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Tennis Data Sheets:

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Glossary of Common Tennis Ball Machine Terms

Definitions for common terms encountered when purchasing a new tennis ball machine:

2-Line FacilityA feature that delivers the same shot, alternating between forehand and backhand.
3 State ChargerThe ultimate smart charger that intelligently senses the state of the battery and adjusts itself to maximise charge and life of the battery.
Ball ElevationThe vertical angles at which the machine can eject balls. Higher elevations will allow the machine to better recreate lobs.
Ball IntervalThe rate at which balls are ejected from the machine. This interval is usually adjustable by the user between approximately 2 and 15 seconds.
Ball SpeedSee Ejection Speed.
Continuous TimeSee Running Time.
DrillsPre-programmed sequences of shots that simulate certain types of player. More advanced tennis ball machines will even let you program your own drills.
Dual OscillatorSee Oscillator.
Ejection SpeedThe speed in miles per hour that tennis balls will leave the machine. Usually indicated as a minimum and maximum ejection speed. Speeds can vary greatly between machines. Lower speeds will be suitable for beginners, whereas intermediate and advanced players will be looking for a machine capable of serving shots at much higher speeds. Indicated maximum speeds are for balls ejected from the machine with no spin applied.
Hopper CapacityThe number of balls the machine will hold during use. Larger ball hopper capacities will mean that the time between refills is less, allowing you to spend more time practicing.
Horizontal OscillationSee Oscillator.
On Court TimeSee Running Time.
OscillatorThe Oscillator allows a machine to spread balls around the court, rather than consistently firing in a fixed direction. Horizontal oscillation or single oscillation, is a side to side motion, allowing the machine to aim at points across the width of the court. Vertical oscillation is an up and down motion that gives additional height to a delivery or allows the ball to just skim the top of the net. A machine with Horizontal and Vertical Oscillation capabilities is commonly referred to as having Dual Oscillation. Finally, Triple Oscillation, which is a combination of both motions used simultaneously, allows the machine to serve balls to any random point on the court.
Pressureless Tennis BallsSee Unpressurised Tennis Balls.
Remote ControlTennis ball machines that come with a wireless remote control will allow the machine to be controlled by the player from the other side of the court. Basic remotes will allow the user to start and stop the machine ejecting balls, but more advanced remote controls lets the user change settings for spin, speed, feed rates, ball elevation and more without the need to walk over to the machine each time.
Running TimeOften quoted as Continuous Running Time and On-Court Time. Continuous time is calculated as if the machine was constantly being refilled, allowing the user to continuously practice without a break. In reality, there will be some down-time, as used balls are retrieved from around the tennis court, the machine is refilled and the player rests etc. The On-Court Time takes these breaks into account and is a more realistic representation of expectations when using a tennis ball machine.
Single OscillatorSee Oscillator.
Smart ChargingA smart charger will sense when the battery is full and automatically stop to prevent overcharging.
SpinThe ability to apply spin to a ball, either top-spin or back-spin to create a more challenging delivery.
Triple OscillatorSee Oscillator.
Unpressurised Tennis BallsRegulation tennis balls used for matches are sold in pressurised cans, with the ball itself filled with nitrogen or air at an equal pressure to that of the can. As soon as the can is opened, balls gradually begin to lose their bounce and become softer. Unpressurised / pressureless balls should be used with tennis ball machines as they dont lose their bounce over time and provide much more consistent results that are suitable for practice use.
Vertical OscillatorSee Oscillator.