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The Human Tennis Ball Machine

August 21st, 2011

filed in Tennis Product Reviews, Tennis Lifestyle

Tennis Ball Machine

I used to play against this guy I called the “Human Tennis Ball Machine”. You know—the type of player that makes you hit, hit, and hit until you finally make an error. EVERYTHING you send his way comes back and the rallies are long. I would tell him “If I wanted to drill I would fire-up the club's tennis ball machine”. Nothing worked against this guy—he was just too good. Then I realized—I DID need to work-out with a tennis ball machine, a lot, if I was ever going to beat him!

Tennis ball machines are a fantastic tool to improve your game. Some are rather basic, while others can actually simulate the shots of a real, live opponent. On most you can, at a minimum, regulate ball speed, height, and frequency. Some also allow you to select topspin, underspin (slice), oscillation (side to side), and “player mode” (really mixes up the depth and oscillation just like a real player would). Some are electric and others are battery operated, some are large and intended for facility usage, while others are relatively small (under 40 lbs) and intended to go on the road with you.

I really like doing drills with a tennis ball machine. Most of the machines carry around 125 - 150 balls. When is the last time you had a 150 hit, side-to-side rally? Probably never! Tennis ball machines help you “groove” your stroke, force you to focus, and give you a physical test as well (but only as difficult as you want it to be).

Tennis ball machines are all-business. No idle chatter or side change-overs. You can get in one heck of a session in only 20 minutes when your time is limited. Picture this: you have a ball coming at you every 4 seconds at 50 mph and you never know if it's going to be a lob, a groundstroke, a forehand, a backhand, topspin or slice! Tennis ball machines are definitely NOT boring!

I've only used one type and it's called the tennis tower (made by “Sports Tutor”). It's on wheels and is electric. It's easy to operate and transport from the Club Office to the Court. If I were buying a tennis ball machine I would opt for a smaller version which would fit in my car. I would also want battery operated.

Oh yeah—I've never beaten a tennis ball machine. But I finally did beat the human version!