Renting a ball machine is one of the best ways to practice a game that needs so much attention and focus. To become great, thousands and thousands of balls must be hit to build up muscle memory and learn the basic strategy of the game.
Getting a partner to hit with is always great, but sometimes they aren’t available. That’s when renting a tennis ball machine might be an option. Most tennis facilities have a ball machine or two, and it can be relatively inexpensive to get on some type of program to use them consistently.
What are the things every person should know before renting a tennis ball machine? Keep the tips below in mind to get the most out of a practice.
1. Pass vs. By The Hour Pricing
People who are playing consistently should look into buying a pass if it’s available. There will always be an opportunity to make money for tennis clubs if they charge by the hour. However, they are usually willing to cut a deal for people if they only pay a monthly or even yearly fee.
Do the math beforehand to figure out if it’s worth the investment. Obviously, people who play enough to make it worthwhile should always go with the pass. There’s always a steep upfront cost, but it becomes much cheaper breaking it down on a per-use basis.
2. Tennis Ball Machine Types
Not all tennis ball machines are created equally. Therefore, not all tennis ball machines are worth the same price. Being on the lookout for ball machines that can do a lot more than the average ones, while still being at an affordable price.
Don’t fall into the trap of paying a high price for a ball machine that is antiquated though. A lot of tennis facilities never change their pricing, even if their machine isn’t performing as it should.
Most players these days know that they want to work on a variety of realistic shots. The machines popping up as new in the last few years can provide all types of different spins on the ball so that practice can focus on a variety of things.
The machine must be able to play as well as the player needs it to for a challenging workout. Most tennis ball machines, even at the entry-level, are going to be just fine for people starting now.
For more advanced workouts that involve running around the court and taking on a variety of shots, more expensive ball machines are usually the only way to get actual training.
3. Nearby Courts
Using a tennis ball machine at a busy facility next to other courts can cause some problems for everyone involved. People hitting on the ball machine constantly worry about their balls spilling onto other courts.
Those playing on other courts don’t want to have their match ruined because someone is hitting balls and not paying too much attention. It might even get to a point that they end up complaining if they play in a league or have an important match going on.
Tennis facilities usually do a pretty good job of keeping the ball machine away from matches if they can. However, there are times when everything is so busy that it’s impossible to isolate the ball machine.
The way around this is to try scheduling the ball machine at non-peak times. There are sometimes nets that can be pulled to separate the courts a little bit better as well.
A good tennis facility has a policy for inclement weather when someone is using a ball machine. They’ll either refund the money or give a voucher for free future use. However, it’s always best to check the weather before heading out to ensure that it has a good chance of staying dry.
As soon as it starts raining, most tennis facilities want the ball machine brought in right away. It can be devastating for a facility to have a bunch of balls ruined by the rain. There’s usually a cut-off time where people should either get their money back, or it is counted as a full session.
There are always going to be times when people are out of luck and don’t get a full workout, but tennis facilities aren’t necessarily looking to ruin a person’s day.
5. Additional Fees
Most tennis clubs include the court fee with the rental fee of a tennis ball machine. If for some reason they overlook that, it’s best to get a quote on how much everything will cost before starting. It takes just one time for people to understand what the exact final cost is to use a machine.
Be on the lookout for any other type of hidden fees at first. There could be a peak time fee or a fee for using a more premium ball machine instead of one that’s not quite as great.
Hidden fees play a role in so many things these days, and unfortunately, that goes for tennis ball machines as well.
6. Pick Up Options
Always ask about pick-up options available out at a facility when renting a tennis ball machine. The most standard way to pick up balls is in a basket, but that can be pretty tedious if hundreds of balls on the ground. A single person could spend 15 minutes or more just picking up the balls from each round.
Using a tennis ball hopper or something similar to that is always a great option if available. The balls get picked up very easily, and it’s nearly effortless to push around quickly.
People don’t want to spend 25% of their time picking up balls, so the efficiency with ball pickup is crucial.
If a ball hopper isn’t included in your ball machine rent, It’s definitely worth buying one, I listed my recommendations in this post.
A facility might have the best tennis ball machine in the world, but if it’s never available, it’s frustrating to ever plan a hit with them. That’s why availability does matter, since people want to work their tennis into everything else they have on their schedule.
Facilities that only have one ball machine tend to have the biggest issues with availability. Call ahead to see what they have available, as that will save some time overall.
Why People Should Prepare Before Renting a Tennis Ball Machine
The last thing anybody wants to do is go to a tennis facility and waste their time. Training at any age or level is still serious, and a lot of people don’t have time to waste waiting around to get a chance to use a machine.
It’s not as though renting a tennis ball machine is the most expensive thing out there, but most people don’t like to throw around money and waste it either.
Knowing a little bit more about how the process works can make for a more seamless option as well. Once a person tries out a few different options, they can also settle on the most cost-efficient option for them.
Keep in mind that what works for one person might not be the same for someone else. A variety of factors play into renting the best tennis ball machine, and failure to put in that little bit of research will leave people with a lackluster experience.
If you want to buy a ball machine instead of renting one, I listed my current recommendations in this post.