Comedian Mitch Hedberg once said, “The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I’ll never be as good as a wall.”
Speak for yourself, Mitch. Because with a tennis ball machine, you’ll be giving that wall—or, at least a very worthy opponent—a run for its money.
Whether you play on clay, grass, concrete or the occasional water court, a tennis ball machine helps players hone their skills for a more fluid game. You decide how fast, where, and how often the machine spits tennis balls so you can practice at a pace to your liking.
Novak Djokovic’s haul from winning the 2015 Wimbledon Championships was nearly $3 million, enough to invest in about 850 high-end tennis ball machines.
However, you’ll probably want know exactly what you’re getting from your tennis ball machine before throwing that kind of cash on the counter. Are you looking for something your ten year old could practice their forehand with? Are you a high school kid on the verge of mastering that top-spin return? Looking to improve your reaction time?
Whatever your needs, there’s a tennis ball machine out there to help you meet your unique goals—and all with a unique price tag.
Unfortunately, the phrase “leave it all on the court” doesn’t apply to tennis ball machines. And as common sense would suggest, it’s best to store your tennis ball machine somewhere it will be protected from the elements and wicked backhands—think a garage, shed or spare closet. If you must leave your tennis ball machine outside, invest in a heavy-duty cover so any downpours or sandstorms won’t leave your machine damaged.
Tennis ball machines weigh anywhere from 20 to 99 pounds, and offer varying solutions for transport. Some machines, like the Lobster Elite Models, offer compact designs complete with wheels and handles. Others like the Tennis Tutor are literal boxes that need to be carried around. Depending on who’s using the machine and how far it needs to go should play a part in the unit you invest in.
250 tennis balls probably sounds great if you’re A) a golden retriever or B) a very eager ball boy or C) someone who truly doesn’t mind picking up after a workout. While the number of balls you practice with is ultimately up to you, consider what ball capacity you’ll need without overdoing it.
Like betting on a Williams sister, you only have a couple options when it comes to powering up your tennis ball machine: battery or AC cord. If going the AC cord rout, make sure your court has an outlet nearby to plug into. It’d also be wise bring along a 16 gauge or heavier extension cord.
While smaller, less powerful tennis ball machines take regular batteries, most units are rechargeable and last for around 4-6 hours. Even then, you could invest in an AC cord attachment for continuous power. Keep in mind it’s best to charge your tennis ball machine directly after use and can take up to 18 hours to get fully juiced.