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View Full Version : What are the merits of getting a ball machine


nextbigbigthing1
09-24-2011, 04:11 AM
I am considering buying a ball machine.
They offer the chance for constant practice and stroke fine tuning and allow you to practice on a vary of spins etc,
Would this be good for advanced player looking to go pro , to fine tune his stroke especially.
I mean its just like a coaching lesson when someone feeds you balls , offers endless opportunities to improve ,dosent it???

Bartelby
09-24-2011, 04:14 AM
I think you have to be ultra-disciplined: cranking it out, setting it up, hitting balls, picking them up, hitting, picking up ... once you leave out the social aspect of tennis it's pretty boring unless you've a real, disciplined drive to succeed.

tes
09-24-2011, 05:41 AM
IMO ball machines are good for low level players practicing the mechanics of a stroke they are learning. Higher level players with developed strokes are better off playing with other players of similiar or slightly better ability. Another downside of ball machines is the tendency to lull one into lazy habits.
I bought a ball machine primarily because my son just started tennis in the last two years and I found that hitting with him was both frustrating and detrimental to my own game as I was just hitting softer and down the middle constantly. Personally I use the machine very sparingly when I can't line up a match with another player. As the other poster said it's kind of boring.

Crazy man
09-24-2011, 06:32 AM
Ball machines are better than a wall, but not as good as a practice partner. Good for stroke production but can get a little bit too predictable. Of course you don't get any sketchy bounces you'd get occassionally if you practice with a wall.

Xizel
09-24-2011, 07:14 AM
I think you have to be ultra-disciplined: cranking it out, setting it up, hitting balls, picking them up, hitting, picking up ...

At this point, just hit some serves instead.

Magnetite
09-24-2011, 07:28 AM
They are decent if u are working on your technique and don't need/want a coach to feed you balls.

Or if u can't find anyone to play with.

Agassi used to hit with a ball machine his father modified (according to his biography).

MarinaHighTennis
09-24-2011, 08:18 AM
If you are advanced no...its good for intermediates and beginners but you'll find that the balls have no pace and you'll get easily bored. Its ok for volleys.

guitarplayer
09-24-2011, 08:25 AM
I'm considering one as well. My hitting partner and I have scheduling conflicts at times and I go the entire weekend without hitting....drives me nuts.

HunterST
09-24-2011, 08:38 AM
A ball machine can be helpful, but not $500 worth of helpfulness.

TennisCoachFLA
09-24-2011, 10:37 AM
A ball machine can be helpful, but not $500 worth of helpfulness.

Come on now, isn't this worth $500?:) It even allows the coach to sit in a chair and get some sun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G5xSyA_-Ec

r2473
09-24-2011, 11:28 AM
A ball machine can be helpful, but not $500 worth of helpfulness.

I used one when I was first starting out. Allowed me to hit hard and get lots of reps. Hitting with others during this stage wasn't going to work. Nobody liked to see me crank every other ball into the back fence and I didn't want to learn a pushing style.

When I sold mine (Tennis Tutor Juinor), I got nearly what I paid for it on Fbay (the local Sports Authority had a 25% off anything in the store sale and forgot to exclude the machine and tried to not sell it to me at that price).

dr325i
09-24-2011, 11:41 AM
I'm considering one as well. My hitting partner and I have scheduling conflicts at times and I go the entire weekend without hitting....drives me nuts.

Ever thought of finding another or a few more hitting partners? Could save you a lot of money...and nerves and develop your game much better

guitarplayer
09-24-2011, 01:46 PM
Ever thought of finding another or a few more hitting partners? Could save you a lot of money...and nerves and develop your game much better

I have about 3 guys I hit with. Amazing how many times when one guy has a wedding or something going on, someone else is out of town..etc.

dr325i
09-25-2011, 01:38 AM
I have about 3 guys I hit with. Amazing how many times when one guy has a wedding or something going on, someone else is out of town..etc.

haha, I've had a few of those when you just want to play bad and it just does not happen. Luckily, the clubs around (in S FL) had the ball machines

CoachingMastery
09-25-2011, 05:53 AM
Come on now, isn't this worth $500?:) It even allows the coach to sit in a chair and get some sun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G5xSyA_-Ec

That is hilarious! thanks for posting that!

CoachingMastery
09-25-2011, 06:01 AM
Here is my suggestion:

Instead of buying a ball machine, spend a smaller amount of money and rent one at a local club. Like most people, you will enjoy it for the first five times then get a little bored with it and move on.

Like a wall, a ball machine can be detrimental if the player is not using it correctly. Like the post of the little girl trying to learn to serve with the ball machine that FLA posted, she is developing the wrong grip, the wrong position, and certainly NOT learning to serve. (Maybe learning to hit overheads, perhaps!)

For most people who buy a machine, they forget that they also have to buy enough balls to fill it. If they use old balls, you are going to get inconsistent feeds and balls that don't bounce like new ones, of course. You have to load it in your car, find a court with a plug not being used, unload it, bring an extension cord, (unless you have one that is battery operated...which you better make sure the battery is charged and holds a charge!), load the balls, bring the basket of balls, set it up, test it, hit the shots, turn it off, pick up the balls, repeat, then load it back up in your car, take it home and store it. (Don't forget to charge the battery if you have one!)

I suggest you look for a good used one if indeed you feel you MUST buy one! Most private machines get very little use, for the reason I outlined above! Most people who have them would just like to unload it at half price or what ever.

I admire anyone who is willing to do all this to get use out of a machine, (and I'm not saying they are not useful...they can be!). I owned an academy and I had one of the most expensive machines at my club. It did get a lot of use. But it is rare to see someone who owns one out using it much after the first few times.

TennisCoachFLA
09-25-2011, 10:19 AM
That is hilarious! thanks for posting that!

Ha, I know coach, that is a funny one. I love it when the coach goes and plops down in the chair!

gmatheis
09-25-2011, 11:39 AM
Ha, I know coach, that is a funny one. I love it when the coach goes and plops down in the chair!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNzUDygsBE4

watch at 19 seconds in ! :)

scotus
09-25-2011, 02:16 PM
If you are advanced no...its good for intermediates and beginners but you'll find that the balls have no pace and you'll get easily bored. Its ok for volleys.

Silent Partner claims their machines shoot balls at max speed of 95 mph.

Even if spins slow down the speed, it would be more than any 4.0 opponent can throw at you.

Limpinhitter
09-25-2011, 03:01 PM
I am considering buying a ball machine.
They offer the chance for constant practice and stroke fine tuning and allow you to practice on a vary of spins etc,
Would this be good for advanced player looking to go pro , to fine tune his stroke especially.
I mean its just like a coaching lesson when someone feeds you balls , offers endless opportunities to improve ,dosent it???

I think working with a ball machine can be one part of a comprehensive training regimen if used correctly - lots of repetitions to groove in strokes after proper technique is understood and learned.

qwanta
09-25-2011, 03:28 PM
I think it's important to distinguish between 2 different types of ball machines. There's the type where you dial-in a speed, spin amount and elevation and go at it (maybe with some horizontal oscillation). This is great for working on a single shot to attain consistency. The Silent Partner Edge series (Lite/Sport/Star) is of this type for example.

Then there's the more expensive ones that can automatically vary the speed and spin between consecutive balls, and have x and y oscillation. I believe the lobster Elite 3 and above have these capabilities for example. This is a more varied workout and may be more interesting for someone past the intermediate level who wants a random variety of shots to return.

Even in the second case, the ball machine is still hitting all its balls from the same spot, and from the exact same height, so it is still limited compared to playing against a human being.

TennisCoachFLA
09-25-2011, 04:44 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNzUDygsBE4

watch at 19 seconds in ! :)

Thats too funny, you nailed it.