The maximum speed of the balls sent by a ball launcher and the possibility of adjusting this speed are important elements to take into consideration in your choice. On average, the ball launcher offers a speed between 16 and 140 km/h. Below 90 km/h, the ball will be rather slow to give you time to place and hit the ball. Above 110km/h, the speed starts to be useful for competitive players.
The ejection interval
This criteria will allow to impregnate the rhythm. Very often, higher ranked players have more consistency and more power. They deprive you of time and therefore you don’t have the rhythm to compete, because you don’t often play against players ranked much higher than you. The idea here is to shorten the ejection interval in order to hit more balls in a shorter time, to position yourself and to organize yourself technically so that you are not hindered anymore. With a ball launcher, you can get into a high rhythm and it will also train your physical condition.
Pay attention to the different directions in which the ball launcher of your choice can send balls : on the backhand or forehand side and in a fixed or random manner.
Some ball launchers offer chop or lift. This option is interesting if you have trouble returning your opponents’ backhand chops, for example.
The programming of game sequences
Being able to program play sequences on your ball launcher will allow you to vary the different balls sent, for example by starting with two balls on the forehand side, then a short ball then a smash, etc.
The power supply
Most ball launchers have a lithium battery, which allows them to have a slower discharge, a longer life and a faster recharge than older lead batteries. Lead-acid batteries also require recharging every 2 months if you are not using your ball launcher. Some ball launchers like the MSV ones also have AC power for endless play time.
The remote control
A remote control that will allow you to control your ball launcher remotely will certainly be essential so that you don’t need to go to the other end of the field each time.
The ball capacity
Also, pay attention to the number of balls that your ball launcher can carry : the larger its capacity, the longer you will be able to train before refilling it. The Slinger Bag, for example, will allow you to put up to 144 balls in it, while MSV’s Playtec launchers will have a capacity of 160 balls.
I want to improve my technique
If you are looking for a ball machine to perfect a shot or to progress, you don’t need a launcher that provides high speed and many features. The Slinger Bag, which sends balls between 16 and 73 km/h, could be just what you need : it is possible on this one to put some lift and to set the ejection in random mode in order to receive balls from left to right. Its price is very affordable compared to other ball launchers on the market.
I want to progress technically and add intensity
You are looking for a ball pitcher which can allow you to progress technically and to put rhythm in your training. The MSV Directshot V160 ball machine could be your ideal companion. It allows to print a ball speed going from 20 to 140 km/h with an ejection interval from 1,8 to 6 seconds. You can add lift, chop and adjust the direction. The advantage over the Slinger Bag is its ability to deliver more speed as well as provide faster ball ejection. It also has a remote control as well as a power mode between battery and AC.
I want to progress technically, put intensity and create sequences of play
The best tennis ball launchers will allow you to create sequences of play. This specific need has been taken into account by MSV which has developed Playtec V160. This one offers the same options as the Directshot but differs with its ability to program your own play pattern. Do you want to hit two long balls on the backhand side and then a short ball on the forehand side? You can do that. It also has a lob function so you can practice your smashes.
What type of ball should I choose for my ball launcher ?
You will have the choice between many models of balls with or without pressure to feed your ball launcher. You’ll get more comfort and fun with pressure balls, but a shorter life span because the launch wheels compress the ball when ejected. To improve the life of the balls, we therefore recommend using balls without pressure, which will have the same lifetime as if they were fired by an opponent. If you still want to use pressure balls to maintain a good feel for the game, Head Tour balls offer very good wear resistance.
Please note that junior foam, orange, red or green balls cannot be inserted into a tennis ball launcher because they are too soft to be ejected.