Guide to the Best
Tennis Ball Machines
Whatever level of player you are, the best tennis ball machines are guaranteed to improve your game. Of course, even the best tennis ball machines are no substitute for a quality coach or practice partner, but they are invaluable for practising and grooving your strokes.
If you're a beginner, tennis ball machines are ideal for feeding the ball consistently, accurately, and at a pace you can handle, to the stroke you want to improve. You just program the machine to feed the ball at exactly the right pace and tempo, and then practise exactly what your coach wants you to practise.
As a beginner, unless you have a coach or advanced player willing to feed or rally to a particular spot in the court, a ball machine is the single best way to ensure rapid improvement of any stroke (except the serve).
Intermediate & Advanced
For intermediate and advanced players, exactly the same thing applies; namely, ball machines are fantastic for the repetitious grooving of shots. Take the smash or overhead as an example . . . who wants to feed you two hundred consecutive lobs so that you can work on improving your smash? That's right . . . Nobody!
Further, the better the player you are, the more likely it is that you enjoy spending more time on court than players of a lower standard. For players like you, tennis ball machines are always on standby as the perfect practice partner!
If you are an advanced player, and you want more from your ball machine than just to be able to "groove" your shots, the best tennis ball machines out there can provide you with virtually anything that your game needs.
For instance, there's one machine on the market that allows you to program different speeds, spins and trajectories within the same 30 ball drill, while feeding the ball to different areas of the court. This machine is billed as "The World's Most Advanced Tennis Ball Machine" . . . and it is. Unfortunately, while it may be one of the world's best tennis ball machines, it's also one of the most expensive. If you want, you can find a link here to a review of this machine in the March 2005 issue of the Racquet Sport Industry's online publication.
Now, I'm not for a second recommending this machine to you or anyone considering to purchase a ball machine to improve his or her tennis. I'm just pointing out how sophisticated the very best tennis ball machines have become . . . to the point where they can offer huge benefit to every standard of player -- even tour pros.
WHICH Tennis Ball Machine is Right for You?
What are the best tennis ball machines for you?
The questions to ask yourself are . . .
- What will my requirements be - both now and in the future?
- Do I need a machine that's transportable?
- Do I need a machine powered by battery? Or electricity (pneumatic)?
- What price am I prepared to pay?
Even if you've only been playing a short time, with regular practice, it won't be long before you outgrow any non-oscillating machine. All the best tennis ball machines oscillate.
At the bare minimum, you'll want a ball machine that creates a random pattern of shots, at varying speeds and tempo, from sideline to sideline. They are a major step up from the most basic machines, which are limited to the single function of hitting ball after ball to one spot in the court.
Having decided that you want a machine that offers random horizontal oscillation (random pattern of shots, fed at the same trajectory, from sideline to sideline), the next consideration is . . .
Do I Need A Machine That's Portable?
If you've got a court at home, or if you can store your machine at the club, you don't need a machine that fits in the trunk of your car. You should also note that when most companies use the word "portable", they really mean battery operated. The assumption, from your point of view, is that portable translates to "easy to move around." This is not necessarily the case. For the very best portables on the market, please click here.
As someone who's used ball machines for thirty years, I promise you, the so called "portables" are not easy to carry around. In fact, in most cases, they are heavier than the pneumatic machines. If you do decide to buy a battery operated machine, make sure that the weight of the machine is advertised with the hopper, otherwise you'll be fooled. It's also worth noting that, as the battery in the machine runs down, this leads to an ever-increasing loss of power with the feeds.
If you're either new to the game or a tournament player (or any level in between) you want a machine that offers the following range of options . . .
- The ability to feed slow balls to the same place each time.
- The ability to feed slow balls either left or right (horizontal oscillation) so that you can work on your footwork as your game develops.
- The ability to hit random short and deep balls so that you can practice moving forward to the short balls and back for the deep balls.
- The ability to increase the pace the ball comes at you as your recovery and preparation improve.
- The ability to increase the "feed speed" so that your footwork and preparation can be put under increasingly more pressure as your game improves.
- The ability to increase the amount of spin imparted - simulating shots from better and better players.
Once again, there are a number of the best tennis ball machines that offer all the above options, but what brand is the best for you?
If you're looking for one of the best tennis ball machines, one that's both durable and offers great value for money, you won't go wrong with the Lobster Elite Three Battery Tennis Ball Machine.
It's an extremely popular machine, catering to beginners right through to tournament level players. The folks at Lobster have a reputation for manufacturing extremely durable tennis ball machines.
Whereas many tennis ball machines break down after a few months - or weeks - Lobster have a strict quality control program in place with all their products. Their reputation for producing the best tennis ball machines is well deserved.
Unlike many of their competitors, Lobster don't outsource any of their manufacturing; all quality controls are internal. The company is 33 years old, with a reputation second to none.
Lobster tennis ball machines are built for life. All of our tennis ball machines are durable, fun to use, improve your fitness while you become a better tennis player.
If the information I've provided you with on the best tennis ball machines has been helpful, it's been my pleasure. I wish you many enjoyable hours on the court grooving your shots. I guarantee, with extensive use of your tennis ball machine, in conjunction with guidance from your coach, your game will improve rapidly.
On a final note, if you've ever heard the term tennis pitching machine, and were wondering whether they differ from tennis ball machines, here is some information on them.