What to consider before getting first tennis ball machine

Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi—the big names in tennis—it’s no argument they worked hard to get to the top, but they also used the right equipment in doing so.

Success in tennis depends on a lot of factors, like innate physical ability, good coaching, motivation, and of course, hard work. The best tennis players have spent countless hours developing their skills on the court.

My tennis coach trains with me often, and so I always thought investing in a ball machine was a waste of money. After a while, I realized my strokes weren’t improving as fast as they should, even though I was working really hard. My coach does an excellent job, but I know that for my strokes to be consistently good I have to always practice everything he teaches me.

I decided to buy a cheap tennis ball machine for a start, and I chose an old tennis ball machine. It worked okay, but it was oddly noisy, I was unable to adjust the speed and frequency at which the balls came and the heights of the shots were the same which limited my improvement. I knew the idea of a tennis ball machine was good but I needed one with more features.

While considering getting my first Lobster ball machine, my sister, a fellow tennis enthusiast, tried to convince me not to. She felt I was wasting money when she could just throw me the balls, funny I thought. After just one day of training, she quit and advised me to buy the machine.  It’s easy to undervalue something at first, and then understand its purpose and fall in love with it. A human partner cannot provide shots consistent enough to allow you to really perfect your strokes, or have enough time, energy and patience to provide you with the variety of shots that a machine will. Even if your partner can do those, they cannot also provide feedback and motivation at the same time.

Also, with a ball machine like the Lobster Elite 2, which I now use, you can adjust the angle, height, depth and spin of the shot to suit your preferences and the type of shot you wish to practice. Tennis ball machines help a lot in sharpening your footwork, ball placement and overall control on the ball and spins. Since you can adjust the intensity of the machine too, it will also help you build stamina.

My Lobster Elite 2 Ball Machine offers both horizontal and vertical oscillation, to make the game more challenging. You can easily place the balls on both sides of court using the one-touch system. It is also fairly light, and it has amazing ball elevation and spin. I’ve been able to maximize its features by using top spin on 60% of the drills, flat on 20% and the backspin on 20%. You can also do this to mimic a live opponent at a pro game; which has helped make my skills much better. The battery lasts very long, but you can extend that further with the external battery pack or the Fast A/C charger. I can promise that you will run out of energy before you run out of battery and play variations.

Needless to say, my sister now owns her own Lobster Elite 1, which is perfect for beginners with its 150 ball count and plenty of variations. She says it has helped her to develop a consistent stroke by delivering the ball exactly the same way each time. In fact, it has become second nature for her.

Hiring a coach to do this kind of repetitive exercise can be very expensive, with the average coach charging $60 on the hour. Now don’t get me wrong; I know a tennis ball machine can’t do it all, so I retained my coach. However, now we hardly spend over an hour together every weekend. All the repetitive work is handled by my ball machine.

 Another beautiful feature is that, you can control your Lobster ball machine remotely—whether with the remote control, or your android or apple phone or watch. If you are wondering whether they offer a warranty, Lobster offers one of the best in the industry, but I’m sure you will be pleased to realize you can extend your warranty by up to 3 years.


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