I got my Silent Partner tennis ball machine last night, charged it, and got up at 6 am to try it out. It’s great.
It has wheels and a handle that comes out like the way luggage works, so it’s very easy to move around. It weighs 34 pounds and has lifting handles so it’s easy to get in the car.
Setup is just a matter of putting it at the opposing baseline, center, and then firing out a few balls to get the speed, depth, and spin desired. You can adjust height, speed, spin (both underspin or topspin or no spin), frequency, and oscillation or no oscillation. It can fire the balls out at up to 95 MPH (didn’t try that) but from what I read you need to have it on severe topspin and move it back a bit.
I set it for moderate topspin and moderate speed so that I could stand a foot or two behind the baseline and take most shots waist-high. No oscillation so it was feeding to appox. the same spot.
At first I had the frequency too fast. It was like I was feeding volleys to someone at net and they were coming right back at me. Then I adjusted and had it too slow. Finally got it right. I’d move left or right to hit forehands or backhands. I worked on both my one-handed and my new two-handed backhand and then some forehands. It was great. I could hit down the line or cross-court. I moved to the net and hit some volleys too. I had about 60 balls in it. It can hold up to 200. I have an unopened case of 20 cans of Penns ($39 at Costco) I will add to it next session to get a bit more out of it.
Then I turned on oscillation. That was a real workout. It randomly spreads the ball around across the court, same depth, but it can land it near the doubles alley, so depending on the frequency setting you can find yourself racing back and forth at full speed just to get a racket on the ball. I finally had to wave at some as they went by. It wore me down and I couldn’t get to them. Next time I’ll increase the frequence to give me time to get back to the center of the court before it launches the next ball.
There’s also a way to set it to throw me lobs so I can work on my overhead. You can use the oscillation feature to move the lobs around.
All in all, I’m very pleased with it so far. It’s a demo I got from the manufacturer for $650. New it would be $850. It comes with a one-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee, so I will be using it a lot in this first 30 days to see how it holds up.