with enough short balls? Are you really moved around the court at a fairly brisk pace? How good or different are the 3 additional drills that come with the Grand Slam V?

tpotter
02-16-2010, 02:26 PM
great question - as I mentioned in my last post, a lot of people feel like the Grandslam IV with its easy to access pre-programmed drills is extremely user friendly and no programming is necessary.

However, some people really want to program their own drills.

The V is easy to program, the step goes like this.

You pick the location first
You choose the speed
The spin
The feed rate
Then you hit "play" (naturally, if you want to program six shots, you have to do that six times, but you can do any combination of 1-6 ball drills.

The drills really mix up depth and location and spin, depending on the drill. The three drills on the Grandslam IV are the most popular - remember you can change the feed rate, causing you to make the drills as challenging as you choose.

So, to answer your question, random short shots are a part of some of the drills...if you are in random mode it naturally mixes in short shots, if you buy the LE, the shots are programmable from between the service line to the baseline. Also, you can set up the machine to only throw random depth shots, if you chose.

BTW...you are right, the machine cannot do a drop shot.

MonkeyMuggs
02-20-2010, 03:30 PM
TPotter - Thanks so much for your reply. Any and all information and clarification helps. I'm definitely going to buy one of these higher end ball machines soon. I've not ruled out the Silent Partner Quest, but I'm leaning towards the Lobster Grand Slam IV, V or V L.E.

Regarding your comments/statement............

"So, to answer your question, random short shots are a part of some of the drills...if you are in random mode it naturally mixes in short shots, if you buy the LE, the shots are programmable from between the service line to the baseline. Also, you can set up the machine to only throw random depth shots, if you chose."

When you say........"if you are in random mode it naturally mixes in short shots"

Your use of "random mode" above - do you mean the "Random Vertical/Horizontal Oscillation Mode/Feature" that is found and comes (I believe) with the Slam IV, V & V L.E.?

Also - is the "Random Vertical/Horizontal Oscillation Feature" found on these 3 Lobster machines THE SAME on each machine? (do they all function, operate and "toss" the same balls/shots?)

Also - regarding the control panel & remote on these 3 Slams - how or what do you "engage", "input" or "select" to ENTER INTO the "Random Oscillation Function/Mode"? Is the input or button THE SAME on all 3 machines or control panels? Are they all equally easy to enter into the R.O. mode?

Another question regarding one of your comments...........

"you can set up the machine to only throw random depth shots, if you chose"

I assume you mean "only random depth" - to the same "LINE" (or "location" 1-6 on the V only)!?.........thus eliminating any horizontal changes - yes? Or.......are you speaking of the "random depth" feature found ONLY on the V L.E. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the above statement. For clarification, could you re-explain that "one additional feature" you spoke of in another thread, found only on the V L.E. again please?

Tony - once again - thanks for the info you share on these forums. Its very difficult to explain/understand the various features and differences found on some of these higher end machines and models. I'd really like to be able to discuss these variations with you on the phone. I've called Lobster to speak with you several times, but you're usually "on the road". Is there a # I can reach you at? If not, I'll call Lobster and leave my name & number for you to contact me. The message (name) you'll receive will be from "MonkeyMuggs". Appreciate it Tony.

tpotter
02-20-2010, 04:56 PM
MonkeyMuggs....if you send your phone# to info@lobstersports.com, I can contact you directly and would love to help, of course....I'll take a shot at answering the questions because you are correct, I think others will benefit from your questions...but talking on the phone is easier sometimes. I underlined the beginning of each response below.

[QUOTE=MonkeyMuggs;4416448]TPotter - Thanks so much for your reply. Any and all information and clarification helps. I'm definitely going to buy one of these higher end ball machines soon. I've not ruled out the Silent Partner Quest, but I'm leaning towards the Lobster Grand Slam IV, V or V L.E.

When you say........"if you are in random mode it naturally mixes in short shots"

Your use of "random mode" above - do you mean the "Random Vertical/Horizontal Oscillation Mode/Feature" that is found and comes (I believe) with the Slam IV, V & V L.E.?

YES- this feature is absolutely the same on all three models. Really the Grandslam V has 6 programmable functions and three additional pre-programmed drills, and the LE just has and additonal 12 locations, instead of 6...that's the only differences between models.
Also - is the "Random Vertical/Horizontal Oscillation Feature" found on these 3 Lobster machines THE SAME on each machine? (do they all function, operate and "toss" the same balls/shots?)

Also - regarding the control panel & remote on these 3 Slams - how or what do you "engage", "input" or "select" to ENTER INTO the "Random Oscillation Function/Mode"? Is the input or button THE SAME on all 3 machines or control panels? Are they all equally easy to enter into the R.O. mode?

Great question...the V and LE have sub menus that you hit pre-set button to scroll to that feature...on the IV it simply is a button called random that you select...if you have the remote, then you just hit the random button on the remote for all three models...the remote is cool.

Another question regarding one of your comments...........

"you can set up the machine to only throw random depth shots, if you chose"

I assume you mean "only random depth" - to the same "LINE" (or "location" 1-6 on the V only)!?.........thus eliminating any horizontal changes - yes? Or.......are you speaking of the "random depth" feature found ONLY on the V L.E. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the above statement. For clarification, could you re-explain that "one additional feature" you spoke of in another thread, found only on the V L.E. again please?

You are correct...if you have the machine hit random depth shots only, then, naturally, the random horizontial isn't engaged...all the models IV,V, LE have this feature...Of course, in the LE...you can program short shots..which you cannot do with the other models...this makes it unique.

MonkeyMuggs
02-21-2010, 12:04 PM
Thanks again tpotter for your help and expertise with these Ball Machines.

I have another question and/or scenario regarding these machines.

While comparing the Lobster Grand Slam IV, V & V Limited Edition.......
Which machine and/or feature, function found on these machines - will give you the shortest (closest to the net) ball? In other words, would programming to locations 13 - 18 on the V L.E. provide you with the SHORTEST ball (closest to the net) when comparing all 3 models? Or would say the "random oscillation feature" found on any of the above 3 machines periodically toss you a ball just as short, or shorter - than the programming on the V L.E.? Or does the shortest ball occurr from the "preprogrammed drills" (and if so - which one, or set......same 3 drills found on all 3 machines or the additional 3 drills included on the V & V L.E.)?

Will the "true" random oscillation feed you as short, or shorter, a ball as the programming (13 -18 locations) found on the V L.E.?

Say you have programmed the Grand Slam V L.E. to hit location 14, and have returned a half dozen shots from location 14. You then leave everything on the machine set the same way........except........you specifically "back the speed down" on the ball only. By "backing the speed down" on a ball previously programmed to hit location 14...........will this cause the machine to drop the ball shorter than before (between the service line and the net)? Or will the computer "override" your "modified parameter selection" (less speed and/or more topspin) and attempt to "force" the machine to still toss/place the ball to location 14?

walkman
02-21-2010, 04:38 PM
MonkeyMuggs, you might want to do a search on those specific lobster high end models. Some owners of the machine have posted their thoughts on how much they like those features and what they are best for.

MonkeyMuggs
02-22-2010, 04:05 PM
Thanks Walkman for your advice and response. I think I've seen and read (searched out) all related threads + posts on T.W. Talk Tennis Forum. I'm going to run another search to make sure. The posts and reviews from other owners/players on this forum have been invaluable and most appreciated. I just wish there were more. Especially on these new "programmable" machines.

The problem is there are VERY FEW of these "new" programmable portable machines out there. Lobster appears to be the only company that manufactures them. They also appear to be the only company that makes a "truly" random vertical + horizontal oscillation machine - with emphasis on the Vertical (depth) aspect - while also offering "simultaneous" (shot to shot) variations on ball speed/spin/feed. If there is another company that makes a portable machine that offers this level of randomization, not to mention programmability, please inform me.

While I am somewhat interested in consistently hitting the same ball over and over to "groove my strokes" (deep forehand/backhand groundstrokes), I am far more interested in moving front to back and side to side to work on my footwork! I can hit the ball fairly well when I'm able to "get there" in time. When I do make an error, it's almost always attributable to me "being late", "rushed" or "jammed" (footwork). Based on my exhaustive research, until today, I don't think tennis players have had access to ball machines that can perform and offer this type or level of random "all court" shots and play. It appears we may now finally have a "new wave" or breed of machines that can provide this precise (within reason) programmable randomness. This is the type of machine that I want and need. My mission has been to find it. I think I have. I'll keep everyone posted on who/what I find, and if/whether it performs and works as advertised. It has not been easy, but thanks partly to this forum and painstaking research on the internet, I think I've been able to discern the various features/functions on all the current makes/models of ball machines available.

I LOVE the game of Tennis!! NOTHING provides me with the same level of joy and satisfaction as being on the court hitting tennis balls. There is something about "the feeling" that resonates throughout your body while hitting a tennis ball off the strings of your racket! I LOVE practicing and playing in the heat. Working on my strokes/shots while sweating. It is not always easy to find other players who are able, ready and willing to meet and play tennis when you are. Especially those who are at the same and/or comprable level as you are. If a machine can come even close to offering and providing me with the Tennis "court time" and "experience" I love and crave so much, I'm more than willing to pay (invest) the $$ amount these ball machine manufacturers are asking.

Again, anyone with any information, knowledge or experience with these "programmable" and totally random horizontal/vertical oscillation ball machines, please share what you know. Thanks

COPEY
02-22-2010, 08:57 PM
Hi MonkeyMuggs,

I don't own a programmable machine (Playmate Volley), but I was curious if you've ever considered looking into the Bailey Method for footwork drills since you say that's your primary focus for wanting a machine. I do understand your desire to have a machine that will force you to move front to back as well as laterally, but effective footwork is often developed from drills that have nothing to do with hitting the ball. Much of learning proper footwork is similar to learning to dance; it's a series of pre-defined, choreographed patterns that enable you to transition from one point to another and striking the ball with proper spacing between you and the ball.

Pardon me if I'm telling you things you already know, but I get the impression you think a programmable machine will be the solution to your footwork woes. Now, if you're looking for a machine with a bunch of bells and whistles because you can't find hitting partners consistently and you need some form of variety, that makes sense. But if your primary goal is improving your footwork when moving forward and backward into the court, you might consider a less expensive machine and use a mixture of old pressurized balls with pressureless ones which will give you true randomness. Of course, as I said before...there are procedures/methods (very effective ones) used to improve footwork that have nothing to do striking the ball...and a lot of them aren't fun lol.

Anyway, my intent is not to talk you out of buying a programmable machine, but to inform you that programmable machines...actually, no machine will fix problems with your game if you're not using the correct techniques to begin with. In fact, they can help reinforce bad ones.

Whatever machine you end up getting you're going to love it - they're great little toys to have. :) Goodluck!

MonkeyMuggs
02-23-2010, 10:23 AM
Copey - thanks for your very thoughtful and informative response. I've read with interest, enjoyed and learned much from many of your other posts regarding ball machines, remotes, tennis balls, etc.

Thanks specifically for alerting and informing me of the "Bailey Method". I'm going to anxiously Google and study it. You make some interesting and valid points regarding "footwork". The fact that good footwork can be practiced and learned without even a racket in your hand, and separate from actually hitting the ball, had somehow escaped me.

As you well know, programmable ball machines are not cheap. And if there were not other valid reasons and interests, which you also mentioned in your post, for me needing/wanting a programmable and fully random oscillating machine - I COULD purchase a simpler and far less expensive machine. It IS something to consider. Aside from the Bailey Method and other drills, its obvious, however, that getting a machine which will force me to run back/forth and from side to side - will greatly assist my movement and overall footwork on the court. Another paramount reason for me wanting and needing a ball machine is for exercise and conditioning. I need to loose weight! Tied to that need, is another huge reason I need a good ball machine. It's often difficult to find similarly competitive players to hit and practice with. If I could find players everytime I could or wanted to play tennis, I would get more than enough exercise, and would'nt need a ball machine nearly as much. But even if I did have available players, I think I would still want the most feature rich ball machine I could find and afford. It could and would definitely effect my choice and search however. If I had players and was not overweight, I would be strongly considering, and likely buy, the very machine you have! Playmate is a great company, machine and product.

Thanks again Copey.

Bolivian10s
02-23-2010, 10:27 AM
MonkeyMugs, My suggestion is simply buy the machine and try it out yourself. I'm sure Lobster has a 7 or 30 day money back guarantee. It'll be like demoing the a tennis racket, since you're going to plunk down that much $$$$ anyways.

I'm sure you'll be convinced after the 2 or 3 bucket of balls of using it that you'll like it or not!

My 2 cents...:)

Bolivian10s
02-23-2010, 11:07 AM
MonkeyMugs, My suggestion is simply buy the machine and try it out yourself. I'm sure Lobster has a 7 or 30 day money back guarantee. It'll be like demoing a tennis racket, since you're going to plunk down that much $$$$ anyways.

I'm sure you'll be convinced after the 2 or 3 bucket of balls of using it that you'll like it or not!

My 2 cents...:)

walkman
02-23-2010, 12:05 PM
From the threads I've read I have the impression that the tennis tutor radom distributor is not that good because it doesn't adjust the speed of the ball very well. Likewise, with the lobster I get the impression that programming your own drills may only be useful to a teaching pro that is very detail oriented.

The lobster vertical sweep has had a few good mentions.

It sounds like you already have your mind made up to get a machine with random distribution. I encourage you to go ahead and get one. I think if you forgo that feature you will always regret it.

One of the lobsters is probably a good bet. I only wish their advanced remote had the ability to adjust elevation.

dpdiehl
02-24-2010, 08:45 AM
I've had the lobster II, III, and then IV. Got rid of the IV and went back to the three. The III is a nice machine for working on mechanics and specific shots.
Hated the IV. Did not like the large increments of adjustments for feed frequency\ spin\ elevation\ pace. Lobster was great as they worked with the place I had got it from and did an exchange\credit to get me back into a III.
Considered a V LE but after calling Lobster I found that the increments of adjustments have remained the same. If they would have fixed that to small increments (1 degree of elevation, 1 degree of MPH, etc) I would have bought it.
I have also owned a tennis tudor pro player model. Shape was an issue because it wouldn't fit in a trunk laid on it's side like a lobster will.
I recently purchased a machine from Australia called a Tennismatic 104 AC\DC. Only used it once so too early to review. So far, really impressed. Tremendous features (ie: can control everything from remote, not just feed and oscilation, will hit the drop shot by varying spin and pace, 4 locations of depth and 5 lines horizonally). I'll be fixing it myself with their help over the phone if I have a problem though. No US distributor, and it's not cheap.
I also own a Tennistudor Shotmaker Deluxe for indoor use. (Great deal on a demo model from tennistudor. Supposed to only have around 30 hours on their demos). Fantastic machine but I can only bring it to the court when I have access to my wife's minivan and AC current. Might get a small honda generator to run it outside this summer. (They make less noise than a ball machine.)
Good luck.

walkman
02-24-2010, 12:01 PM
dpdiehl: Wow, that tennismatic is pricey -- I'm looking forward to the review.

Any particular reason you have so many ball machines?

tpotter
02-24-2010, 02:38 PM
I've had the lobster II, III, and then IV. Got rid of the IV and went back to the three. The III is a nice machine for working on mechanics and specific shots.
Hated the IV. Did not like the large increments of adjustments for feed frequency\ spin\ elevation\ pace. Lobster was great as they worked with the place I had got it from and did an exchange\credit to get me back into a III.
Considered a V LE but after calling Lobster I found that the increments of adjustments have remained the same. If they would have fixed that to small increments (1 degree of elevation, 1 degree of MPH, etc) I would have bought it.
I have also owned a tennis tudor pro player model. Shape was an issue because it wouldn't fit in a trunk laid on it's side like a lobster will.
I recently purchased a machine from Australia called a Tennismatic 104 AC\DC. Only used it once so too early to review. So far, really impressed. Tremendous features (ie: can control everything from remote, not just feed and oscilation, will hit the drop shot by varying spin and pace, 4 locations of depth and 5 lines horizonally). I'll be fixing it myself with their help over the phone if I have a problem though. No US distributor, and it's not cheap.
I also own a Tennistudor Shotmaker Deluxe for indoor use. (Great deal on a demo model from tennistudor. Supposed to only have around 30 hours on their demos). Fantastic machine but I can only bring it to the court when I have access to my wife's minivan and AC current. Might get a small honda generator to run it outside this summer. (They make less noise than a ball machine.)
Good luck.

wow, I don't think I've ever heard of an individual owning so many tennis ball machines.

So, the issue of not being able to make 1 mph, 1 degree changes really bothered you...maybe you could call Lobster and we could discuss it more...your feedback is incredibly important.

tpotter
02-24-2010, 03:59 PM
Hi MonkeyMuggs,

I don't own a programmable machine (Playmate Volley), but I was curious if you've ever considered looking into the Bailey Method for footwork drills since you say that's your primary focus for wanting a machine. I do understand your desire to have a machine that will force you to move front to back as well as laterally, but effective footwork is often developed from drills that have nothing to do with hitting the ball. Much of learning proper footwork is similar to learning to dance; it's a series of pre-defined, choreographed patterns that enable you to transition from one point to another and striking the ball with proper spacing between you and the ball.

Pardon me if I'm telling you things you already know, but I get the impression you think a programmable machine will be the solution to your footwork woes. Now, if you're looking for a machine with a bunch of bells and whistles because you can't find hitting partners consistently and you need some form of variety, that makes sense. But if your primary goal is improving your footwork when moving forward and backward into the court, you might consider a less expensive machine and use a mixture of old pressurized balls with pressureless ones which will give you true randomness. Of course, as I said before...there are procedures/methods (very effective ones) used to improve footwork that have nothing to do striking the ball...and a lot of them aren't fun lol.

Anyway, my intent is not to talk you out of buying a programmable machine, but to inform you that programmable machines...actually, no machine will fix problems with your game if you're not using the correct techniques to begin with. In fact, they can help reinforce bad ones.

Whatever machine you end up getting you're going to love it - they're great little toys to have. :) Goodluck!

Copey - it's so important to remember a ball machine is an awesome tool, but at the end of the day it can't "teach" you anything...combine it with lessons and you will improve overnight.

dpdiehl
02-24-2010, 04:49 PM
wow, I don't think I've ever heard of an individual owning so many tennis ball machines.

So, the issue of not being able to make 1 mph, 1 degree changes really bothered you...maybe you could call Lobster and we could discuss it more...your feedback is incredibly important.



Yep, never thought I'd miss a simple knob for adjustment. Bother me is not really the wording I would use. Made the machine frustrating and less effective in actual use would be more accurate. Varying by a minimum of 5mph or several degrees of elevation is simply not a fine enough adjustment in my opinion (based on acutally using the machine). Plus you really need to be able to fine tune frequency of feed to get the rythmn correct.

I did call Lobster after I got the IV and had used it enough times to know I was not happy with the lack of small increments in adjustment. At that point they worked out where I could return it throught he store I bought it through (Racketman\Tennismachines in St Louis) and exchange it for another.

When I saw the V LE was out and had programmable features I would have like to have I offered my III to a friend who took me up on the spot. Was ready to order a V LE and at the last second thought of checking with Lobster before ordering to make sure they had reduced the increment levels (I had assumed they would have made the change because it was my understanding I'm not alone in this opinion as a search on the internet can easily reveal.) Pretty disappointed when they told me the V had not changed from the IV in this regard. Faced with no longer having the III and needing a battery machine I started looking around and stumbled on the Tennismatic.

BTW, I'm sure I'll own a Lobster machine again someday in the future as they are an innovative company with good customer support. (FYI, IMHO the fold down handles are not as good as the old slide on ones with the retaining clip. Too hard to depress and fold and easy to bend trying to get it to fold down.)

One feature that would be nice for Lobster to incorporate is a beep signaling that the machine has received a command from the remote. (Tennistudor Shotmaker Deluxe has this and the Tennismatic does as well). Anyone who has used a ball machine knows the frustration of hitting the remote but not knowing whether or not the machine has received it. It would be nice if the beep feature could be turned off though for situations where the machine is being used indoors next to a competitive match (neither machine I currently have will do this but I think I can get in there and install a switch.)

COPEY
02-24-2010, 04:49 PM
Copey - it's so important to remember a ball machine is an awesome tool, but at the end of the day it can't "teach" you anything...combine it with lessons and you will improve overnight.

Um...did you read my post or just quote it? Allow me to provide you with few excerpts...

"I get the impression you think a programmable machine will be the solution to your footwork woes."

"I do understand your desire to have a machine that will force you to move front to back as well as laterally, but effective footwork is often developed from drills that have nothing to do with hitting the ball."

"Of course, as I said before...there are procedures/methods (very effective ones) used to improve footwork that have nothing to do striking the ball..."

"...actually, no machine will fix problems with your game if you're not using the correct techniques to begin with. In fact, they can help reinforce bad ones."

I "think" you were probably aiming your comments at MonkeyMuggs - that would make sense, but in the event you weren't, I own a machine, teach with it, but there are times when it's sitting at home for weeks at a time because I'm teaching other aspects of the game where the machine is of no use to me.

dpdiehl
02-24-2010, 05:03 PM
dpdiehl: Wow, that tennismatic is pricey -- I'm looking forward to the review.

Any particular reason you have so many ball machines?

Started with the Lobster II in 2005. Good basic machine. Wanted more features so I got a Tennis Tudor player model. Good machine but it's shape does not allow you to fit it in shallow trunks so I could only take the machine when I had access to my wife's minivan.

Sold the Tennis tudor Player Model to a "tennismom" and bought a Lobster III. Good machine. Sold it when the IV came out. Got one and did not like it at all. Did the exchange with Lobster through my local retailer and got another III. Sold that III when I saw the V LE was out. Ended up not wanting to order a V LE for reasons discussed in earlier posts so I started looking and comparing features and ended up with the tennismatic.

As far as why I also own the Tennistudor Shotmaker Deluxe. It's just ok on features considering the price (Should be able to change elevation from shot to shot in programable mode, not just horizontal location) but I don't think a battery machine can match a large AC powered machine like the shotmaker (and probably other "commercial AC powered models") when it comes to the pace\capacity\ ability to disguise where it's going to throw (aims internally vs pivoting on it's base like portable machines do). Given the opportunity I always prefer the big beast.

Even the fact that a large machine like this throws the ball from a slightly higher launch point makes it have a more realistic hit\ball trajectory that a portable machine can't match.

dpdiehl
02-24-2010, 05:12 PM
I would also recommend David Bailey's material as someone mentioned above. You can get a "condensed" version of this material by purchasing Nick Bollettieri's strategy zone but it's really worth getting Bailey's Pro Pack if you are serious or are working with a serious player.

Also, Heath Waters has a few great ball machine drills on his virtual tennis academy website.

MonkeyMuggs
02-24-2010, 09:48 PM
DPDIEHL - WOW!!

Thanks so much for your posts. For someone looking to purchase a high end portable, you're expertise from actual ownership of so many machines is priceless! I also stumbled upon the Tennismatic a few days ago. I was impressed with it's specs, especially the remote. If I remember, or saw correctly, Tennismatic only produces one model - yes? How is the size, weight and general portability on the Tennismatic? If you don't mind sharing, what was the approximate cost in US Dollars including shipping?

You mentioned there being something of a consensus and/or "other reports" on the internet which also confirmed your dislike of the rather "larger incremental settings" found on the IV, V & V L.E. I've studied and researched hard and heavy and have not seen these "other reports". To be honest, and to my chagrin, I've seen painfully little - good or bad - on the V or V L.E. I've found a few reviews on the IV. Most of it good. But I find you need quite a few reviews, at least a half dozen - preferably many more, before you can "sift through" and make sense of the many different individual needs/wants and wide/diverse range of player expertise levels. Many reviews are just not objective or "fair".

Anyway, perhaps you have another source/site of reviews and information on the IV, V and V L.E. that I'm just not aware of. Please divulge.

I've got to believe that these upper end machines are going, or should, be able to feed me a consistent ball for "grooving my strokes" (forehand/backhand). What I'm looking for is a machine that will "move" me. Primarily UP/BACK & DEEP/SHORT, as I also have to believe (which is all I can do without having seen or played with) that these higher end portables should have no problem also delivering random HORIZONTAL and/or 2 line drills. Am I correct in assuming this? Another issue of concern, which ties in somewhat with my need/want of random vertical and/or programmable short balls (while I would love to have it - a drop shot does not seem possible on a portable with the wheels tossing so close from the ground) is wondering if I'll be able to program or even get good "approach" shots!?

I've got to respect your first hand knowledge and experience with these machines! But I'm failing to see or understand how or why these "larger incremental settings" (at least for me) found on the IV, V & V L.E -- VS --
the Elite 3........ could or would matter that much!?! Is it because you are primarily focused and concerned with "grooving" very specific/precise shots? One of my problems is lack of players to hit/play with. So I need to try to simulate match play as best I can. I also need to run, move, exercise and work on my feet/footwork. I hit the ball pretty well when I can get there. In fact, when I screw up, it's almost always because I was rushed or got "jammed up". I also often get caught "flatfooted" on the baseline when given short balls, drop shots. No ball machine is going to replace another competent tennis playing human. I'm just trying to get somewhat close.

Any help or advice you can share would be most appreciated!! Thanks again for your posts and reviews.

dpdiehl
02-25-2010, 07:48 AM
Hard to describe why you need finer adjustments but here is an example.

Lets say you are "playing" vs the machine or even just doing a two line drill against the machine. You want to adjust the throw frequency so the machine launches the ball right as your shot is reaching the baseline or spot on the court where the machine is sitting (that would be "easy" mode) For a better challenge have it throw the next shot right as your ball is coming up off the bounce on the machines side of the court. That takes time away from you and will make your movement\prep better (Heath Waters recommends this if memory serves). Especially if you are in random mode. Tough. Anyway, in order to fine tune this you are going to need to adjust feed frequency in small increments depending on the trajectory of the "average" oncoming ball, it's spin and pace. The finer each of these adjustments are the closer you'll be able to get to your goal of simulating a playing experience that you are looking for. Of course having fine tuning on the feed rate is of ultimate importance in this scenario, but having them all be adjustable in fine increments is ideal.

Tennismatic puts their machines on **** and they don't bring the retail cost. I emailed them and they sold me one for what were bringing on average on ****. Shipping was around $450 US...ouch, I know. Took two weeks.

They have several models from with the 104 being the top of the line. With what you are looking for that would be your only option.

At this point (2 sessions) I cannot recommend getting one (or not getting one) as I have only had a chance to use some of the basic features as we were working on some technical things on my son's game. The real test will be when I am able to use the random feature and incorporate all 20 locations that it will hit to (IF it performs as advertised). Probably next time out.

Hope that answers your questions.

What I'd love to see from a company would be the abiltiy to connect two machines via a sychronizing control box. Have the machines set in the two corners of the court and alternate firing between them in programmable sequences. This would also allow the non-firing (for that shot) machine time to make larger adustments to speed, spin, and elevation while the other machine fired. Plus having balls coming from both the forehand and backhand sides of the court would be a huge leap from a stationary machine.


Technology has to exist, someone just needs to build it.

MonkeyMuggs
02-25-2010, 09:17 AM
There is no doubt that the "finer" one is able to adjust the various ball/shot parameters, the better + more realistic one would be able to create or program an actual playing experience. Once again, I just assumed that when these machine manufactures advertise "feed rate" specs of between 1.5 or 2 seconds to lets say 10 to 12 seconds............ that the increments of + or - time adjustments to feed rate would be somewhere between 1 to 2 seconds!? Is this not the case? Assuming this, my question and scenario posed to DPDIEHL focused on the other (speed, spin, location) parameters and adjustments NOT associated with feed rate. You're correct and I agree that FEED RATE is HUGE!!

Since I've never seen, heard or read any complaints or issues regarding "feed rates" and/or the inability to adequately adjust them on these higher end machines, or any other ball machine for that matter; I just assumed it was a "non issue". What I usually see/hear are complaints or comments as to "how challenging" it gets when you increase the feed rate (reduce the time interval).

When you mentioned the rather large incremental adjustments on the various parameters found on the IV and verified were also on the V and V L.E. (and I'm going to assume similar incremental adjustments for other higher end machines like the Tutor, Silent Partner, etc.)...............For instance - the plus (+) or minus (-) 5 MPH increments mentioned for "Ball Speed" .............we're not talking + or - 5 "SECOND" adjustments on "BALL FEED RATE" on these machines are we?!? That would mean only THREE (3) settings or "choices" on ball feed rate!! (from feed rates advertised between 2 seconds to 12 seconds - the first or fastest feed rate would be the bottom setting of 2 seconds. Add (adjust) 5 seconds and the next setting would be 7. Adjust again and your next and only other setting would 12 seconds)!! PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NOT TRUE. Or better yet, please clarify as to what the actual time increments/adjustments ARE on these various machines.

Once again - "I" - and I'm sure many other lurkers and potential buyers - super appreciate everyone's comments and contributions regarding this and other features/benefits/problems/complaints regarding these ball machines!!

tpotter
02-26-2010, 01:15 PM
Um...did you read my post or just quote it? Allow me to provide you with few excerpts...

"I get the impression you think a programmable machine will be the solution to your footwork woes."

"I do understand your desire to have a machine that will force you to move front to back as well as laterally, but effective footwork is often developed from drills that have nothing to do with hitting the ball."

"Of course, as I said before...there are procedures/methods (very effective ones) used to improve footwork that have nothing to do striking the ball..."

"...actually, no machine will fix problems with your game if you're not using the correct techniques to begin with. In fact, they can help reinforce bad ones."

I "think" you were probably aiming your comments at MonkeyMuggs - that would make sense, but in the event you weren't, I own a machine, teach with it, but there are times when it's sitting at home for weeks at a time because I'm teaching other aspects of the game where the machine is of no use to me.

Yes, simply agreeing with you...

tpotter
02-26-2010, 01:25 PM
There is no doubt that the "finer" one is able to adjust the various ball/shot parameters, the better + more realistic one would be able to create or program an actual playing experience. Once again, I just assumed that when these machine manufactures advertise "feed rate" specs of between 1.5 or 2 seconds to lets say 10 to 12 seconds............ that the increments of + or - time adjustments to feed rate would be somewhere between 1 to 2 seconds!? Is this not the case? Assuming this, my question and scenario posed to DPDIEHL focused on the other (speed, spin, location) parameters and adjustments NOT associated with feed rate. You're correct and I agree that FEED RATE is HUGE!!

Since I've never seen, heard or read any complaints or issues regarding "feed rates" and/or the inability to adequately adjust them on these higher end machines, or any other ball machine for that matter; I just assumed it was a "non issue". What I usually see/hear are complaints or comments as to "how challenging" it gets when you increase the feed rate (reduce the time interval).

When you mentioned the rather large incremental adjustments on the various parameters found on the IV and verified were also on the V and V L.E. (and I'm going to assume similar incremental adjustments for other higher end machines like the Tutor, Silent Partner, etc.)...............For instance - the plus (+) or minus (-) 5 MPH increments mentioned for "Ball Speed" .............we're not talking + or - 5 "SECOND" adjustments on "BALL FEED RATE" on these machines are we?!? That would mean only THREE (3) settings or "choices" on ball feed rate!! (from feed rates advertised between 2 seconds to 12 seconds - the first or fastest feed rate would be the bottom setting of 2 seconds. Add (adjust) 5 seconds and the next setting would be 7. Adjust again and your next and only other setting would 12 seconds)!! PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NOT TRUE. Or better yet, please clarify as to what the actual time increments/adjustments ARE on these various machines.

Once again - "I" - and I'm sure many other lurkers and potential buyers - super appreciate everyone's comments and contributions regarding this and other features/benefits/problems/complaints regarding these ball machines!!

The feed rate is standard on almost all ball machines from 2-10 seconds or some slight variation from that. Of course you can change the feed speed by intervals of one second....on any and every ball machine I've ever seen - couldn't testify if the actual ball feed rate is consistently 1 second between settings...I would guess it would be close.

tpotter
02-26-2010, 01:29 PM
Hard to describe why you need finer adjustments but here is an example.

Lets say you are "playing" vs the machine or even just doing a two line drill against the machine. You want to adjust the throw frequency so the machine launches the ball right as your shot is reaching the baseline or spot on the court where the machine is sitting (that would be "easy" mode) For a better challenge have it throw the next shot right as your ball is coming up off the bounce on the machines side of the court. That takes time away from you and will make your movement\prep better (Heath Waters recommends this if memory serves). Especially if you are in random mode. Tough. Anyway, in order to fine tune this you are going to need to adjust feed frequency in small increments depending on the trajectory of the "average" oncoming ball, it's spin and pace. The finer each of these adjustments are the closer you'll be able to get to your goal of simulating a playing experience that you are looking for. Of course having fine tuning on the feed rate is of ultimate importance in this scenario, but having them all be adjustable in fine increments is ideal.

Tennismatic puts their machines on **** and they don't bring the retail cost. I emailed them and they sold me one for what were bringing on average on ****. Shipping was around $450 US...ouch, I know. Took two weeks.

They have several models from with the 104 being the top of the line. With what you are looking for that would be your only option.

At this point (2 sessions) I cannot recommend getting one (or not getting one) as I have only had a chance to use some of the basic features as we were working on some technical things on my son's game. The real test will be when I am able to use the random feature and incorporate all 20 locations that it will hit to (IF it performs as advertised). Probably next time out.

Hope that answers your questions.

What I'd love to see from a company would be the abiltiy to connect two machines via a sychronizing control box. Have the machines set in the two corners of the court and alternate firing between them in programmable sequences. This would also allow the non-firing (for that shot) machine time to make larger adustments to speed, spin, and elevation while the other machine fired. Plus having balls coming from both the forehand and backhand sides of the court would be a huge leap from a stationary machine.


Technology has to exist, someone just needs to build it.

You are such a connoisseur of tennis ball machines (most people will never own as many ball machines in their life as you have). I would think your feedback on this forum would be invaluable.

Have heard others discuss a two ball machine approach...I wonder if others on this forum would spend double the price of a high end ball machine to get that feature?

walkman
02-28-2010, 12:50 AM
Have heard others discuss a two ball machine approach...I wonder if others on this forum would spend double the price of a high end ball machine to get that feature?


Umm, not me. Besides the expense, it would be a pain transporting everything to the court.

MonkeyMuggs
02-28-2010, 01:56 PM
My financial position at the moment, and likely in the future, would probably not allow me to purchase 2 "high end" machines for that "dual court positions" feature dpdiehl mentioned. Or rather, I'm not sure the costs, for me, would justify the benefit. To get that feature, however, might not require 2 "high end" machines. 2 average machines linked together could still accomplish much and provide the added angles. I could easily purchase 2 respectable and good machines with the $$ I'm likely going to spend on 1 high end machine. In any event, I love dpdiehl's thinking; and his challenge to the manufacturers to keep pushing, improving and utilizing the technology that IS out there.

By the way - I've been anxiously awaiting DPDIEHL'S follow-up review on his new Tennismatic. What type of balls/shots have you been able to generate from the programming function on that 104 dpdiehl? How hard/easy is it to "program" (input and operate) the control panel? How about the remote? Does it work well? Is it big/small (will it fit in your pocket)? Do you have access to all the various features/functions on the machine with it?

I emailed Tennismatic for a quote, and they got back to me right away. After the rather substantial discount I felt they were offering, the machine itself (104 DC) was'nt that much more than Lobster's high end machines! Can't wait to here back from dpdiehl.

One improvement or addition that I would like to see the manufacturers of these portable ball machines include, or offer as an accessory, is the ability to RAISE the machine UP off the court. You would not have to raise the machine that much higher to produce DRASTICALLY different results. It could probably be done with just "telescoping legs" at each corner, with the wheels/castors attached to the bottom of the legs (think camera tripod). The other idea or method, which I will likely custom design to precisely fit/match whatever machine I end up buying - is to build a lightweight, but sturdy, platform. This increase in height would bring an almost infinite increase in the type and range of shots/balls delivered. Just imagine the effect a little height would cause and create. It would allow these machines the increased ability and GEOMETRY to toss an almost inestimable # of ADDITIONAL shots, angles, balls, trajectories, bounces, speeds, spins, etc. The telescoping legs, or platform accessory, would be a relatively simple, yet remarkable, design improvement and addition! It would add tons of value to these portable machines and bring countless benefits to their owners.

If tpotter does'nt hurry up and design/build/engineer - I may just do it myself and sell or supply him! Come on Tony - this one's easy.

dpdiehl
02-28-2010, 02:25 PM
sorry for the delay on the review. Been using the Shotmaker Deluxe lately as my son has been hitting early in the morning so I have access to the van.

The remote is a little smaller than an Iphone, but two and a half times as thick. Light and fits in my pocket though.

Based on the two times out with it I've noticed the Tennismatic is more prone to erratic feeding than any machine I've had so far, but that's not a huge deal (skips a throw or throws two balls once in a while) if everything else works as advertised.

It's more compact than the lobster and has a better handle than the portable tennis tudor models.

Will try and spend some time this week using the random and other modes.

walkman
03-02-2010, 05:57 PM
1) Tennismatic -- I noticed that the TW website in australia mentions they no longer sell the tennismatic ball machines. You might send them and email and find out why.


2) I saw a post where someone bought a metal wheeled work cart from Sears for elevating their ball machine to a more normal height.

MonkeyMuggs
03-04-2010, 06:55 AM
WALKMAN & BOLIVIAN10S...............

I wanted to respond and tell both of you how much I've appreciated and utilized the valuable comments and tips both of you have left here at this thread, as well as the many other interesting posts and comments ya'll have left at other threads/topics throughout this forum. In all your messages - you have been civil, sincere and consistent. I, and I'm sure many others here, sincerely appreciate the sober advice, information and selfless contributions you have both made and continue to bring to this TW forum!

Good Luck and continued success with your game.

dpdiehl
03-11-2010, 10:59 PM
In case anyone is interested I've been able to use the Tennismatic 104 a few more times and can provide additional feedback.

So far I'm pretty impressed. A few things I like:
Machine's shape and color makes it hard to tell which way it has turned so you don't get to "read" the throw as easily.
I really like the "single shot" feature on the remote for working with my son on technical stuff. Didn't expect that.
Having the ability to adust nearly everything from the remote is something that every manufacture should copy. Really miss that when I use my Tennis Tutor Shotmaker now.
Been using the multiple B\H F\H horizontal oscillation patterns some lately. I'll refrain from commenting on how well it simulates match play until we have really worked it over but I'm impressed so far as we haven't mixed in vertical oscillation yet or true random side to side. Been doing some major swing changes so match simulation hasn't been the goal.

Huge ball capacity for machine this size. Best handle system of portables.

The bad: more likely to skip a feed than Lobster. More likely to get a ball jammed as well. Easy to clear out but it's a pain to stop and walk over. Happens once evey couple hours of use.

I love the beep feature to let you know that the unit received the signal from the remote but I think it might annoy players on adjacent courts when used indoors. Would be nice if the beep had an off switch.


Battery check feature is nice as well as power save mode. Can use a few times without recharging.

So far, so good.

Pro_Tour_630
03-12-2010, 04:16 PM
basically it sucks, get the playmate portable volley

Pro_Tour_630
10-27-2011, 10:38 AM
Ok so my friend got the PMP volley and it is heavy, it is built like a tank, you can not lift it up and into the care that easily. It has to stay on curt and you just transport the battery in and out. It is extremely accurate but does not have the programable function.

Now on the Programable portable machines I have one issue. Not sure about the accuracy of these individual elements for the program since you are sometimes using different types of balls, some are used some are a little newer some are flat some are bald, some are pressure less etc..... it rather negates the whole feature I would think. I could be wrong, can you please confirm. DO I need to have all the balls the same so I can benefit from this feature. I know on the $8000 playmates, no matter what you put in it it feeds it to the correct spot with the correct element programed.

I tried to call tennismatic to inquire about the new 200 series machines but did not get an answer. :twisted: if we were to get a portable imported to the US that matches the programing level of the lobster LE it would cost in upwards of $4500. at least $1500 more than the lobster LE, is it worth it? is it more accurate and uses similar throw wheels to the playmate.

tt.tennis
07-03-2012, 12:24 AM
NEW Tennismatic T203 tennis ball machines. Watch the T203 ball machines on you tube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51sEiupshuI&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?=aAL9jUr3eCY&feature=relmfu