What Practice Tools Do You Own?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Cindysphinx, Mar 27, 2011.

?

What Training Aids Do You Own?

  1. Hopper

    35 vote(s)
    76.1%
  2. Targets/Cones

    19 vote(s)
    41.3%
  3. Foam Balls

    11 vote(s)
    23.9%
  4. Wrist Assist

    1 vote(s)
    2.2%
  5. Video Camera

    26 vote(s)
    56.5%
  6. Ball Machine

    16 vote(s)
    34.8%
  7. Other

    10 vote(s)
    21.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    A friend called, and we started chatting about our lessons. She said she was working on something with her FH, and wanted to know if I could practice. I wasn't available, but I suggested that she take her hopper to the court and do some drop feeding to practice her FH.

    She said she didn't own a hopper but had a bag of old balls.

    I was surprised. I thought everyone owned a hopper. I mean, how can you do any meaningful serve practice without a hopper?

    So. What training aids/practice tools do you personally own?
     
    #1
  2. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    I don't own a hopper. I just have a backback loaded with tennis balls...
     
    #2
  3. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I am lucky enough to belong to a club that has a great ball machine, a bunch of hoppers and a bunch of training/teaching aids. I also have a bag 'o balls that I use to practice serves in the evenings when the pro shop is closed. Out of these things, I use the following in order of frequency: ball machine, hoppers, bag 'o balls, aiming cones.
     
    #3
  4. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    My training tools are kinda old. They run slow and their shots are kinda weak, but always give me variety. Great learning tools, nonethelss!
     
    #4
  5. FedExpress 333

    FedExpress 333 Professional

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    My club has good ball machines, hoppers, and cones!
     
    #5
  6. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    old dog spray angle controller.
     
    #6
  7. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    I have a ball machine, a bucket, a video camera, and unfortunately, my strokes.
     
    #7
  8. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I used hopper only for practicing serve. I need to learn drop feeding to practice FH.
     
    #8
  9. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Didn't see a poll option for "none of the above" or for "wall." My neighborhood court has a fairly bad practice wall, and that's about it for me.
     
    #9
  10. CptnRiceKrispy

    CptnRiceKrispy New User

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    Most players should have a ball hopper! where else would you store all your old balls?

    Most players should have a video camera! how else would you record some good old family memories?
     
    #10
  11. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I have a ball hopper with Tretorn X balls for serving. I have a Casio camera that shoots great slow motion video. But most importantly, (not really) I have a radar gun so that I can determine how hard I hit.

    The radar gun is a good attention getter. Most people want to see how hard they can hit, so you'll get a lot of interest.
     
    #11
  12. Rorsach

    Rorsach Hall of Fame

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    My practice tool:

    [​IMG]

    And it's at work :)
     
    #12
  13. aceX

    aceX Hall of Fame

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    Ohhh indoor, fancy.
     
    #13
  14. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    when i practice serve i hit about 15 balls which i bring in my bag
    walk to the other side collect them(push them to the middle by the fence)
    put 4-5 in my pockets go back to the fence to pick up more etc
    i dont have a hopper and dont think hitting 30-40 serves without a pause is good for your shoulder
    the video camara is my best training tool i own
     
    #14
  15. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    I've got a hopper but I got it more to teach my wife. I used to just have a rubbish bag full of balls, works fine. Was easier to feed with a hopper though.

    I wish I even had access to a wall :(... a ball machine would be like manna from heaven
     
    #15
  16. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Come on Larry, your sounding like your 90. If your experiencing shoulder problems, you might be correct but if everything is normal (that might be a stretch because we're all tennis players) you should be able to hit a lot of serves - like a basket or two without any after effects.

    Can't just go out and whack 150 balls if your not used to it so you have to build up to that level. Anything more starts to become counter-productive because the mind has a tendency to drift and your just aimlessly going through the motions. I'm not totally against that in some cases but I like to see "some" thought going into the process.
     
    #16
  17. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    There's a shortage of walls in London?
     
    #17
  18. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    teaching wife tennis is like teaching her driving.... highly unrecommended.
     
    #18
  19. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    So, dare I say that you married an old dog, Dozu?
     
    #19
  20. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    nah, wifey is cool.

    speaking of old dog.... I am basically giving up at this point... the 'old dog new trick' thing is TRUE.

    for the coming seasons will focus on recruiting new blood.
     
    #20
  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think the hopper is useful because you can keep track of how many balls you're hitting. With a bag on the ground, it's easier to lose track. Not to mention all of the bending etc. Blech!!

    I try to keep it to just one hopper if I'm working on serves. Then I know I have to make every one count.
     
    #21
  22. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Hopper and cones...

    ...additionally, I also use:

    - A Frisbee. Teaches stroke path on the forehand (throw it like a discus) or backhand (throw it backhand like most people throw a Frisbee).
    A paper plate will work just fine, too.

    - Also, when it's called for, a 1 to 1 1/2 foot vertical extension on the net...forces players to stop skimming the net with their groundstrokes.

    There's more, I just can't remember it right now..
     
    #22
  23. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I use a hopper about half the time, but even then, I do a lot of my practicing right after school, so bringing a hopper to school isn't really that easy. I just use a bag full of about 30 balls and go to town.

    By the way, I never, EVER bend down to pick up balls. I learned this trick a while ago and its the only way I will pick them up. Lots of bending hurts my back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh5WPSydq_I&feature=related

    There's a few other ways I use to pick up balls as well, but this one is one of the faster ones. :)

    -Fuji
     
    #23
  24. Mike Hodge

    Mike Hodge Rookie

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    practice tools

    Etch Swing
    Football (pronating/serve).
    Total Serve Trainer
    Agility ladder
    Dog sled (Pat Dougherty/plyometrics)

    The agility ladder is the best piece of equipment I've used. The football's good as well.
     
    #24
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Never owned or used a ball hopper MYSELF. I taught with it for feeding to beginners.
    Practice serves? I play a set or tiebreakers EVERY practice session, unless it's an invite from some good player.
    I carry about 10 decent balls in my tennis bag, that's enough, and just bunt them back to the baseline for pickup stretches between serves.
     
    #25
  26. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    now we are talking about ball hoppers.

    we have reached the end of the universe, there is nothing more to discuss.
     
    #26
  27. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Professional

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    There needs to be an option for all of the above. I have too many toys.

    I have:
    a ballhopper x 2
    a wall at every elementary school I visit
    a stringing machine
    cones tall and flat
    a ball machine
    friends who like to drill
    a video camera
    intructional videos
    a TT account
    a youtube account
    5 gallon buckets and other tubs
    100+ pressureless balls
    foam balls for the kids
    wood and other vintage racquets (fun to hit with)
    clip on mp3 player (anybody else listen while hitting against wall or machine?)

    What is a wrist assist? What else do I need? I probably have it and just forgot to list it. If not, I'll get it if it looks useful.
     
    #27
  28. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    How are the pressureless balls for hitting? I've been wanting to try some for a while, but haven't had the chance!

    And what do you mean, visiting elementary schools? That's kind of an odd thing to be visiting! :p

    -Fuji
     
    #28
  29. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    With any space around them for you to hit tennis balls yes definitely. I don't even know of a tennis club that has one and I've never seen a club with ball machines.

    So I've discovered! Still we seem to muddle through. I think teaching my daughter will be worse!

    Orig
     
    #29
  30. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Professional

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    :)

    Luckily, I have kids of elementary age but I learned to play tennis using walls. Every elementary school has a playground that is paved and they all have nice high walls that are brick or stucco that make for great hitting partners.


    Pressureless balls never lose their bounce. They will lose their felt. They feel heavy and very hard and IMO are only good for ball machines and dogs. They don't bounce as good as new balls but do bounce better than dead balls. Buy a cheap pack in the netting at Walmart for $5 and see if they are for you. They are good for hitting against a wall. I don't recommend them for service practice unless you have strong shoulders due to their weight. They are inexpensive too.
     
    #30
  31. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I resent the use of the word "hopper." What the heck _is_ a "hopper"? Was this a word that was invented for tennis? If not, then why did it never come up in normal conversation before that?
     
    #31
  32. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    Hoppers have been used for animal feed and transporting coal for a long time. I believe strictly speaking a "hopper" has a hole in the bottom but I'm not sure. We had them on the farm when I was younger

    EDIT: In fact there is a WIKI (isn't there for everything!):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopper
     
    #32
  33. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    it is.... it's like going out on a date.

    have to give her time to sort out the tennis dress and the hair and the earing

    have to think about drills she enjoy on the court

    afterwards have to go to Friendly's for ice cream just to make her day complete.

    Being dad of a girl is being the ultimate sukker.
     
    #33
  34. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like someone is from New England - are there Friendly's in any other parts? They tried one in Sarasota but it didn't catch on.
     
    #34
  35. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    close enough.. quite a few locations around Philly and burbs.
     
    #35
  36. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    There are tools for developing players and developing optimal or proper strokes, (or to correct flawed strokes!) and there are tools for players to practice, drill and gain familiarity or comfort or confidence.

    The latter drills would include hitting walls, ball machines, targets, baskets of balls, radar gun, Z-balls, etc.

    The former would include a lot of the Joe Dinofer developed gagets such as the serve aids, the volley aids, and groundstroke aids. The Wrist-assist, Memory board, and things like the 8-board or swivil disks all can help in developing strokes or stroke elements.

    For training new students, I like the PracticeHit Device, (a foam ball on the end of a fiberglass staff that ossilates when hit like a metronome, connected to a weighted base.)

    And the reason I like it (and other devices like it), is because it takes away the directional concern of a shot and allows the player to focus on the technique, not the outcome.

    When players are focused on where the ball is going, they will almost always adjust their technique to what they THINK will get the ball to the target. Yet, as most people know, learning proper technique usually does not equate into knowing where the ball may end up going until the technique--and subsequent aim--become mastered to some degree.

    I've seen hundreds of players mistake activity for improvement. In fact, I've seen more people develop life-long detrimental patterns that contribute to their failure to advance from practicing technique that they THOUGHT was right (or were told was right by others!) only to find out later that they not only had been doing something wrong...they had been doing it wrong for a very long time!

    Just a few thoughts on this topic!
     
    #36
  37. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Great! Thanks for the tips. I'll go buy some next time I am out to try them! :)

    Must be nice living near an elementary then! I did a few years ago, but now there isn't one for at least a 15 minute drive! My high school has some decent walls, but it's hard trying to find them when there is no one in the rooms to annoy!

    -Fuji
     
    #37
  38. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    I dont have any of those tools....

    On my own, the only thing i practice is serves, taking a carrier bag with about 20-30 balls does the trick. But since I moved and the court is no longer 50 yards from my house, i dont practice serve that much, but in every hit i am trying things out, like altering the toss a bit, the stroke a bit to improve it and see what works in taking it to the next level.

    I dont practice well on my own, i prefer to hit or take lessons and then the odd match to try to put it into practice.
     
    #38
  39. tennisFanful

    tennisFanful New User

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    Ball machines, PracticeHit, Tennis Stormer can help.
     
    #39

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