I've been playing the game now for 15 months now and have advanced my game along nicely. In the UK, I don't come across many people who talk about player ratings so I would class myself at an intermediate level as I normally can hang with guys at that standard in my local clubs. Right up to before Christmas last year, when I couldn't find a hitting partner I would hit against a wall to groove me strokes which I found beneficial. However it can't really replicate the different spins, flats and trajectory that a reliable hitting partner can produce so I stopped hitting against a wall to avoid forming bad habits. This past summer, I was playing against this guy who has 25 years playing experience and the improvements I've made has been immense not to mention the quality hits that we used to have regularly. He would beat me most of the time but I started taking games/sets off him as I was improving. Unfortunately he had to relocate to the States so have not had a reliable hitting partner since. It's starting to annoy as it's not always easy to get someone who is reliable. I have access to local courts 5 mins where I live anytime which is great but getting a hitting partner continues to be a problem. Not wanting my game to stagnate, I'm considering investing in a ball machine. I don't even know where to begin in terms of what type of machine to get. I don't really want to spend crazy money on it but then again, a tennis lesson with the club coach normally sets me back £30 per lesson (inc. court cost). I don't really want to spend anymore than £600 but would go over budget by a few £100s. What do people recommend if you were in my situation? hope that I can find a reliable hitter or get a machine?