Training Tips — Robot Set-Up / Alternative Uses


Using The Robot In The Robo-Caddy 0

David Terao 

I just received the new Robo-Caddy and extension cord and found some interesting uses for them in common drills. Putting the Robo-Pong 2000 in the Robo-Caddy, I move the robot to the forehand corner of the table with the head pointing cross-court. With no oscillation, I can do forehand-to-forehand drills with a feel more like that of a real person and better ball placement. Also, because with the Robo-Caddy the robot head can be set about three inches lower than the normal height of the Robo-Pong 2000, the balls are returned to me lower to the net and more realistically. Using the oscillating feature (oscillation range set at 1-4, frequency at 8, and speed at 8), I can do the one-step drill (with the ball alternating between the forehand and backhand court) as well. The same drills can also be used with the robot in the backhand court for backhand practice. For either the forehand or backhand drills described above, the Robo-Pong 2000 net is still pretty functional - catching about 50 percent or more of the balls.

Another useful tip: When setting up the Robo-Pong 2000, I had a hard time aligning the 5-prong connector on the cord with the female-end on the back of the Robo-Pong 2000. To make it easier, I put a little white dot on the cord with liquid White-out and a corresponding dot on the back of the Robot. Now, it is a lot easier to plug in the cord.

Making the Robot Produce Inconsistent Deliveries, 0

Phil Moy 
Itasca, IL 
Schaumburg TTC

"The robot gives me a steady consistent ball to practice against. Once I have achieved consistent strokes, then it's time to provide some inconsistent balls to hit against. The way to do this is to add all sorts of different balls into the traysŠone star balls, two star, three star, no star (like the really cheap, cheap balls you find at K-Mart) and you'll get a variety of trajectories and bounces, more like you'll get in a real game!" 

Technical Support note: If you use this tip, you may get some balls that are so badly out of round, too large in diameter, or too small in diameter for the balls to fit through your robot properly. If you start having problems with balls sticking in the machine, or some very erratic trajectories (like the ball popping straight up or directly sideways) you can try weeding out the offending balls one by one and still get a variety of reasonable trajectories and bounces. Two brands of balls we particularly have trouble with are Pioneer and Halex.

Practicing Backhands And Third Ball Attack 0

Amar Salaj Vattakandy 
San Jose University CA

I was a University level player in India, and I was using a Super Anti rubber on my back hand. I used to win lots of games just by pushing with my back hand, and the players used to misjudge the spin very badly. But when I came to US, and started playing seriously, I found that lots of experienced players tend to keep pushing to my back hand because they knew that I could not attack effectively with my anti spin rubber. There was only one way out of this - use attacking rubbers on both sides, and practice well to attack with the back hand. But practice partners were hard to find, most of them getting frustrated and dropping off due to my hopeless back hand. That was when I heard about the Newgy RoboPong 2000. I compared it with the German TTmatic Robots, and your price was at least 1/4th or 1/5th of that. I went ahead and bought it a couple of weeks back, and since then, I have been working on my back hand at least 3 hours a day. After two weeks of practice, now my back hand is just as good as my fore hand. The improvement is just phenomenal, nothing less.

I was primarily working on two aspects - the drive and the loop with the back hand. For improving the reflexes, the key requirement for a good and consistent drive, I set the Robo to sweep 1/4 or 1/2 of the backhand court, and with ball frequency set at 3/4th of maximum, I kept driving the ball for 3 minutes in a row. A medium speed was used for chops, and high speed for topspins. Stay around 1.5 to 2 feet away from the table for this exercise.

For practicing loops, stay farther away from the table, around 3 to 5 feet, and keep using the full swing action to loop the ball back. The main focus was on imparting maximum spin on the ball. The speed would slowly follow. Here, since a high frequency of balls was found to be unnatural, and also a hindrance to practice, I set the ball frequencey to somewhere between 1/2 and 1/3 of the maximum. This would give rise to some very interesting phenomenon, by which the rhythm of the movement is broken, and you learn to start doing the backswing quickly, once the ball is thrown by the robo.

Another interesting exercise I tried was to improve my serve. I usually use a medium toss cross arm forehand pendulum serve. So, I set the sweep constant, with the head pointing towards my back hand, and with the speed set just enough to send the ball across the net, and with the ball frequency set to the minimum value possible, I tried the serves continously. Within some time, I could synchronise my serves and the ball frequency, so that the next ball would be thrown immediately after I finished serving. The Robo was basically being used just as a ball retriever, but it was a very rewarding exercise.

Let me end my small collection of tips here, with the hope that anyone who would like to play the European style game would benefit from that. Well, the fact remains that I am more than captivated by the dexterity and flexibility of the Robo Pong 2000, and would suggest the brand to any of my friends who is serious about the game....

Better Simulation Of Loops and Chops, 0

Carlos Marin 

I found out that the fast loop thrown by the robot is very good since it has a lot of spin but is not like a real fast loop thrown by a player in real competition. This is because in real competition when a player strikes with a powerful topspin the ball usually comes from under the table, up over the net and down to your side of the table. The robot throws you the topspin from above the table (since it's mounted on the top of the table) directly down onto your side of the table. I achieved a very good and accurate topspin by dismounting the Robot from the table and putting it on top of a box about 10 inches from the floor and about a meter and a half from the table. You would'nt believe the accuracy of the topspin compared to the one in real competition. This way the ball comes from a position lower than the table so the loop is accurate, then it goes over the net to your side of the table, just like in real competition. If you put the oscillator on it's even better. You get the same effect for backspin simulating a game against a chopping player. 

Tech note: This is a very good tip and shows the versatility of robot and how it can be adapted to simulate many different shots in the game. Of course, when you use the robot in this manner, the recycling net feature is of little use, but you still get a hundred or so high quality shots to practice against before you have to stop and pick up the balls. Another suggestion to make this idea work better is to buy an extra Connector Cable (part# 2000-220) and two 5-pin Connectors (#2000-218). Solder the leads on one 5-Pin Connector to the corresponding leads on the other 5-Pin Connector to form a connector for linking two Connector Cables together. Now with this longer cable you can place the robot in numerous positions in back of the table and still have the Remote Control Box handy at the player's end of the table.

Practice Returning "Net Balls" 0

Tito Rodriguez 
Ormand Beach, FL

I think one of the most frustrating aspects of table tennis is returning a ball after the other player returns and the ball hits the net and lands on your side of the net. Not even the best coach can hit this type of shot again and again. But with Robo-Pong 2000, I can reproduce this net ball consistently which helps my timing to be able to return these "lucky" shots by my opponent, that otherwise I have no way to practice. Thanks for such an amazing machine!!!

Practice Against "Difficult Balls" 0

David Perkel 
Atlanta, GA

There are a lot of ways that a robot can be really useful......1) Make it do those nasty serves that you can never seem to get back during a game (your opponent will get it next time). 2) Attempt to loop it's evil underspin - If you can hit it, then you can nail underspin in reality. 3) Set it up for unusual sidespin lobs to smash, and the everhated net ball to attack. It is very gratifying to hit those in a game after practice. 4) Practice the ever-so-annoying footwork. Nuff said. The robot is even good for sibliings (you can set the ball speed and oscillator on high and lock your brother/sister in the garage with the machine. OUCH!)

The robot is not only a toy of malice, but a great asset if you are looking to get better, sweat, and practice.