Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Sorin Petroj
For those with no training partner, a robot is the next best. This detailed article explains how to use a robot as part of a training program to develop competent table tennis skills. Topics covered in this article include:
- Assessing your skills.
- Choosing exercises that play to your weaknesses.
- Determining how many balls to give yourself per exercise and how long you should practice each exercise.
If you don’t know how to play table tennis with robots, then this is a must-read article for you. I recently purchased a table tennis robot to help me develop my skills without the need for a training partner. I was able to find some excellent tables online, but little in the way of detailed guidance on how to use that information.
How to play table tennis with a robot – Part 1
Based on the instructions, a person should either improve their table tennis skills or learn how to use a robot to develop the skills they want.
The article begins with a plan for the basics of learning and developing table tennis skills. It then addresses the specific elements of putting this instruction into action, including more detailed advice on each skill and considerations for finding the best tools and books.
This course of instruction also includes some suggestions on overcoming motivational challenges that people may experience. Learners are invited to download a spreadsheet to help them take full advantage of these resources and make their own customized training schedule.
What is a Table Tennis Robot?
A table tennis robot is an ideal way to practice your table tennis without finding a training partner. A table tennis robot is basically a machine that fires tennis balls from one end to another end of the table. You can customize the ball’s spin and speed before starting the drill.
A table tennis robot does more than just practice your shots. It also helps you to progress and improves at an even faster rate thanks to the fact that each time you play a different shot, you can re-program the robot to return it at precisely the same angle, spin, and speed, enabling you to perfect your stroke and develop consistency over time.
With a table tennis robot, there is no need to wait for a practice partner as our robots will shoot balls whenever and wherever you want them while also helping you with your technique along the way.
Why Use a Table Tennis Robot?
Table tennis robots are the ultimate practice partner, allowing you to serve instantly, chop, loop, flick or drive at any moment.
They can be very useful for improving your stroke play, wrist strength, and reflexes – so you’re ready for those killer smashes when you face an opponent. You can work on technique and footwork drills to become a faster mover around the table and follow the ball more effectively. The basis for all table tennis skills is knowing stroke techniques.
Sprinkled in with technique learning, we need to build the ability to keep the ball from falling off the table (the Q factor). Table tennis robots will help you learn these skills quickly. Table tennis robots are suitable for casual and competitive play.
These robots have an easy-to-use control panel with a large graphical display and simple buttons for choosing drills and shots. You can program up to 50 drills with 10 different spins, speeds, placement, and oscillation settings. A single ball can fly between 50 and 70mph! Each robot comes in its case with wheels and a built-in transport handle.
How to Make Your Sessions More Effective?
There are many ways you can fully utilize and enjoy your sessions. I am going to point out and describe some of those down below.
These practices are highly encouraged even by the pros. If you can make good use of all these methods, your game will improve in no time.
1. Simulating real matches
One of the underrated techniques while playing against a robot is to imagine the robot as an actual pro-level opponent. You can train your mind into thinking that the robot across the table is actually a pro player like Hugo Calderano or Ma Long.
Imagine playing against a simulated high-ranked table tennis player every day. This will take your game to the next level.
2. Adding different variations
Actual rallies are at a constantly changing combination of speed, spin, placement, height, depth, and shot type. Professional players adjust to this changing sequence in a split second to maintain balance and rhythm while setting up their next shots.
Players continuously move through active and passive training modes. In this practice mode, you feed a variation of these key aspects to yourself. You can do the same with table tennis robots. Also, you can adjust up to 70 different variations in a drill.
You can change the speed variations, placement variations, spin variations, shot type variations, height, and depth variations. This trains your natural ability to interpret and select the right shot and movement pattern according to how the ball bounces, spins, and moves towards you.
On top of that, when you add variations on your own shots, it will make your opponent adjust instead of you having to adapt.
3. Counting all the hits
You can keep track of your loss and success when facing an opponent. It is easy to keep track of how many shots you were down by each round. But, when you are playing against a robot, you won’t get any feedback.
So, you have to start counting your shots. Start doing drills with 20 shots and see if you can hit 15 out of 20 shots. Suppose you can manage to hit all 20 shots consistently, then up your game by increasing ball speed and spin. If you only hit less than 10 shots, you should focus on shot consistency by adjusting the variations.
4. Record your play sessions
You can record your drill sessions with a smartphone, tablet, or any recording device. It is essential to look back on your drill session. It will help you identify your mistakes so you can avoid them in future sessions. This will allow you to coach yourself and improve your game even further.
Don’t know what you are looking for? Then check out these points to get up to speed:
- How are your recovery shots?
- Look for how frequently you are breathing between shots.
- How frequently can you hit them?
- How do you handle incoming balls of different variations?
- Keep an eye on your placement.
- How far are you from the table?
- How fast do you hit each shot?
5. Positioning of the robot
Robot training is vastly improved when you change the robot’s position in your table tennis room. Most players use their robot at the same distance from a table and don’t vary it. Different positions are good & give you a different feel, and that is what you want – to be ready for all types of balls.
Change the position of the robot in your room – put it on the floor, facing all directions, the side of the table, etc. Each position makes the ball come at you differently and helps simulate real matches against real players.
Organically, putting your robot in different places on your table integrates side-to-side variation in your practice. Adding topspin, underspin, and no spin balls further expand the variety, forcing you to stay alert and adjust with every shot.
How Can a Table Tennis Robot Improve Your Gameplay?
Learning different strokes
Table tennis robots can generate different types of strokes during drills. These basic strokes are the core skills of the sport.
- Forehand push against low backspin.
- Backhand push against low backspin.
- Forehand drive against low-top spin.
- Backhand block against low topspin.
- Forehand block against low topspin.
- Backhand drive against low topspin.
- Backhand block against low topspin.
You can create drills for any of the strokes. The essential drill is to repeat the same stroke many times until you can do it consistently, with good stroke mechanics. If your arm muscles are not strong now, they soon will be if you are hitting the ball thousands of times a week!
How to play table tennis with a robot – Part 2
- Forehand block vs. all types of shots.
- Forehand flips.
- Topspin versus forehand loops.
- Forehand chop.
- Forehand loop vs. backspin.
- Backhand chop.
- Backhand blocks versus all types of shots.
- Backspin versus backhand loops.
- Backhand loop versus topspin.
- Backhand flips.
You can practice with multiple footwork drills. High-end table tennis robots can simulate more than 20 different footwork drills. Proper footwork (movement) is essential to playing table tennis at the highest level.
If you get tired quickly, turn down the frequency until you can last longer without getting tired. Then gradually build up frequency again.
I suggest starting with a low-ball frequency drill if you are new to table tennis.
Start with 20 balls per minute. When you can hit all the balls comfortably at that rate, bump the frequency to 30, 40,50, and then 60 balls per minute. This will significantly enhance your reaction time and muscle movement.
A table tennis robot can give you a lot of different types of shots and variations. You can choose whether the robot shoots backspin, topspin, or sidespin, or it could shoot a mixture of different spins with each ball, which gives a more realistic table tennis playing experience.
When it comes to choosing the right type of table tennis robot for you, the main thing to consider is your skill level and goals. If you’re just starting, a single-spin robot will provide enough variety of spin and speed to challenge most players who are learning the game.
On the other hand, if you’re an advanced player or coaching professional and want to drill different shots repeatedly, then a multi-spin robot may be more suitable as it can change the spin with each ball.
Table Tennis Robot Randomized play
You can set your table tennis robot to deliver shots at a random sequence. This can be randomized spin, speed, or placement. You can select everything at random; this will help you prepare for the big leagues.
Entry-level table tennis robots might not have too many randomized options. We recommend the top-of-the-line table tennis robots for that.
There are some advanced features like a memory feature in top-of-the-range robot tennis ball machines. This means that the robot can remember different settings—such as speed and trajectory—and you’ll be able to recall those settings for future use.
Some robots (mainly mid-range or top-of-the-range) will come with a ball recycling facility, which is basically a collection net that funnels the ball back into the robot. This means that you don’t have to keep stopping to reload the robot. You can have continuous play.
Push your placement limits when playing against a human. If not done with certain precautions, this can be frustrating and lead to an awful training session. But advanced table tennis robot’s consistent ball placement removes these limitations, giving instant feedback on even the most glaring placement mistakes.
Become a champion, as table tennis and robotics experts discuss the best way to train your precision and how to practice looping in every inch of a ping pong table.
How to play with table tennis robot – FAQs
1. Why table tennis robot is good for kids?
Great for kids who want to improve their hand-eye coordination, learn how to win and lose with grace. The table tennis robot is an excellent way of ensuring that the player has all control in an environment where they can’t make mistakes – this teaches them about victory & defeat without any negative consequences!
- A table tennis robot is a great way to improve your child’s hand-eye coordination.
- A table tennis robot can help improve your child’s reflexes.
- The robot is a fun way for children to learn how to play table tennis.
- Table tennis robots can help children develop their strategic thinking skills.
2. How to return service with table tennis robot?
Simply put the robot’s head downside so that it can throw the ball firstly to its part of the table. You can control the head of your robot to get a wide variety of serves. You might want it turned in for more topspin or out if you’re looking at side-spin.
3. How much time should I play with a table tennis robot?
If you’re just starting out, or want to focus on technique, 10-15 minutes per day is plenty enough. If you’re looking to improve your game, aim to practice with the robot for at least an hour each day. The most important thing is not to use it all at once for an hour.
It would be best if you did exercises with breaks. A table tennis robot is a tireless machine, and that is why you need to control the playing time and the break time.
4. When is the best time to use a table tennis robot – before or after practice?
After your training session, you could use a robot to practice against. This will help increase consistency and offensive efficiency in game-play. The best time for using it before or after is when we feel like we are most susceptible.
If you are going to use it before training, then let it be just a warm-up. After training, it is good to practice what you remembered that you did not do well. This way, you will gradually improve certain shortcomings.
5. Are there any disadvantages to playing with a table tennis robot too much or for too long?
If you’re not careful, playing with a robot too much or for an extended period can be a disadvantage. The first thing that can happen is fatigue from using the machine and the appearance of muscle inflammation the next day.
Secondly, you will get used to the same balls that the robot throws out. That’s why you should play with the players and use the robot to improve your moves.
We’ve seen great results from players who have used the robot. From amateurs to professionals, robots have definitely helped with many areas of their game.
Top players use robots to practice under service pressure and perfect the speed of attack/defense. They are also used as a tool to practice targeting and to bring up consistency.
But it can be used as a warmup before tournament play. It’s always good to have some structure during robot practice sessions. Playing with table tennis robots will have a considerable advantage over your opponent.