Professional tennis matches can last upwards of 3 hours, often with little more than 10 minutes of rest in between sets. The need to train for such endurance matches becomes difficult without a partner of adequate skill. For decades, tennis players have been using automatic tennis ball launching machines to train without the need of a partner.
Testing has concluded that in general, an automatic ball machine that holds 100 tennis balls will launch at an average rate of 10 balls every 29 seconds. Therefore, the total amount of time an average tennis ball machine can last without needing to be refilled is around 290 seconds
Therefore, the maximum time that a tennis player can play with an automatic ball machine is in the area of 4 minutes and 50 seconds.
After which, the player must stop all play and collect all the balls around the tennis court using a bottom-loading basket, as is standard procedure in tennis. This is a physically straining procedure, which is generally despised by avid tennis players.
From additional experimentation it would take in the area of 2:15 to manually pick up 85 balls. It can be determined that it will take the player two minutes to pick up all the balls after using the capacity of the tennis ball machine.
Therefore, it is determined that using current technology, a player will spend ~35% of the total time collecting tennis balls, and not training. This is a large proportion of the time, and needs to be reduced to truly emulate a tennis match. There are certain methods of automatically collecting tennis balls, but these are not portable, and require extensive modifications to the tennis court.
The following objectives are adapted from the project goal statement. These objectives represent the
goals that the final design will ideally achieve:
- Decrease training downtime by 75%
- The solution will be adequately portable
- 1 hour without requiring external power
- 80% ball retrieval rate
- Durability – Can be struck by a tennis ball