Jan-Ove Waldner quotes, “I am standing when the ball comes, and that’s why I don’t have to move. I can read the game. ” Indeed, table tennis is one of the very interactive sports, which require a partner, though it needs a partner for it to be more interesting. Lack of a partner or opportunity to practice has led to increased use of robot trainers. Today, many people are embracing table tennis robots to train and improve their skills. I will focus on my adventure with Robo-Pong 2040 robot trainer.
Several years ago, I purchased a table tennis robot to use in my training at home. A very large and exciting purchase amazed my friends and family. The Robo-Pong 2040 tennis partner became a close friend in the garage. Often, my siblings were amused by how I thrashed out against the robot trainer. It was a great time for tennis practice. It was important to me because I could not make it to the table tennis club yet I could never miss a training session. As such, I had to buy it for my home practice at a convenient time for me.
Importantly to note, it was adventurous to train with a robot. In many ways, the robot improved my backhand topspin and backspin. This area had been my weakest part of the game though I still work on it. However, with Robo-Pong 2040, I had lots of time to train and improve this shot. Notably, I used it severally to feed backspin repeatedly, and I worked on getting the technique correctly. Eventually, several repetitions drilled the stroke technique into my mind, and I could not think about the technique anymore but use it in competitive games.
Furthermore, it was exploratory to train with Robo-Pong 2040 as it helped me improve my footwork. I used to be indolent in my feet. Therefore, working with the robot through various footwork drill was consciously a great. The robot particularly improved my footwork movement when transiting from backhand to forehand strokes. I noticed that the robot had many pre-installed drills and it could send the tennis ball in any direction, regularly or irregularly. As such, it had a lot of movements and exercises, which was essential to my table tennis experience.
Interestingly, I also learned that a robot can throws balls superfast. When I began using it, I was too slow in my stroke actions to recover quickly enough. Therefore, the robot shoot balls past me. Progressively, I began shortening my strokes and thus recovering quicker and finding it easier to catch up with the robot than before. As a result, it improved my game and made me dominate most of the rallies and play close to the table than before. However, I noticed that a robot could not serve efficiently, yet it could make a short backspin. Therefore, I began training myself on flicking, which is a great skill for any table tennis lover. Though I had never known the practice of flicking before buying my it, I eventually mastered the skill, and I now can dominate a match against my opponent.
During the practices, the robot failed to return serves. I noticed that it clearly does not return any serve, whether best or worst. Incongruously, my robot had a ball collector thus motivated me to practice as many serves as possible without running around to collect balls off the floor. Before I could switch the robot on, I spent at least ten minutes serving a box full of balls into the robot’s ball collector. As a result, I increased my chances of exercising and improving my state of serving as well as learning new techniques of serving. Ultimately, I developed effective reverse pendulum that could make havoc to my opponents.
A robot is a man made partner to help in training. However, just like any other technological device, it could not meet all my demands and practice needs. First, my reading spin technique maintained the status quo. With my robot trainer, I had to choose the types of spin I needed before it could throw balls. Table tennis requires a player to adapt majorly to different levels of incoming spin about strokes. As such, the player makes playing decisions about the opponent’s bat angle, his or her movements, ball flight and rotation, and sometimes the sound of the incoming ball. Unfortunately, my robot could not replicate these features. As a result, my decision-making and reading spin remained simple in that I work with the spin I set on the robot.
Moreover, table tennis requires a player to read the opponent keenly. However, Robo-Pong 2040 and other table tennis robots are static and cannot give a trainee a chance to improve the skill of reading the opponent and mastering their techniques to counterattack them effectively. Besides, apart from a short backspin serve, it could not receive my serves well. Thus, the quality of serves remains low quality. The robot was also very high, and thus the ball shoots were high bouncing. Practically, great players do not serve that way. Perfect serve to return requires one to study the opponent carefully. However, it could not replicate this thus making my receiving skills stagnant.
Lastly, my trainer could only play one spin at a time. However, I love the combination of backspin and topspin where I play a topspin against bock among other combinations. Since my bot was not very expensive, I could not practice such combinations. Some of the table tennis robots such as Practice Partner 100 can enable a trainee to practice any combinations of spins.
Overall, exploring table tennis skills with Robo-Pong 2040 was an amazing adventure, which not only increased my knowledge but also skills in table tennis game. It helped me improve my skills and techniques. Besides, a robot trainer was a good way to do a physical workout for my body. However, frequent practice with robots can be harmful to the player if they do not encounter real opponents. The robot, from my experience, is only good for improving some of the playing skills.