Using a tennis ball machine is just like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. You should have a plan when you go out to use your ball machine, whether that be to hit as many balls as possible, get a great workout, improve your tennis game, work out the kinks in your inside out forehand (I am still working on that, but I will get there) or just have some fun family time.
1) Know what you want out of the time:
– If you want to get a good sweat going, up the feed rate and activate the sweep function and run down balls on the baseline.
– If you want to work on your backhand set it to a normal feed rate (3-5 seconds depending on level) to get yourself settled each time and turn off Oscillation.
– If you want to beat the pattern that your opponent used to beat you, use your Precision Tennis System (PTS) ball machine from Matchmate to program in the pattern (my latest that got me was topspin to my forehand, slice to my backhand, and dropshot to the forehand side, I will get you Greg!) and have it repeat to never let that work again.
2) Bring a friend:
– While many people think that they only use a ball machine by yourself, it can be great when used by multiple people as well.
– Two people – My wife and I take turns using the ball machine, the other person will pick up balls while the other one hits. This makes it so someone is hitting balls at all times and really gives you a good workout.
– Pro tip: set a time limit like 5-10 minutes to switch otherwise someone might pass out (hint: it wasn’t me). This gives a good work out and if you have a PTS machine than you can just load your own program for each person when they use it and can switch quickly, you can come up with unlimited programs if you wanted to work on different things through an hour or so on the PTS from Matchmate.
3) Bring the family:
– I will bring my kids out to hit with the tennis ball machine and they love it. My kids are 4 and 7 so they don’t make contact every time but they really like having the ball shot at them from robot.
– Just be careful, maybe this is just my kids but they like to see if they can run in front of the ball machine without getting hit, and with balls flying up to 125 miles per hour this can be a very dangerous game (to clarify they wanted to do this, we did not let them).
– This may not be a very focused time to workout or improve if your kids are as young as mine but it is a fun family activity
When you are using a ball machine it helps to have a plan of what you want, even if that is just to mindlessly hit some balls to work out some frustration. Doing a little bit of prep work can make a big difference even if it is just mentally preparing for what you want out of a ball machine session. So take a moment to plan what you want and then go out and have fun with your ball machine.