Product: Pickleball Tutor Review
Price: $849.00 (retail)
Cheapest Place to Buy: OnCourt OffCourt
Shipping: Free Shipping UPS Ground
Guarantee: 3 years on machine; 1 year on battery
Where is it Manufactured? U.S.
Weight: 20-29 lbs. depending on model
Ball Capacity: 125
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Pickleball Tutor Product Review
I have received several emails since starting this blog asking for more information on drills and best ways to practice different pickleball shots. I have alluded to several drills in a previous article but haven’t gone into detail about any of them. I do intend to do that soon, but today’s article is about a simple and easy-to-use machine that anyone can own who wants to improve his or her pickleball game. It’s called the Pickleball Tutor Ball Machine, which is marketed exclusively by OnCourt OffCourt.
What is the Pickleball Tutor?
The Pickleball Tutor is a ball machine similar to a tennis ball machine but used primarily for pickleball.
There are two models:
- The basic model feeds the ball to one location on the court.
- The Random Oscillation Model comes with an oscillator switch. It has a “random” setting that feeds the ball randomly around the court. This is good practice for learning to hit the ball while moving.
- Five-second Set-up: The ball hopper opens in seconds. Just load the balls and you’re ready for action.
- Versatile Speed: Ball speed is variable from a gentle toss that’s ideal for beginners of all ages to hard-hitters playing national tournaments.
- Variable Ball Feed: Ball feed rate is variable from one ball every second (for quick-reaction volleys) to one ball every 10 seconds.
- Start-Up Time Delay: A start-up time delay allows the player time to get to the other side of the net before balls begin shooting.
- Full Range of Trajectories: Ball trajectory is manually adjustable from groundstroke to lob.
Add-ons that must be purchased at time of initial sale:
- 2-Line Oscillation:This automatically shoots to two preset court positions. This feature allows you to practice alternating forehand and backhand shots or allows two players to practice together. This feature is for oscillating machines only.
- Electronic Elevation: A simple electronic switch on the control panel rather than the manual knob control controls ball trajectory. The electronic elevation works with oscillating machines only.
- Optional Wireless Two-Button Remote: This controls ball feed on/off and machine oscillation on/off. The wireless two-function remote works with oscillating machines only.
Add-ons that can be purchased at a later time:
- Optional External Battery Pack attaches to the machine through the charge jack to provide 4-6 hours of extra playing time. Note: The external battery pack works with battery-operated models only.
- Optional External AC Power Supply plugs into an AC outlet to provide continuous operation for battery-powered machines.
- Optional Weatherproof Gray Vinyl Cover
The cost of the Pickleball Tutor Practice Machine starts at $849 and can go as high as $1,499 with all the add-ons. The best price is available at OnCourt OffCourt.
How does the Pickleball Tutor Work?
The Pickleball Tutor is simple and easy-to-use. It only takes a few minutes to set up. It has a variable speed control setting so you can have the ball shoot out of the Tutor at the perfect speed for your drill. It also has a start-up time delay, which gives you time to set up before the machine shoots a ball. Finally, it has a full range of trajectories, which comes in handy for different types of practice drills.
Here is a real-life demonstration of the Pickleball Tutor. I say “real-life” because it is not what I would call a professional or high quality video, but it shows you how the Tutor works from opening the box to using it in live action.
Practicing with the Pickleball Tutor
Here comes the fun part: practicing with the Pickleball Tutor. Let’s take a look at a few videos demonstrating how a pickleball coach might use the Tutor.
In this video Dee Ahern demonstrates various drills that you can do with the Pickleball Tutor: how to practice dead drops and third drop shot transition to swing volley, circuit training with multiple players, the transition from block drops to dinks, swing volleys with two players, and more.
In this video Simone Jardin, Academy Director, US Open Pickleball Academy in Naples, FL demonstrates a two player 3-shot drill using the Pickleball Tutor.
Finally, in the next video Simone Jardin uses the Pickleball Tutor in a drill designed to improve your dink shot.
Who Would Benefit from the Pickleball Tutor?
Like a tennis ball machine, the Pickleball Tutor Practice Machine only has value if you are hitting the ball correctly. In other words, just to go out and hit balls thrown by a machine without hitting the strokes correctly is useless. You are just practicing hitting the ball the way you normally would and reinforcing whatever bad habits you have already developed.
There are two ways to benefit from using the Pickleball Tutor:
- You should take a lesson then set up the Tutor and practice the strokes you learned in the lesson. This will help reinforce the strokes you learned so that when you play in matches they will come naturally. The Pickleball Tutor is a terrific machine for practice if you are practicing the right way.
- You can use the Tutor if you are a professional pickleball coach and want an aid to help you set up and execute various kinds of drills.
Who is buying the Pickleball Tutor?
- Pickleball players who want to practice their strokes in a controlled environment
- Pickleball coaches who want to use the Tutor to facilitate drills with their students
- Communities, playgrounds, associations, etc. – wherever pickleball is played
OnCourt OffCourt Testimonials
“The Pickleball Tutor is my favorite teaching tool and is instrumental in taking not only my students’ games to the next level but mine as well.” – Dee Ahern, Certified IPTPA Pickleball Instructor, Coach and National Medalist
“What I like about practicing with the Pickleball Tutor is the oscillating feature. And, it allows me to work on my shots with consistent feeds and therefore focus on execution and placement without worrying about the results.” – Bob Zinsmaster, 5.0 Tennis player and Pickleball Convert
“It’s light enough to be able to carry and easy to move around the court. It holds 125 balls and the battery life is amazing. We’ve been running tournaments for a long time and this machine is the pick of the people.” – Nancy Meyer, Tournament Director and Player
“The Pickleball Tutor is great for working on my singles game. It’s also fantastic for setting up specific individual shots and target practice! I’d recommend it to anyone.” – Diane Bock, National Singles Champion
“I love the Pickleball Tutor machine. It’s a great practice partner. One of the things I love most about it is if I’m struggling with a particular stroke, I can go ahead and dial that in and practice over and over and over again so that I can perfect every single skill.” – Lisa Duncan, Former USTA National Trainer
“One of the challenges we all face is taking the pace off the ball when you’re in a defensive mode so you can reset the point. It’s difficult to find a drilling partner who’s willing to whack balls at you for 20 minutes from mid court, but the Pickleball Tutor will do it for as long as I want.” – Valerie Marott, State Champion
If this sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend that you purchase your own Pickleball Tutor. At $849 it is a good investment if it improves your game or, if you are an instructor, helps your teaching and thus your business. You will find the best price online at OnCourt OffCourt.
In all fairness, I should mention that there are other pickleball ball machines on the market, one of which is the Lobster Pickleball Machine. It retails for $899 on Amazon and, like the Tutor, receives very good ratings.
I hope you enjoyed this review and if you have any questions about the Pickleball Tutor or want to share your own personal review, please leave a comment below.