Thanks for all the good input on the pros and cons of different ball machines and their features. With all that good response, four of us in New Hampshire bought the Lobster Elite I machine ($1,089 through Amazon).
This machine holds up to 150 balls and has just about all you would need; but does not feature a handy remote control, which would allow you to stop and start from the other end of the court. The next model “up” from the Elite I that featured the remote was an additional $500 and we all didn’t think it was worth the difference.
Our machine does allow you to set all the dials you wish and then walk casually to the other end of the court before it will start feeding the balls. It also has:
• Feed-rate: This goes from two seconds to twelve seconds in between times it shoots out the next ball. For methodically working on a stroke, we have been using 9-10 seconds; and for “rally practice,” a faster 6-second interval.
• Speed: You can have the shot come at you at speeds up to 85 mph! We have found that the low 70’s is about right.
• Height: This controls how high the angle of exit and thus the depth in the court the ball will land.
• Spin: You can set it for increasing degrees of topspin and underspin, depending on what you are practicing.
• Oscillation: If you want to run side to side on the baseline or have two players alternating receiving groundstrokes or volleys, you turn this feature on.
Bottom-line: I have used it three times with a partner and twice by myself. More fun with somebody; but it is also like jogging … you don’t need anyone else to go out and get some exercise. A great investment!
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