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Black Friday 2023 is right around the corner, and it’s one of the best times of the year to score huge discounts on tennis gear. If you’ve been considering investing in a tennis ball machine to elevate your practice sessions, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to get an amazing deal.
Tennis ball machines can be pricey, often $600 to $3000+ for quality portable models from top brands. However, around Black Friday, you can expect to see discounts of $100 to $500 off many popular machines.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for an entry-level option or a seasoned player in need of a full-featured model, the Black Friday sales are sure to provide the lowest prices you’ll find all year.
So keep reading for the inside scoop on scoring the Black Friday deals on tennis ball machines!
Best Black Friday Tennis Ball Machine Deals
Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Tennis Ball Machine
A quality tennis ball machine can take your practice sessions to the next level. With the ability to shoot balls at you consistently, a ball machine allows you to groove every stroke and hit far more balls than you’d get just practicing with a partner.
But with prices ranging from $600 up to $3000+, it pays to know what features are must-haves versus nice extras before you purchase. As you browse Black Friday and Cyber Monday tennis ball machine deals, here are the key factors to evaluate:
1. Skill level
Your skill level will determine the type of features you need from a ball machine. For example, beginners might not need spin, oscillation, or drills, while advanced players might appreciate these options for more realistic and challenging practice.
You should look for a ball machine that matches your current skill level and allows you to grow into it as you improve.
When considering portability, the size and weight of the tennis ball machine are key factors, especially if you plan to transport it frequently.
Look for more compact models that weigh under 50 pounds. However, very lightweight machines can move around when firing balls at high speeds, so finding the right balance is important.
Some convenient features that aid portability are collapsible components to reduce size and built-in wheels for easier moving.
Also, consider whether the machine runs on batteries or requires an electrical outlet since battery power allows taking it anywhere.
While portability might not be essential if you have a home court, it gives you flexibility if you ever want to use the machine at different locations.
So be sure to evaluate the size, weight, power source, and mobility features as you shop for a portable ball machine that fits your needs.
Ball machines offer various features that can enhance your practice experience, such as speed, feed rate, capacity, spin, oscillation, drills, remote control, etc. Here are some details about each feature:
One of the first things to check is the range of ball speeds the machine can deliver. Entry-level options normally top out at around 40 mph, while advanced models can launch balls up to 90+ mph.
As a beginner or intermediate player, a max speed of 60-70 mph will provide plenty of challenge. More advanced competitors often prefer 80+ mph capability to sharpen reflexes.
Think about your skill level and how speed affects the difficulty of returning shots.
Feed Rate Adjustability
The feed rate determines how frequently the machine shoots balls at you. Being able to adjust this variable makes it easier to find the ideal tempo for your practice session.
Look for a wide range of timing intervals, usually between 2-10 seconds between shots. Faster feed rates are great for reaction time drills. Slower settings let you reset between shots as needed.
Machines vary widely in how many balls they hold, from as few as 25 up to 150+. For most players, a capacity of 75-100 is sufficient to minimize downtime picking up balls.
Consider how a higher capacity allows more balls to be hit during intense volley or groundstroke drills before stopping to reload. Just be sure to budget for the extra balls you’ll need to buy.
Oscillation refers to a side-to-side movement that varies the ball placement in an unpredictable pattern. It enhances realism and makes you comfortable with wide and off-center shots.
Basic oscillation shifts randomly left and right while keeping depth consistent. Advanced machines can also move in and out. The more variation, the more practice adapting to different ball locations.
Adding topspin and backspin makes for more realistic practice. While an advanced feature, controlling spin is hugely beneficial in mastering control and depth on groundstrokes.
Some machines offer no spin options, others provide basic topspin, while high-end models let you vary backspin and topspin intensity. Consider your technical level and need to practice handling spin.
Sophisticated options can simulate match play by programming ball speed, spin, location, and patterns. While not essential, it brings some of the unpredictability of a live opponent.
If your budget allows, having a library of drills adds valuable variety and challenge. It also saves you time programming complex shot sequences.
Remotes provide the convenience of controlling the machine from anywhere on the court. You can start/stop the machine, adjust settings, and more without walking back each time.
Many remotes also include delay start, which gives you time to get into position before the feeding starts. While not mandatory, remotes make practice more efficient.
4. Brand and Budget
There are many brands of ball machines on the market, each with its own reputation and customer service. Here are some of the top names:
Lobster – One of the most well-known companies, Lobster makes portable models for every price point, usually $800-$3000. Great reputation and reliability.
Spinshot – Known for advanced spin capability and durable metal construction. Models like the Spinshot Plus offer excellent value, normally around $1500.
Sports Tutor – A large selection from basic to top-end. The portable Tennis Tutor Plus ($1200 typical price) is a popular mid-range pick.
Tennis Twist – For simple machines under $500, Tennis Twist is ideal for beginners learning the game. Limited features but very affordable.
Match Mate – Makes the customizable iSAM 2000 model ($1500+) with detailed drill programming capabilities. A high-performance brand with premium pricing.
Spinfire Pro – Spinfire’s Pro series ($1500 – $2000 range) rivals the features of pricier models for hundreds less. Great bang for your buck.
Additional Tips for Holiday Shopping
Here are some additional tips and strategies to make sure you score the absolute best deal this Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
1. Start your research early
Officially, Black Friday 2023 falls on Friday, November 24. However, every year retailers begin offering deep discounts earlier and earlier. Many Black Friday sales now kick off as early as the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Online deals tend to start first, often a full week or more before the actual Black Friday date. So it pays to start monitoring your favorite retailers around mid-November.
The most eager shoppers begin scouting deals and planning their purchases 1-2 weeks in advance.
Prices can fluctuate in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Track models on your wish list now to see if deals pop up before the big day.
2. Sign up for store emails
Retailers often send special pre-Black Friday promo codes to email subscribers. This allows early access to some deals.
3. Look for price matching and Consider bundles
Stores like Dick’s and Academy offer price matching if you find a lower advertised price elsewhere, even during Black Friday.
Manufacturers will sometimes offer a machine, balls, or accessory package at a discounted bundled rate for Black Friday.
Purchase protection plans: If your budget allows, an extended warranty can give peace of mind for a high-ticket machine purchase.
4. Snag Savings on Used or Refurbished Units
Just be sure to vet the condition of any used machine thoroughly. Inspect photos closely, looking for cosmetic flaws.
Reach out to the seller with questions about functionality, battery life, accessories, warranty coverage, and return policy. Only purchase from sellers with a strong rating history.
Buying refurbished directly from a brand like Sports Tutor can provide added peace of mind. Refurbished units are thoroughly inspected, tested, repaired, and cleaned before resale, often looking and functioning like new.
Just confirm what warranty is included when buying refurbished.
5. Score On Previous Year’s Model
While the aesthetics may look slightly dated, performance and features are unlikely to differ dramatically year over year for most quality machines.
You’ll still get excellent functionality, just without some small tweaks or design updates that have minimal impact on your playing experience.
Depending on the brand and model, you can likely save $100 or more by purchasing the previous design. Just ensure the technology isn’t outdated to impact reliability or usability. Test out any machine before buying, if possible.
7. Check inventory
Hot deals may sell out fast. Check retailer sites for real-time inventory before heading to the store.
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