Tennis Industry magazine


2017 guide to ball machines: It’s Time for a Change

Become more engaged, create better lessons and help your bottom line by using a ball machine.

By Stan Oley

Recently, I received a Facebook “memory” of a photo from a Tennis Industry article I wrote in 2014. The article was about teaching pros using technology, and the picture showed me recording a player hitting volleys off a ball machine.

It was a melancholy memory: although there have been advancements in apps, ball machines, racquet sensors, wearables and video in the past three years, there really hasn’t been much progress with teaching pros utilizing all of this new technology.

I spend nearly 200 days a year visiting and observing tennis clubs with Playmate Ball Machines. From what I see, most tennis lessons look the same as they always have — a teaching pro stands at the net, feeding a ball to a student and giving micro-managed technique instructions, followed by some hitting. Most pros say they would never teach with a ball machine. That’s a problem.

Players want to get better. If they don’t, they get discouraged with the sport and move on. Players also say they are not happy with the traditional lesson experience. So it’s time to ask: what are you doing today that’s different from what you were doing one, three or five years ago? It’s time for a change!

Using a ball machine with lessons and clinics means the pro can become more engaged with players and the player can have more fun with drills — all while enhancing your revenue. Ball machines can be extremely useful for:

Ball machines will never replace teaching pros, but they are an ideal complement to a lesson. By embracing technology, pros can better communicate their messages and ultimately ensure that their players improve.

USPTA Master Professional Stan Oley is Playmate Ball Machine’s Product Marketing Specialist, and is sponsored by Adidas and Head Racquets.

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About the Author

Stan Oley, a member of the USPTA, PTR and Cardio Tennis Global Speakers Team, has been working with and teaching with ball machines for 24 years. He is a product marketing specialist for Playmate Ball Machines and founder of FBT60 (Fit By Tennis in 60 Days), a tennis/fitness program combining nutrition and a series of ball machine drills. He is sponsored by Adidas and Babolat.



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