Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by Redvd8, Dec 25, 2009.
just out of curiosity who here on these forums have a ball machine or has owned a ball machine?
SP Star AC,My Dragon is awesome,grabbed it on sale.Don't have to much time on it, but so far working sweet.Rifles balls at top speeds with top or under spin.Moves you around the court more than Hewitt.Well worth the cash.[/IMG]
I do. SP Star. older model than the one above. mine just looks like a grey box lol.
I bought a year ago. SP star light. now I have a hitting partner so I don't use often but since my partner might leave the town so I might need to use more frequently in near future.
I have a Tennis Tutor 2. Bought it used off of fleabay. Nothing fancy other than oscillation (no top/slice spin control) but has long battery life and always seems to get attention at the courts (with the questions always being "Where did you get that?" and "How much does that cost?") :shock:
I presume everyone that has a ball machine has a tennis court?
I would get one if I had a court in my garden, but I cant imagine going down to the public courts with one, and most clubs have their own.
Not necessarily, I have a Tennis Tutor 4 that I carry to the public court once in a while and its great.
There are public courts where there are dividers in between the courts. Not all the way through, but usually a little past the baseline. So it helps keep the balls on your court more often than not.
I have a Lobster and love it! It's battery operated and I usually take it to the courts by the High School.
Aah fair enough! I'd be too self conscious to take a machine to the public courts, people waiting to play staring at me playing with myself.
...not like that.
At our courts we have a Match Mate Coach
Was "broken" for about 5 years till on a rainly day we plugged it in and blasted balls inside against the wall, my coach was amazed. We use it usually just when the coaches want some extra training after work but it's fair good. It has the ability to have 6 shot positions but doesn't work half the time.
I have a machine (Playmate volley) - play indoors during the winter on base (retired Air Force) and on the courts 1/4 mile from my house.
I have a ball machine as well that I bring to the courts. Its a lobster elite. works magically.
We also have a Tennis Tutor. Nice little unit, oscillates and fires from baseline to baseline. Supposed to be 'portable' and has no wheels, a little hard to handle when you have a bag, basket of balls, cooler, etc. Always draws a few "where did you get it"s.
I found a little folding hand truck online called a Blue Max. Folds up small enough to fit in a car in 2 motions, yet carries all the items nicely.
Yes i have a LOBSTER which i like. I dont spend a lot of time with it but glad i have it.
People do stare, and it takes a little getting used to. I'll usually wave or give them a quick glance, and they relaize that I know they're staring and for the most part they'll move on. Also, I get to the courts early in the summer, and I'm normally the only one there.
You can set the ball machine to "ego mode" which for me is 60mph at about waist high. That lulls me into a sense of superiority, and I can easily look about 2 levels about my actual ability. I don't mind people staring when I've got it set in ego-mode. The tough part is when I set the machine to kryptonite-mode... backhard/shoulder high, or super-low skidding back spin shots, or set to oscillating, run your can off mode. I can look like a fool then, but it has made me into a much, much better player - so I keep at it.
I have one...Never had any issues with using it on public courts.
If the courts are first come first serve and doesn't have any rule posted about 2 players have priority over 1 player, you shouldn't have to feel awkward if people decide to wait. Usually most people will just move on somewhere else, or if they decide to wait, that's only if they ask how much longer you'll be and you tell them not much longer. Not too many people will bother with "staring" you down to make you uncomfortable so you'll have to leave.
i have the tennis tutor, and sort of regret buying one, because i'd rather play w/ a real person, but the only hard part is carrying it around!
Have a lobster elite v grand slam. it is great
Lobster Elite GS4
I have a Lobster Elite GS4 and really like it a lot. I have takin it to public courts many times. People do stare out of curiousity and I don't have any issues with that. What is really cool is that me and my wife can both use it at the same time and we play at totally different levels. Either use two line feature to hit at same time or one will shag balls while the other hits. Works out very well .
The courts I go to (indoors and outdoors) have dividers between courts so I don't worry about having balls all over the place interfering with other players.
that's pretty cool, seems like people here do own ball machines, now do they actually help you or do you use them just for fun?
I've owned a tennis tutor and used the Playmate at my club. Tennis tutor is really good for kids and beginners and is portable. The playmate is high end and can add topspin, feed lobs and underspin.
If you have a family of tennis players, a ball machine is a great investment.
My favorite shot to practice with the bm is the overhead. Most practice partners aren't content with feeding overheads for 30 mins.
Without a doubt it has helped me, but I have to be careful not to fall into the trap that just because I'm good at returning balls from the machine doesn't make me good at tennis. It's just a tool - like returning balls fed from a pro. I still need to work on my footwork and anticipation.
Got a Silent Partner Edge Lite recently and I really do enjoy playing with the ball machine. I have a ususal hitting partner I play with at least once a week and I practice with an adult USTA team once a week, but I was looking for something I could take out for a quick hit whenever I had a free hour or so.
It is a good inexpensive option. It is small and light enough for my wife to load and transport easily if she wants to use it and has good options (side-to-side sweep, backspin, topspin) for the price. Only downside so far is that it will fire the balls too deep if you move the speed up too much. I am working on finding a way around that problem right now.
However, for those medium pace practice balls you can just tee off on, it is great.
I use it on public courts and don't have a problem.
The Ball Machine is user-friendly for the beginner?!
sounds like you are new to tennis and like this sports ^__^
it should be very easy but the weight of machine might be a little heavy for some women (I assume you are).
I saw the other thread you are looking for rackets too (check out some of yonex racket too).
Well I haven't used a lot of different ball machines other than the Silent Partner Edge Lite and a Playmate volley, but Edge Light is fairly easy to use.
There is a power button, a dial for spin (back spin or top spin), and dial for ball speed, and a dial for the rate the balls are feed. One switch for the sweep function. About as easy as it could be to use. As far as the weight goes, I think it is about 34 lbs. My wife, who is rather petite, can load and unload it from the car without too much trouble. It has 6 inch wheels to roll and a retractable handle like a piece of luggage. Overall seems ok for what we use it for, which is just personal use.
Thanks for the response. I couldn't find any picture of the Edge Light ball machine online. Would you mind posting the link? Thanks. -Tina
Thank you for the information. Thanks. -Tina
Just do a google search for silent partner and ball machine. There are pics on their website. TW frowns on posting links to their competitor's web sites, which I understand as it is their forum.
Thanks for the message. -Tina
The machine helps me improve consistency on all type of shots and can really help with fitness if you use the right settings. I also like it because I can playtest different rackets and strings, side by side. I can get three or four demos and very quickly tell what I like and dislike and how they compare. Great tool overall.
I have Playmate, and it has served me well on those days when I cannot find anyone to play with. It was also what got my kids started in tennis. All my former manual attempts to teach them had failed, but the machine worked really well.
I have the Silent Partner Lite, and even though it's fallen apart cosmetically, operationally it's always been great.
If you get a BP, consider taking a few lessons before you start using it, so you don't build repetitions of improper strokes.
I have an old tennis tutor that I rehabbed just about everything on..now the oscillaton doesn't work. I regret not saving money up and buying a silent partner because my machine has no spin and it's been a bit of a money pit.
I think it's a great investment. I do think you should take a few lessons to get some basis for what to practice instead of practicing with a terrible stroke, but in terms of bang for the buck, you buy a ball machine for what it costs to take about 6 lessons where I live. Now you have a hitting partner for any day, any time, that doesn't tire and doesn't miss.
As for courts, I have them at my condo complex, but I'm less than 5 minutes from 3 different sets of public courts, and I've never had a problem with anyone hitting there. If someone is on an adjacent court, I'll often just work on cross-court shots, then move the machine to the other side and hit cross court the other way.
Thank you and Happy New Year!
Thank you for your advice, everyone. Yes, I am thinking of taking tennis lessons before buying a ball machine. I am really interested in playing tennis. Thank you again and Happy New Year 2010!
I NEED a ball machine. Is anyone interested in selling me one? Please note, I do live in Europe at the moment and you will have to ship it to me via USPS -which I have no problems with paying the shipping costs.
I have the Silent Partner Lite model. I purchased it this summer and it was an excellent purchase. It's a must-have for a serious player. It doesn't matter if no one can play at the exact time I want to because my ball machine is ready anytime (assuming I remembered to charge it!).
It has really improved my forehand this year. I changed to the "modern" forehand and it was the reason why I was able to make the change so fast.
My only regret...I didn't buy it sooner.
I bought a Silent Partner Star about 6 weeks ago and have used it for about 16 hours since then. It is an effective way to practice tennis skills and also get a fun workout in. I'm lucky enough to be able to walk to unlit neighborhood tennis courts so my only limitation on using mine is really getting home from work while it is still daylight.
If you are considering buying the Silent Partner Lite or the Star, which is the same as the Lite plus a remote, an extra battery, and an additional $200, I would highly recommend the Star. That remote comes in very handy every time I use the machine and in only the few weeks I've played with the Star I've already managed to run its battery all the way down by using it over 4 hours at a time. What can I say, I was having a blast and didn't want to quit hitting. Since the battery life of the Lite should theoretically be about 1/2 that of the Star, I'm really glad I went for the machine with two batteries.
I've also got a ball machine and HIGHLY RECOMMEND them! I just recently purchased one of Lobster's high end programmable machines and love it. And man am I glad it came with a remote! For me personally, I feel the remote is a necessity. I know in reality it's not, but I'm not sure I would use the machine nearly as much without one.
Another thing I'm gratefull for is plenty of battery life. I used my machine 4x before having to re-charge it. Even though the Lobster V is extremely portable, I still have to bring my machine inside to charge it; which means going up a few steps. So it's nice having that "reserve" power so that I don't have to re-charge it each time I use it.
While using a ball machine...........It's simply amazing the fine-tune details and minute adjustments one can experiment with, adjust, change and implement regarding your strokes. With a ball machine, you get INSTANT & REPEATED FEEDBACK on how/what works! Their seem to be an infinite # of adjustments and changes you can add, remove, increase, employ, prepare and apply that can/will instantly effect the "way you hit the ball". This will therefore immediately and directly effect your shots, play and overall game.
It's amazing how much I've learned in such a short period of time.
lobster elite V here,great machine,i'm very happy
Wow. I finally meet someone else with a portable programmable.
mdqm.....do you have the Lobster V or the V LE (limited edition)? How long have you owned it? Or rather, how many hours have you played/practiced against it?
Anyone with a machine to sell? I am in Atlanta.
the elite V.i have this since july 09 and for the first couple month used maybe 15 hours a week,but stop the practice in november and now i'm back again.
i really like spending my time with this toy
I've seen used ball machines at craiglist.
Hey MonkeyMuggs, why the V LE?
I have been bouncing around the ball machine threads and saw your extensive discourse with tpotter and others regarding which ball machine to purchase. I also saw that you ultimately settled on a Lobster V LE, the same machine I have decided is the best selection out there. But before I spend $3,000 on a ball machine I want a little reassurance.
From what I've read, it appears my situation is very similar to yours. I need a ball machine b/c of lack of consistent hitting partners and want one that will most closely simulate match play and encourage fitness. Because of this I am really only considering a Lob IV, V or V LE because of the V & H oscillation and the preprogrammed drills feature. (If anyone knows of others with similar capabilities that I should be considering feel free to chime in.)
As you know there is a somewhat substantial price difference between the models. The IV is $2200 with remote and the V LE is $2800 with remote. What made you decide on the LE? Have you made use of the user programmable drills and what's your take?
Also, I thought I saw tpotter write somewhere that the V has three additional preprogrammed drills from the IV, but I didn't see that indicated on the website description. Is it true that the V has 6 PP Drills v. the 3 PP Drills on the IV? what do you think of the three that come on the IV (Grinder, Power Baseliner, All-Courter)?
You had also asked tpotter if it was possible to get the the V LE to land a ball between the net and the service line and I never saw a response to that question. Have you had any success with that?
Thanks for your input.
From having just gone through the rather difficult and painstaking research, comparisons and ultimate decision over which ball machine to purchase (more like INVEST)............I know what your going through and feel like I know you! Thank God for this forum and the many members who were all to willing to share and help me in my search. However, there were very few if any who had first hand knowledge or experience with these new "pre"-programmed, programmable and "fully" oscillating portables. I can see that you've already learned that not all random oscillating machines are the same. In fact at this time/date, there are none that perform, do or can match what the Lobster Grand Slam IV, V & V L.E. can do. And that may be adequate and enough for many. It was not for me. I'll try to explain my unique needs and wants below, and show how these "high end" Lobster portables proved to meet and exceed those needs.
If I would have been content, or my particular needs/wants in a ball machine could have been met by a company or machine that offered far fewer options, features and versatility - and therefore would have cost much less - my research and decision would have been much simpler and easier. Spending (investing) between $1,800 and $2,800 for a ball machine was and is a serious/important purchase and decision for me. One, however, that my "Love for Tennis" and subsequent proficiency and improvement in my overall tennis game/play/strokes etc.; along with the incredible benefits to my physical/mental health and well being.......... is and was definitely WELL WORTH the investment!! My Lobster V L.E. has easily been the most important and significant "things" I have ever "done" for my tennis game and playing ability. Along with my Jura Capresso super automatic espresso machine, my V L.E. is also proving to be one of the best products and/or purchases (investments) I have ever made.
In answering your specific and general comments and questions - I too was interested in more than just "grooving specific strokes". I both needed and wanted to MOVE and RUN around the court. When I'm able to quickly move, adequately prepare and intricately adjust my "footwork".........I'm able to hit the ball well. So I needed to be "surprised" by balls that would land in a constantly changing and varied manner around the entire court. One of the things I was worried about, and one of the main reasons I purchased this particular machine, is that I did NOT want to get "used to" or be able to "learn" or "figure out" the shots or "patterns of shots" the machine would deliver. This would have negated one of the main needs, reasons, goals and purposes for the machine. I'm not sure I can explain the how or why of it here in writing - but it is difficult to "tell" where and when the ball is going to go! The machine is VERY CHALLENGING and is FAR BETTER/GREATER than I anticipated or imagined. And I was very well researched and had intricate and specific knowledge (thanks to tpotter and his staff at Lobster) of these very machines before buying. The Lobster Grand Slam Elite IV comes with "3" unique pre-programmed 6 shot drills that were carefully thought out and developed by one of the "teaching professional organizations/associations" (can't remember which one) to replicate actual circumstances, situations and styles of play commonly found and encountered on the court during match play. The V and V L.E. come with 3 more, or additional, pre-programmed 6 shot drills for a total of "6" pre-programmed drills. The V L.E. also allows one to practice in a random "vertical" manner while in "2-Line" mode. While in 2-Line mode, both the V & V L.E. allow for wide/medium/narrow (horizontal), as well as short/middle/deep (vertical) 2-Line. No other portables offer this type or level of features/options and variety in a 2-Line function or mode. Before I purchased, I did'nt think I would need or utilize this vast "feature-set" of 2-Line options. I was wrong! I not only use them, I found out that I actually needed them as well.
I just got a call and will have to leave momentarily. When I return home, I'll try to finish answering your questions, comments and concerns. These machines are feature laden and take time to understand and explain everything they can do. I realize this post is long. But I remember how starved I was for any/all information I could find or "glean" from other's posts. I'll be back latter today with more info. Feel free to ask or post other questions in the mean time.
O.K. TampaTennis........why the Lobster V L.E.?
While the V does offer 3 additional pre-programmed drills over the IV, I was'nt that impressed with only "6 locations along the baseline" with which to chose or to "program" the V to. The V L.E. allows you those same 6 plus 12 other locations to program shots to.
Don't get me wrong. Do I think the V is worth $300 dollars more than the IV? Yes! You not only get 3 additional drills over the IV, you also get the ability to program your own 6 shot custom drills to 6 baseline locations. Another thing you get with the V (& V L.E.) that you may not get with the IV is the ability to choose between 3 vertical (depth) locations while in "2-Line" mode: Look at the picture of the V's control panel on Lobster's website. Look along the left side of the tennis court on the control panel and you will notice: A B C
A (deep) B (midcourt) C (short)
So what it really came down to for me was whether the V L.E. was worth $600 more than the IV. And I'd have to say, especially now that I've got it, HELL YES. You get the 3 extra drills over the IV. That's 18 more pre-programmed (3x6) shots around the court. And of course you get the ability to program 6 more of your own drills (custom made), with 6 balls in each program, to 18 shot locations. No other portable on the market allows that. Along with that programmability, you control (program) the individual ball parameters (interval, speed, spin, location) on each of the 6 shots within the 6 custom programs. Another thing unique to the V L.E. is that it allows "random vertical" within the 2-Line mode. The IV and the V do not offer that. That's alot of features, power and versatility for $600.
The way I looked at it (justified) spending the $$ on the V L.E. was this:
I knew I wanted a great ball machine with a bunch of features, functions and remote. Full oscillation and a FULLY FUNCTIONING REMOTE, at a minimum, were requirements for me from the very beginning. That puts you at about $1800 - irregardless which brand, make or model your talking about.
FOR ME.......the $1800 is the principle and "bulk" amount (initial investment). I did'nt want to risk "loosing" the initial $1800 due to boredom or "growing out of the machine" for lack or want of a feature, function or variety. I will never tire or grow "out" of this V L.E. Since I love to play tennis and need/must/have to exercise; and since you can play tennis for life, I figure I've got at least another 25+ years left. $1000 additional dollars for the V L.E., divided by 25 years, equals $40 dollars a year. Just ONE SESSION on the court with the additional functions/features the V LE offers is practically worth the $40 to me.
Thank You Muggs
Great insights. I'm convinced. I agree with your analysis re: the additional cost. I subscribe to the theory that the bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of low cost has faded. I know quality is not necessarily the issue here, but the principle remains the same. It would be foolish to invest that much and risk purchasing a machine that I may grow out of, when for a few hundred more I can be assured that I won't. My only remaining questions are have you had any success programming balls to land between the net and the service line and did you buy your particular unit directly from Lobster? Do they negotiate the price at all?
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