PDA

View Full Version : Is it worth getting a ball machine?


akj27
06-03-2005, 08:03 PM
if so, what are some cheap ones, that are able to produce spin

papa
06-04-2005, 06:21 AM
if so, what are some cheap ones, that are able to produce spin

Ball machines can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a used one to well into the thousands.

They basically operate on either standard household current (110 volts) or rechargeable batteries. Lobster makes one of the most inexpensive new machines which is rather basic but does the job - they now have a battery one. Prince also makes a machine (battery operated) that sells new for in the 800 range.

However, if your looking for a machine to give you spin you'll probably have to spend a minumum of around 1500. There are several that might fit the bill and I would suggest you do a search in this forum or on the web. TW is a good outfit to deal with and if it were me, I'd start with them.

A major factor in buying a machine is taking into consideration where you plan to use it. For instance, most public courts do not have power outlets so it would rule out that type completely. Equally important is how portable the machine is and you'll find that the battery operated ones much easier to cart around because they are more compact and lighter. The Little Prince for instance, weighs around thirty pounds and the hopper disconnects easily and fits over the base - most other portable machines are well designed also fairly light also.

The resale of these machines is good so don't expect huge discounts on used equipment - depending on condition, used machines sell for 60 - 70 percent of the new ones but "older" machines (ball machines have been around for quite a while) can be bought fairly cheap - parts can be a problem on "older" machines so watch out.

Honestlybad
06-04-2005, 06:39 AM
The club I work at bought a $6000 machine. I am the only one that uses it from time to time but playing by yourself gets really boring after a while. Get a ball machine but remember - it's always more fun when there are at least two people involved :)

TwistServe
06-04-2005, 06:47 AM
The ball machine is cool to add to your tennis training... Sometimes hitting with a partner isn't enough because you want to concentrate a full hour to one specific stroke at a specific location with a specific stance with a specific movement... If you're looking for a machine with spin, you'll looking around $1100 minimum. If you just want a barebone machine you'll find one for around $700

Check out my review on the Tennis Tutor Plus Model 4: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=53875

And FatMike's review on the Little Prince: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=51295

Puma
06-04-2005, 04:39 PM
I got the Silent Partner. It oscillates and can put a ton of spin on the ball. As far as is it good for your tennis. I think so. You can do a lot, like grooving a certain stoke, practice hitting on the rise, over and over and over again. But, there are problems too. It can get predictable at times and can lead to poor habits. A ball machine will entice you to be disciplined in your approach to practice. If not, you will develope some bad habits, or at least I have. It is a great advantage when not having a partner to hit with. Hitting against a wall get boring for me...........

I have heard bad things about the Silent Partner machine. But, I haven't had any problems other than changing batteries. I have had mine close to two years now and the wheels are well worn. I have two tour 90s and if I hit three times a week I will break strings. The next thing I got was a Revo 4000. I am getting lots of use from both..............

Hope this helps............

Rackethead
06-06-2005, 07:15 AM
A ball machine can be useful in practicing somethings about your stroke. However, it can be deceptive in that because of the predictability you can swing much harder and with greater spin than you can in a game. Against a real person you will mishit hitting that hard.

Another common mistake is to set it for too high and powerful a shot. Then, you have no idea how to hit the kinds of shots you really get in a game. You have to play it with a variety of trajectories and speeds (which is a pain to reset) to better simulate your actual opponents, or otherwise the knowledge won't transfer over.

Just some of the lessons I've learned hitting against a ball machine. It can vary the placement through oscillation, but it won't vary the spin, depth, or height of the ball, so you get much less variety than against a player. This means that you don't learn to read and adjust for these different factors in your swing, so you can mishit when hitting a real ball.

johnmcc516
06-06-2005, 10:42 AM
no, just hit against a wall or find a partner to feed you.

Bungalo Bill
06-06-2005, 10:48 AM
if so, what are some cheap ones, that are able to produce spin

Ball machines are great for practicing your technique (rotating properly, keeping the head still, switching grips, stepping out with the foot closest to the ball, etc.)

You can learn to groove your technique using a ball machine but the problem is you groove to one speed. In reality the ball is hit with different spins and speeds when playing someone else.

Once you groove as the above poster said you start to build a false sense of accomplishment and begin to hit harder. Keep a rally swing (80%) amd work on technique. Sometimes putting in new balls with somewhat older balls can help change the depth of the bounce so you have to adjust a little.

People sometimes put different colored balls in the machine and hit a certain color crosscourt and the other color down-the-line.

On the oscillating mode you can get a good workout.

Boy Wonder
06-06-2005, 11:01 AM
Bungalo Bill pretty much summed it up. IMO, a ball machine will be very helpful for your game and it will give you the workout you need. They are also not that expensive. I use a Lobster which I bought on **** that can oscillate or not, has the ability to be adjusted to how you want the ball to feed, and is in good condition except for some dents. I can not adjust the speed it feeds though. There are good deals on ball machines out there and it is worth it.

NoBadMojo
06-06-2005, 11:10 AM
i feel the wall is much better than the ball machine and lots cheaper (especially a wall that produces the ocassional uneven rebound). in additon to what the others have said, most people set up the ball machine on the baseline on the center hash and few balls come at you from that angle, so that decreases its usefullness. so if you do use a ball machine, i sugest moving it around which can be a pain in the butt. even if the machine oscillates, you know where the next ball is going, and people anticipate that and cheat and get lazy. the machines that randomize are better, but those must be expensive.

TwistServe
06-06-2005, 11:24 AM
the machines that randomize are better, but those must be expensive.

Actually the randomize feature are usaully standard.. the 2-line features require an added component to restrict randomizing so it costs a lil extra..

As for the Tennis Tutors, they all come with random osscilation.. the Model 4's come with a component to do 2line mode.

Bungalo Bill
06-06-2005, 01:57 PM
i feel the wall is much better than the ball machine and lots cheaper (especially a wall that produces the ocassional uneven rebound).

Each have there pros and cons. For example, almost all backboards tend to be built flat (or straight up and down) and when you hit the ball it always goes downward which is not an accurate simulation to what happens on the couort. The ball machine gives you a better simulation in this area. The wall is not a true bounce that a player will see on the courts and also sends the ball downward. At Vic Bradens Tennis College we encouraged players to let the ball bounce twice because of this problem. To address this issue True Bounce backboards are now on the market (but few have the space and money to afford them) to better simulate a ball coming towards you.

Further the wall is the least able to provide feedback if someone hit the ball too hard and/or too long and feedback going crosscourt and down-the-line is limited.

Overall, both the wall and a ball machine are for working on technique and grooving a stroke. The wall is very good for volley practice but so can the ball machine.

As far getting feedback to what the ball is doing and where the ball is going - the ball machine wins out all the time.

in additon to what the others have said, most people set up the ball machine on the baseline on the center hash and few balls come at you from that angle, so that decreases its usefullness. so if you do use a ball machine, i sugest moving it around which can be a pain in the butt.

This is not as true as you are indicating. I agree that many players setup the ball in the middle. But they can also setup the ballmachine crosscourt. This is not hard to do and after they pick up the balls and place them back in the ball machine it doesnt take much to move the ball machine to a different location and make speed adjustments if necessary.

even if the machine oscillates, you know where the next ball is going, and people anticipate that and cheat and get lazy. the machines that randomize are better, but those must be expensive.

This is the point that many people dont understand. The ball machine is not working on your anticipation skills. It takes that out of the equation which is a very good thing and one less thing a player needs to concentrate on while they are working on their technique. Ball machines were never designed to build anticipation skills.

The ball machines oscillation mode is to help condition the athlete, work on footwork patterns, and develop good technical swing patterns over and over. That is all it is for. It also allows a student to work on something by themselves like overheads or a crosscourt backhand.

Anything else would be replacing real play which is not what a ball machine is designed for no matter what the marketing propoganda says.

Ball machines are an excellent coaching tool as well especially the two-line feed with remote control.

NoBadMojo
06-06-2005, 02:06 PM
to each their own, but i see (pretty often) ball machine trained players who only hit it well against the ball machine and everything breaks down when they play real people...people simply dont hit balls like ball machines and moving the thing around the court is often not as simple as it would appear. i rate the ball machine at the bottom altho i do agree it is a good way to teach if you have one w. remote control capabilities. i am aware the wall, unless speciafically designed does not exactly simulate how it comes to you on a tennis court but that really isnt he purpose of going to the wall anyway. it is great for footwork and racquet work, shoulder turn, cardio, etc when done properly..i would say it is ok to mix a ball machine in the fray occassionaly, but a steady diet is basically a no IMO, and people who buy them seem to use them alot.

FREDDY
06-06-2005, 07:20 PM
yeah theyre worth it.

mikemasonx
06-06-2005, 07:24 PM
just get a SAM.... !!

bee
06-06-2005, 07:26 PM
Best for working on a specific shot. Backhand down the line, that sort of thing.

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 08:31 AM
to each their own, but i see (pretty often) ball machine trained players who only hit it well against the ball machine and everything breaks down when they play real people...people simply dont hit balls like ball machines and moving the thing around the court is often not as simple as it would appear. i rate the ball machine at the bottom altho i do agree it is a good way to teach if you have one w. remote control capabilities.

I am surprised you really dont know what a ball machine is for. It is equally true that players hitting against a wall have difficulty transferring their shots to real play. The ball machine and the wall is to develop stroke technique not necessarily transfer their timing and whatever anticipation skills necessary for real play.

i am aware the wall, unless speciafically designed does not exactly simulate how it comes to you on a tennis court but that really isnt he purpose of going to the wall anyway. it is great for footwork and racquet work, shoulder turn, cardio, etc when done properly

DUDE where are you coming from! All of the above the ball machine blows the wall away on. If you set the ball machine to feed 200 balls in a two-line setting, your footwork simulates the real deal, your strokes can be developed and the workout you get is hands down better then the wall - 24/7.

The wall can provide a workout if one can keep it in play!!!!! But like I said the ball is always bouncing off the wall downward and eventually you have to keep stepping in closer and closer. There is no way in hell this is better then a ball machine which is on the court and you have to play within the lines giving you instant feedback. The wall serves its purpose and one of the best things it can do is help with volleys.

i would say it is ok to mix a ball machine in the fray occassionaly, but a steady diet is basically a no IMO, and people who buy them seem to use them alot.

It is ok to mix everything on occasion. The wall, the ball machine, having balls fed to you from a coach, practicing with your rally partner, etc.

The ball machine will provide a better workout and more of a true ball feed then a wall anyday of the week. Each are useful to help develop better technique. Nothing replaces real play.

Try putting in 200 balls in the two-line function on a quick feed and see if that doesnt burn your lungs.

TwistServe
06-07-2005, 08:42 AM
I own a $1600 ball machine and i'd say it's been a great investment. Obviously that's not the only part of my training but it really helps groove in strokes that I simply didn't have the time to develop in group classes or private lessons.

I probably spent a couple thousand bucks on private lessons last year and the stuff the instructor taught me, I wanted to practice it on my own time. How are you going to practice taking the ball on the rise when someone hits you a high looper to your backhand? Are you going to have a friend constantly feed you these balls until he's tired? The wall definitely won't give you backhand topspin loopers.

Why not jsut get the ball machine and practice ANY stroke that you're having trouble with or want to fine tune.

If you use the ball machine wisely, it will be a tool to your stroke perfection! Than you can work on your footwork and aticipation. Tennis is a game where all you need to do is move to where the ball is ASAP so you can hit at your ideal strike zone. The ball machine completes the first half of that equation and you can get the rest through group lessons, live drills, and match play.

NoBadMojo
06-07-2005, 08:52 AM
really not worth responding to BB ...your behaviour is really quite ridiculous

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 09:09 AM
really not worth responding to BB ...your behaviour is really quite ridiculous

LOL, yeah I figured you had nothing to say. Why dont you quit being so bitter and stubborn.

So the bottom-line to this? Is a ball machine worth it? If one can afford one, you bet it is. The wall is not BETTER as you said then the ball machine but serves its purpose for what it is. You should know this as a coach.

ferrari_827
06-07-2005, 09:37 AM
I found the ball machine to be excellent for volleying and overheads, especially if you set it to randomize the ball. You *really* have to move in a hurry to hit those volleys and overheads.

For players above a certain level, the ball machine isn't that beneficial for groundstrokes. I also found that you tend to hit harder against a ball machine than in against a person (go figure !!).

NoBadMojo
06-07-2005, 09:58 AM
bb i am NOT biter or stubborn..you only think i am stubborn because i dont agree with you and your ego is the size of a mack truck..and fragile to boot evidently. there is lots i could say but i am not mucking it up with you...i dont post by posting novellas like you..so we disagree about ball machines..thats fine..why do you always have the need to try and imply i dont know what i am talking about when i post the rare post in the tennis tips forum? it wouldnt be because of your myriad of insecurities i dont suppose and your apparent need to feel as though you are the only one who knows tennis around here..the last time you posted in volume on the tw board, you essentially got run off....i figured you would be back becase of your need to pontificate..so pontificate away...the queston was is a ball machine a worthwhile investement and i dont think it is..i am entitled to that opinion and didnt deserve for you to suggest i dont know what i am talking about..you stink man.....so i think the wall is better than the ball machine...so what...i didnt say the ball machine is bad..i just said it isnt good in a stready dose and i think people who buy them try and maximize their use and use them alot...and when they do, i have found often they only hit well with the ball machine and not with people..as far as the wall giving you short balls..well it will do that if that is what you give the wall...a short ball does help w. your frward movement however and you can hit the next shot off he wall as an approach shot and the next shot off the wall as a volley....brad gilbert and many of the other pros were weened on the wall..even your buddy nick bolllieteierrrrrea likes the wall....you need to check your package BB, or people may once again run you off the tw board like the last time....see, i have turned this into a BB type post..i've written a novella

TwistServe
06-07-2005, 10:02 AM
bb i am NOT biter or stubborn..you only think i am stubborn because i dont agree with you and your ego is the size of a mack truck..and fragile to boot evidently. there is lots i could say but i am not mucking it up with you...i dont post by posting novellas like you..so we disagree about ball machines..thats fine..why do you always have the need to try and imply i dont know what i am talking about when i post the rare post in the tennis tips forum? it wouldnt be because of your myriad of insecurities i dont suppose and your apparent need to feel as though you are the only one who knows tennis around here..the last time you posted in volume on the tw board, you essentially got run off....i figured you would be back becase of your need to pontificate..so pontificate away...the queston was is a ball machine a worthwhile investement and i dont think it is..i am entitled to that opinion and didnt deserve for you to suggest i dont know what i am talking about..you stink man.....so i think the wall is better than the ball machine...so what...i didnt say the ball machine is bad..i just said it isnt good in a stready dose and i think people who buy them try and maximize their use and use them alot...and when they do, i have found often they only hit well with the ball machine and not with people..as far as the wall giving you short balls..well it will do that if that is what you give the wall...a short ball does help w. your frward movement however and you can hit the next shot off he wall as an approach shot and the next shot off the wall as a volley....brad gilbert and many of the other pros were weened on the wall..even your buddy nick bolllieteierrrrrea likes the wall....you need to check your package BB, or people may once again run you off the tw board like the last time....see, i have turned this into a BB type post..i've written a novella

Hmm I didn't know BB got run off.. I thought most people valued what he said and his through analysis of posters stroke videos.

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 12:52 PM
bb i am NOT biter or stubborn..you only think i am stubborn because i dont agree with you and your ego is the size of a mack truck..and fragile to boot evidently. there is lots i could say but i am not mucking it up with you...i dont post by posting novellas like you..so we disagree about ball machines..thats fine..why do you always have the need to try and imply i dont know what i am talking about when i post the rare post in the tennis tips forum? it wouldnt be because of your myriad of insecurities i dont suppose and your apparent need to feel as though you are the only one who knows tennis around here..the last time you posted in volume on the tw board, you essentially got run off....i figured you would be back becase of your need to pontificate..so pontificate away...the queston was is a ball machine a worthwhile investement and i dont think it is..i am entitled to that opinion and didnt deserve for you to suggest i dont know what i am talking about..you stink man.....so i think the wall is better than the ball machine...so what...i didnt say the ball machine is bad..i just said it isnt good in a stready dose and i think people who buy them try and maximize their use and use them alot...and when they do, i have found often they only hit well with the ball machine and not with people..as far as the wall giving you short balls..well it will do that if that is what you give the wall...a short ball does help w. your frward movement however and you can hit the next shot off he wall as an approach shot and the next shot off the wall as a volley....brad gilbert and many of the other pros were weened on the wall..even your buddy nick bolllieteierrrrrea likes the wall....you need to check your package BB, or people may once again run you off the tw board like the last time....see, i have turned this into a BB type post..i've written a novella

LOL, this is great. Run me off again??? I would think by now one would think the only person that runs me off this board is myself. But if you want to think you did and it makes you less bitter then you go right ahead and believe that. LOL

Look Bitterboy, the poster wanted to know if a ball machine was worth buying. I said it is if you can afford it. You indicated it isn't and based your thread on weak facts. I disagreed and stated my facts as to why and shortly afterwards you broke down and STARTED TO CRY.

No one is trying to get the better of you so calm down. You simply didnt state good enough facts to justify your opinion as to why the wall is better. Further I stated information that said contrary.

Niether, the wall or the ball machine are good in steady doses. But from the information you said that a wall can do well in - there is no doubt a ball machine can do equal or better.

1. Just the simple fact that a ball machine can shoot several hundred balls to different locations forcing you to move and at various feed speeds tells you that the workout you will get on a ball machine will be much more beneficial then a wall. I have no clue why I need to say more or is this too hard to understand???

2. Just the simple fact that you can oscillate or perform a two-line setting provides a better practice.

3. The simple fact that you can set the machine to throw lobs up in the air is better.

Need I say more?

My buddy Bolleterri???? Man, you really are bitter.

Also, I myself hit on the wall often. Brad Gilbert has hit on a wall, Agassi has hit on a wall, Monica Seles hit on a wall and so have many many other players both amatuer and pro. They also have hit on ball machines! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS YOUR POINT???????

Bitterboy, get real. The wall has some inherent cons to it just as the ball machine does. But based on the information you mentioned above - sorry, I disagree with you unless you can prove otherwise.

NoBadMojo
06-07-2005, 02:07 PM
BB previously engaged in an exchange of words with several posters and got creamed and wasnt heard from in some while. BB i dont care to enter into a battle of words with you...i stated my opinion about ball machines...i am entitled to do that..my opinions didnt involve you..you are entitled to your opinions too of course..i dont apreciate your always making things personal and saying i am bitter and stupid stuf like that..so to summarize, nobadmojo doesnt think ball machines are all that so he is bitter..this is tres stupid and i dont wish to participate.....you lose. like the last time i posted here..gave a guy a tip..BB said it was a stupid tip..the tip worked and the guy was nice enough to thank me...BB comes back with that my tip really didnt work and that it weas something he said that cause my tip to work..i gave the tip to someone playing college ball, so he insults this guy indirectly by implying the guy doesnt know what he is talking about either..this is very common BB behaviour. all hail Bungalow Bill..mother hen and keeper of the TW tennis tips forum and the ONLY one who knows Tennis!

Bungalo Bill
06-07-2005, 04:15 PM
BB previously engaged in an exchange of words with several posters and got creamed and wasnt heard from in some while. BB i dont care to enter into a battle of words with you...i stated my opinion about ball machines...i am entitled to do that..my opinions didnt involve you..you are entitled to your opinions too of course..i dont apreciate your always making things personal and saying i am bitter and stupid stuf like that..so to summarize, nobadmojo doesnt think ball machines are all that so he is bitter..this is tres stupid and i dont wish to participate.....you lose. like the last time i posted here..gave a guy a tip..BB said it was a stupid tip..the tip worked and the guy was nice enough to thank me...BB comes back with that my tip really didnt work and that it weas something he said that cause my tip to work..i gave the tip to someone playing college ball, so he insults this guy indirectly by implying the guy doesnt know what he is talking about either..this is very common BB behaviour. all hail Bungalow Bill..mother hen and keeper of the TW tennis tips forum and the ONLY one who knows Tennis!

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

fastdunn
06-07-2005, 04:54 PM
There is no question about how beneficial a ball machine can be.
The question is to own one or to rent one.

It's about $15 per hour in my area.
I made a deal with the club and pay $20 for 1 hour and half.
When no one is around, they let me have it for almost 2 hour.

I tried this for couple of sessions and then I realized I do not
really have much time for ball machine.
If I was able to be committed to 1-2 sessions per week regularly,
I would think it's a good investment for couple of years down the road...

papa
06-07-2005, 05:55 PM
really not worth responding to BB ...your behaviour is really quite ridiculous

Well actually his answer was very clear and extremely accurate.

I've played on a couple of the "high tech" walls and yes, they are more fun, more consistent and not an "add-on" arrangement to the "far court" but seperate fenced in areas. However, even if we all had these facilities, BB's arguements would still hold true.

Now, I'll agree with you that "some" can make a total joke of using a machine - I see them from time to time and don't even understand why they even bother. Maybe your experience has been with this group.

Datacipher
06-09-2005, 03:39 PM
Hmm I didn't know BB got run off.. I thought most people valued what he said and his through analysis of posters stroke videos.

Yep, he ran like a scalded dog and now that you're back and running your mouth again BB, a word of caution, be careful. Otherwise people might find out you're not what you make yourself out to be now are you? ;-)

Kana Himezaki
06-09-2005, 03:45 PM
I dunno about what he said in the past, but running his mouth of now has helped a lot of people. And settle a dispute, LOL.

It doesn't make a difference to me if he's not what he says he is, I value his posts and advice.

Datacipher - I remember you mentioning some similarity about me after you planned your magic trick of "sawing Aykhan in half". First, I want to know if I could be the assistant in any similar magic tricks. Second, I'm still wondering what the similarity was. O.o