As far as we are concerned, the Simon Ball Machine is the first of its kind in many categories. We have used several different ball machines and have participated in buying others on behalf of clubs we’ve belonged to. Before Simon, none of the machines had been satisfactory. The Simon Ball Machine is indeed satisfactory to us, the only pickleball machine which:
- Delivers a very natural-looking ball with no extreme spin.
- Offers every imaginable shot – Drops, Lobs, ground-strokes, you name it.
- Is simple to use, with few adjustments necessary.
- Has great controls over both the speed of the shot and the frequency of balls (Speed, up to 30 MPH, and Feed)
- Has a built-in 30-second delay so that you can easily set it for the shots you want to hit and then get into position without the help of a partner.
- Is complete…no added options are necessary. (Initial package includes the hopper, easy-to-insert legs for elevating the front for higher-arcing shots, and a quickly-detachable “ramp” which creates lobs.
- Has a very long-lasting battery (we’ve had five-six hours of continuous use for a machine, no problems._
- Has a great capacity…using the included hopper the machine will handle 140 balls.
- Has great manufacturer support
- Is reasonably priced for the value received. At about $1,300 including shipping, it’s a quality-constructed workhorse of a machine that will benefit you or your club for a long time.
We believe in it to the point that we were early adopters, having arranged to buy two on behalf of the two pickleball clubs we are associated with, the famous Palm Creek Pickleball Club in Casa Grande, AZ (and home of the 2015 USAPA Nationals, as well as home of one of the largest pickleball training venues anywhere), and the Bend Pickleball Club, which burst on the scene a couple of years ago and this year hosts both the 2015 Oregon Senior Games Pickleball Tournament and the 2015 USAPA Pacific Northwest Regional tournament, the Big Country RV Open).
Here’s information you need to make a sensible buying decision about Simon. (Caveat Emptor: remember these are not paid referrals, we make nothing from this – we simply believe in the product and think you’ll enjoy it. A. J. even intends to buy one for his and Irene’s use shortly…although she’s saying she’d rather have new carpet in the guest room. But you may not feel as strongly as they do about the machine; who knows???)
- For videos of various Simon drills as used by the Bend Pickleball Club, see this
- To purchase, there are a couple of distributors we are familiar with and recommend. You could contact ThePickleballMachine.com Tell ’em pickleball.biz sent you! For customer service or pre-sale questions, contact here.
- Or you’ve heard us talk before about Pickleball Central, an outfit that is also terrific – in fact, we’d find it hard to say anything bad about em!, and have often bragged on them. Same price as above vendor when last we checked; about $1,300 including shipping. Some different photos and technical specs here…. Check it out.
- (Note: There are undoubtedly other good vendors out there as well but these are two good ones we are personally familiar with, if that’s grammatical.)
- For email questions to direct to the manufacturer/inventor, Michael Schwartz, email here
- For phone questions to Michael Schwartz, call 859-380-8969
- For Simon club-member-use protocols as used in the Palm Creek Pickleball Club, see these:
Dale Secord sent along a process he’s using, whereby you can sign up on-line,utilizing the service SignUpGenius (that we use extensively in Bend and is getting widely known) for an Orientation Session on Simon at Voyager in Tucson. Check it out.
Here’s an associated piece of equipment that you’ll probably want to consider if you buy Simon.You saw it pictured with the Simon machine up above, so you can see its relative size. Pictured is the Pic35 (about $44 from the manufacturer); for Simon we would recommend its big brother, the Pic65 (about $52 direct from the manufacturer). We have used the original Pic35 for two years in the clubs we play at and own one personally. We will buy a Pic65 when the opportunity presents itself (meaning when Irene isn’t looking.) Go here for more information about the Pickleballpic and the company, and for some interesting tips, techniques and drills.
The new Pickleballpic65 (aka “Pic65”) is a high-quality, welded aluminum device designed specifically to help you pick up the large number of pickleballs that are used in any practice session but especially when using a Simon Ball Machine. Remember that Simon holds over 140 balls. By using the Pic65 you can rapidly pick up 65-70 balls in one go without bending over! We don’t know about you, but the biggest problem with using the Simon or even doing regular drills is that issue…by the end of a 90-minute practice session our back, hamstrings and sciatic nerves were screaming at us, mainly from the bending over, and Irene’s knees were asking for their next “scoping”. Now, not much of an issue…the device has extended our practice sessions and their site has given us a new set of drills we can use as well. Altogether, this is a pretty cool device, reasonably priced especially given its quality, and we can’t imagine fully utilizing Simon without it.
(By the way, as a remark, we find it hard to believe these guys are making any money on the Pickleballpics. Pretty cheap especially considering the quality. Our two cents, your mileage may vary!)
Lastly, here’s a post we put on the USAPA Ambassador Forum recently about Palm Creek’s use of the Simon Ball Machine:
2. Several club-wide sessions were held to train people to use the machine. Trained about 50 people initially over several sessions.
3. Signups were handled via paper sign-up sheets; easy to migrate, probably to SignUpGenius, next year. Sessions could be scheduled for 90-minute increments two weeks in advance.
4. People could have one to four folks in their own sessions.
5. Moderators were available to help them if they asked for it.
6. No charges for the use of the machine
7. No real “lesson plans” were available for the drills, but in the Bend Pickleball Club where we have also bought a machine, they have posted all the on-line drills and etc. for people to watch in advance of using the machine. Here’s a link where you can get to their page. http://pickleball.biz/
8. Oh…forgot…when people got a key they signed a liability form.
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