Are Tennis Ball Machines Worth It?

Written by Mark Sampson
Last updated on

If you’re trying to up your tennis game, one of the best investments would be a tennis ball machine. But are they really worth the money? In this blog post we’ll explore all the benefits – both physical and mental – that investing in a tennis ball machine could bring into your life as well as some tips on how to get started with using one!

  • A tennis ball machine is an excellent tool if you want to practice for longer periods without help from a partner.
  • Tennis ball machines can be adjusted to different angles and speeds to suit your preferences, but they may not be practical for every player.
  • Some benefits of using a tennis ball machine include consistency, improved stamina and endurance, customized sessions, time-saving, ability to practice alone.
  • Some drawbacks of using a tennis ball machine include: cost, overuse injuries, unrealistic feeling compared to playing with an actual person

A tennis ball machine is an excellent tool if you want to practice for longer periods without help from a partner. They are also great for practicing repetitive shots in the exact same position for consistency. Tennis ball machines can be adjusted to different angles and speeds to suit your preferences, but they may not be practical for every player. 


Although tennis ball machines may not be fit for everyone, they bring the following advantages to those who use them: 

1. Consistency

For a normal human being, throwing a ball at the same speed, height, and angle over and over again is very difficult. To improve technique, however, it’s very important to practice with a ball landing in the same area. A machine launches the ball at the same speed and angle of approach every time for repetitive practice. For beginners or those who want to work on specific shots and techniques, a tennis ball can improve their game significantly. 

2. Improving stamina and endurance

The tennis ball machine provides long, engaging practice sessions with challenging throws that greatly enhance stamina and endurance. These two factors are key hallmarks of a great tennis player. Playing on the court with a real opponent comes easy when you practice in such intense conditions. 

3. Customized sessions

Modern machines come with state-of-the-art features and a wide range of options for customized practice sessions. These settings may include the spinning rate, ball speed, and feeding rate. The machine can also be set to a random setting to make practice sessions less predictable and more engaging. This adjustment can help you improve your hand-eye coordination, footwork, and reaction time. Learn more about how tennis ball machines work.

4. Time-saving

As the machine eliminates the human factor, practicing can be time-saving and even sometimes cost-effective. You can fully utilize a tennis ball machine’s features anytime and anywhere without engaging with or pairing up with a partner. Therefore, the machine becomes a training partner that is always available.

5. Can practice alone

One of the benefits of a tennis ball machine is that you do not need another person to practice. As previously mentioned, you can practice on your own schedule, where you want, and how you want. It eliminates the uncertainty that comes with not having a partner. 


Apart from its benefits, the following drawbacks should be considered before purchasing a tennis ball machine: 

1. Cost

Tennis ball machines with the most desirable features, like height variation, distinct oscillation options, and spin regulation, are a significant investment. This expensive equipment can go for as much as $9,000. There are cheaper options available, but they lack many of the features we have discussed. See our buyer’s guide for tennis ball machines for every budget.

2. Overuse injuries

Without proper guidance, you can injure yourself while practicing alone. Similarly, practicing too often with a tennis ball machine can have painful consequences. 

Common overuse injuries include:

  • Shoulder injuries because of excessive use of rotator cuff
  • Elbow region injuries
  • Lower back and hip injuries 

3. Unrealistic

A tennis ball machine doesn’t give the actual feel of a real match. In other words, it can sometimes feel fake. The machine does not consider anything before and after a specific shot. Therefore, you are restricted from being able to rally, which is very important in winning an actual tennis match.

4. No trained professional

Unless you can bear the cost, you may not be able to purchase your own tennis ball machine. As a result, these machines are usually purchased by club owners. Even though the clubs have these machines available to the public, no professionals oversee their usage.

5. High maintenance 

Apart from its high cost, maintenance of tennis ball machines is quite intensive. Since this is a specialty area, it can become costly without enough professionals to complete the maintenance. Similarly, the cost of replacement parts is high.

Alternative training methods

Alternative training methods include pairing up with someone or hitting against the wall. Hitting the ball back and forth with yourself using a wall can be a great alternative to a tennis ball machine; however, you can’t rally shots back and forth this way either. For a more realistic experience, you can practice on the court with a partner when someone you know is available. 

Tennis players who have used tennis ball machines

Many of the best tennis players worldwide have been known to use tennis ball machines as their training partners. 

1. Rene Lacoste

Rene Lacoste, a well-known tennis player from France, was more than just an expert on the court. The man who went by the name “The Crocodile” was an innovative tennis technology pioneer and savvy businessman away from the tennis circuit.

He collaborated with the sports company Dunlop to patent a hand-cranked tennis ball launcher in the 1920s. A partner at the opposite end of the court operated the machine, which enabled him to perform numerous stroke repetitions.

2. Robert H. McClure

Sales executive Robert H. McClure built a brand-new tennis ball throwing machine in 1968. McClure was also an avid tennis player. At that point, McClure was 75 years old, yet the machine was a triumph and ignited the development of the Ruler Assembling Organization. He left the company in 1974, but the company still makes tennis equipment today.

3. Jerry Sweeton

The “Little Prince,” McClure’s and Jerry Sweeton’s first machine, used a motor from a vacuum cleaner to create air pressure and shoot balls from a tube. The Sovereign machines were the principal tennis ball launchers accessible for an enormous scope of business premises and ignited an upheaval in the tennis machine industry.

4. Rafael Nadal

When Nadal retires, we will all miss his incredible shot-making, which earned him the top spot on the list of the greatest tennis players ever. He frequently improves his game by making use of tennis ball machines.

5. Roger Federer

Roger Federer was far ahead of the competition at one point, and we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we were watching the greatest tennis player ever. He has been observed practicing numerous times with sophisticated tennis ball machines.

6. Pete Sampras

The Grand Slam record held by “Pistol” Pete Sampras appeared to be nearly impossible to surpass before Roger Federer’s arrival. With 14 huge home run titles and seven at Wimbledon, Sampras established himself as one of the best tennis players ever. 

The American was a master of big points and possessed one of the most outstanding serves of all time, securing an incredible career. He has always considered tennis ball machines his best training partners of all time. He said it greatly improved his game and helped him achieve his goals.


How much does a tennis ball machine cost?

A tennis ball machine can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000, depending on the features of the machine. 

What is the fastest tennis ball machine?

The Grand Slam is the fastest tennis ball machine. It can land a 120 MPH serve every time.

What is the alternative to buying a tennis ball machine?

If you cannot buy a tennis ball machine, you can always use one at a tennis or sports club. Alternatively, you can hit against a wall or grab a partner. 


A tennis ball machine has many advanced features and benefits to help a player’s development. While these machines can help you practice repetitive drills and techniques, they are far from affordable. In addition, players using machines are susceptible to overuse injuries.

Before purchasing one for yourself, consider these factors to make the best decision. Whether you choose to practice with a machine, a partner, or alone, stay diligent and continue running drills to improve your technique daily!