So, you have seen the “Billie Jean King’s Eye coach” in action in your local club or on YouTube, and you’re impressed and are thinking of buying one. However, the price tag of around $160 is keeping you from making those few clicks to purchase this tennis aid. Today, I’m going to share an option to get the Eye coach for half the price and save you some money!
How can you save up to $80 on a Tennis Eye Coach? To save significant money on the Eye Coach, instead of purchasing the Eye Coach for full price, you’ll have to buy only the Eye Coach replacement arm and then do a few tweaks. You can get the Eye Coach replacement arm for 1/3 of the total price and make your own base for it. Once you buy the replacement arm, you’ll have to decide what do you want to use as the base to attach the Eye Coach arm. This method should help you save around half the money you’ll be paying if you bought it at full price.
In this post, I’ll explain how can you make your own version of the Eye Coach for around $75. I’ll provide a step by step guide on how to make this feasible. I’m sharing this because I believe the Eye Coach can be beneficial for your tennis game; however, I also understand that it can be somewhat pricey for most of us.
In the next sections, I’ll discuss:
- The benefits of using the Eye coach, and why you should you get one
- Getting the replacement arm
- Making your own base
- Putting all together
- Practicing with Eye coach
Continue reading to find out how can you make this happen!
The benefits of using the Eye Coach, and why you should you get one
In my experience of teaching tennis, I’ve seen how players can speed up their learning process by implementing the eye coach in their training routine. When you start learning tennis, you get introduced, primarily, to the forehand and backhand. Usually, the coach will feed you balls slowly, so you have enough time to work on the proper form. However, there are so many balls you can hit in 1 hour of on-court practice; and most of the time is not enough.
Practicing with the Eye Coach for 30 minutes is the equivalent of playing at least 6 hours of tennis on the court. I’ve calculated that in 1 minute of using the eye coach, you can hit around 20 balls. So, in half an hour of practicing with the eye coach (without taking breaks in consideration), you can hit about 600 balls. That’s quite a lot!
That’s why complementing your tennis training with the Eye Coach will provide you with the opportunity to hit extra balls when you’re off the court.
Focus on technique and contact point
The Eye Coach’s ball only moves back and forth a few times, and then it stops. Given that the ball is not moving like if your coach is feeding balls to you, you can focus only on hitting with proper technique, without having to worry about timing the ball or adjusting to it. This is great to develop appropriate muscle memory for each stroke. Also, it allows you to work on your contact point by forcing you to really focus on the ball.
Having the Eye Coach, allows you to practice from the comfort of your home. It’s portable so you can take it with you to places, like the park or beach. Also, once you’re done with your training, you don’t have to worry about picking up the balls, which is always nice.
Getting the replacement arm
Before we get into where to buy the replacement arm, let me mention that there are two versions of the Eye Coach: the professional and the junior versions. Both offer the same functionality, but there are two differences between them: the height and weight.
The adjustable height for the Pro version is 32”-35”, while for the Jr. version is 28.5” to 30.5”. The weight difference is minimal; for the Pro version is 13.7lbs and for the Jr. version is 13.5lbs. However, keep in mind that the Eye Coach replacement arm is the same one for the Pro and Jr. version.
Where to buy it?
There are several options on where to buy the Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach replacement arm. I got mine on eBay for exactly $40.95 without including shipping costs.
The prices vary between $38 to $50. You can find it on the following online stores:
Making your own base
Take into consideration that the original base costs around $110 (the value of the Eye Coach ($160) minus the price of the replacement arm (around $50). So, if you don’t spend too much money on your own base, you can save some serious cash.
It’s essential that the base is heavy so that the Eye Coach can remain stable when hitting the ball. As you can see from the picture above, the replacement arm end is a tube; so we need to come up with a base that has an entrance to attach the replacement arm.
There are two main options that I recommend to use as your base: bricks or an umbrella base.
You’ll need to find at least two building bricks. For those who don’t know, building bricks are the kinds of bricks that have holes on it.
I was looking online for brick sold by the unit, but I didn’t have much luck. You can check on Craigslist; maybe somebody is selling building bricks near to you. If that’s not an option, you can always go to your local hardware store and see if they have them. If they don’t have them, they probably can point you in the right direction on where to buy it.
Assuming you were able to get the bricks, you’ll have to put one on top of the other. Be sure the holes of both bricks are aline and in the same position so that you can see the floor. If you want, you can glue them together; however, I don’t think it is necessary. So that’s pretty much it; on to the next option.
Umbrella bases (Best option)
The second option is to buy an umbrella base. There’re two main things to consider. First, the base has to be heavy enough, around at least 20 lbs so the whole unit can remain stable when hitting the ball. Then, the entrance, where you attach the base with the umbrella, should fit around a 2” pole. It’s important that the base entrance is not too big; otherwise, the eye coach will be very loose.
Where to buy it?
You can get any of these umbrella bases for around $30:
- Cement Umbrella Base – Bed Bath & Beyond
- 26 lbs. Patio Umbrella Base – Home Depot
- Cast Stone Umbrella Base – Amazon
Any of these umbrella bases should be fine.
If you spend $30 on your base, you’ll be saving around $80 (cost of Eye coach base minus cost umbrella base). Not a bad deal!
Car brakes (Not recommended)
For my own eye coach base, I used a car brake. Actually, my friend did for me. He got a car brake and glued it to a tube, which looks a lot like an umbrella base. However, this option is not practical for most of us, so that’s why I don’t recommend it. Anyways, I’ll share a picture of my own eye coach base.
Putting all together
Attaching the replacement arm to the base
So, now that you have your Eye Coach replacement arm and your base. Depending on the options you choose, you’ll need to:
Insert the replacement arm into the umbrella base and use the post screw to secure it. Most umbrella bases come with a post screw, so it shouldn’t be a problem. However, in the case the entrance of the base is too wide, you can make the replacement arm thicker. Use any type of cloth or towel, and wrap it around the replacement arm end tube.
Insert the replacement arm into the bricks’ holes. In most of the cases, the replacement arm will be loose. Use any type of cloth or towel to wrap the replacement arm and make it thicker. This should prevent the replacement arm from moving when hitting the ball.
Testing the Eye coach
Before, you start using your new tennis aid. Make sure that the height is appropriate and that the Eye Coach replacement arm is secured. Hit the Eye Coach with a fast swing, if the Eye Coach arm doesn’t move or gets wobbly, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, try to secure it again by making the arm tube thicker.
Practicing with the Eye Coach
There are many ways to practice with the Eye Coach. The creators of the Eye Coach claim you can work on up to 17 different shots. If you’re a beginner, I’ll suggest focusing first on forehands and backhands.
Practicing your groundstrokes (forehand and backhand) is very straightforward. Just make sure to stand at an appropriate distance from the Eye Coach. I’ve seen beginners players getting to close to the Eye Coach, and not giving themselves enough space to do full swings.
For your volleys, you’ll have to make the eye coach stand higher; around shoulder level. You can use a bench, bucket, or even a tennis basket, and place the Eye Coach on top of it.
To practice serves, you’ll have to detach the replacement arm from the base. By holding the Eye Coach arm with your tossing hand, you can practice your serve at an appropriate height.
Check out these clips to get inspired!
There are many resources on how to practice with the Eye Coach, especially on Youtube.
Below, I’m sharing three videos on the Eye Coach; make sure to check them to have a better idea on how to practice with this tennis aid.
Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach Experience
The Eye Coach: 17 Different Shot Training Video
Practice Indoor All Year!
How much do the Billie Jean King’s Eye coach replacement arm and base weight?
- The weight of the Eye Coach replacement arm and base are as follow 1.8 lbs and 11.9 lbs, respectively.
What to do if your Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach breaks?
- If your tennis Eye Coach breaks, depending on the issue, you can buy different replacement parts and accessories on www.howtoplaytennis.net