Pickleball Tutor FAQ

THE BASICS

Is the machine easy to operate?

Yes, very simple. Easier than a toaster oven!

Where should I put the machine in my car?

Anywhere it is secure. Front seat, back seat, or in the trunk. Note: Trunk storage should be for short periods only.

Can more than one person use the machine at a time?

Yes, see our “Creative Ways to Use Your New Ball Machine” document for numerous fun ideas to get the most out of your new machine. There are also many videos on www.PickleballTutor.com for numerous fun ideas to get the most out of your new machine.

How long will the machine last?

Sports Tutor manufactures ball machines for many sports and their ball machines have been among the most popular in the world for decades. Properly maintained, the machine should last for many years.

Are there instructions with the machine?

Yes, detailed instructions come with each machine. Please read them before operating the machine. The instructions provide charging details and much more information about the proper use and care of your machine.

After placing my order, how soon can I expect to receive the Pickleball Tutor?

The machine is generally shipped within 2-3 days. You will receive tracking information.

What are the shipping charges for the Pickleball Tutor?

For retail customers, OnCourt OffCourt ships all tennis and pickleball ball machines over $350 FREE of charge to the lower 48 United States.

What shipping method is used to ship the Pickleball Tutor?

Typically we ship UPS Ground.

Does the Pickleball Tutor require assembly or additional equipment?

No, except an extension cord for the A/C models.

What safety precautions should I take before/while using the Pickleball Tutor?

Never walk in front of the Pickleball Tutor or insert your hand into the machine when it is operating. Start the Pickleball Tutor at a relatively slow ball speed and adjust from there. Also, since you are using many balls, be careful to clear balls that may get underfoot and present a hazard. Hitting that extra shot is not worth a sprained ankle!

What is the ball capacity?

125

What are the dimensions?

The machine is 12”x19.5”x18” when closed. 

What is the weight?

20-29 pounds, depending on the model.

What is the maximum ball speed rate?

The ball speed rate can go up to 60 mph. 

What is adjustable feed control?

The interval between ball throws.

How does the oscillation work?

The models that include random oscillation allow the machine to feed balls in random side-to-side patterns, making it more similar to real play. The oscillation is controlled with a simple on/off switch on the machine’s control panel or with the optional wireless remote control.

Where is the Pickleball Tutor manufactured?

USA

What company makes the Pickleball Tutor?

The Pickleball Tutor is made by Sports Tutor, one of the leading sports ball machine manufacturers in the world. OnCourt OffCourt has the exclusive marketing and distribution rights for this machine in the United States and can also ship internationally.  What is the warranty? 3 years

What is the warranty?

3 years on the machine and 1 year on the battery.

What should I do if it starts raining?

Turn the machine off and cover it, just like you would with any electrical appliance.

REMOTE CONTROL

Should I get a remote control?

This is a personal decision. The machine holds up to 125 balls. When you turn on the machine there is a built-in 10-second delay to allow you to get to the other side of the net. The purpose of the remote is to allow you to pause the machine so you are not tempted to hit too many balls in a row, which can cause excessive fatigue, sloppy hitting, stress on the body, and possible injury. You certainly do NOT want to stand there and hit 125 balls in a row! Better is to hit 20-30 balls in a row and then (if you have a remote) pause the machine. Without a remote, you can accomplish this by putting fewer balls in the machine at the start, although you will have to retrieve the balls more frequently. See our “Creative Ways to Use Your New Ball Machine” document for more tips on how to practice most effectively.

What choices do I have in remote controls?

We offer a 2-function wireless remote system. The remote has to be ordered at the time of purchase to be built into the machine. The wireless remote controls both the ball feed and oscillation functions (on/off). It is only offered as an option when purchasing one of the oscillating models (AC or battery operated). The remote does not turn the power on the ball machine on or off. However, it does pause the ball feed. This ensures that the player can take appropriate breaks between each series of practice shots. 

Can I decide to order the remote later?

No. The machine must be fitted for the remote by the manufacturer at the time of purchase. The decision to get a remote should be made at the time of purchase. Customers cannot install either of the remote control systems themselves.

I have the foot-pedal air remote, but when I turn the machine on and it powers up, the ball feed carousel does not turn.

Please note that the foot-pedal remote was discontinued on 1/1/18. However, we decided to keep on the FAQ's since many of these remotes have been sold. The foot pedal remote turns the ball feed on and off. After use, make sure the ball feed is in the “on” position (rotating) when ready to turn the machine off. If the ball feed is in the “off” position when you turn the machine off, it will still be off when you turn the machine back on. In that case, you will need to have the foot-pedal remote connected to the machine to re-activate the ball feed carousel. It is rare, but the on/off switch for the remote can also toggle once in a while from excessive vibration. Since some users do not always utilize the foot pedal remote, we advise cutting a 5-6” piece of tubing and keep it with the machine at all times. Then, if you don’t have the 60’ remote tube with you and the ball feed will not rotate after the 10-second delay, just attach the small piece of tubing and blow air into it to toggle the remote air switch to the “on” position.

AC & BATTERY INFORMATION

Can I plug in the smart battery charger as an AC adapter during use?

No! The smart charger is only a charger. Using the machine with the charger plugged in can damage the charger and will void the warranty. Leaving the smart battery charger plugged in while the machine is in use will not charge the machine. Anyone with accessible AC power on the court who also wants battery power can purchase an accessory called the External AC Power Supply ($125.00 retail). This accessory can be used only with a battery-powered model but will allow you to plug the machine in on the court and run the machine indefinitely. You still need to charge the battery continuously when the machine is not in use, even if it used with the External AC Power Supply the majority of the time.

Can I use the External Battery Pack as a back-up battery?

No. The External Battery Pack should always be plugged into the machine at the beginning of play when both the internal and external batteries are fully charged. If you connect the External Battery Pack after the internal battery has been exhausted, you could damage the electronics. The External Battery Pack comes with it’s own smart charger installed so it should be plugged in continuously to AC power when not in use. If you have the External AC Power Supply, it is also better if you connect it at the beginning of play.

Should I drain the battery before charging?

No. The battery should be charged after every use, regardless of how long you used the machine. The smart charger will not overcharge the battery so it should be plugged into an AC outlet and to the machine continuously when the machine is not in use to maintain a full charge on the battery. Completely discharging the battery can prevent it from recharging.

What kind of battery is in the machine?

It is a 12 volt sealed lead acid battery.

BALLS & THE THROWING WHEELS

What kind of balls can be used?

Indoor and Outdoor balls both work just fine.

Which brand of Pickleball balls should be used?

Every brand of pickleball approved by the USAPA works in the machine. However, keep in mind that there are slight variations between brands in terms of ball size and hardness. Therefore, if you have a mixture of different balls in the machine, you may experience some variation in ball speed and arc. We suggest using just one brand of pickleball in the machine to ensure as consistent a feed as possible.

Does it matter if I use brand new pickleballs?

If possible, using slightly used balls is best. New balls have a slight “film” coating from the manufacturing process. This film can be slippery and affect the “grab” or friction needed between the machine throwing wheels and the balls. This film can also transfer to the wheels themselves and build up as a slippery residue which definitely needs to be cleaned.

How do I clean the wheels?

Use a 100-grit sandpaper sponge, which is easier to hold and more effective than regular sandpaper. With the machine OFF, reach in the ejection opening and hold one wheel still. Use the sponge to sand in both directions, doing a section at a time (between two of the grooves). Turn the wheel and do the next section. Go around the wheel two or three times and then repeat with the other wheel. This will help remove any build-up of residue from brand new balls. Even if you use older balls, you can still get some wheel discoloration which is good to clean off. In fact, even when using older balls, we suggest cleaning the throwing wheels on a routine basis to optimize performance. If the wheels are not cleaned, it can affect their ability to grab the ball, which results in less feeding consistency and ball speed.

OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS

Why is the back end of the Pickleball Tutor raised higher than the front end?

This is done purposely to give the Pickleball Tutor a better angle to feed low balls that just clear the top of the net. You can still adjust the elevation knob to feed with varying degrees of arc and can also prop up the front end of the machine a few extra inches to feed lobs if desired.

Why do some shots shoot straight up when I lower the elevation?

The elevation knob should only be adjusted within the top 1/3 of the slot. If the elevation is set too low, a ball can bounce off the bottom edge of the opening and be deflected upwards.

Can I raise the machine onto a cart or platform?

Yes. Customers often raise the machine up off the ground so they get a higher release point as is common in real play.

I have a Tennis Tutor or Tennis Tutor ProLite. Can I convert it to work with pickleballs?

No. We do not convert tennis machines to work with pickleballs.

Why doesn’t the Pickleball Tutor have wheels to roll the machine?

The Pickleball Tutor is light enough to carry from the car to the court. If you have a longer distance or don’t wish to carry it, you can purchase a commonly available small folding hand cart.

What other sports or activities can be used with the machine?

The list starts with baseball (but only using pickleballs or baseball-size lightweight plastic balls). A second option is to give your dog a workout. Just increase the arc and speed and you can fire balls as far as your dog can run! Note that the warranty is no longer in effect if the machine is used with real baseballs. Due to their extra weight, baseballs will damage the machine.

What is the difference between a Basic and Random Oscillation Pickleball Tutor?

There are two models of the Pickleball Tutor: a basic non-oscillating model where the machine feeds to one court location only until you angle the machine to another court location. And, two: a random oscillation model for practice when you're ready to hit on the run - just flip the oscillator switch to random and it will feed shots randomly across the court. This is a great training session to simulate match play. 

What is 2-Line oscillation?

This feature is only available on the AC or Battery oscillation machines. 2-Line 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 is perfect for doubles practice. 

What does Electronic Elevation do?

It customizes the height of the trajectory position. As you adjust the elevation, the "elevation indicator" will move up or down to indiciate the trajectory position. Please note: The Electronic Elevation option is only available on the AC or Battery oscillation machines. 

Can I bring the Pickleball Tutor with me on a plane?

Yes, you may bring the machine with you as checked luggage. However, we still suggest double checking with your airline.