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Most people use ball machines in a way that helps them learn skills and repeat them over and over.

When learning a new skill, such as a new grip or adding slice or topspin, hitting a ball machine full of balls is a great idea. 

But what’s the fastest tennis ball machine?

Practice match play

Your tennis ball machine practice should simulate match play. 

Tennis points in a match usually last less than ten seconds. Occasionally you get into long rallies, but your goal is to end points, not keep them going. 

Another thing about tennis points in a match is that you don’t hit the same shot over and over unless you get into a long crosscourt rally.

You may play a serve-and- volley game in which you serve and immediately run to the net. The point is short.

Even in a crosscourt rally, each player may hit the same shot only five or six times. 

This is where a tennis ball machine comes in! The article will explore how finding the fastest tennis ball machine can help with rapid-fire feeding, a great way to replicate match play. 

In 1973 Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes”. Billie Jean king’s coach Dennis Van de Meer discovered promising tennis ball machine technology.

The rugged red aluminum exterior of the machine, patented pitching system, and solid state electronics were a sign of promising things to come. 

Tennis Ball Machine Myths

  • Myth: Ball Machines are Only for Beginners

 Ball machines are often viewed as only for beginners. Better club players feel that they don’t need stroke training or ball machine training.

They feel they have reached a level in their game where they only need match play.

In reality, all players should be continually training (beginner, intermediate, advanced) on the ball machine. Each level of player’s training should be different. 

Beginners need to work on stroke production, movement to the ball, footwork and recovery.

A tennis ball machine’s speed is important. The speed at which it can throw balls of different height, spin and direction in sequence and at random is a feature to look for in a machine.

Ball recognition is a skill that beginners need to learn. This is the ability to track the ball in flight by its basic characteristics (speed, spin, depth, height and direction).

The ball machine set on ‘random’ allows this to be a focus for beginners.

What is generally lacking for advanced players is the number of shots in their repertoire.

Advanced players should be using the ball machine to increase their complement of shots by practicing as many different strokes as possible. 

Another advantage for advanced players using the ball machine is that they can create 3 to 4 targets, making the target area smaller and smaller, so they can increase the difficulty of the shot being practiced. 

  • Myth: They are Competition for Teaching Pros

Teaching pros view the tennis ball machine as competition. Tennis is a sport where the coach actually competes against the student in order to improve the skills of the student. This is not necessarily the best way to learn. 

While a ball machine shouldn’t be used exclusively in a tennis lesson, it should play an integral role.

It should be plugged in at court side and ready to go in order to work on a specific aspect of a player’s game.

The ball machine can be used 30 minutes in an hour lesson and an hour in a 2 hour lesson. 

The following tips are important when taking a lesson with a ball machine.

  1. Make sure the teaching pro changes drills every 4 to 6 minutes. You don’t want to get bored.
  2. Make sure the teaching pro constantly interacts with you when you are hitting off the machine.
  3. Have the pro video you as a teaching opportunity since he/she will be freed from feeding balls. 

How to use a tennis ball machine

Tennis ball machine speed is important, however, you want to set the time in between feeds to mirror a match.

A ball shouldn’t shoot out of the ball machine until the shot you just hit has reached the opposite baseline. 

Innovative features of tennis ball machines give users multiple options to set the machine in a customized way.

You can set the speed, spinning rate and feeding rate of the ball that suits your own practice requirements. 

Make sure to set the ball machine on the opposite baseline so you will get balls just like you would in a match.

Replicating match play, you should have time to follow through, recover to your original position, and get ready for the next shot.

Variable Feeds

If you want to store a new stroke or shot technique you’ve just practiced in your muscle memory, you need to shift your ball machine to variable feeds.

This means you keep working on the same stroke (for example a backhand down the line) but now you receive balls to your backhand that are deep, wide, short and make you move around. 

Since you will need to hit a backhand down the line during a match that is deep, wide and short, you will also need to practice this way. Variable practice will help you to retain your skill.

Random Hitting

Once you’ve learned your new skill and retained it, you need to make sure you can recall it when you’re playing in a match.

Set your ball machine to random hitting. This is where you practice like you play.

 Hit a forehand, a backhand, a deep forehand, a short forehand, just like a point might play out during a match.

Play some points closing the net and finish with an overhead. 

If you can hit your new shot or use your new skill every four or five balls, then you have successfully retained and recalled your skill.

How to practice

Make sure every ball machine session is match-like.

  • Set the ball machine at the opposite baseline.
  • Space your feeds to give you enough time to recover after each shot.
  • Vary your feeds after your first bucket of balls.
  • Finish practice with random feeds.

Take a quick look at someone practicing with a tennis ball machine.

Fastest Tennis Ball Machine

If you’re looking for a fast tennis ball machine, there are a number of products that may work well for your needs. You should always consult an industry professional before using any new product for your game.

The following tennis ball machines may work well for use if you’re looking for a fast product.

Playmate Smash Ball Machine, Green

The Playmate Smash ball machine is the fastest ball machine in the world.

It can throw any types of spin including:

  • Left-handed slice
  • Right-handed slice
  • Left-handed kick
  • Right-handed kick
  • American twist

The Playmate can land a 120 mile per hour serve every time! It can randomly serve to a player up the ‘T’, at the body, or out wide.

The unique four wheel design allows the Playmate to grip the tennis ball like no other machine in the world.

 It can be used for return of serve for groups. It can simulate a first serve, second serve combination to two lines of players practicing.

View at Amazon to learn more about how this product could potentially work for your needs.

Features and details include:

  • Simple to operate-user friendly controller
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Durable and Reliable
  • Exclusive ball delivery system offering a selection of intervals, directions, elevations and trajectories.
  • Hold 300 balls
  • Upgradeable and interchangeable (works with all controllers)
  • Programmable to direction and position, random and variable.
  • Two function remote control (on/off with drill reset)
  • Three year limited parts warranty.

Product information:

  • Item weight: 25 pounds
  • Color: Green
  • Package weight: 25 pounds

More key specs include:

  • 7 position programmable electronic direction with programmable direction
  • Variable electronic height
  • Serve-Lift friendly
  • Great for enhancing ball recognition skills
  • Programmable random shot sequence
  • 7 shot delay

Spinshot-Player Tennis Ball Machine (Best Seller Ball Machine in the World)

According to the manufacturer, Spinshot is the first tennis ball machine with fully programmable drills. The revolutionary design means you can customize your drills to program height, direction, speed, for each of six sequential shots and then save these into your personalized drills. 

The machine comes with 12 pre-programmed drills which give you a full variety of shots. You can adjust each of these drills to suit your own playing level or create your own drills.

A free phone remote App is provided for easy programming and control. An optional remote watch can also be used to control the machine.

View at Amazon for more information on how this ball machine might work for you.

Some benefits of this product include:

  • Easy transfer and storage: The square shape and extended hopper make the machine easy to transfer and store. When the ball hopper is folded down, the machine measures only 18x12x20 and weighs only 18kg. It can easily be stored in the trunk of a car. 
  • Multiple ways to control the machine: Controlled via the front panel, just press the D button to trigger the favorite drills. All drills can be pre-programmed. The Spinshot is the first ball machine to provide a free phone remote App supported by an android or IPhone and with de-fault pre-set drills.
  • Flexible power connection options: A battery sits inside the ‘power cage’ at all times and can be recharged with the provided charger plugged into the front panel. Batteries can be swapped out without opening the ‘power cage’. This way you can use multiple batteries for more hours of uninterrupted training. 

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com