Benefits of a Robot
If you want to be convinced that a robot is worthwhile for you, then please read this sections, and I’ll try and convince you, hah hah!
#1 Ideal for practicing, fine-tuning and speeding up your strokes
Assuming you have learned the basic strokes, you need to practice them to get better. Robots are ideal for this, because they have the ability to give you the same ball over and over again, allowing you to (1) practice the stroke, (2) fine-tune the stroke, (3) speed it up once you’ve mastered it and (4) see what effects some minor adjustment can make.
A real practice partner will almost certainly not give you the same ball continuously, so if you start missing you won’t know if the ball came a little different, or if you made an error in you stroke/footwork. Of course a real practice partner will also likely run out of energy or will get bored…something you don’t need to worry about with a robot!
#2 Makes table tennis fun, especially for kids
If you’re keen to get your kids (or someone else’s) interested in table tennis, then a robot is a real treat. Kids love this sort of thing. You can use it as a treat after some serious training, or as a demo to get new kids interested, or just have it around as a bit of fun. There are even some games available (like Newgy Pong Master) to help you keep make it fun!
#3 Exercise and Health
If you thought table tennis does not require much fitness or endurance, think again! Once you’re learned some of the basic strokes you’ll realise you need a lot more than just an arm movement to play a proper stroke, and you need to move your feet to get into position to play your strokes properly. A robot setup to oscillate or even programmed to shoot out balls to specific locations, can feed you balls all over the table, over and over again, at a speed and frequency of your choice. This will give you a great workout, for either losing weight or gaining fitness and/or endurance. Not only will the weight loss and improvement in fitness/endurance improve your game, but it will no doubt improve your coordination and strokes enormously as well. Although the example in the video below may be a little extreme, it does make a valid point!
#4 A great aid for Group Coaching
After recently speaking to a coach who does a lot of group coaching, I’ve realised how valuable a few robots can be. To keep costs down, only very simply robots can make group coaching so much easier, and require a lot less helpers or other coaches. You can simply set the robots of for a particular stroke that the kids need to learn, and allow them to practice it over and over again, while you walk around the group and offer advice where needed. In this case a few smaller robots, costing only a few hundred dollars each, can be much more valuable then a single more complex unit.
#5 Improve footwork and coordination
Apart from allowing you to practice your individual strokes, most robots can be set to oscillate or even programmed to shoot out balls to specific locations. This can be highly valuable to practice your footwork, and speed it up once you’ve mastered the basics. This again is especially useful for kids, and their coordination is still developing, and footwork can be taught right from the start.
#6 To play when no partner is available
Although a robot is no substitute for a partner to play with, it sure is a lot better than not being able to play at all!
#7 Practice to handle a weakness or a trouble shot from an opponent
For those that play competition, you’ll know every has a weakness. Once an opponent find this, and has the ability to use it against you, it can mean the end of the game. A robot can usually be setup to play the balls you have trouble with, so you can practice it over and again, until you you turn it into a strength.
Similarly there are always some players that play a particular shot you may have trouble with… well setup the robot to give you that trouble shot, and practice over and over again to work out how to handle it!
#8 Clubs facility
A club that has a robot available is a likely attraction for new players. It can be a very important facility that you can offer to your members, and can offer great benefits as outlined above.