Ball machine - Go high end? Or are the features not worth it?

Chotobaka

Hall of Fame
I hear you. Yesterday I set up some drills for my son and set the machine up to put a sitter at the service line on the FH side. I had him take the first one deep to the CC corner, second ball CC short angle, then step in and take the third as a volley, after which I hit pause on the remote and feed him an overhead. Repeat on the BH side.

It worked really well. Sure, I would have liked to be able to program a deep, short, and volley feed separately, but couldn't afford a machine 2x or 3X as much.

The other fun thing we did (after grooving repetitive volleys) was set it up to feed dipper passing shots on oscillation. Even though you kind of see where the ball is going, the short reaction time and footwork needed to get a good volley is pretty realistic and challenging. The key here is to up the feed rate so your always on your toes.

We're on our third session and loving it. Trying to get creative with drilling.
This is what it is all about. Getting creative is the key to maximizing ball machines. Volleying those feeds from under the tape over and over again at a rapid feed rate is one of my favorite practices. Sounds like you and your son have this thing figured out.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
This is what it is all about. Getting creative is the key to maximizing ball machines. Volleying those feeds from under the tape over and over again at a rapid feed rate is one of my favorite practices. Sounds like you and your son have this thing figured out.
Yeah, I feel like there is a lot we can do with it. It's going to be a fun and productive summer. Any more ideas would be welcome!
 

Avles

Hall of Fame
This is what it is all about. Getting creative is the key to maximizing ball machines. Volleying those feeds from under the tape over and over again at a rapid feed rate is one of my favorite practices. Sounds like you and your son have this thing figured out.
Last time I booked an hour on the ball machine I cranked the speed up to 95 mph and tried to fight off random topspin shots to the FH, BH and body with volleys from about halfway between service line and net.

Probably not the best thing for technique, but I feel like the reaction and coordination training was valuable, and getting a feel for using backspin to absorb and redirect incoming pace could be helpful for returning big serves.

Plus it was so much fun...
 
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Avles

Hall of Fame
Sounds like Happy Gilmore in the batting cage :)
Haha, I imagine that's what I looked like too... I'm probably lucky I didn't clip a ball with my frame and redirect it into my face.

Not recommending this as a genuine training technique, but it does go with the theme of "ball machines can do things your hitting partners can't."
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
^^^^^^ @Avles, well said. Plenty of options with the basic machine to test any skill level.

@tennissaavy, not sure if you're trying but calling people 'judgmental' who don't agree w you and 'not in that league' is pretty laughable, bordering on sad. Some of us don't think the oscillation programs emulate real match play - the machine doesn't move for one - LOL! Please post some video of your game and drills with the oscillation if you really want to convince us.
 
^^^^^^ @Avles, well said. Plenty of options with the basic machine to test any skill level.

@tennissaavy, not sure if you're trying but calling people 'judgmental' who don't agree w you and 'not in that league' is pretty laughable, bordering on sad. Some of us don't think the oscillation programs emulate real match play - the machine doesn't move for one - LOL! Please post some video of your game and drills with the oscillation if you really want to convince us.
Ah there you go of accusing me of giving a different opinion.

I am not judging anyone and not interested in doing so. If I want to get into the game of doing it, I will also call people who select or buy a basic machine as judgmental to feature rich machines or people who can afford expensive one.

Again, if that is what you think, then it is up to you, I am not going to convenience anyone.

I don't have any ball machine but played with SP, playmate and lobster at club or friend who own it. If I want to buy it I will go with internal and random oscillation.

Both basic and programmable has it place (repeating that in all my post but people love to read in between). I am not going to buy very basic machine because it is not going to solve anything for me. I have seen few friend go that route and sell the machine later on because ended up not using much. I was outlining my experience. Someone benefit and like it and some don't.
 

nn

Hall of Fame
@tennissaavy, I know you posted on other thread on spinfire pro2 and internal oscillation. If you get more info on spinfire pro2 please post it on either thread...

anyone...I am very much interested in knowing spinfire pro2 reliability and how it works..random oscillation, any ball jamm problem with green dots or regular balls etc...
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
and 'not in that league' is pretty laughable, bordering on sad. Some of us don't think the oscillation programs emulate real match play - the machine doesn't move for one - LOL!
I held my fingers and let the comment go. It's silly; both machines have their place regardless of one's skill level. Certainly if money is not an issue go with the most versatile machine. I want to work on a specific stroke; others want to use it and run around. I'd pay more for one that puts every ball exactly in the same place each and every time. :)
 

nn

Hall of Fame
^^^^^^ @Avles, well said. Plenty of options with the basic machine to test any skill level.

@tennissaavy, not sure if you're trying but calling people 'judgmental' who don't agree w you and 'not in that league' is pretty laughable, bordering on sad. Some of us don't think the oscillation programs emulate real match play - the machine doesn't move for one - LOL! Please post some video of your game and drills with the oscillation if you really want to convince us.
I am not taking any side but @tennissavvy didn't said anything out of line or insulting but again when you write something it turn out different way.

I met people with totally different mindset and opinion regarding ball machine. Some USPTA coaches love to use ball machine and some simply against it. My few friends love to use ball machine and few simply throw the idea out of window saying "ball machine never throw ball like human on that line"...

It is up to individual to decide if they want basic or high end or simply play with human and wall.

I believe if you are playing very active than buying stringing machine is more important than ball machine but that is different topic.
 
@nn, No big deal...people throw judgemental statement and time to receive one don't like it (human nature).

About spinfire pro2 I have no experience but communication with mamba tennis is pretty good. In fact, all the company's lobster, sp & playmate (my local dealer is cold not that great) replied to my email with details.

I am interested in internal oscillation. Playmate volley is pretty good but storage size and local dealer's cold response plus repair cost i.e. if you have to visit dealer for repairs it will cost more (they have $115 hourly rate). Mamba says you can do most of the repair at home without sending machine back to them.

I will open up new thread on spinfire pro2 to see if any active user can share his experience.
 
I play at 4.5 level. I have a tennis tutor. Middle of the road. Works fine. IMO, a ball machine is used to isolated specific shots not for general court coverage and conditioning as randomness is limited at lower cost machines.

Still is it better than a pro? Maybe- "free" repetition assuming it had already paid itself.

I basically use tourney matches to expose my weaknesses.

Use a pro to learn to "fix" a weakness.

Use a hitting partner and ball machine to improve the technique.

I do agree with above peeps, not many hitting partners wanting to help you improve your techniques for "free".
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Just a quick update on SP Star battery life in case anyone is researching.

This weekend my wife and I used the machine for 1.5 hours immediately followed by my son and his friend for another 2. At the end, some friends on the court next to us asked if they could try it - tack on another 15-20 minutes. Most of this was on pretty conservative settings, but we did use the oscillator for about 1/2 the time. Almost 4 hours and not a trace of power loss.

I almost went for the LiteR and now I'm glad I opted for the bigger battery!
 

nn

Hall of Fame
Just a quick update on SP Star battery life in case anyone is researching.

This weekend my wife and I used the machine for 1.5 hours immediately followed by my son and his friend for another 2. At the end, some friends on the court next to us asked if they could try it - tack on another 15-20 minutes. Most of this was on pretty conservative settings, but we did use the oscillator for about 1/2 the time. Almost 4 hours and not a trace of power loss.

I almost went for the LiteR and now I'm glad I opted for the bigger battery!
Do you know any major difference between Lite & Star (apart from remote & bigger battery)?

Also do you have any playing experience with Quest or smart series? I can't find much about the smart "player mode" but kind of skeptical how accurate they are an useful, etc....

Thanks
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Do you know any major difference between Lite & Star (apart from remote & bigger battery)?

Also do you have any playing experience with Quest or smart series? I can't find much about the smart "player mode" but kind of skeptical how accurate they are an useful, etc....

Thanks
I called SP before I bought and they confirmed the only difference in the Lite and Star are the remote and battery. The Lite-R adds the remote. I'm glad I went for the remote and bigger battery - the battery for reason stated above, and the remote for three reasons. First is I can use the sweep on/off to position the ball exactly where I want it to without walking to the machine (hit 50 FH then move it to the BH side for 50 more for example). I can pause the feed when instructing my son or switching places with someone else. And last fewer wasted balls in getting the settings down and getting to the other side of the court.

I have no experience with the Quest or Smart Series - they weren't in my budget range.
 
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nn

Hall of Fame
I called SP before I bought and they confirmed the only difference in the Lite and Star are the remote and battery. The Lite-R adds the remote. I'm glad I went for the remote and bigger battery - the battery for reason stated above, and the remote for three reasons. First is I can use the sweep on/off to position the ball exactly where I want it to without walking to the machine (hit 50 FH then move it to the BH side for 50 more for example). I can pause the feed when instructing my son or switching places with someone else. And last fewer wasted balls in getting the settings down and getting to the other side of the court.

I have no experience with the Quest or Smart Series - they weren't in my budget range.
Did you consider any other brands e.g. spinfire pro2 or lobster elite 1 to 3 or tennis tutor prolite?

Any ball jam or ball going into net or out of baseline or sideline with star.

What was the lowest speed you set to clear the net for volley or flat strokes?

I wish someone create demo program like racquet for ball machine.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Did you consider any other brands e.g. spinfire pro2 or lobster elite 1 to 3 or tennis tutor prolite?

Any ball jam or ball going into net or out of baseline or sideline with star.

What was the lowest speed you set to clear the net for volley or flat strokes?

I wish someone create demo program like racquet for ball machine.
I did consider the tennis tutor and the lower end lobster, but they were more money with less features (oscillation/spin). For less money, the SP Star gave me sweep oscillation, topspin and backspin, plus remote. Also, I had heard good things about their reliability and customer service. Steve at SP has been great.

I only had the machine jam once... and it was my fault. I accidentally dropped a ball into the chute before the hopper was on and while the machine was still off - so when I turned it on, the wheels could not move and it popped the circuit breaker. I fished the ball out, reset the breaker, and all was good. my son once hit a val directly into the wheels and it shot that ball and the next back at nearly the same time - pretty cool.

As far as balls sticking in the hopper, exactly one ball every load sticks in the very front. I wouldn't mind one ball so much, but it it obscures the opening in the hopper so you could see the balls were out from the other side of the court. I may put something on there to try and remedy it.

Every now and them it will "miss" a hole in the carousel and you get a delay in the feed, but all machines I have played with do this sometimes.

For speed, you can set it really low, like on 2, but you have to set the height very hight to get it to clear the net. We've done this to simulate slow, short sitters to work on putting them away... fun.

Fast speed is not an issue. Anything up around 4.5/5 is really fast. So fast, that you need to crank up the topspin to keep the ball in the court. This is too much my level, but I could see a higher level player getting some use out of it.

It takes some trial and error to get different shots set up, but after a few sessions, you get used to it and can set it up quickly.
 
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nn

Hall of Fame
I did consider the tennis tutor and the lower end lobster, but they were more money with less features (oscillation/spin). For less money, the SP Star gave me sweep oscillation, topspin and backspin, plus remote. Also, I had heard good things about their reliability and customer service. Steve at SP has been great.

I only had the machine jam once... and it was my fault. I accidentally dropped a ball into the chute before the hopper was on and while the machine was still off - so when I turned it on, the wheels could not move and it popped the circuit breaker. I fished the ball out, reset the breaker, and all was good. my son once hit a val directly into the wheels and it shot that ball and the next back at nearly the same time - pretty cool.

As far as balls sticking in the hopper, exactly one ball every load sticks in the very front. I wouldn't mind one ball so much, but it it obscures the opening in the hopper so you could see the balls were out from the other side of the court. I may put something on there to try and remedy it.

Every now and them it will "miss" a hole in the carousel and you get a delay in the feed, but all machines I have played with do this sometimes.

For speed, you can set it really low, like on 2, but you have to set the height very hight to get it to clear the net. We've done this to simulate slow, short sitters to work on putting them away... fun.

Fast speed is not an issue. Anything up around 4.5/5 is really fast. So fast, that you need to crank up the topspin to keep the ball in the court. This is too much my level, but I could see a higher level player getting some use out of it.

It takes some trial and error to get different shots set up, but after a few sessions, you get used to it and can set it up quickly.
Thanks for the detail info.

Again, wish I can demo the machines because you only find wanting more or less after using certain models.

Playmate at the club is good but storage space is issue. Also SP, lobster and other brands are easy to repair at home compare to playmate (they charge $115 per hours on labour)
 
Thanks. That is in the language from the manufacturer and does not reflect our warranty. I will talk to them about that.

If you would like to PM me your email address or give us a call with it I will be glad to send you some additional pictures.
I sent email via TW forum but bounce back. Now sent you separate email to sales emailed id of mamba tennis.
 

alpinenut

New User
Lobster comparisons

I recently bought the Lobster Grand V. It was between that and the Elite 3. I bought the Grand because of the ability to program a six ball sequence. Elite 3 cannot. I'm not really a big fan of the pre-programmed drills. They shoot the ball unrealistically fast and with little topspin. I think they need to update their programs. The advantage of the Elite 3 vs Elite 1 or 2 is the 2 line drills (Narrow and Wide). This is good for alternating between backhands and forehands. Although, for practicing standard rally balls I like the 2 line Medium that's only available on the Grand series. On the Elite Freedom you can't program Spin. That's a showstopper for me. Playing in CO people tend to hit with lots of topspin to keep the ball in :). I could probably get most of the practice I want with an Elite 3. The Elite 2 would probably be fine too except the lack of the 2 line drill. However, I'm sure you get pretty much equal forehands and backhands when you use the random side to side. I highly recommend the 3 amp premium fast charger upgrade.
 

v-verb

Hall of Fame
I went thrifty and have a Tennis Cube w/ oscillation on it's way to me. Small (about 1 foot cubed), and light (24 lbs).

I don't need a ton of features or laser fast ball speed. I just need to hone my strokes and not worry about lugging a monster expensive ball machine to practice.
 

ten11

Semi-Pro
remember the wall is your friend:
So true. Owned a silent partner, played for few years. Then I decide to use the wall and sold it.
I play a lot of more tennis with the wall. I do not need to waste my time to drive my car. carry/pull my machine onto the court, another trip for two baskets of balls. I do not need to pick up balls.
Now I bring my racket, 2-3 decent balls and a bottle of water. Hit the wall and go through my drills. drop shot to warm up, 100 each on volley forehand, backhand, ground stroke forehand and backhand, slice forehand and backhand. Then I hit about 50 serves.

check this out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiXrgAtjxc
 
I don't believe (after trying) in any of the pre-programmed drills offer by lobster grand 4, 5 or 5 ltd series (also include SP Smart). After trying them on court you will be happy with grand 4 or elite 3. SP star or quest or rival machines can satisfy most of the users (that is my judgement or opinion not forcing a verdict of a sort)

I like Spinfire pro two internal oscillation, which improves anticipation skill. Playmate is good but bulky for storage otherwise rock solid (used at the club)
 
Finally pull the trigger and bought spinfire pro2. It is best portable with internal oscillation. After trying all the major machine, e.g. lobster elite 3, grand 5 ltd, SP star and playmate (at club) I come to the conclusion that internal oscillation is a way to go.

I was fortunate to find someone who was hitting with lobster and SP and kind enough to let me try the machine. I am not saying they are bad machine but internal oscillation is huge, in my opinion.

Lobster, SP and spinfire pro2 has the best customer service (playmate local dealer acting smart and not interested in inquiry from individual. Guessing ton of business come from the club, so don't care attitude). I am saying this from multiple email communications.

@NN if you have any questions regarding spinfire pro2, I can answer them.
 

nn

Hall of Fame
Finally pull the trigger and bought spinfire pro2. It is best portable with internal oscillation. After trying all the major machine, e.g. lobster elite 3, grand 5 ltd, SP star and playmate (at club) I come to the conclusion that internal oscillation is a way to go.

I was fortunate to find someone who was hitting with lobster and SP and kind enough to let me try the machine. I am not saying they are bad machine but internal oscillation is huge, in my opinion.

Lobster, SP and spinfire pro2 has the best customer service (playmate local dealer acting smart and not interested in inquiry from individual. Guessing ton of business come from the club, so don't care attitude). I am saying this from multiple email communications.

@NN if you have any questions regarding spinfire pro2, I can answer them.
I was debating about internal vs external oscillation. Lobster grand series are expensive and not many user review and videos. SP looks good, and many people on TW forum bought it.

Playmate doesn't make sense to me considering weight and price range close to 2k. I had exact same issue with the playmate local dealer. It looks like they are more into club thing.

Spinfire pro2 has good video posted on the mamba tennis website. It has good reviews, etc.

Tennis Tutor looks out of place to me because of construction, features and wheels are very small.

Right now, SP and Spinfire pro2 running parallel in my search.

@tennissavvy, I will send you email to get more specifics of spinfire pro2... search continue...
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
So true. Owned a silent partner, played for few years. Then I decide to use the wall and sold it.
I play a lot of more tennis with the wall. I do not need to waste my time to drive my car. carry/pull my machine onto the court, another trip for two baskets of balls. I do not need to pick up balls.
Now I bring my racket, 2-3 decent balls and a bottle of water. Hit the wall and go through my drills. drop shot to warm up, 100 each on volley forehand, backhand, ground stroke forehand and backhand, slice forehand and backhand. Then I hit about 50 serves.

check this out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiXrgAtjxc
The wall is good, but it's not a replacement for a ball machine and vice versa. The wall is great for foot work and fast preparation or shortening your swing (as seen in the video). What the wall can't do is give you different kinds of balls - loopy topspin, backspin low balls, lobs, deep-heavy balls, flat fast balls, slow sitters, and so on.

Again, there is no perfect tool for everything - it depends on what you want to accomplish or improve. Footwork, fast preparation - great, use the wall. Need to improve other areas mentioned above with lots of repetition, use a machine. Need to improve match play - play matches or rally/points with a partner. I wouldn't call any of it a "waste of time".
 
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janky

Rookie
For Lobster owners out there, anyone purchase the extended warranty (1, 2 or 3 years)? Worth it? I just got a Lobster IV and love it but wondering about buying the warranty.
 

FedMex

Rookie
@TennisSavvy, I've agreed with a lot of your comments on 2 diff threads. As a 4.0, 4.5 potential player I was attracted to Lobster's programmability for agility and footwork training. But then last minute I saw the SpinFire and liked the internal oscillation and the fact that it has vertical variability. It doesn't have programmability but wondering if a random mode would be sufficient to get a good workout in for an advanced player?

I have also been wary of Lobster's programmability because of external oscillation and the 6+ horrible reviews of it on Amazon. I can live with 1 or 2, but there are a ton up there and there are only a few happy Grand 5 LE customers on here and they mostly don't use the pre-program drills or programmability.

Lobs are also important to me and it seems SpinFire is very good for those.

Can you address whether you've been happy with the "randomness" of SpinFire to help you not get bored (my concern as well after using a ball machine at my tennis club last year).
 

v-verb

Hall of Fame
I went thrifty and have a Tennis Cube w/ oscillation on it's way to me. Small (about 1 foot cubed), and light (24 lbs).

I don't need a ton of features or laser fast ball speed. I just need to hone my strokes and not worry about lugging a monster expensive ball machine to practice.
Had the Cube for a few months now. Absolutely LOVE it!

If it had a remote I would love it a tad more. But it's all I need
 
@TennisSavvy, I've agreed with a lot of your comments on 2 diff threads. As a 4.0, 4.5 potential player I was attracted to Lobster's programmability for agility and footwork training. But then last minute I saw the SpinFire and liked the internal oscillation and the fact that it has vertical variability. It doesn't have programmability but wondering if a random mode would be sufficient to get a good workout in for an advanced player?

I have also been wary of Lobster's programmability because of external oscillation and the 6+ horrible reviews of it on Amazon. I can live with 1 or 2, but there are a ton up there and there are only a few happy Grand 5 LE customers on here and they mostly don't use the pre-program drills or programmability.

Lobs are also important to me and it seems SpinFire is very good for those.

Can you address whether you've been happy with the "randomness" of SpinFire to help you not get bored (my concern as well after using a ball machine at my tennis club last year).
@FedMex, Checkout following thread which will explain most of the point in details about spinfire.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=507761

If you still have specific question about spinfire then you can post it.

Reviews of lobsters on amazon.com are spot on as I experience trying out on court (lucky one to try out lobster grand 4 and 5 ltd from someone hit on court). I agree with negative reviews and remember remote is a must...
 
I never found hitting partner who wants to do it my way. It always compromises on both sides to do something.

If you hire pro for hitting and learning it will cost you a lot of money because a good one charge anywhere from 50 to 90 per hour.

Programmable machine comes handy for such a player who has skills but likes to enhance and maintain the form. In my area, some pros are average compare to others. Good pros has own style of improvement (you can't tell them how to conduct a lesson...they don't like it or take it very well). Ball machine never complains and comes handy all the time.
I hired a 19yo certified tennis trainer last summer at a club for $40/hr when I picked up the game again. All he did was hit balls at me, about 400 in one hour to the same point on the court each time. That's about all he did. When I hit a good shot he would say good. Nothing about technique, style, what to think about when hitting etc. At the same time I hired a 40 yo guy who trains tennis at his condo court but is not certified (he didn't want to go through all the rigmarole and fees he said) and he was 100x better. He really taught me how to think about hitting, the proper form, analyzed my swing, etc. and mixed it up. I never went back to the kid. Yes, I don't think whether you are a pro trainer matters (but yes on balance pro's would be better trainers) but the quality of pro trainers sure varies greatly.
 
Ok after reading through this entire thread, it's obvious that which ball machine you pick or whether you use one at all is very personal. My observations:

If you can't always find regular partners to play with so that you can improve your game a ball machine sure fills in the gap.

Even if you can find regular partners to play with few of them will want to do practice play for an hour feeding you balls. A machine will and will never complain.

The extra cost of having a bigger battery and remote (I'm specifically talking about the SP Tennis series) seem to be worth it.

Ball machines are best used to improve storkes in conjuction with single/doubles play with human partners and/or tennis lessons.

Ball machines have an excellent payback period vs paying a pro to hit balls with you and when you decide you no longer want to use them their excellent resale value sure lessens the dent or your wallet.

As someone commented, There is no perfect tool for everything. it depends on what you want to accomplish or improve. Footwork, fast preparation - great, use the wall. Need to improve other areas mentioned above with lots of repetition, use a machine. Need to improve match play - play matches or rally/points with a partner. I wouldn't call any of it a "waste of time".

My conclusion: You will progress much faster in improving your partner if you can add practice with a ball machine to your arsenal of taking lessons and playing with partners. If you have a problem finding partners to play with regularly a ball machine really fills the gap extremely well. If you can afford it get a machine that is more programmable for a different variety of shots. If you are limited in budget likely the least expensive I would go (in the SP Tennis series) is the SP Lite with Remote but take the SP Star for $100 more if you are going to play more than an hour (as even SP Tennis says the Lite won't go up to 2 hours except at medium to lower speed). Of course you can always get the Lite and then change the battery yourself if later to a higher capacity one if you find out it's inadequate.

As you can see I am partial to SP Tennis machines, partly because of their excellent customer service but also because I live in Toronto and they are only a 1/2 hour drive from me!
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
So I'm looking at ball machines. I think I've decided on a Silent Partner. I like the Lobsters a little better, but I can't see what makes them more expensive.

I'm considering the SP SMART ($1799) or the STAR ($950).

I can't figure out if the extra features are really of value.
The features seem to be "drill" "match play" and vertical randomness.

Money doesn't matter too much in this situation except I don't want to waste money. If I buy the more expensive machine, I'll wait til next year to buy a stringing machine. If I buy the cheaper one, I can buy a stringing machine now.

Can anyone tell me if they think the extra features are worth a near-double price tag? Do I want these features?

Thanks!

Side notes:
Me=3.0 (self-rated) expecting (hoping) to be 3.5-4.0 at the end of this summer.
If I should be considering a different machine altogether, let me know.
I like the handle/wheel design and quiet reputation of the Silent Partner.
I see the slightly smaller dimensions of the STAR an advantage over the SMART (the idea that a 50 lb dumbbell is easier to carry than a 50 lb clothes dryer).
I believe it is always cheaper to buy the right thing the first time.
Get a Spinfire Pro 2. Internal oscillation is a great feature to have. My machine has been very reliable in all aspects. Also, terrific customer service.
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
I just spend quite a bit on the Spinfire Pro 2 - it's pretty nice. It has drills where it will place balls in 6 different spots, plus other simpler drills. It also has vertical and horizontal variation. The coolest thing is that it oscillates from the inside - the whole machine doesn't move so you can't tell where the ball is going. I recommend it but it's expensive - $1800 or so. Mamba Tennis people have been very helpful.
I have this machine....How do you do that drill?
 
I have this machine....How do you do that drill?
I have it & not aware of such drill but my best guess is horizontal (medium/wide - true horizontal random) & turn the vertical oscillation or drills + vertical oscillation to create 6 balls or pick your number drill (simply pause the machine..another awesome feature)
 
I have it & not aware of such drill but my best guess is horizontal (medium/wide - true horizontal random) & turn the vertical oscillation or drills + vertical oscillation to create 6 balls or pick your number drill (simply pause the machine..another awesome feature)
The description on Spinfire's website at http://www.spinfiresport.com/pro-2.html states:

Vertical & horizontal oscillation:

Vertical & horizontal oscillation provides shots with variation in depth and width (wide or medium) respectively. These features can be turned on individually or together, providing completely random play (sometimes referred to as triple oscillation).

But I am curious if Spinfire allows you to include topspin or backspin/slice with vertical & horizontal oscillation. The manual does specifically mention whether this can be applied to all settings. Silent Partner's top of the line Smart ball machine allows you to do all-court (apparently their phrase for triple oscillation), ie random horizontal and vertical oscillation, within 10 different user-selectable baseline (horizontal) angles but only with topspin, not backspin.

Does anyone know on what shots spin can be applied to on the Spinfire Pro 2?
 
Get a Spinfire Pro 2. Internal oscillation is a great feature to have. My machine has been very reliable in all aspects. Also, terrific customer service.
I have been going back and forth quite a bit on the internal vs external oscillation feature. It seems to be one of the big things other than portability and programmability, that seems to be a defining feature with ball machines. I haven't had good experiences in Canada with companies that choose to have a sole retailer for a product as does Spinfire here. Our country is less than 1/10 the market of the US, and fewer people play tennis year round per capita due to our weather, so Mamba Tennis, the exclusive US retailer of the Spinfire Pro 1 & 2 likely does 15x the volume that our exclusive retailer does and can maintain a much higher parts inventory and provide better support. Spinfire being based in Australia doesn't help as parts have to come from there. That said, I don't have an anecdotal stories on how good or bad the exclusive retailer in Canada, Vital Sports in Montreal, Quebec, is. Silent Partner is located in West Hill, Ontario which is a suburb of Toronto, just a 1/2 hour drive where I live and they assemble their machines there from parts they source around the world (likely mostly China). Their support appears to be second to none from the reports I have read on here. One telling aspect about the two machines is that Silent Partner can deliver in a few days, whereas there is a 5-week lead time on the Spinfire Pro 2. So, it's obvious that the Canadian retailer of the Spinfire keeps no inventory and orders only when they make sales. If so, how good can their support possibly be? Not an issue if there are never any problems with the machine of course and I do think problems with either brand will be close to non-existent and even if they do occur would be temporary.

Nonetheless, support aside, I have to admit I am torn between the SP Smart and the Spinfire Pro 2. The configurable parameters of speed, spin, feed interval and oscillation are pretty well the same on each machine but the degree of programmability is different with the SP Smart being far greater. Both are programmable for 2-line narrow/medium/wide drill, random vertical and medium/wide horizontal oscillation and 'triple oscillation' (SP calls this 'all-court oscillation'). However, with the SP Smart is appears the triple/all-court oscillation only allows topspin to be used and not backspin/slice. The manual is ambiguous as to whether the Spinfire Pro 2 allows both spins in that mode so I have emailed them to ask but have not heard back yet (does anyone know?).

Where they really differ in programmability is that the SP also has 3 presets for match play (5/8/10 shots, 8/12/18 sec rally interval and selectable speed, spin, feed) and a 'select-a-drill' feature where you can enter sequences of ball locations that you want played and replayed which includes 10 different angle ranges of ball throws. On top of that the SP allows you to memorize interval, spin, speed & height to recall it later no matter what settings you use in between, whereas the Spinfire Pro 2 only recalls the settings from before you turned the machine off last.

So, with the Spinfire Pro 2 I am trading internal oscillation for less programmability. Is the extra programmability of the SP Smart just gimmicks that may not really be of value to me and therefore not used much? Perhaps, but there is no way of knowing unless I use the machine. In that respect Silent Partner may have a slight advantage over Spinfire Pro 2 as the former has this: 'Satisfaction warranty: If within a period of 30 days days from the receipt of the machine you are not satisfied with it, you can return it for a full refund of its purchase price (not including shipping charges)'. I could try it for 30 days and it would cost me nothing to return it as I would just drop it off with my car. But then what if I do return it and then buy the Spinfire Pro 2 and then feel I liked the SP Smart better? I'll be stuck with the Spinfire Pro 2. Of course, worse things could happen than to be stuck with a ball machine that some prefer!

With sales tax, the SP Smart would cost me $2,000 CDN delivered to my home and the Spinfire Pro 2 would be $2,400 CDN. Not a biggie but $2,000 is already much more than I wanted to spend.

Am I over-thinking this? Not for a minute. It's not a small purchase in terms of dollars and it is something I am going to be using for hours on end for years to come. I do realize, btw, that this choice is personal and something no one can answer for me but the perspectives people have kindly provided on here about the machines they own or have tried certainly has helped me a great deal.
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
I have been going back and forth quite a bit on the internal vs external oscillation feature. It seems to be one of the big things other than portability and programmability, that seems to be a defining feature with ball machines. I haven't had good experiences in Canada with companies that choose to have a sole retailer for a product as does Spinfire here. Our country is less than 1/10 the market of the US, and fewer people play tennis year round per capita due to our weather, so Mamba Tennis, the exclusive US retailer of the Spinfire Pro 1 & 2 likely does 15x the volume that our exclusive retailer does and can maintain a much higher parts inventory and provide better support. Spinfire being based in Australia doesn't help as parts have to come from there. That said, I don't have an anecdotal stories on how good or bad the exclusive retailer in Canada, Vital Sports in Montreal, Quebec, is. Silent Partner is located in West Hill, Ontario which is a suburb of Toronto, just a 1/2 hour drive where I live and they assemble their machines there from parts they source around the world (likely mostly China). Their support appears to be second to none from the reports I have read on here. One telling aspect about the two machines is that Silent Partner can deliver in a few days, whereas there is a 5-week lead time on the Spinfire Pro 2. So, it's obvious that the Canadian retailer of the Spinfire keeps no inventory and orders only when they make sales. If so, how good can their support possibly be? Not an issue if there are never any problems with the machine of course and I do think problems with either brand will be close to non-existent and even if they do occur would be temporary.

Nonetheless, support aside, I have to admit I am torn between the SP Smart and the Spinfire Pro 2. The configurable parameters of speed, spin, feed interval and oscillation are pretty well the same on each machine but the degree of programmability is different with the SP Smart being far greater. Both are programmable for 2-line narrow/medium/wide drill, random vertical and medium/wide horizontal oscillation and 'triple oscillation' (SP calls this 'all-court oscillation'). However, with the SP Smart is appears the triple/all-court oscillation only allows topspin to be used and not backspin/slice. The manual is ambiguous as to whether the Spinfire Pro 2 allows both spins in that mode so I have emailed them to ask but have not heard back yet (does anyone know?).

Where they really differ in programmability is that the SP also has 3 presets for match play (5/8/10 shots, 8/12/18 sec rally interval and selectable speed, spin, feed) and a 'select-a-drill' feature where you can enter sequences of ball locations that you want played and replayed which includes 10 different angle ranges of ball throws. On top of that the SP allows you to memorize interval, spin, speed & height to recall it later no matter what settings you use in between, whereas the Spinfire Pro 2 only recalls the settings from before you turned the machine off last.

So, with the Spinfire Pro 2 I am trading internal oscillation for less programmability. Is the extra programmability of the SP Smart just gimmicks that may not really be of value to me and therefore not used much? Perhaps, but there is no way of knowing unless I use the machine. In that respect Silent Partner may have a slight advantage over Spinfire Pro 2 as the former has this: 'Satisfaction warranty: If within a period of 30 days days from the receipt of the machine you are not satisfied with it, you can return it for a full refund of its purchase price (not including shipping charges)'. I could try it for 30 days and it would cost me nothing to return it as I would just drop it off with my car. But then what if I do return it and then buy the Spinfire Pro 2 and then feel I liked the SP Smart better? I'll be stuck with the Spinfire Pro 2. Of course, worse things could happen than to be stuck with a ball machine that some prefer!

With sales tax, the SP Smart would cost me $2,000 CDN delivered to my home and the Spinfire Pro 2 would be $2,400 CDN. Not a biggie but $2,000 is already much more than I wanted to spend.

Am I over-thinking this? Not for a minute. It's not a small purchase in terms of dollars and it is something I am going to be using for hours on end for years to come. I do realize, btw, that this choice is personal and something no one can answer for me but the perspectives people have kindly provided on here about the machines they own or have tried certainly has helped me a great deal.
Gimmicks. If u really want to practice match play, then programmability is useless. You know here they are going. Even if u try not to move, u wil do it subconsciously. If you just want to do repetition then you just set it to throw to the same spot. Internal oscillation makes the ball machine infinitely more interesting.
 
Gimmicks. If u really want to practice match play, then programmability is useless. You know here they are going. Even if u try not to move, u wil do it subconsciously. If you just want to do repetition then you just set it to throw to the same spot. Internal oscillation makes the ball machine infinitely more interesting.
Thanks. I am realigning my thinking and am starting to think that and am getting more drawn to internal oscillation. Some say that knowing which way the machine is pointing isn't that much of an issue but I do notice that when I am playing with partners it is difficult to know beforehand, even based on the way they are holding the racquet and the way they are position, which way the ball is going to be sent. Even the top 10 ATP players don't seem to be able to predict that! If they could they'd miss way fewer balls.

Even if I do go with the SP Smart I think I'd likely not use all of the programmability as there is just so much of it, but would certainly use at least that which is also provided on the Spinfire Pro 2.
 
The description on Spinfire's website at http://www.spinfiresport.com/pro-2.html states:

Vertical & horizontal oscillation:

Vertical & horizontal oscillation provides shots with variation in depth and width (wide or medium) respectively. These features can be turned on individually or together, providing completely random play (sometimes referred to as triple oscillation).

But I am curious if Spinfire allows you to include topspin or backspin/slice with vertical & horizontal oscillation. The manual does specifically mention whether this can be applied to all settings. Silent Partner's top of the line Smart ball machine allows you to do all-court (apparently their phrase for triple oscillation), ie random horizontal and vertical oscillation, within 10 different user-selectable baseline (horizontal) angles but only with topspin, not backspin.

Does anyone know on what shots spin can be applied to on the Spinfire Pro 2?
SP Smart has pdf on their website describes limitation on spin & speed settings.

Spinfire Pro2 has automatic adjustment using infrared, so put the machine in any corner of the court & no need to do alignment setting. You can use vertical oscillation for flat, underspin (- via touch panel) & topspin with almost any speed or height. It is your responsibility to be realistic with court position & speed/spin setting to keep the ball in court e.g ball will go out of the court if machine is at service line with high speed (just a example)

BTW: I am not interested in telling anyone which machine they should buy..it is your money & choice.
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
SP Smart has pdf on their website describes limitation on spin & speed settings.

Spinfire Pro2 has automatic adjustment using infrared, so put the machine in any corner of the court & no need to do alignment setting. You can use vertical oscillation for flat, underspin (- via touch panel) & topspin with almost any speed or height. It is your responsibility to be realistic with court position & speed/spin setting to keep the ball in court e.g ball will go out of the court if machine is at service line with high speed (just a example)

BTW: I am not interested in telling anyone which machine they should buy..it is your money & choice.
I didn't know this. So if I set it up in a corner, and put it on oscillation, it won't fire balls out of the court?
 
I didn't know this. So if I set it up in a corner, and put it on oscillation, it won't fire balls out of the court?
Let say you want to practice inside out forehand only. In that case, put machine in middle of deuce side & set horizontal (for random) or drills (narrow)...check speed/spin setting to desire level. You can put the machine at service line to baseline & as you move back increase speed/spin according to player's level.

You can be creative to practice different inside out forehand only drills (turn vertical osc on & use left/right setting) put machine at ad-side or deuce up to you. So many combo that I need to write blog but one thing stand out the most is auto calibration of spinfire pro2 save ton of time on court.
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
Let say you want to practice inside out forehand only. In that case, put machine in middle of deuce side & set horizontal (for random) or drills (narrow)...check speed/spin setting to desire level. You can put the machine at service line to baseline & as you move back increase speed/spin according to player's level.

You can be creative to practice different inside out forehand only drills (turn vertical osc on & use left/right setting) put machine at ad-side or deuce up to you. So many combo that I need to write blog but one thing stand out the most is auto calibration of spinfire pro2 save ton of time on court.
Interesting...How does it figure out where it is on the court?
 
SP Smart has pdf on their website describes limitation on spin & speed settings.
Yes I know about the SP Smart pdf. I always research first before I ask questions on here. Btw, I found the SP Smart manual a bit confusing with respect to where backspin and topspin works and where it doesn't. It definitely says the 'adaptive' all-court mode does not work with backspin but does that mean you can apply backspin (ie without the adapting happening) or you can't at all?. Also, can both topspin and backspin can be used with the random horizontal and the Select-A-Drill modes? It doesn't actually say and when something is ambiguous then it raises questions. Although it is described in the manual I still don't understand how the 'adaptive' mode really works or why it is needed. Adapts to what? What would happen if it didn't adapt?

Spinfire Pro2 has automatic adjustment using infrared, so put the machine in any corner of the court & no need to do alignment setting. You can use vertical oscillation for flat, underspin (- via touch panel) & topspin with almost any speed or height. It is your responsibility to be realistic with court position & speed/spin setting to keep the ball in court e.g ball will go out of the court if machine is at service line with high speed (just a example)
However, my question was about the Spinfire Pro 2 not the SP Smart, which is still unanswered. Can you use triple oscillation with topspin and backspin/slice? The manual does not speak to it specifically. I can assume it does but it doesn't actually say it does. Again, ambiguity breeds questions.

BTW: I am not interested in telling anyone which machine they should buy..it is your money & choice.
Of course not. I myself am certainly am not asking for that. Everyone has different preferences and reasons and ways they want to use a ball machine, along with different budgets.

The most people should be asking for is to have the features and benefits explained as well as their real world experience conveyed so that we who have not are fully informed before making our purchasing decision.
 

nn

Hall of Fame
However, my question was about the Spinfire Pro 2 not the SP Smart, which is still unanswered. Can you use triple oscillation with topspin and backspin/slice? The manual does not speak to it specifically. I can assume it does but it doesn't actually say it does. Again, ambiguity breeds questions.
I can tell you about topspin setting...you select all the parameters via touch panel e.g. speed, drills, horizontal (give you random horizontal feed), right or left only (backhand or forehand), vertical Only give you random height balls and combine horizontal/vertical to get true oscillation (in this mode you can't change speed but height/depth & location change randomly)

Vertical oscillation change height of the ball for each feed, so if you set backspin (-1 to -xx) it will move randomly in that range i.e. machine calculate height for each feed e.g. one can be -1 or another -3 all depending on speed & elevation level etc.

You can always call mambatennis as they are pretty knowledgeable & nice people (just like TW customer service) for specific information you are looking for if someone can't understand or answer on this forum.

Also SP has steve to answer most of your questions with honesty.
 
I usually just contact the manufacturer when I have questions as they know best. I found out from Spinfire in Australia that topspin and backspin/slice can be set for all modes on the Spinfire Pro 2 (just like on the SP Smart but on the Smart adaptive all-court mode, known as triple oscillation on the Spinfire or 3D, does not adapt that well if backspin is applied).
 
Btw, can the Spinfire Pro 2 just continuously send the ball to the same location on the court? The brochure shows 11 diagrams showing where the ball can be sent, ie narrow/medium/wide 2-line drill with horizontal & vertical versions of that and narrow /medium/wide versions of horizontal/vertical/triple oscillation, but not one where the ball is being thrown to the same place every time.

Can it do that?
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
Btw, can the Spinfire Pro 2 just continuously send the ball to the same location on the court? The brochure shows 11 diagrams showing where the ball can be sent, ie narrow/medium/wide 2-line drill with horizontal & vertical versions of that and narrow /medium/wide versions of horizontal/vertical/triple oscillation, but not one where the ball is being thrown to the same place every time.

Can it do that?
Yes. And mamba tennis is very helpful if u want to call them.
 
Btw, can the Spinfire Pro 2 just continuously send the ball to the same location on the court? The brochure shows 11 diagrams showing where the ball can be sent, ie narrow/medium/wide 2-line drill with horizontal & vertical versions of that and narrow /medium/wide versions of horizontal/vertical/triple oscillation, but not one where the ball is being thrown to the same place every time.

Can it do that?
yes you have left & right button on remote & touch panel to move machine to desire location (forehand or backhand). You can even make it random vertically for ball lending at same spot i.e. same spot but random height or random vertical oscillation
 
Great. The Spinfire Pro 2, even at $400 more CDN than the SP Smart, 80mph/130kph vs 95mph/158kph top speed on the SP Smart, 200 ball capacity vs 300, a bit less programmability and only 1 year CDN warranty instead of 2, seems to be the one I want more and more. It seems a generation ahead of the SP Smart (and the Quest & Rival) in terms of having internal oscillation, ergonomic design and a contemporary look and usability with its touch panel with LCD. I also like that with the addition of the $150 CDN fast charger I automatically also get a machine which can be powered by AC whereas with the SP you need to order it with AC in order to get that additional capability. Btw, the remote with antenna is not going to be an issue shortly. Spinfire told me the remote has been redesigned to be antenna-less and with a few more features and will be introduced in the next 2-3 months. Existing machines will require new software to be flashed, a receiver chip to be swapped out and the new remote of course. No word on the cost to upgrade but if not a free upgrade if I buy now then I am going to wait until the Spinfire Pro 2 with new remote is released.
 
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