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Slinger takes major swings at evolving the game of tennis
Published Oct 22, 2020
Your hunt for the prefect hitting partner is over. Slinger Bag is changing what the practice court looks like by making it easier than ever to pick up a racquet.
Despite the name, Slinger Bag is not just a standard bag that holds your racquets, balls and grips. While it can hold all of these items, it also holds your new hitting partner inside it's cover. It's a ball machine unlike any you've ever seen before.
The bag is lightweight and rolls similar to a suitcase and can easily be stored in the trunk of a car. It gives an instant sense of ease and comfortability in a sport that can feel daunting, especially early on.
Nick Bollettieri is a brand ambassador. (Slinger Bag)
"A lot of people would love to play tennis, but one of the problems they face is that it is a bit daunting going to join a country club or something where you can see all of these people that look like they've been playing tennis forever," says Slinger Bag CEO Mike Ballardie.
Slinger Bag removes the discouraging factor of seeking out partners when players are just starting out. While lessons and coaching are still necessary to develop the fundamentals, Slinger can help you get up to speed.
Players can take what they've learned in lessons and apply it to their workout and drilling with the innovative bag, all on their own time and without having to share a court.
"Of course the Slinger Bag in conjunction with the lessons can accelerate the process and make you more quickly comfortable to go on the court and try to play tennis," Ballardie says. "For the sport of tennis that's incredibly important."
Although ball machines have been around for decades, they can be intimidating. They are bulky, heavy, expensive and usually require a power outlet. Slinger looks more like a suitcase and is battery operated—it can even charge your phone while you practice.
The bag can hold 144 balls at a time. (Slinger Bag)
The ball launcher company is not only cracking down the many walls that keep many from playing the sport, it's also looking out for elite stars. World famous coach Nick Bollettieri is a strong advocate for the innovative bag, and often collaborates with the brand to show how it can be utilized to develop a vast range of players.
"You can set it up to practice any type of stroke and again it's all about repetition," Ballardie says. "You could also set it up to fine tune your tennis fitness, because it's a good workout if you have the full oscillation on and go side to side. You can even practice your passing shots. You can set up Slinger to do any of those things."
Players can choose between different balls speeds up to 45 mph. The bag weights 33 pounds, holds 144 balls and has a battery life of five hours, which is more than enough time to have a great practice session.
Tommy Haas, Kevin Anderson and Bob and Mike Bryan are just a few ambassadors of the brand and Ballardie believes if it's good for the world's best, it's good for anyone out there, no matter the level.
Bob and Mike Bryan testing out the portable machine (Slinger Bag)
The bag was designed with all player levels in mind so it makes sense that it's an all-in-one package. With a $550 price tag, players get the convenience of taking the game with them whenever and wherever they want.
Ballardie compares it to a golf bag.
"There's a lot of crossover between tennis players and golfers and if you're a golfer, your golf bag is your pride and joy," he says. "Your golf bag of course has all of your clubs but it also has all of your equipment. Everything you need is in your golf bag. And the golfer typically keeps the golf bag in the car and if they have 30 minutes available, they go to the driving range and hit some golf balls."
The sport has always been missing this piece of the puzzle. A player usually has their racquets in the car but would still need to set up a hitting partner or rent a ball machine.
"We have to be successful in getting the Slinger name in front of the 5 million tennis enthusiasts that are in the U.S.," Ballardie says. "I believe very strongly that every single one of those 5 million players, if they knew about Slinger, they would aspire to own one."
With so much room to improve and grow, Slinger is putting in the reps and is already taking major swings in evolving the game as we know it.