Screenshot: YouTube

All you really need to play tennis is a friend.

Grab an old racquet, pick up a can of balls, head to a nearby park or public high school (or, if you live in New York City, pay out the nose for court time, but that’s a different blog), and start hitting it around. You’ll get better and better. And it’s fun as hell! Here’s what’s not fun as hell:

The SKLZ PowerBase Solo Tennis Trainer, billed as the “the ideal practice partner for improving your entire game.”

These guys just hopping around in parking lots is a bummer, not to mention all those balls would easily be out by 20 feet on a court.

The Great Base Backboard, advertised as “a must for all goal oriented [sic] players.”

At the end of this demo, this lucky kid gets to alternate hitting shots into the plastic backboard with a “hitting partner.” But if he has a hitting partner, why don’t they just go to a tennis court? (Their shots would also be out on a court.)

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The TopspinPro, called a “great tool to get topspin.”

Another way to get topspin? Hitting a ball with topspin to a pal across the net. Also, if these demo balls were hit in real life, I don’t think they’d even go over the net.

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The Tennis Ace Trainer, which allows you to “stay in touch with the game of tennis everyday, anywhere, anytime.”

This stick-looking thing is supposed to help you time your swings and serves, and famous tennis coach Nick Bollettieri vouches for it, which just goes to show that he has time to shill snake oil while running his sweat shop-style youth academies.

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The Tennis Power Trainer, which “provides unique benefits for warmups, resistance training and stroke development.”

You know what else helps with stroke development? Hitting tennis balls, to a person across the net, who then hits it back, sort of like how it is when you’re playing tennis.