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Training with Tennis Ball Machines

Updated: May 13, 2023

So you've got all your equipment ready, but your friend bailed on you? No worry, a ball machine can be your partner in crime. It's always ready for you, patient when you miss your shots, and can be programmed to match your skill level just like a coach.

Discover some top tips to help you reach your full potential and become the king of the court, focusing on improving specific aspects of your game.

tennis ball machine

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Tips to Train with Tennis Ball Machines

1. Training Your Basic Strokes: Balls to the Same Point

To start off, program the machine to throw flat balls to the same point on the court. Place the machine in the middle of the opposite service line and configure it to fire straight shots every 10 seconds. Stand on your service line and practise your forehand or backhand by hitting those balls back.

To improve your stroke direction, aim your return shots as close to the tennis ball machine as possible. After this, place the machine in the middle of the opposite baseline, while you position yourself on your baseline. This allows you to train your baseline strokes.

Lastly, position yourself in your forehand or backhand corner, with the machine in the opposite corner of the court.

Pro Tip:

This combination of shots will help to train your basic strokes.

2. Improving Your Positioning and Movement: Left-Right Alternation

Position the machine in the middle of the opposite baseline and adjust the setting, so it feeds balls to both sides of the tennis court alternatively.

Firstly, you can practise short distance by programming the machine to fire a ball every 5-10 seconds. Place yourself in the middle of the service line, and focus on your position and movement before each stroke.

Once you're done with this, switch the time per ball to 10-15 seconds and move towards the middle of the service line.

Pro Tip:

This will help you work on your reaction speed and sense of direction.

3. Working On Your Lob Defence: The Smasher

A lob stroke provides you with an excellent opportunity to bring a tennis game back in your favour, usually by taking your opponent by surprise or giving yourself more time to dominate at the net. So when it's used against you, how do you defend against it?

Position yourself at your service line, and place the tennis ball machine at the centre of the opposite one. Set the machine to lob the ball in your direction, at a firing speed of 5-8 seconds and with vertical oscillation activated.

Decide beforehand where your balls should land on the opposite side, and, hit them back them as close as possible to your selected point. You can also run to the net and back or to the baseline and back between every shot.

Pro Tip:

This will help train your stamina and endurance.

Now that you've got an idea of what ball machines can do for you, it's time to get one so you can train any time of the day. If the cost is too prohibitive, sign up with SimplyTennis and we'd be happy to let you try them out!

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