How Tennis Ball Machine Work in 2020 – Complete Guide

I can guarantee that a lot of people have asked themselves this question at one point in time. A tennis ball machine might seem simple because all it does is lob tennis balls at you. But that’s not the case if you should take the time out to look closely at the actual mechanics of the machine.

After all, the machine certainly needs to deliver each ball at the same speed and at the exact time frame. But how do they work? If you have already read our review guide on the best tennis ball machine then you can read on for an overview of tennis ball machine mechanics.

How Tennis Ball Machine Work


1. Power Supply

The first thing when it comes to solving how a tennis machine works are air pressure. It needs air pressure to deliver the balls and in order for that to happen, it needs to have a power supply. As long as the machine has the power it will be able to fire tennis balls at its target and unlike a human partner, it can go on like this as long as you would want.

You should keep in mind that there are two different types of power supply available for powering the machine. A battery or a wall plug.

Power Cord

The main reason for using a power cord to power your tennis ball machine is the fact that you can play as long as you want without any problem unless there is an outage. Other than this, the only downside is that you will certainly need to have a set of power supply to the court where you will be playing as you’ll need to be able to plug the machine in.

Using a Battery

Another thing you can also use to power your machine is a battery and the benefit of using one is that you won’t need to worry about finding a power supply. If you have a high-quality machine then you can expect it to work for about eight hours maximum on a single charge.

This method would be useful for those who are not sure about the court that they will be playing on and if there is any power supply nearby to power the machine. This would save you a lot of time of having to figure out a way to run a power cord from the main building to the court.

The disadvantage of using a battery for your machine is that you will have to keep an eye on the battery life to see how much charge you have left.

Having Both Battery and Power Cord

The best option would be to have both power supply for your tennis ball machine. It would surely make things much easier for you, you can simply plug it in if you have the facilities to do so or just use a battery and you’re good to go.

2. Rotating Wheels

Most modern tennis ball machines on the market operate using counter-rotating wheels. When the launcher is powered on, an electric fan pulls air from the outside into the canister. In order to protect the fan motor from debris, the air passes through a slab of foam as well as a screen barrier.

This filter will need to be replaced on a regular basis to prevent it from getting clogged. If you don’t replace the filter on a regular basis, the machine will have to work harder in order to draw in air.

With that being said, an electric motor powered hopper is used to channel balls into the landing area. During this process, the balls are rotated into place using a set of wheels. If you have an advanced tennis ball machine, then the speed of these wheels can be easily adjusted to change the spin of the ball. With that said, if the upper wheel is spinning faster than the lower wheel the machine will be able to create topspin. In reverse, when the lower wheel spins faster than its upper counterpart backspin is created.

3. The Pressure

Over time, the pressure builds up to its maximum enabling the ball to shoot out of the barrel of the tennis ball machine so that you can take a swing at it. Once the first ball was released, the flap then lifts enabling the next ball to fall into place. This process will continue to repeat itself until all balls are finished.

4. Adjusting the Shots

How fast each ball leaves the machine will be determined by how quickly the pressure builds up and the amount of pressure is been allowed to build as well. If you decide to set the machine at a slower setting, it will decrease the amount of pressure that has been placed on the balls.

The pressure will still feel high at first, but by changing the pressure setting to low, it will certainly be lower than it would be at a high.

You will also have the ability to adjust the height of the shots. This process is quite straightforward and the tube that the balls are released from is raised or lower to help change the angle of each shot giving you the ability to improve your skills.

5. Maintenance of the Machine

These machines are relatively easy to maintain so you should have any problem. One of the main problems will be the filter that you would have to replace over time or cleaned out because of clogging issues. Another thing would be the motor itself, you should service it from time to month so that it runs smoothly.


The mechanics part of the tennis ball machine can be quite simple and cost-effective. As long as the machine is able to draw power, there’s pretty much nothing to worry about. Also because of how simple these machines are, they are also extremely easy to maintain over time which tends to be a great advantage.

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