First time poster, ball machine related

#1
Hi guys, first time poster, very very long time reader. Like, 7-8 years or so. Before I ask my question, I'd like to show my appreciation for all the info and advice I’ve gathered here over the years! Tnx for that!

Now, I’ll get to the point; it’ll be ball machine related, but let me first tell you a few things about myself.
I’m a righty playing tennis for around 10 years. I’m 30 now (on the wrong side by a few months), and since 2009. I own my own tennis court (clay). It’s more of a club actually, because its open for paying customers. Anyway, I’ve had around 30 classes with a coach 3 years ago and have developed nice technique on my strokes.

You should know that I’m from Serbia, and we don’t have an NTRP system here, of course. But, based on all the videos I’ve seen here and comments on those that I’ve read, I’d say that I’m around 5.0. Or strong 4.5, or even a 5.5. Its really difficult for me to say. Mostly because I have developed nice flat serve, top spin and kick, my slice could be better, but that’s just me being critical of myself. Voleys are up there with my serve, but my strongest shot is my forehand. Fast swing, lots of spin, variety, its all there.
But my backhand is my major flaw. Its something other player can pick on (although I have a really nice slice, its just not that consistant). I’ve learned to play 1 HBH and can hit it nicely on a moderatly paced shot, but not more than 3 times in a row as it just breaks down. Especially on those low balls and with short prep time.

So I’ve tried switching to 2 HBH 4 months ago and it's working better for me, for now. To get a clearer picture, lets say that my forehand is 5.0 (its probably higher), then my 1HBH would be 2.5 and my 2HBH 3.0. Its really a major source of frustation for me. And even when I get someone to play with me, and maybe feed me on my backhand to practice, they’ll soon get bored and hit to my forehand side etc.

So the question is, what could a ball machine do for my game? I’me guessing that it’ll do a lot for my backhand, but could it improve my fitness and other strokes? I’ve read back like 50-60 pages here and have a pretty good picture on what to expect, but I just had to ask since I’m a guy who’s 5’11” and around 215 pounds. And have been neglecting my backhand, so it has failed me more times then I can remeber. And I would like to lose some weight by doing drills with the machine.

What I’m looking at is a used Lobster Grand IV in really pristine condition for around $1000 (I could probably get it for 850-900) with two batteries and a rain cover. The problem here is that it’s probably the only one in my country, and there’s just not so many of them in classifieds. Maybe one in a whole year. And that would be some banged up 30 year old workhorse.

So I would not like to pass on the opportunity to buy it as it would also be used for renting to other members / players. But I’ll buy it only if I can have any use of it, since I don’t want to use it just for renting as it’s just not that profitable here, or I don’t see it to be. And owning a court makes court time free, aside from maintenance of the machine itself and acquisition of balls.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...:)
 
#2
...but could it improve my fitness and other strokes? ...
Of course. You'll get tired before the machine will. If you hit 500-600 balls a day, 3 or more days a week (and maybe improve your diet a little), you'll get in better shape. And I'm not familiar with that particular machine but most of them these days can create a challenging ball up to your level. You just have to have a little imagination to set it up to test each stroke. The only shot that machines really aren't set up to practice are returns of serve (because the balls are shot from down low).

As far as buying one, I'm not sure how much help we can give you - there are shipping implications, Customs, etc...

Good luck.
 
#3
Actualy, I play 6 days a week. Lately its mostly doubles for max 2 hours or so, but my routine used to be singles 4-5 times a week for at least 2 hours. But my tennis partner has switched to doubles, mostly because he can now play and then sit for a few (soft) drinks and a talk after, which I can't afford every time due to two small kids and my work. And he didn't beat me for a year or so.:)
And even when we played regularly, which always was in late afternoon, I had an urge to go and play in the morning, hit against the wall etc. I like tennis. :)
So I'd use the machine for grooving, repetition and fitness.
As far as buying one goes its really a great opportunity for me to do so now as I'd be getting a Lobster in Serbia, which is like trying to find French cars in the USA. And I'd be able to get it for half the price of a new one in a really good condition.
 
#4
I'd say just get it. I own a Lobster Elite 3. It is a great machine.

It is set up in my basement and I practice mainly volleys with it. Every once in a while, I'd take it outside to practice overheads, but it is a pain to move because it is rather heavy.

For grooving your backhand, I think it is definitely worth it. For harder exercises, put a cone in the center mark and run around it for every hit. That way, you can practice hitting backhands under pressure situations, i.e., on the run.

Good luck.

Harry
 
#5
Ive owned a ball machine for 10 yrs. it got a lot of use when i started. Then as i got better using a bmachine gets boring and picking up the balls is annoying. It doesnt get much use now but im still glad i have it. It sounds like u have an opportunity thats hard to pass up. So u should probably do it just because of that anyways. Good luck and keep us posted. :)
 
#6
Thank you all.
I'm still debating, but I'll be honest, I'm very, very tempted and my finger is on the triger... I'll keep you in the loop. :)
 
#7
You will be gobsmacked over how quick/fast your backhand improves (excels) after hitting against a good ball machine!! And furthermore........you can add/adjust/change/implement MULTIPLE variations or "nuances" of backhand strokes, grips, shots, spin, etc. - FAST! I'm not kidding. You can endlessly/infinitely "dial in" and/or tweak almost any/every stroke. But since there is "more going on with a backhand".......especially so! And not just with your swing, stroke, hand, grip, etc. ------ But FEET, body, eyes, angle of approach, set up, etc. etc.
 
#8
After reading this, I feel an urge to by two at the same time. :mrgreen:

On a more serious note, I got that impression while reading thru all of the posts here (in this section)...
 
#9
Just an update.

I've decided to buy the thing. :mrgreen:
I just have to wait until next week for the present owner to come back from skiing holiday.


Here's a picture of the backside.


And one from the front ( I've noticed that it's missing "Grand IV" metal badge under the "Lobster" logo, but I don't really care, as it looks like its been taken really good care of, I think ):




And now the best part: I think I'll get it for under $800 with two batteries and a storage cover. Unfortunately, no remote.

PS I've googled my fingers of and just don't seem to be able to find Tretorn Micro X's here, in Europe. So, if anyone knows a place to order them from to be delivered to Germany or Austria, let me know. Or I'll be forced to buy Penn pressureles or Wilson trainers...
 
#10
Dont use pressureless balls. Theyre terrible. Never used the tretron but all others ive tried are hard, heavy, and murder on the arm and shoulder. They also dont react the same as regular balls.
 
#11
I understand your point of view, but pressurized balls die to soon in a machine.
By "die" I mean that they loose their bounce, while Tretorn's stay true for a very long time. They'll still loose felt, but their bounce will remain pretty much the same, and that matters much more when using a machine.
(All of the above are impressions of other people)

Oh, and I really don't like heavy balls (like Dunlop), because I hit with a very heavy topspin and they just feel like bricks coming of of my APD Original strung with RPM Blast at 50lbs. But, I'll have to adjust to it.
At least while using the machine, that is...
 
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