PingPod #37 - Robots vs Multiball

10 years ago

Table Tennis Thoughts


Jeff: Welcome to the PingPod, the ping pong podcast by PingSkills. I’m Jeff Plumb and we’re with Alois Rosario. Welcome Alois.

Alois: Thanks Jeff.

Jeff: Today we want to talk about the difference between mutliball and using a robot. So what are your thoughts on this Alois?

Alois: I think overall, multiball is better because you’re getting the slight variations that you do in a real life match situation.

Jeff: Ah yes, but with a robot you can set it to have variations, you can set it to do I think even random drills.

Alois: Yes that’s true, but it’s the small variations that you’re really looking for. So it’s not the ball coming exactly the same way off a backspin ball. So sometimes the ball has a little bit more rotation or a little bit less rotation. It’s only marginal and it’s just being able to adjust to those small margins.

Jeff: So with multiball, you are saying that when they feed the ball, and they use different angles you can learn from that.

Alois: Yeah. They’re getting different angles and slightly different spins all the time and so your eyes and brain are adjusting to that all the time.

Jeff: Okay. And what about in random drills, with the feeder, he can do random drills but are multiball random drills better? Are you picking up cues there as well?

Alois: Definitely. Apart from the slight variations we talked about, the other really important part about multiball compared to using a robot, is that you’re picking up the bat cues and you’re picking up the hitting of the ball as well. So with the robot it’s just a machine and the ball comes out at you. So you’re not seeing any of the cues of the person swinging back, swinging forward, the bat coming through and also the bat angle.

Jeff: Okay. Really good points. Now, do you see when you’re travelling the world many clubs using robots?

Alois: No. Very few. Especially at the higher level, basically no one uses a robot to train with. I think that robots have their place when you’re isolated, when you don’t have a training partner, when you don’t have someone that can feed you multiball, then that can be a useful tool. But, my preference is always for multiball, or hitting with a player that can feed the ball to you consistently.

Jeff: Okay. Now clearly there’s a big cost difference between multiball and a robot as well.

Alois: Yes there is. So there’s the cost of the robot but it’s always a matter of trying to find a person that is willing to feed the balls to you, and also just has the basic skills to be able to feed the ball to you.

Jeff: Okay yeah. One good thing about multiball, which we mention in our multiball course, is that it can actually help 2 players that are of different levels, train together.

Alois: It really can. So it’s definitely a skill worth working on. If you’ve got a partner that isn’t as good as you or is better than you, multiball works really well in that situation to be able to both benefit from your training session.

Jeff: There you go. So from our point of view multiball is the winner, there’s definitely a place though for a robot if you’re isolated and need to practice by yourself. But if you can, try and find someone and learn how to do multiball with them and it’s going to be a lot more effective. So multiball is the winner!

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