Why purchase a ping pong robot?
Here are a few reasons why you need to add a ping pong robot to your table tennis training kit.
An ideal non-human trainer
Ping pong robots can help you progress quickly and efficiently. But it’s also important to remember that the robot is not a trainer. So you have to do your sessions under the eyes of a trainer or a partner at the risk of developing bad habits with a robot. If you use a robot intensely, make sure you master your technical basics before you start. However, if you want to improve your physical condition, reflexes, coordination, footwork, or just have fun, the robot is a very good partner. AA robot will never replace a real opponent, but it still allows for additional physical and technical work.
This training device is great for training because it provides significantly more consistency when playing. Basic strokes can be rehearsed better. Also, most of the training session is not spent picking up the balls.
The robot can be programmed to shoot balls at specific locations, so they are ideal for practicing your footwork. There is a great deal of ambition to reach all balls as much as possible, which is not usually the case with normal training exercises.
Training with a TT robot is particularly advantageous when a stroke technique has to be changed and adapted. Because in order to memorize a new stroke or a new sequence of movements, this has to be repeated over and over again. The ball robots always play the balls in the same way, so that you can concentrate fully on the new punching technique. The learning success is therefore a lot higher.
Helps you work on your weak points
If, for example, you are quite offensive but weak against certain types of backhands, you can configure the robot to throw a ball with a retro effect. This will thus improve your counter on this type of game.
Helps analyze gestures.
A table tennis trainer can use a robot to analyze very specific sporting movements. Indeed, a coach sometimes perceives difficulties in a table tennis player without determining at first glance the origin of the problem. A robot allows the trainer to focus on his student who repeatedly performs a particular technique.
Have fun at table tennis!
A robot can be a lot of fun if you train a group of people, especially kids. They will like it. It helps you make your own games and contests; beat the robot or beat your friends.
Features to consider while buying the best ping pong robot
Choosing a ping pong robot must be a deliberate action and must not be left to chance. This is because there are different types of machines for each user level and user class. Your experience, taste, and budget will largely determine what you choose. Here are therefore some features to consider while buying a table tennis robot.
Battery-powered vs. plug-in robots
When it comes to the power source of a ping pong robot, you have two types of models: the plug-in and the battery-powered models.
- The plug-in robots: These usually have long cords and AC adapters which provide a sufficient distance between the mains connection on the wall and the table. Their main disadvantage is the lack of transportability. Examples of this type are the Practice Partner 20 and the Newgy 2040+.
- The battery-powered models: There are two types of battery-powered models. First is the rechargeable model which has built-in batteries. They are either USB rechargeable at chargeable by an extending cord. The other battery-powered models are those which use removable batteries such as AA batteries. A good example of this is the LICa Table Tennis Robot.
The ball capacity of a ping pong machine will determine the level of user experience you have with these machines. A robot with too-low capacity will stress you up and you’ll end up loading balls than you’re hitting them. A model with around 15 to 20 loading capacity means you’ll have your training disrupted after some couple of minutes to tend to ball recycling. However, a machine with 100 to 200 ball capacity like the Practice Partner 20 and the Newgy 2040+ will ensure a long session.
When we all play table tennis, we all like to spin the balls with the bat so as to catch the opponent unawares. The same and more are applicable to ping pong machines. Although, some don’t have this option. So, for the best experience, we advise that you choose one with this feature. Many come with spin options such as topspin, backspin, non-spin, left-spin, right-spin, multi-spin, and more. You can find these in the CHAOFAN HP-07. However, there are equally some models with non-spin. This means all services will come with one spin or the other.
Speed options and frequency setting
The speed options in ping pong machines let each user find his type. The more the speed, the more they are recommended for advanced users.
The lower the speed, coupled with adjustability features, the more a beginner or intermediate user will find it easy to use.
So, what’s the right speed level for beginners and advanced users? For beginners, a suitable machine will be something like the LICa Table Tennis Robot which has a frequency of 15 balls per minute. Meanwhile, for intermediate and advanced users, any model with around 50 to 100 balls per minute like the Butterfly Amicus Prime Robot is perfect. The good thing is that most of these models, especially the ones with high services per minute, have an adjustable frequency. This means users with any level of users can choose them and just set the frequency to their liking.
Preset training programs
The more programs that can be selected at the push of a button, the less you need manual control. A good table tennis robot has a large number of exercises. So you’ll be able to have extensive training based on varying drills. Also, something like this is user-friendly. If, on the other hand, you want to have your exercises, you need simple, intuitive controls. Models like the Butterfly Amicus Prime Table with modern app controls can easily run with a smartphone or tablet. Everyone has a modern device in their pocket. Download the app quickly and you’re ready to go. This progress in the operation of table tennis robots is extremely important, especially for young people, who usually deal better with apps than adults.
Still, traditional control units can be just as good if the system is well thought out. In the case of TT robots, we regret to say that it usually takes a certain amount of getting used to in order to set the devices as desired.
So choose a ball machine that has the desired number of pre-set training programs and is also as easy to use as possible.
The oscillation, rotation, and placement settings help create real game situations and an even greater training effect. With the Butterfly Amicus, you can even change cuts during the session. In addition, each ball can be programmed individually.
Something like this is terrific for experts and experienced users. Such a complex training device is nothing for beginners and robot beginners.
Analog devices do not have such complex oscillation, rotation, and placement options. In contrast, these ball machines are more intuitive to use and, due to their limitations, are more user-friendly.
Therefore, we recommend using simpler ball robots if the level of play and experience with TT robots are lower. On the other hand, players who know what should be trained and how they should be trained should use modern equipment.
Ball return system
Now we have come to a slightly more practical reason for or against a purchase: the ball return system. High-quality, complex ball machines all have a ball return system.
The difference to table-top robots without return is that the robots are set up behind the plate. Some stand on the floor, like the Paddle Palace H2W Touch Pro and are pushed towards the table. The balls roll back into the ball funnel in the installed ball catching net.
But do you even need a ball return? Our advice is no. Because even with a safety net, the balls fly across the hall and then have to be collected. Also, the 120-140 balls that such a ball container can hold are absolutely sufficient for an intensive exercise. You should be happy when it’s finally over.
But models with ball return systems are ideal for those who play the exercises cleanly and want to persevere as long as possible. But it is more of a luxury than absolutely necessary.
Dimensions, transportability & storage
Another purchase criterion is the handling with the table tennis robot. Where can you set it up? How easy is it to set up? And where do you store the device? The high-quality ball robots in particular are very sensitive or simply very heavy. So you need a good, safe place for the ball machine. Even if there are robots, like the iPong robot, that do not weigh a lot and are suitable for transport, we advise against overdoing transport. After all, sensitive electronics are built-in.
If you have a lockable cupboard in your club, you don’t need to think about anything when purchasing it. Otherwise, you have to look for a way to stow the robot well and safely or switch to a more mobile model.
The cheapest models are usually sold from $100 to 250. The most expensive ball machines can cost $1,500 to $200. In the end, the question is not what you can afford. We know it’s nice to always get the latest and most expensive products. Rather, you have to be clear about which ball machine is really needed.
You can choose the iPong V300 if you want an entry-level model because of the ease of use, the decent number of play option, and, ultimately, the good price.
Of course, as an experienced table tennis player, you would also like another model with more playing options.
However, in any case, the most expensive TT robot is not always the right one for you. And, especially, if you don’t have a robot yet, an inexpensive entry-level model is more suitable. Do not make your purchase decision based on the price in one direction or the other. Take a look at what you need and adjust the budget accordingly.
Tips for successful training on the table tennis robot
- Determine in advance exactly which punches or punch sequences should be trained.
- Find the right exercises before training. These should be well known or recommended by a table tennis trainer.
- Limit the training intensity to e.g. 3-5 sets of 100 strokes per exercise.
- Determine the speed and beat frequency wisely so that the exercises can be played correctly. Both too slow and too fast pace is counterproductive.
- Record yourself on video (e.g. with your smartphone) and control your training. Technical errors or other problems are immediately apparent in the video analysis and can be corrected.