Would a ball machine help improve your game?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Brett, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

    Sep 24, 2008
    well said. if you go dtl, you better be for sure that it will force a weak reply or else you better get your running shoes on.
  2. wolfinsignia

    wolfinsignia New User

    Mar 13, 2011
    yea i think it will do you good, its gives you a chance to think and reanalyze your strokes and styles.
    i personally serve to recalibrate my strokes, a good and strong serve= good form for forehand and backhand.
    if you do use the machine, don't rely on it too much. but you should test it out before you invest in one.

    a coach would help, but i think if you recorded yourself and watched it again, you should know whats wrong. to fix it may require coaching.
  3. 1HBH Rocks

    1HBH Rocks Semi-Pro

    Apr 18, 2012
    Not only the net... there is also the distance (the court is shorter down the line than cross-court). Then, there is the issue of changing direction with an outside ground stroke. Most of the time, you'll be facing a ball which is moving away from you and it's a lot harder to change direction than if it was moving towards you (in which case it would be an inside ground stroke). So, it's easier and higher percentage to strike it back cross-court when it came from there.

    Players typically change direction off an outside ball when it is less compelling: struck closer to the center of the court, landing a shorter or bouncing closer to an ideal strike zone. Changing direction also implies having to recover a lot further so that you still stick in between the possible angles of replies. They will tend to do this a lot more with the forehand than with their backhand as it's a little more dynamic gesture typically (it's easier to counteract the action on the ball with it). When done properly, it creates an inside-out/in forehand situation, earning them the better court position over their opponent and increasing a lot the possible targets they can aim to with a high percentage of success. Naturally, if you hit down the line with your forehand in a compelling manner from closer to the center, you should be already moving over your backhand side to remain in the middle of possible replies, which naturally gives you a position that, unless your opponent comes up with an impressive shot, grants you with great chances of hitting inside-in or inside-out forehands.

    To answer you specifically, because there are other constraints such as other geometrical ones, the ball's flight path relative to your body, your court positioning, etc., it's not always the best shot to choose... it's only selectively the best shot to choose.
  4. RogerO

    RogerO New User

    May 12, 2012
    ball machine

    I find it is an excellent training addition for developing Junior tennis players. The feed is more consistent allowing jrs to practice strokes and foot work in a much more consistent way, adjusting as needed.
  5. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    I bought a tennis tutor and used it for about 6 years maybe averaged 2 times a week year round. It helped me.

    Very good for getting in a lot of reps. Excellent for volleys as you can hit a couple of buckets of volleys in about 20 minutes to grove the stroke.

    I still have it but it has a problem with the speed adjustment. Need to pull it out and see if I can fix it.
  6. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

    Mar 6, 2008
    go with a tennis tutor, get the spin option if you can afford it.
  7. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Dec 12, 2012
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    If you've never had a private coach get one.

    Spend the money on private one-to-one coaching lessons. Spread them out over several months, not all in a couple of weeks and make sure you practice and play tennis other than these coaching sessions.
  8. DonDiego

    DonDiego Hall of Fame

    Nov 28, 2012
    Ball machine is essential IMO, especially if you don't have time / access to a partner to hit with 2-3 times a week. You need a coach, yes, but more than that, you need to hit A LOT of balls to improve a stroke.

    Ideally, you would have 1 hour of coaching per week, and 3-4 hours of hitting/ball machine to groove what you learned in the stroke. And in 2013, with all the info you can get on Internet, coupled with filming yourself with a cell phone, the coach can more easlily be replaced, but not the hours of hitting. Invest your money in the machine instead of the coach, but be serious and do your homework. You won't regret it.
  9. DonDiego

    DonDiego Hall of Fame

    Nov 28, 2012
    ...But as a previous poster said, the two most important shots in tennis are serve and return of serve, which you can only improve by playing with someone or bringing a bucket of balls to the court. So don't use all your practice time with the machine, work on your serve and returns too.
  10. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

    May 19, 2011
    San Jose, California
    A guy in the next court let us hit with his Prince machine. I don't know the exact model but it had a "Prince P" logo on the outside, similar to this 2009 model, but looked
    to be older.


    It was feeding us pretty fast topspin balls to the baseline and I practiced forehands.

    My issue with it was that the feed seemed to have an unrealistic non-human type trajectory and bounce. Maybe it was a matter of adjusting the machine settings but I think the ball machine owner had already tweaked the settings correctly. Or maybe I just need to get used to it.

    Note that I've already had lessons/clinics and simply want to groove the stroke. Drilling partners are preferable but not always available.

    Given the above, my question is: Will practicing on the machine help my forehand consistency?
  11. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

    Oct 17, 2008
    It worked for Davydenko and Agassi.
  12. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    I have a Silent Partner Lite.

    One problem with nearly all ball machine designs is that they use gravity ball feed and this places the output hole lower than the usual ground stroke height from the baseline. Some posts in the Equipment Forum describe stands to elevate ball machines.

    But there are also many adjustments of speed, spin and projection angle out of the low hole. To work on technique, I only want slow, set up type balls to the same spot and tried to get those for quite a time using only the settings without enough success. Mostly, I had placed the ball machine near the center of the baseline. Then I started locating the machine farther into the court and out and found that a few feet short of the service line gave me the cream puff ball that I wanted. I have not put in much time using the ball machine. I like using it for stroke technique.

    Definitely repetition will help your consistency.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016

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