The Basket Method
Tennis teaching professionals and coaches have always used the traditional metal ball basket when feeding balls to their students. Its design and method of use has been unchanged for over 4 decades. The traditional basket comes in many sizes and styles and can hold from 30 to 80 balls. Most of the baskets on the market rest on stationary legs that fold up when not in use. Many baskets are not very sturdy. Legs must be locked in to prevent the basket from wobbling. Often the teaching pro hits the basket while stroking, or the student may hit the basket while returning a feed. This causes the basket to fall, spilling the balls. This constant distraction breaks up the rhythm of the lesson. Traditional baskets are often to cumbersome to carry, weighing as much as 35 pounds. The excessive weight and bulkiness can often cause injuries to shoulders and arms when lugging or lifting.
Using the traditional basket, the feeder grabs 2 to 3 balls and starts feeding. The basket remains fixed to the same spot until the teaching pro moves it to another court position. This inflexibility limits the teaching pro’s ability to feed balls from various court positions without first returning to the basket for more balls or to reposition the basket. This action distracts the teaching pro and student, leads to loss of feed rhythm and takes away valuable time from the lesson.
Most people can hold only 2-3 balls at a time. With balls in their opposite hand the teaching pro often finds it difficult to cradle the frame, making it uncomfortable when hitting full backhands. This often results in having to slice the backhand, thus limiting the students ability to hit various returns.