Sports Tutor makes a range of tennis ball machines that cater to various kinds of players, from kids and absolute beginners right through to club and professional players. The best-known and most popular of these is the Tennis Tutor, but if you want a different set of features you should be able to find something to suit.
Without doubt the smallest, lightest and cheapest tennis ball machine on the market, the Tennis Twist is intended for use by kids and/or beginners. It has virtually no features you’d typically expect to find on a ball machine – no oscillation, no control of pace or feed rate, certainly no spin. About the only variable setting it has is trajectory: you can control the depth of the ball in five increments between 12 and 20 feet. So it’s likely you will outgrow this machine pretty fast. But on the upside it’s very portable, you won’t have to remortgage your house to afford one, and it’s easy for kids to operate on their own. You can even use it to keep the dog amused! The Twist is available in AC or battery models – it takes six standard D size batteries, which provide five to ten hours playing time.
Tennis Tutor Prolite
If you’re looking for something with more features that’s capable of keeping up with you as you improve your game, the Prolite is a good option. At roughly three times the cost of the Tennis Twist, it’s still one of the most affordable tennis ball machines around. It comes in AC or battery models (built-in rechargeable battery), and has settings for varying ball speed, feed rate and trajectory, and also an optional oscillator which is well worth the extra cost. At only a foot high and weighing just 22 pounds (29 pounds for the battery model) it’s also one of the most portable solutions around.
The Tennis Tutor comes with all the features of the Prolite as standard, but with a heavy-duty rechargeable battery and optional two-function wireless remote control for starting and stopping the machine and controlling the oscillation, and 2-line function for delivering the ball to two preset court positions.
Tennis Tutor Plus
The Plus model includes all the features of the standard Tennis Tutor, and includes spin functionality for imparting topspin or backspin to the ball, providing a more realistic playing experience. The Tennis Tutor Plus – Player model has some fairly sophisticated electronics that simulates playing against a real opponent. It has Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced modes so you can practice at the level that’s right for you.
Yes, as I mentioned in a previous article, despite the Wilson branding, this machine is manufactured under a contract with Sports Tutor. It is roughly equivalent to the Tennis Tutor Plus, although tends to be a little cheaper. You can read more about the Wilson Portable here.
So which one should you choose? It depends on how much you want to spend, how you intend to use the machine, and what features you require. You decide.
For more information about any of these machines, check out the manufacturer’s website.