The sport of tennis requires many physical and mental attributes to be sharp and concise in order to achieve success. Some of these traits include timing, speed, flexibility and a quick mind. There are many tools a player can use to improve these skills including tennis ball machines.
Best tennis ball machine have been around since the 1920's when a French tennis player, Rene Lacoste, developed a hand-cranked version. From that first version to today's versions which now are programmable and include multiple settings for speed, distance, spin and more, the purpose of the machines are still the same, improve a tennis player's ability.
How can a tennis ball machine do so? Here are a couple of area's where they can contribute.
- Time - To mimic taking and returning a tennis shot would mean you need someone hitting tennis balls to you. To accomplish that you must schedule the time that is not only convenient to you but to your hitting partner as well. A tennis ball machine eliminates the need for a ball hitting partner. Your schedule becomes the only factor in the equation and you don't have to buy it lunch.
- Practice specific shots - While a hitting partner can certainly do just that, if their skill level is not excellent you may have a number of the balls hit the net, go long, go short, be right, be left, etcetera. How could you consistently practice a particular shot if the ball is coming at you at all angles and speed? You can't and once again the ball machine provides an advantage by sending consistent shots at specific distances and spins to allow for repetitive shots. Repetition is what you need to master a particular shot.
- Your overall game - While you practice a number of specific shots you are in essence improving your overall game as well. If you only practiced one shot and mastered just that one you certainly would be limiting your game but with the precise nature a machine can deliver balls the amount of shots you can master is increased many times over.
- The number of balls - How many tennis balls can you fit in your pockets? Four? Six? That is about what your hitting partners limit will be as well. Ball machines can hold anywhere from 50 - 300 balls so it's easy to see how not having to regularly stop your training to pick up balls would have a positive impact on your game.
There are numerous makes and models on the market today including many tennis ball machine, Lobster and Sports Tudor ball machines so your choices are many but remember the ball machine won't play your game, only you can and you get out of it what you put into it. Like any tool it only works as well as the person using it masters it.