Quick-Guide: Tennis Ball Machine Buying Guide
Coaches of any sport understand that a player can only excel in their game when they have quick reflexes and endurance as they say; practice makes perfect.
Tennis is no different.
A tennis ball machine is a valuable asset to any tennis coach or practice court for providing players of any level of experience with the opportunity to practice in a customised manner whilst having an enormous amount of fun at the same time.
Before we dig deeper in to this post it’s worth noting;
A tennis ball machine will result in a significant number of balls being ‘shot’ across the court, with that in mind, it’s probably worth considering in investing in a tennis ball hopper. There’s no two ways about it, it’ll become a useful asset to help with the gathering and storing of tennis balls!
What Is A Tennis Ball Machine
A tennis ball machine delivers tennis balls in a precise and consistent manner that is beneficial to the player.
They are adaptable in the features, which makes them useful for both the novice player right through to elite level athletes. These ball machines can be programmed to deliver a randomized pattern of balls at various spins, strokes or speeds.
Side note: You can check out the latest tennis ball machine reviews here.
Why Buy a Tennis Ball Machine
A tennis ball machine is a valuable tool to any dedicated tennis player or coach. It’s always available as a reliable training aid or partner of unlimited endurance and stamina for helping players develop muscle memory and improve on the core competencies that are essential to the game, even with tough and tiresome practices.
As a coach, it’ll also free up your time so you can spend it more effectively developing the technique of your players.
Tennis Ball Machine Features and Variables: What to Look For In Tennis Ball Machines
Price is a crucial factor when it comes to deciding on a tennis ball machine since they can be expensive.
At the same time, they are a valuable investment to any tennis club or professional coach. Because of how expensive these machines are.
The price you pay will largely depend on factors such as;
- The features you want
- The make and model of the machine
- What level you currently coach/play at
- What you’ve already got at your disposal (if anything)
This is not an exhaustive list, but you should get the point. Price will vary significantly depending on what machine you buy.
Typically, you’re looking at price range of $700 roughly for lower range models and $3000 for the top of range models.
Size is a determining factor when you consider where you will be using your ball machine.
For example, if you are a coach that goes to your clients / players, you’ll be best served by selecting a ball machine that is portable and will fit in the trunk of your car.
If you’re looking to use your machine at only one location, then it’ss less of an issue if the ball machine is larger than its smaller counterparts.
Also, another thing worth considering is storage space and whether or not your tennis ball machine will be kept away from the rain, wind, high heat or freezing conditions.
Capacity is a simple matter of how many balls your ball machine can hold at any one time. The variance of most ball machines is between 50 to 300 balls.
The decision on capacity will depend on whether it will be used by one player or a larger group of players at any one time. Of course, as I mentioned above, with a machine that can deliver 300 balls, you’ll almost certainly want to consider tennis ball hoppers to help pick them all back up again!
Weight is not something to be taken lightly…. J
If you need to reposition your ball machine on a regular basis, then you’ll want to look at the lighter machines. The heavier the machine, the harder it will be to move round– which inevitably will waste precious coaching time.
Power is sourced by either AC mains power or battery. The choice of the energy source can be a determining factor when you consider where you will be using your tennis ball machine.
AC powered devices require access to a mains point. Whereas there is no limitation on the location of use for the battery operated ones.
There are pros and cons with both types of ball machines. Despite their versatility in being portable, battery powered machines can lack some of the most advanced features that the mains powered ball machines tend to have.
Some machine have the option to be have both battery and mains operated.
Oscillation is the ability of a tennis ball machine to deliver balls to the player from more than one direction. The ball machine can be programmed, even to the point of allowing a choice in the number of shots.
The other alternative is to have the ball machine set to random so that it feeds the balls to the player in an unpredictable pattern.
This feature alone can have your drills and sessions progressing and regressing with speed and ease.
Elevation is an important consideration for a more dynamic feed. The elevation is the reference to how high or low the balls can be delivered.
Feed Rate can have an effect on a player’s improvement at reacting to incoming balls. The faster the feed rate, the more shots in a set amount of time and the quicker the ball delivery rate. Higher feed rates can be beneficial when a ball machine is going to be used by multiple players simultaneously or when you want to increase the challenge by decreasing the time needed to prepare between shots.
Feed Rate is great for mimicking game-like scenarios.
Top speed is a major factor for intermediate or advanced players that want to practice hitting tennis balls delivered at some pace.
Again, this is another great way to progress the difficulty of your drills and sessions.
Topspin and Backspin
Yet another great way to progress your training.
Where to Buy Tennis Ball Machines
At the moment, there few places you can actually find tennis ball machines for sale.
- Tennis Equipment Suppliers: These are few and far between where ball machines are concerned but you could check out your supplier to see if they have, or plan to have any in stock.
- Brand Website: Another method is to go straight to the brand website, check out their models and go from there. The only problem with this however is you often don’t have the power of customer reviews, a rating system or a way to compare different tennis ball machine makes and models.
- Amazon: Finally, you’ve got online retailers such as Amazon.com – Here you have a way to compare different makes and models, price ranges and customer reviews. Amazon currently have the largest range of tennis ball machines collated in one place that I can find and are well worth checking if a tennis ball machine is something you’re serious about investing in. Here’s more information on tennis ball machines on sale through Amazon if you’re interested.
Whether this is the first tennis ball machine you’re looking to buy or you’re a seasoned tennis ball machine guru – the facts are still the same.
Your needs, and more importantly your player’s needs if you coach change – and with that change, you need to adapt.
It’s generally good to think progressively, and purchase a ball machine that suits your or your player’s needs now, and can also help challenge you as you or your players get better.
Remember it’s an investment, and the return on that investment will be largely down to how much you intend to use it and how seriously you take your training.
All the best,