A tennis ball machine can be an excellent way for you to accelerate your training. Although there are several different drills that one can adopt when using the tennis ball machine, most people fall into the temptation of practicing their favorite exercises. While this is great and improves one’s technique, it is essential to ensure that you work on your weak points.
Tips when working out with a tennis ball machine
It is easy to get carried away when working out with a tennis ball machine. There are no set guidelines to ensure that you have a great workout with tennis ball machines, but you need to have some best practices at the back of your mind to get the most out of the training.
- Remember to be practical
Ensure that you set shots that you will see yourself play in a match. Ideally, it would help if you had the shots to match your opponent’s level in terms of accuracy and speed. You can do this by analyzing your matches to have a rough idea of shots that appear frequently. When you set shots that you are bound to get in real life, you can easily enjoy the workout if the shots are applicable in real matches.
- Go for fewer quality shots
As most people would say, focus on quality over quantity. Balls that have high frequency will not help you simulate match play. Instead of setting many hits that you will miss or not hit correctly, ensure that you are focusing on fewer quality shots that will mimic the actual game.
- Focus on the fundamentals
The downside of using tennis ball machines is that people tend to let technique slip. As you work on consistency and hitting correctly, it is vital to ensure that you do not neglect the fundamentals. In this case, the fundamentals being early preparation as well as footwork.
It is essential to ensure that you are getting the proper footwork training when working with a tennis ball machine. Even though you may know where different shots are going to land, slamming and standing will not give you real-life experience.
Ensure that with each shot, you are thinking of how you will be in the right position. It becomes easy for you to work on your foot technique by practicing side-shuffles, crossovers, and split steps. Working on your footwork ensures that you can move quickly in the court, which improves your coordination.
B) Early Preparation
Most people tend to trivialize early preparation when using tennis ball machines since they repeatedly deliver shots to the same place. Using randomized shots can help you get ideal workouts even with the most basic of machines.
Early preparation may entail positioning your body or working on your steps as the machine fires. You may want to consider twisting your forehand if a shot is fired fast since it will help you train for real matches.
Best drills with a Tennis Ball Machine
To improve consistency, form, and footwork, here are some drills that you can work on.
- Cross Court short with recovery
For this workout, you will have to set the machine to fire cross-court to your forehand, with the ball landing relatively to the single court. Set up a cone at the center of the court to mark your recovery position.
Start from this position and move to meet the ball when it leaves the machine and returns it cross-court.
As you follow through, use a crossover step and a shuffle to return to the center cone. The goal of this drill is quality and high intensity. Shoot for about ten repetitions to gain mastery of the technique.
- Low Volley
The low volley drill involves setting the machine to air short volleys to your forehand side at about the service line’s depth. Use your legs to get into a low lunge position and return the ball down the line.
After the shots, take a few steps back to get to a neutral position as you ready stance for the next shot. If you like playing close to the net, then this is an ideal workout. You may want to change from using your forehand to your backhand so that you practice the technique well. Consider using your opposite foot to get nice and low to impart a good slice on the ball.
- Medium Volley
This drill requires you to service from the machine around the elbow height. The benefit of this drill is that you can vary the direction of your return which helps you practice down-the-line shots and cross-court shots.
Ideally, you have to hit the volleys with under spins which will help keep the ball low, making it difficult for the opponent to fire the return past you. With this technique, you also have to stay active with your footwork and ensure that you return to a neutral position after each volley.
- High Volley
With this technique, the volleys come above the shoulder height. One can have a more powerful direct throw compared to the other drills. The full range of match possibilities can be varied by practicing short-angle shots, down-the-line shots, and cross-court shots.
Just like the other workouts, you need to practice it with the backhand as well. Concentrate on the footwork by loading your weight into your opposite leg as you wind up and step through so that you can enjoy the impact of the entire workout.
There are several other great workouts that one can do with the tennis ball machine. With some bit of research and creativity, it is to discover more drills and variations to improve your technique.
Consider slowing things to get quality repetitions as you improve your swing, as well as your footwork. You must keep a good intensity throughout the workout as well.