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I've try 4 tennis ball machines :my opinion...

February 2, 2024

Hi friends

In the world of tennis, the ball machine is a tool that attracts, intrigues... Everyone wants to try hitting with a ball machine....

In my club I am one of the rare players to regularly use a ball machine, we must recognize that it is an investment and that we must really have use for it.
... Personally, I train very regularly with a ball machine, (at least once a week) not because it's fun, but because it's really a tool that involves repetition of balls or sequences allows me to work on my tennis.

In my case is it useful? Clearly yes.
I take lessons with my coaches, they teach me lots of things, they correct me... The ball machine is what allows me to rework what I have already seen in class with my teachers.

The ball machine is the ideal equipment if you want to train alone (especially in addition to training with a teacher).
Ultra practical, much better than hitting the wall, the ball machine will send us the ball where we want and we will work on the shots we want...

However, be careful: not all tennis ball machines are equal and before making your purchase I will have some recommendations to make to you!



Without further ado, here are my tests:

Ball machine purchased on Amazon

There are several brands: Vevor / Ukiki / Powershot Tennismash... it's made in China, it costs €1500 to €1800 depending on the resellers and depending on the options.

My father bought this machine for €1400 during the COVID crisis and confinement because he was itching to hit the ball...
he took the risk of buying it without really knowing where he was going... And my goodness he wasn't too disappointed, we've been using the machine for 4 years now, we're really satisfied with it.

More in detail :

The machine runs on battery, it is controlled via a smartphone application, you can program sequences in 6 areas of the field and it was very useful for me for training.

You can also program custom balls

  • Choose the area
  • Adjust the height
  • Adjust depth
  • Adjust the effect (retro tour list)
  • Adjust strike force (ball speed)

The autonomy of the machine is rather good: 3 to 4 hours which is more than enough for a session (in one hour of ball machine you are rinsed), the machine recharges in a few hours...

In reality it's really a good ball machine, very complete, the ball is pleasant to hit,
I've been using it for 4 years and I'm really happy with it.


Negative point though:

  • My father finds that the electronics are "cheap" and poorly protected in the ball machine: his anxiety is that it will break down at any time... And there is no after-sales service.
  • Obligation to have a smartphone connected via Bluetooth with the application to operate it
  • The day you need to change the battery, it's going to be complicated because it's inside and we don't have the exact technical characteristics... (it smells like a soldering iron)
  • In short: good machine for personal use, however it is not intended for intensive use so should be avoided for a club (in my opinion).


The old ball machine from the 90s: A refurbished SAM:

In my old club he dragged around this old ball machine from the 90s: the SAM, it was completely smashed, my batteries were dead, the electronic control system was broken...
My father changed the batteries and made his own system to power the motors...
in this way we find the initial capacities of the machine.

Verdict: well, frankly, it’s a good machine too.

It is not programmable via the application, but it allows you to send balls with a certain force and with a lifted or retro effect... And it has a system to pivot on it -
even so as not to always send us the same ball to the same place... It's quite interesting, I worked on some forehand and backhand ranges with this machine.


Advantage or disadvantage depending on your point of view: as my father configured it: it is controlled via the dashboard on the back of the machine... No remote control, no application... It is therefore completely autonomous this which is somehow advantageous.

Well this is not a machine that you will find on the market, it is unique,
can find equivalents, these are relatively professional machines which are in the 3 to 4000 euros which are clearly aimed at a rather club clientele because these are machines built with rather robust materials: made to last proof of this is the one that I I'm almost 15 years old...

Also it can
be worth it to find equivalent machines on leboncoin to use them...


The attractive price machine: Slinger Bag

For a couple of years this machine has invaded the market, it is very well presented with lots of little gadgets, but I'm going to be a little cash:

This is the ball machine that I do not recommend.
For what ? The Machine is only equipped with a single motor to send the ball and therefore it can only do one thing: lift...

And to lift it's a machine that lifts... as soon as you want a slightly deep ball you have to increase the power of the motor and you end up with a lift like Rafael Nadal in your teeth which doesn't doesn't look like much of what we can see on the ground in reality (believe
I take my word for it, it's not necessarily very pleasant)... the ball bounces on the ground and takes crazy speed to reach us in the racket... it's the kind of machine that you can go around in 2 hours, compared compared to other machines that I have been able to test, it is very limited in possibility...

This machine is equipping more and more clubs who are being seduced by the price of around €900... It's a real shame because there are really better things to do in terms of investment.


The Hightof pro machine: It’s awesome from phew!!

With this machine I am entering a new dimension in terms of training quality, it is truly unique whether in terms of ball quality or in terms of possibility...

Programmable at will with ultra-complete game sequences:

an example sequence to illustrate:

  1. Give me a long, rounded, topspin forehand. (I will construct my point)
  2. Follows up with a short flat forehand (I will attack and follow on the fly)
  3. Follows up with a flat passing towards my backhand (I hit the volley)
  4. Follows up with a failed lob that I will be able to smash (I smash my ball)
  5. Wait 5 seconds... And start again

Wow, you saw that... and remember that the machine goes much further, we can program sequences and we can chain sequences together... We can really do crazy things with this machine...

Well the problem is that it costs an arm and a half + the skin of the glawiiiiii.... lol: around €6000...
This is clearly a monstrous budget...



Finally, some recommendations:

The tennis ball machine... ok but:

Generally :

  • Keep in mind that the ball machine is a complement to training: do not think that a ball machine alone will allow you to progress, it does not replace the trainer because the ball machine does not provide training. advice, it does not change the way you grip the racket, it does not tell you if your grip is good...
    etc... for my part I use the ball machine to work on what I see with my coaches: he corrects me on certain points, then I do my homework (in a way) with the ball machine by repeating again and again Again...
  • In the long run, a ball machine gets boring: (I'll repeat myself later) at the beginning it's fun, then it becomes boring you hit over and over.... and over and over again shots or sequences. .. the fun side disappears to give way to work... on a personal level it is a real work tool.
  • I recommend that you equip yourself with several buckets of balls (200 to 300 balls in total) so as not to hit 50 balls, you have learned to pick them up then hit them then pick them up... With 300 balls you do everything a set and you spend 10 minutes picking everything up.
  • I recommend that you buy non-pressurized balls, so that it can last a long time otherwise you will have to change your balls every three months and given the price of the balls it will cost you the skin of your eyes... 😉

For personal use:

  • I already recommend that you avoid ball machines that plug into the mains: favor ball machines that are played with batteries
  • Avoid ball machines where you only put 15 - 20 balls in... It goes by very quickly you will spend your time reloading the machine... It will quickly get you drunk
  • Don't buy a ball machine for fun: Keep in mind that the tennis ball machine is fun at the beginning, but after a month of use you will have gotten the hang of it and it will be much less fun... On the other hand, the ball machine will remain a real training and improvement tool...
    so if you are truly buying it with an eye toward improvement and are willing to work with it it may be a good investment.

For club use:

  • Test before buying: if possible, loan yourself a ball machine for a few weeks to try to see if you really need it... Many clubs buy ball machines that don't use them. ultimately not... (It's a good tool but you really have to use it)
  • Put the price if necessary, do not buy the entry level which risks sending balls which do not correspond to what your players expect.

There you go, don't hesitate to leave me your feedback in the comments... If you have tested a tennis ball machine, don't hesitate to tell me what you think about it, it could be great to share it.

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