Return of Service Ball Machine Platform

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by NE1for10is?, May 22, 2012.

  1. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    My return is by far the least effective part of my game, so I got two collapsable plastic work platforms from Home Depot and put the ball machine on top of them so I could practice returns. One wasn't enough, because it wouldn't clear the net, even if I put it on the service line. Two did the trick however. Surprisingly, the setup didn't move around much, but next time I will strap it all together with velcro straps. The video shows it at about half the speed the ball machine is capable of. With a little more tilt down of the ball machine I can crank it up to far harder than anyone serves at my level. Getting the ball machine up there and putting balls in wasn't a problem at all.

    I was surprised how much this helped my returns and how much I learned from it, especially with my one-handed BH return.

    [​IMG][/IMG][​IMG]
     
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  2. blkkirk

    blkkirk New User

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    I love the idea. I am looking to improve my 1hbh return of serve also. Might try this when my machine comes in. Thanks for posting.
     
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  3. gully

    gully Semi-Pro

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    Cool. What video are you referring to? (All I see are two static images.) And what is the product, specifically?
     
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  4. hard2explain

    hard2explain Rookie

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    That is awesome!

    How comparable is it to an actual serve, spins, speeds, trajectory etc?
     
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  5. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  6. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I'd say it's pretty close. You can adjust the mph of course, the topspin for more or less kick, and the elevation to simulate loopier second serves.
     
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  7. gully

    gully Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the link! (I couldn't find the project originally.) I think I will try this with my SP Star. My arm feels like rubber when I help my daughter practice her serve return. Seems like this should emulate everything except a slice serve, right?

    No biggie, but I still only see a .jpg, not a video, in your second link. Thanks for your help, though!
     
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  8. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I did something similar with my Silent Partner Star. It does not throw balls from as high up as yours appears to so I had to crank up the topspin in order to get the speed up and still be able to keep the balls hitting in the service box.

    What's nice about that setup is that I use the cart ($45 from Harbor Freight FWIW) to carry my Star about 5 minutes to my neighborhood courts so I really don't have to carry anything extra with me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvA8h3XwfzI
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  9. ClairHarmony

    ClairHarmony Rookie

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    All you need is a *hydraulic* cart from Harbor Freight. If you're a HF member, just sign up in the store, then you'll get a 20% off coupon every few weeks...or if you iz in wit 1 of da boys...they'll hook u up 20% off anyway, just bcs. "...I can give you any discount you want, yeah-yeah, ah-yeah!" But you have to be really cool like me for that to happen to you. But I suppose it is possible.

    Anyway, they have two models...with varying weight capacities. Either one will do, so just get the cheaper one.

    Then plop your ball machine on top, it's so easy to do. If you know how to put your foot to the metal, you can pump, pump, pump up your ball machine to a height that suits no problema.

    Now, it won't go...reallly high, so you can't simulate Brand Schultz McCarthy or Lindsay Davenport feeding you balls or anything...but surely much higher than stock.

    This said, I've never tried this. But in theory it should work no problem, as I've put mucho heavy tools and carts and crates and stuff on my hydraulic cart with no issues. I think I may have even tried standing on it the first time I got it, to simulate the classic Napoleon Bonaparte pose, the Hulk Hogan flex & ear thingy, and also the Leondardo DiCaprio pose while holding a rose. Ok, I didn't try any of those things...but looking back, maybe I should have...hoom...hmm...but yeah, the hydraulic action is real smooth.

    Now, the only thing is this. Now, why wouldn't you want to use the hydraulic cart? Bcs. even the less weighty one I have is a BEARRR...you'll look like a chic, if you try to lift it in an dout of the car and stutter, "Grrr...grr...this isn't heavy at all passing chic, no really, i can handle this nooo problem...grr...grr...umm, a little help here...from female figure skaters, anybody?"

    Yeah, that'd be embarrassing. If you have a van in which you stow show dogs and stuff, in other words plenty of room, since the handle is not of the fold-down variety, and also not retractable like the 2-way UPS cart-style variety...good look. It'll just get in the way...not worth it, plus, you'd have to be buff like that masculine buff dude from Still Standing, "Bill" I believe is his name. He sure is buff, but getting that buff takes work, dedication, caffeine pills to get up in the morning...all this said, the real issue is not having a full-size van, or not wanting to take up all the space in your space utility vehicle...never as roomy as you thought...shoulda bought a RV and filled it with plenty of bunnies and frogs, and hot dogs too...that way, it'd be like having a built-in alarm clock, plenty of protein for muscles, and lots of plyometics, cardio chasing, and dancin', lots and lots of dancin'...eat, sleep, drink, train 24/7like a champion. By the time you make it to the courts, trust me, even the pigeons will come to watch. You will be so good, so awesome, so fit, and so grumpy...you'll be sure to play good. John McEnroe...seniors tour, 60 and overs...I'm preparing for you, "Oooh, like I'm sooo scared..." don't let him taunt u, get to it: 1) Buy RV today. 2) Buy hydraulic cart, and don't use it to elevate Frappe's + Fries + Nachos up to easy hand-to-mouth level. And you're good to go! Don't thank me, thank my good advice. "Eye of the tiger! Babe, yeahhh...look at you walkin' by...," oh wait, sorry, my bad, I'm easily distracted...yeah, keep it up, raw, raw, raw...I'm not a very good coach, I prefer soaking in the sugar in my Frappe's...want to make sure they didn't try to cheat me, sugar is good, caffeine + sugar...oh, man, I wonder what Mary Poppins would have done back then...if only she had access to these sugary coffee ice creamy drinks that everyone uses to get up now...she'd be in outer space by now, and the world would never be the same. The possibilies are truly endless, with a positive imagination. Good thingy, they hadn't invented disco by then.
     
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  10. Jonahan

    Jonahan Rookie

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    And that's why you shouldn't shoot up with heroin and then immediately get on TT.
     
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  11. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Great idea! If you could tilt it one way or the other, you should be able to simulate slice/twist.
     
    #11
  12. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I think it would have to be tipped to the side a lot to give the ball much side spin, and anyway I'd be concerned that being on an angle might mess up the ball feed mechanism. Tipping it forward slightly at least keeps the gravity still feeding the balls towards the ball feed mechanism.
     
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  13. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: May 24, 2012
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  14. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
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  15. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    It unfolds and then you set the top on and turn a dial to lock it in place. Probably about 30 seconds to take apart and a little longer to put up.

    I'm not sure why you'd need to elevate it for groundstrokes, but I can't say, becasue I've never tried it for that purpose.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You can also build a similar maching to "return" the balls back, switching the mode to "random", so you make the serve machine do some thinking and running.
     
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  17. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Because most machines use gravity ball feed with the hopper mounted above the drive wheels the shots are lower than the typical stroke.

    You only use it for return of serve practice?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
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  18. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I use it mostly for groundstrokes. I'll have to try it on a single platform for groundies and see if it makes a difference. Have you ever tried that and if so does it change the way you see or hit the ball as a result?
     
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  19. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I just got mine and don't have many hours on it yet. Never elevated it.

    There have been recent threads discussing elevating the machines for ground strokes. Some use carts.
     
    #19
  20. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Some good innovative thinking on this thread. The serve return isn't practiced enough by most of us, and this is a good way to quickly improve.

    Of course, if I were rich, I'd just buy a sports attack ball machine.:)
    http://www.sportsattack.com/tennis-machine/
     
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  21. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Years ago I used to put a ball machine on a table - but place it neat the service line - to practice returns. It worked pretty good so far as getting into the groove goes. Not all that good for reaction time or getting into a groove related to the ball-toss/split step thing.
     
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  22. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Wow! Any height! With three propulsion wheels, any spin!

    The down side for 99% of us would be the cost

    140-1100 Ace Attack Tennis Machine $5,999

    Looks like a great machine for professional use.
     
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  23. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Good thinking. You can get a more realistic angle for matching a tall server just by moving the machine on a stand closer to the net. You also don't need to turn the pace up as much to still duplicate a fast serve.

    When I was coaching, I'd stand at the service box line and hit serves from there, which is the same idea. It really saves your shoulder and allows you to quickly feed practice balls.
     
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  24. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

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    I've used it here in Australia, you can hire it. It's pretty awesome.

    The amount of spin it can produce is almost unplayable on full trims...
     
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  25. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I tried putting the ball machine on just one worktable near the service line and it didn't work very well. It wasn't tall enough so it had to be put on too slow speed just to make it in the box and it wasn't very useful for returns.
     
    #25
  26. ellis124

    ellis124 New User

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    I took your idea of the the 2 husky workhorses for serve return practices and am going to give it a shot. I just stacked them in my garage (I have a tennis tutor) and it felt a little wobbly. Just wanted to hear about your experiences using this set up and any tips you may have. Do you angle the ball machine down?
     
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  27. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    Yes, you will probably have to prop up the back end of the machine with something, especially when using it for return of serve.

    It should probably be ok in terms of the wobbliness, but if you want extra security you can get 4 or 6 velcro straps with a buckle attachment from a hardware store and strap the workhorses together and strap the ball machine to the top workhorse.

    Don't forget to attach a chain from the machine to the ground or you'll be getting shocks when you turn it off.

    Let me know how it goes.
     
    #27
  28. MonkeyMuggs

    MonkeyMuggs Rookie

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    How "squirrely" is your machine while perched atop these platforms? Or how stable is the base or footprint on these benches? I read the product description for the bench on Home Depot and was impressed with the weight (500+ lbs I think) it could handle. However, with 2 benches velcroe'd or bungie'd together, my concern or fear is that a somewhat lanky ball machine that rolls on 2 wheels (Lobster V LE) perched 4ft(?) on top of a bench/platform might be a little "top heavy"!?

    Don't know about ya'll, but while certainly not aiming for it, I still "hit" my machine with deep balls fairly often while working on groundstroke baseline returns. Having spent over 2k for B.M.........the image that immediately pops in my head, due to a documentary I just watched, is of those medieval warriors & Crusaders climbing those ladders while wearing suits of armor+mail trying to scale those castle walls. At the very top and almost over the ledge some dude pops up and simply pushes the ladder forward off the wall. Oooohhhh......

    One can now be grateful with troubles and plight so vastly different here/now on T.W. forum.
     
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  29. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I'm not too familiar with the Lobster, how top heavy it is, or how much it kicks when it spits out a ball. I have a PlayMate and it has a pretty good kick. It probably has a lower profile than the Lobster and is built from airplane metal so it's fairly solid. The PlayMate nor the stand move much. I'm pretty confident with it. I do velcro the ball machine to the stand and velcro the two stands together, but even without that the stands are more than sturdy enough for the job. The velcro is more for extra assurance. If you're going to prop up the back wheels to point the machine down for serves, it can get a little less stable and scoot to one side some. A dedicated prop of some kind with a tie down would probably remedy that (as opposed to wedging a couple racquets under the wheels), but I haven't messed with that yet.

    I also bring along a small step ladder to schlep it up onto the stands. I'm 5'8" and can get it up on the stand without the step ladder, but it sure makes it less of a grunt, not to mention reloading the balls.
     
    #29

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