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PostPosted: 22 Feb 2016, 00:33 
Count Darkula
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I haven't used my robot much for a while, but I set it up again and was fiddling around with settings and things today. I quite accidentally stumbled across a couple of things I thought were useful to get the robot to do and not what I would call "standard drills" by any means.

The first was getting the robot to fire the ball at the top of the net (I was actually adjusting the spin, speed and head to fire topspin just over the net) and getting a net drop from it. Sometimes it'd just go into the net, sometimes it'd hit the net and land deep, and sometimes it'd land short. This was cool as it kept me on my toes...which is where I think it was a really useful drill. Who trains for net balls? I'd say not many. But returning a net ball can be the difference between winning and losing a match. With the head oscillating and sending the balls in all directions I found that it wasn't always easy to get the ball back on after it hit the net. Some of course were impossible to reach, but some I could reach I employed too much speed and lift and sent them long. The more balls I tried though, the better I got at judging the right touch for it. If I can reproduce the settings, I'll do this one again sometime. ;)

The second was having the robot "serve" into the table to me. The ball bounced on its side, cleared the net, and bounced with good backspin short on my side. To be honest, these were awesome serves. And it did them more consistently than a human would. I found this really useful in finding different ways to deal with these kinds of serves. You don't have a great opportunity to do that when you play matches (you just have to find whatever works at the time), and not many people often drill each other on serves like this. So I think its another useful and probably not very common use for the robot.

Any thoughts, comments or other suggestions of uncommon things you've used the robot for (tt-wise that is :P :lol: )?

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PostPosted: 22 Feb 2016, 13:01 
Goes to 11
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Great ideas. I especially like the net cord one. The other one I'd heard of before - apparently a lot of robots put huge, unrealistic amounts of backspin on the ball, and one way to moderate it is to have the machine "serve" the ball (i.e. have it strike the table twice). The short backspin serve would be great for developing (or attempting to develop, in my case.. :lol: ) a banana flick. A long one would be great for practicing opening loops or slow loops.


PostPosted: 23 Feb 2016, 04:27 
For your Long A's Only
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Reb, I like your first drill, have not tried that before.

I did the second drill all the time, problem is, after the first few balls, once you get used to the amount of spins, the rest were easy to deal with. Of course, the best drill is to have a live human serving different spins, different speeds and different angles to you, but then, you don't need a robot. :)

PostPosted: 23 Feb 2016, 16:21 
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The net ball idea is terrific! I will definitely try it. (Next: edge balls…)

I've also set up my robot for backspin serves, back when I was starting to learn the backhand flick/flip. It is also possible to set up for sidespin serves, but to me the harder part of serve return is reading the opponent's action in the first place. Not that you can't train the physical action separately from the opponent-watching part.

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