|May's Winning Entry for Our Contest|
Congratulations to Darrell Rikert of Millerton, NY for his contributions to the Coaching Forum contest. The winning entry is listed below for your review and implementation into your training program.
This first tip is very basic. Since half of your points (in singles) starts with your serve, it's very important. After you have played with your robot for a while, you usually have to go around and pick up some balls. What I do is collect the balls in a bucket and then serve them back to the robot. If you make a habit out of this, you will, with very little effort, improve your serves. It also gives you a chance to check the balls for any dirt they may have picked up.
(Editor's Note: Dirt is the main reason for your robot malfunction. Doing this step first will permit you to pull off any long hairs, fibers or other dirt clinging to the ball before putting the balls back into the robot. This should greatly assist in reducing the maintenance required to keep the robot performing correctly.)
The second tip is for those of you who worry about the robot feeding you the same speed and spin, which is unlike the "natural variation" you get playing a human. What you can do is have a mixture of old and new balls in the robot. I don't like the idea of using cheap balls; but, even a good ball like the Newgy balls, will over time become slightly smooth. The robot will not throw the older balls quite as spinny or fast as the newer balls resulting in some variation.