tips for getting the most out of your Silent Partner
Can one share tips on getting the most of the Silent Partner Lite Ball machine. I've been using mine for a few weeks now and LOVE it!! I haven't experimented much with too many different types of shots, so any tips would be welcomed.
Thx in advance!!
I mainly use it for oft neglected specialty shots.
short balls - put away
drop shots -hit back deep or angle away
high loopers- swinging volleys or volley put aways
hard fast balls straight to the body on volleys (simulating someone going right at you)
Basically whatever you flub in a match, I set the ball machine to simulate those shots.
1. Buy yourself a tray service cart to get your machine higher in the air, so you can crank up the speed, and not have to park the ball machine off the baseline to practice returns and hard hit volleys and groundstrokes.
I got mine at Sears http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...0070921x00003a
but you can find them both online and in stores.
2. Work on any shot that is now a weakness until it is a strength:
1.) Returning serve. Half of all points start with you returning a serve. Everyone practices their serve, but too few practice thier return.
2.) Volleys. Everyone hits tons of groundstrokes. But most hit a few volleys before a match or during a hitting session and that is it. Don't stand there waiting the ball to arrive. Practice poaches by aiming the ball as if it was a cross court return and go get it from your usual doubles position. Practice the first volley on a "serve and volley" (don't actually serve) by running in from the baseline and take it near the service line again and again. Practice getting to difficult to reach volleys hit away from you to learn how to get your body into position to volleying on the dead run.
3.) Practice hitting backhands (or forehands) to the corners on the dead run from a neutral position, then recovering again to hit the next one ... and the next one ... and the next one ...
3. Keep turning up the speed, spin and feed rate gradually during each session to condition your neuromuscular reflexes to get to difficult balls. (It's amazining how you can do this in an incremental way to own a shot, rather than relying on chance balls during a match or practice hit.)
Remember Agassi's crazed dad made young Andre hit a million balls a year (about 3,000/day) from his ball machine to get real good.
How crazy are you? How good do you want to be?
Great tips. I'll use them as I attempt to hit my quota of 400 tennis balls per day. Works to be about 100 balls per suggestion above. :)
As I use my new machine, I think the best tip is "Don't be Lazy! Move those feet". I have trouble with that one. ;)
return of serve
I really want to work on my return of serve, which is now the weakest part of my improving game. I plan to order a Silent Partner this week. How would one go about setting it up to simulate serves? I know about putting it on a cart, but how is it actually done? I'm very mechanically challenged.
Thanks in advance.
2.5 improving to 3.0 but won't get past 3.0 if I can't return serves. :)
I have used two large plastic containers (light and cheap) and put the machine on top and prop up the back a little to aim down into court.
two warnings though-
don't do it on a windy day b/c it can blow the setup over- you will see it is not as stable as if you used a cart
static electricity can build up since ontop of plastic, get some kind of metal chain to touch the ground. I blew out my circuit board after a few sessions of this. I was noticing a shock everytime I turned off the machine with this setup prior.
Silent partner owners- you know that little metal chain at the bottom of the machine? It actually has a use-to ground the machine to prevent static build up.
This may be kind of obvious, but unless using the random oscillator I make it a point to set up my SP in various positions, rather than just feeding from a straight-ahead position. This creates more realistic ball dynamics.
Playmate had some good demo videos on their site regarding ball machine drills that you can check out. I also popped for their DVD. While my SP does not have the multi-line and programmable features of some Playmates, the drills translate well for use with any make of ball machine.
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