If you are a tennis player, you know that picking up tennis balls at the end of every practice session can be a backbreaking task. An average player used anywhere between 150-200 balls during practice (sometimes more) and these have to be collected and made ready to be used by the next set of players who are in line for practice. Coaching sessions are even worse. Coaches use 450-500 tennis balls in a session and picking them up is a huge chore. The tennis ball hopper has made this chore a lot easier. These nifty little things come in capacities of 50, 75 or 100 balls and can also double up baskets at the end of the day. Here’s a look at some of the main features of this sports product.
Lightweight and Portable: Most of the modern tennis ball hoppers are made out of lightweight aluminum or alloy tubes. These units have to be light because they have to be carried around while picking up the tennis balls. The basic design of the hopper is more or less a cage like structure, with evenly spaced, semi flexible metal tubes forming the frame. The body unit allows the tubes to bend and make space for the balls to be pushed in from the bottom. There are two extendable handles, which double up as legs when the hopper is used for ball storage.
How Does The Tennis Ball Hopper Work?
The hopper picks up tennis balls from the ground, with the help of push and flexing actions. The pu
sh down on it. The flex happens when the force of the push spreads the tubes of the cage side wards, thereby creating enough space for the ball to move inside the cage. As soon as the pressure from the user is released, the tubes come back to their original shape, entrapping the tennis ball inside the cage. This simple yet effective design is an immense help to people. They don’t have to manually pick the ball up and toss it into a basket; the tennis ball hopper does all of that work by itself.
Types of Hoppers: The standard, rectangular cage is the most popular one with tennis players. It is simple, easy to use and lasts for a long time. The roller hopper is a variation in which the cage is a cylindrical structure and users have to roll it along the ground, over the strewn tennis balls. This model works faster but setting it up as a basket is a little difficult when compared to the cage hopper. Some of the bigger models also double up as push cart basket containers for tennis balls.
Cost: Tennis ball hoppers can cost as low as $25. The size, capacity and brand of the hopper also play their part in determining the price. High-end models with large ball capacities can cost anywhere between $60 to $75 and the popular ones cost about $35 to $40.