Congratulations to Yohan Choi of San Diego, CA for his contributions to the Coaching Forum contest. The winning entry is listed below for your review and implementation into your training program.
Make Your Robot Shoot Through Your Net
San Diego, CA
This tip allows you to bring your robot off the table (to simulate loops, etc) while still utilizing the net's ability to collect the balls. It works best for the Robo-Pong 1000 w/ Ball Catch Net, but can also be used with the other robots.
Cut an inverted "U" in the Ball Catch Net (in 3 places listed below in Figure 1) and apply Velcro to keep the net "closed". Place your robot off the table on a box or Robo-Caddy behind one of the Velcro inverted "U's" of the net. Open up the Velcro to expose the hole to allow the balls to shoot through. You can make the hole a little bigger to allow for oscillation of the head and/or to move the robot further behind the table.
- If you make the hole as a "U" instead of an inverted "U", this will also work; however, you will need a piece of string or twist-tie to keep the flap up. An inverted "U" will allow you to open up the flap and gravity will keep it down.
- I suggest three holes so that you can practice with balls from the forehand, backhand, and middle. You can decrease or increase the number or size of the holes.
- Use Velcro with adhesive on the reverse sides. Stick it to the cut net edge. Use a piece of tape to secure the Velcro. Repeat this procedure on the other edge of the net. If you place the cut-edge of the net in the middle of the Velcro strip you can keep the same net tension while the Velcro is closed.
- If you have a 2000 or 2040, you can probably get a Robo-Pong 1000 ball-bucket to bring the robot off the table while still utilizing the larger net assembly to collect the balls. In this instance, the middle slot would either be eliminated or adjusted to slightly off center due to the support bracket. Use a twist-tie on the front net to lift one side out of the way to allow the balls to shoot through. Contact Newgy to determine how the ball-bucket will work with the 2040.
- Cutting the net will void your warranty.
(Editor's Note: This is a simple tip to
increase the versatility of the Ball Catch Net and will
likely be incorporated into future versions of the net.
Having the robot shoot through the net instead of having
your robot sit on the table in front of the net will help
the net to capture more of your returns because your
returns will not be able to strike the robot and ricochet
away from the net. Additionally, depending on the position
of the holes in the net, this set-up will lower the ball
trajectory to be closer to the trajectory at which a good
player would typically strike the ball.
Probably a more logical alternative to Yohan's Note #4 would be to purchase a separate Ball Catch Net (BCN) if you have a Robo-Pong 2000 or 2040. The BCN is only $49.95 while a RP1000 Ball Bucket is $44.00. It would be much easier to leave your robot as is, place it away from the table on a Robo-Caddy or other platform, attach the modified BCN to the table, and have your robot shoot through the holes in the BCN. This would save the hassle of having to unmount your robot from the standard net system and then remount it in the Ball Bucket.
And I must second Yohan's warning that modifying the net in this manner will void your warranty.)