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Tennis Ball Machine

Read about tennis ball machines and the different types on the market.

Tennis ball machines help players improve their skills. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Tennis ball machines help players improve their skills.

A tennis ball machine automatically throws a tennis ball so a tennis player can practice returning it. A tennis ball machine can facilitate precision tennis play regardless of the level of the player. While some tennis players aspire to be tennis professionals, others play for pure enjoyment of the game or as a means of exercise. The practicality and design of a tennis ball machine allows individuals to improve and develop their game in a number of ways. This small investment can yield many benefits.

Features of a Tennis Ball Machine

A tennis ball machine offers tennis players many advantages in regard to improving and simulating the game. Players should keep several things in mind when purchasing or renting a tennis ball machine:

  • Ball speed allows individuals to control the ball speed; the machine should offer varying speeds.
  • Capacity of oscillation in addition to practicing the swing, an oscillating machine can help individuals in advanced training to develop other areas of their game, including stance, reaction to the ball and ease of movement.
  • A long battery life up to about four hours is one of the most important factors to consider, unless it is an electric machine that operates off of an AC adapter.
  • Consider a portable machine that's simple to transport and one that can be moved from one location to another.
  • Review products to make sure they offer warranty and service options.

 

Tennis Ball Machine Types

There are two types of tennis ball machines: a wheel-driven machine and a pneumatic tennis ball machine. According to Silent Partner Tennis, the wheel-driven machines available on the market use wheels to throw the ball. There are two wheels turning in opposite directions with a small space between them. The balls roll down a chute and are squeezed by the counter rotating wheels, which then eject it.

The other type of tennis ball machine shoots tennis balls using air pressure, called a pneumatic tennis ball machine. The ball is dropped down a shoot into a tube where pressure is supplied to a drum by a vacuum cleaner motor. Pneumatic machines are falling out of favor because they use a lot of electricity and cannot use a battery. The level of performance with pneumatic machines tends to be worse than the counter wheel machines.

A tennis ball machine should not take the place of a personal tennis coach or an instructor, but it can be a great tool for beginners and advanced players alike. A tennis ball machine is available whenever and wherever an individual wants to play, and players don't have to wait for others to join them for a game. There are a variety of different models to choose from, depending on the specific needs and budget of the player.

Machines for Beginners

According to The Tennis Ball Machine Superstore, beginners benefit from the practice value of a tennis ball machine because they offer plenty of repetition, consistency and precision. Repetition helps to build and develop a players basic skills.

Machines for Advanced Players

Advanced players can take advantage of most features spins, strokes, higher speeds and randomization. Those who are further along with their skill can be challenged by the additional features.

Portable Machines

These machines are mobile and can easily be transported to and from the court. Many machines offer handles, compact designs and built-in wheels. They are made of lightweight materials and are designed to run on rechargeable batteries as their primary power source. There are some machines that offer both an AC adapter and a rechargeable battery supply, but not all courts offer power outlets.

AC-Powered Machines

This tennis ball machine has to be operated with a power outlet. They are designed for more permanent placement on a court or in a practice center.

Ball Capacity

The more advanced machines can serve any type of balls. A tennis ball machine can also hold from 30 to several hundred tennis balls. A machine that holds fewer tennis balls is appropriate for individual use, but families, teams and clubs should seek a machine with a two-drill feature that alternates forehand and backhand courts, a higher ball capacity or a more durable commercial machine.

Programmable Machines

Some machines offer programs that allow individuals to utilize the fitness and advanced footwork features. The most advanced machines emulate play and allow for a variety of different shots.

Wireless Devices

This tennis ball machine has a remote-controlled device that allows individuals to practice at their own pace.

Where to Purchase a Tennis Ball Machine

Individuals who play tennis frequently may want to consider purchasing a tennis ball machine, available at tennis professional sports shop, sporting goods store or through online retailers offering tennis ball machines and other tennis equipment.

Purchase Cost

The cost of a tennis ball machine can range from under $100 to several thousand dollars, depending on the kind of machine and the array of features it offers, according to Master Sports.

Tennis Ball Machine Rentals

For many tennis players, renting a tennis ball machine is the way to go. Renting a machine permits usage without the commitment of making an investment in a new machine. Individuals can be of any skill level but can still increase the effectiveness of their game by renting. Most individuals who rent a tennis ball machine use them on public courts, and others choose private or courts at facilities where they live, exercise or work.

According to Tennis Machine Rentals, rentals may be ideal for:

  • Players looking for a practice partner
  • Players who want to increase the effectiveness of their game by developing their strokes
  • Those who potentially want to buy their own machine can try out different models prior to purchasing
  • Instructors and coaches who want to incorporate new drills and skills
  • Occasional players looking for an inexpensive optio

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