Footwork Drills

Jena Newgarden

Yeushan Goan 
Milwaukee, WI

The Newgy Robot is very useful for footwork practice. You are forced to keep moving because the robot rarely misses. Here are some footwork drills you can do with your Newgy Robot:

One-Step Footwork 
1. Set Oscillator Control Levers to 2,5 (narrow sweep range). 
2. Adjust oscillator speed so ball are place at each end of the sweep range. 
3. Hit ball coming to your forehand court with forehand strokes, hit balls coming to your backhand court with backhand strokes.

Two-Step Footwork 
1. Set Oscillator Control Levers to 1,6 (no oscillation). 
2. Alternate your forehands and backhands to hit balls back.

Three-Step Footwork 
1. Set Oscillator Control Levers to 2,5 (narrow sweep range). 
2. Adjust oscillator speed so balls are placed at each end of the sweep range. 
3. Hit balls coming to your forehand court with backhand strokes and balls coming to your backhand court with forehand strokes.

Stepping In/Out Footwork Drills

Two-Step Footwork 
1. Set Oscillator Control Levers to 1,6 (no oscillation). 
2. Adjust head angle and ball speed so balls bounce twice on your side of the table. 
3. Step in to forehand hit a ball after it bounces once, then step out to forehand hit the next ball after it bounces twice, step in to backhand hit the next ball after it bounces once, and finally step out to backhand hit the fourth ball after it bounces twice. You should be moving in an "8 on its side" (_) route.

Three-Step Footwork 
1. Set Oscillator Control Levers to 2,5 (narrow sweep range). 
2. Adjust head angle and ball speed so balls bounce twice on your side of the table. 
3. Hit balls in the same manner as described in previous two-step footwork drill, except you now need to take 3 steps to make it to the balls.

a. If you find the 2,5 sweep range too wide for you, change it to 1,5 or 2,6. 
b. If you find the 2,5 sweep range too narrow for you, change it to 2,4, 3,5 or even 3,4. 
c. If you're right-handed you should step in with your right foot closer to the table, or you won't be able to bring your playing hand close to the ball. 
d. If you're left-handed, you should step in with your left foot closer to the table.

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Solutions For Unsticking Your Newgy Robot

Jena Newgarden

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis newsgroup, month's question was posted on the newsgroup under the title, "Newgy Robot Gets Stuck?" by Jake. We encourage readers to send in your own questions.. You may email us at or fax or write us. All questions cannot be answered, but every month we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.

I just tested out the Newgy robot over at Attila Malek’s new training center. I noted that it gets stuck, every once in a while. This is the same problem that I had with the Sitco robot.

Any suggestions? The floors are a bit dusty.

In my experience of servicing Newgy robots for over 10 years, the vast majority of problems with our robots are caused by dirt buildup inside the machines. Dirt normally enters the machine when balls roll on a dirty floor and then are thrown into the machine. As the balls are pushed through the robot, the dirt falls off and get wrapped around the ball feed gears and motor hubs or accumulate on the rubber Discharge Wheel and Friction Block.

The Discharge Wheel and Friction Block are very easy to keep clean. We recommend using our Rubber Drive Cleaner to clean these parts. If you have thin fingers, then you can usually clean these parts without disassembly. Simply wet a cloth with some cleaner, push it into the discharge hole with one finger and rub the cleaner on the rubber surfaces. For the wheel, it will also be necessary to insert a finger from your other hand to prevent the wheel from turning while you are cleaning it. If you have large or thick fingers, then you will need to disassemble the robot’s head to access these parts.

Particularly troublesome are carpet fibers, pet hairs, and other filamentous materials. This type of dirt can wrap itself around the hub of the Ball Feed and/or Ball Speed Motors and strangle the motor to death. This is often hard to spot and always requires disassembly. In 1999, we improved the Ball Feed Mechanism to prevent dirt from getting to the Ball Feed Gears and Ball Feed Motor that are located at the base of the robot body where it picks up balls from the trays. This new "Dust-Free" mechanism can be purchased separately for older Newgy robots that lack this improvement.

Another common problem is the use of new balls. New balls are coated with a gritty powder that is left on the balls during the manufacturing process. If new balls are placed in a Newgy Robot, they often times can cause a ball jam. The solution is to wash new balls in lukewarm soapy water and dry them off before placing them in the robot’s trays. Occasionally, even after washing and drying, new balls can still cause the robot to run erratically until their surface gets further worn down and "slicker".

To speed up the process, run the balls through the machine at high speed by setting the ball frequency at 10, the ball speed to @2.5, the spin to "backspin", and aiming the head at the middle of the table net. The balls will hit the net, rebound, and roll back into the robot’s ball trays (for robots with recycling net systems). For robots mounted in ball buckets, you will need to catch these balls by hand or in a tray or box and then return them to the ball bucket. This procedure will further "rub the balls down". Continue this rub down procedure for at least 5 minutes, and then return to normal operation. Well worn, slick balls work best in our robots.

Another possibility is that some balls are badly out of round or too large. Robo-Pong robots with recycling nets include two go-no go gauges for testing balls. The gauges are located in the Ball Dams that are used to block off the ball trays during storage or repair. Each Ball Dam contains a hole that is exactly 38mm or 40mm in diameter, depending on the robot model.

To test the balls you are using in your robot, pass balls one at a time through this hole, rotating each one along several different axes. The rotation is necessary because lopsided balls may pass through along one axis, but not along another axis. If the ball passes through this hole, it should be OK to be used in the robot. If a ball hangs up in the hole at any time during this test, do not use that ball in the robot.

If the above suggestions don't solve the problem, go to I recently updated this list and it will help you to narrow down the potential solutions. Keep your robot clean and you'll get top performance from your Newgy for many, many years. To reduce the dirt entering the machine, it is highly recommended to keep your playing area clean and to block off dusty areas into which balls can roll. Periodically cleaning the balls you use in the robot will further help. And ALWAYS wash new balls before using them in the machine.

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Jena Newgarden

By: Richard McAfee, USATT Certified National Coach

To use the loop as an effective weapon, you need to be able to control the amount of spin and speed you impart to each stroke. Too many loopers are one dimensional, in that they can only produce one speed of loop. Good loopers can vary the speed, spin, and height of their loop strokes depending on the tactics needed to defeat different styles of play. Here is a great drill to aid you in developing your loop skills.

Robot Settings: 
Set your Newgy Robot to deliver a medium speed topspin return to your deep backhand.

Drill Pattern:

  • Make two backhand counters or loops crosscourt
  • Step-round your backhand and execute a series of three forehand loops crosscourt. The first loop should be a safe slow loop with heavy topspin. Build up speed with each loop.
  • Change the direction for the fourth loop to down the line and execute the stroke with maximum power.
  • Repeat the pattern.

Keys for Success: 
For maximum spin, contact the ball as it begins its descent. For maximum speed, contact the ball at the top of the bounce. Remember to reposition your feet (open your stance) to direct the ball down the line.

This one-drill gives you practice on a number of important elements:

  • Controlling the amount of spin and speed that you impart to your loops
  • Step-round movement in using your forehand from your backhand side
  • Combining forehand and backhand strokes
  • Changing the direction of your loops

Special Note:
To work on developing maximum power, use the above drill but set your Newgy Robot to produce chop instead of topspin.

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Controlling Amount Of Spin From Your Robot

Jena Newgarden

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis (ping pong) newsgroup, This month's question was asked in an e-mail by Ray Miskimins , who is a USATT Certified State Coach from Reno, NV. We encourage readers to send in your own questions. You may email us at e-mail, fax or write us. All questions cannot be answered, but we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.


I received the Robo-Pong 1040 that I ordered from you last week. I got it set up and running and find that it works very well. It is more user-friendly, more consistent and more trouble-free than the $1000+ one I had 10 or 12 years ago. It is very easy to control the type of spin, the speed, the ball frequency and the oscillation of this robot. I have enjoyed hitting with it and I'm sure will find it very useful when coaching.

I have one question that you may be able to help me with; is there any way to control the amount of spin? When it tosses topspin, it pretty much is at a loop level; when it tosses backspin, it simulates a pretty severe chop. In the reality of table tennis play, topspin varies from almost no-spin (so-called "dead ball") to the extreme produced by the best of the loopers; backspin varies from near no-spin to the extreme you see from some good pushers or choppers. I have the impression that there is no way to vary the amount of spin the Robo-Pong 1040 produces (only the kind of spin). Is that correct? Does speed variation have any significant effect on the amount of spin? Does distance you set the robot from the player have any effect on the amount of spin (that is, will tossing the balls from well behind the table affect it)? Is there any way to get the machine to toss a nearly dead ball?

Thanking you in advance for your attention to these questions,

Ray Miskimins
USATT Certified State Coach



Thank you for purchasing a Newgy Table Tennis Robot and for your kind comments. To answer your questions about controlling spin on the Newgy robot, here are some resources that discuss this issue on our website:

Robot FAQ's
Learn About Spin To Improve Your Game
Adjusting Backspin When Learning To Loop

Also read the "Robot Positioning" section on page 12 of the Owner's Manual that came with your robot. (Click Here to download a PDF version of the Robo-Pong Owner's Manual) It will explain how to position your robot and the advantages and disadvantages of each position. Also the "Ball Spin" section on page 8 is worth reading to better understand how to adjust the spin settings on the robot and the limitations imposed by the robot's design.

Since speed equals spin with Newgy robots, the lightest spin you can get with a Newgy robot is at Ball Speed setting of 0. You will then need to adjust the robot's position and head angle to achieve the desired trajectory. If you have the robot mounted at the end of the table so the ball first strikes the table about a foot and a half from the table net, the ball will bounce over the table net, and by the time it bounces on the player's side, there will be little spin left on the ball. Of course, the ball will be very slow as well. Use topspin if you want the ball to go off the end of the ping pong table or backspin if you want the ball to bounce twice on the player's side of the table.

There is one other thing you can do to simulate dead balls and other such variations. Build a device that has a 6 inch by 6 inch flat surface that can be placed on your table tennis table and be adjustable from about 15 to 60 degrees. Cover the top of this device with some type of rubber cover and place it in front of the robot on your ping pong table. Put your robot in the serve position and aim the head at the ramp. By using different covering materials, such as regular inverted, sticky inverted, sponge only, hard rubber, pips out with sponge, long pips, and other like materials, you can achieve an interesting variety of ball effects. For each different material you will have to experiment with the head angle, the ramp angle, and the ball speed setting to get it to simulate the type of shot you want to practice against.

Good luck.

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Jena Newgarden

By Larry Hodges

Many players would say that you aren’t really playing table tennis until you learn to loop. A loop in table tennis is an offensive stroke with the primary purpose of producing lots of topspin. Table tennis is a game of spin, and the loop is the primary example of using spin during a rally.

Many players (and coaches) feel a player should be able to hit many, many forehands & backhands, and reach a relatively high level of play, before learning to loop. Nothing could be more outdated. By the time a player has reached a relatively high level of play, the player’s strokes and major habits are set. If looping isn’t among those habits, it’ll be more difficult to learn later on. The moral is: it’s rarely too early to learn to loop. (For the purposes of this article, I will be mostly discussing the forehand loop. Against backspin, you may also use a backhand loop. Against topspin, however, the backhand loop is normally learned later on — although some may consider that to be outdated!)

This doesn’t mean that a complete beginner should be looping on his first day. However, once a player can hit a moderately good forehand with moderately good technique, he’s ready to begin the process of learning to loop, even as he continues to develop his other basic strokes. A player shouldn’t think of a loop as an advanced shot; it’s simply another shot, one that should be taught shortly after learning the basic forehand and backhand drive (also known as counter or counter-drive) strokes. The shot also adds excitement and variety to a player’s game, turning a basement player into a dedicated table tennis addict.

A beginner should start out looping against backspin, for three reasons. First, it’s more natural, as you are simply adding to the spin, rather than trying to change it. Two, the ball is traveling more slowly than a topspin (usually), and so is easier to learn against. Three, any player with sponge should learn to loop at least against backspin (even pips-out players), so this shot will be part of any player’s arsenal eventually. A player should learn to loop both forehand and backhand against backspin.

A robot gives a player a huge advantage in learning to loop. With a live player, you may be able to loop one ball against backspin, but then most players will block the ball, and the rally becomes a topspin rally. It’s hard to get much repetitive practice against backspin this way. Even if you practice with a chopper (who returns ball after ball with backspin), the various returns will have varying amounts of backspin and will not always come to the same spot, making it difficult to learn to loop. It’s hard enough trying to get the stroke right, the contact right, and keep the ball on the table. The last thing you want when you are learning to loop is for the incoming ball to keep changing its placement and degree of spin!

With a robot, a player can loop against the same backspin ball over and over, developing the stroke. Always remember that Correct Techniques + Constant Repetition = Well-Developed Strokes.

Once a player can loop against backspin, he’s ready to loop against topspin. This can be done either on a robot or against a living opponent who blocks. However, the robot has two advantages. First, it will give you a consistent ball, coming out at the same speed, direction and spin over and over, enhancing the learning process. Second, it allows a player to switch back and forth between looping against topspin and backspin, so both techniques can be developed together.

Many players learn to loop well against one type of spin (topspin or backspin), but not the other. This usually has to do with the shoulders. Against backspin, drop the back shoulder (right shoulder for right-handers, left shoulder for left-handers) when forehand looping. Against topspin, shoulder should only drop slightly, if at all. By switching the robot back and forth between these two spins, you can develop proper shoulder placement for both shots.

What is the difference between forehand looping against backspin versus topspin? Against backspin, the key is lifting the ball up, due to the backspin. You have to get very low by bending your knees, get your racket down, drop your back shoulder, and drive upward. The ball must be contacted on its very back, after letting it drop to about table level or even lower. Your force should go roughly toward the ceiling above your opponent’s head, NOT toward the other side of the table.

Against topspin, footwork is more important. The ball is coming at you faster, and the ball’s speed and spin make the ball rebound off your racket faster. You still need to get down some, but now your power is mostly forward. The knees bend only slightly, and the back shoulder stays up. The ball should be contacted toward the top, usually just after the top of the bounce, but before the ball has dropped to table level.

Here are a few drills for developing the loop on a robot.


The priority here is learning the stroke and proper contact. Start off by setting the robot on backspin in one spot, and practice it over and over, preferably with some input from a coach or player. Sometimes practice looping from the forehand side or middle, other times loop the forehand from the backhand side. Make sure to drive upwards, and just graze the ball. The goal is spin, not speed. A beginner should also try backhand looping against backspin.

When you feel comfortable looping against backspin, practice forehand looping against topspin. After all the lifting against backspin, your first few loops will probably go off the end. Try contacting the ball on the very top, drive forward, and keep your back shoulder up.


You’ve learned to loop, but want to loop even better. You should be forehand looping against both topspin and backspin, with slow, medium and fast loops, from and to all parts of the table. That’s 24 types of loops to practice already! (Not including backhand looping.) Get with it! (Intermediate players should also try the footwork drills given next for advanced players.)


It’s time to throw in some footwork and randomness. Set the robot to sweep 50-75% of the table (both backspin and topspin ), and try looping them all with your forehand. (If you have a backhand loop, you may use that as well for some shots.) You should be able to cover more of the table against the slower-moving backspin. You might even try covering the entire table against backspin — if you’re very quick and very brave.

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Jena Newgarden

While there are many ways to hold a racket, the shakehand grip is the most versatile and universally used of all grips. Therefore, I recommend using it for learning table tennis. If you have not used this grip, it may initially feel awkward. Please persevere, as this grip will permit you to develop all the strokes these articles willdiscuss and illustrate. Other grips may hinder or limit your development.

Lesson 1: Learning the Shakehand Grip

To use this grip, you essentially "Shake hands with the racket." Fit the edge of the blade snugly in the "V" of your hand between your thumb and forefinger. Grip the handle with your middle, ring, and little fingers. Finally, place the forefinger flat on one side of the racket head close to the bottom and the thumb sideways on the other side of the racket head. See Photo 3 and 4.

Hold the racket with just enough tension to keep it in place. Another person should be able to take the racket out of your hand and feel just a slight resistance while you maintain your grip. It is important not to grip too tightly. Too tight of a grip causes excess tension in the arm. The excess tension will, in turn, slow down your strokes and make it harder to adjust the racket angle to compensate for various spins and angles. This is not to say, however, that hand tension is constant, never shanging. Hand tension should increase just before ball contact on a hard hit shot and it may decrease on soft touch shots or serves.

Hold the racket so the edge of the racket is perpendicular to the floorand tilt your wrist slightly down. The wrist should remain in this downward tilt position throughout all your strokes. Do not force this downward tilt, but rather let the racket naturally fall into this position by relaxing the hand muscles. While we're talking about the wrist, do not let the wrist flop back and forth or up and down as you stroke the ball. Letting the wrist flop is one of the most common causes of mis-hit shots.

Photo 3: Shakehands Grip, 
Forehand Side

Notice how the side (not the 
) of the thumb lays across 
the top of the handle, and only three 
fingers wrap around the handle. Also 
notice the downward tilt of the wrist.

Photo 4: Shakehands Grip, 
Backhand Side

Notice how the knuckles lay on top 
of the handle, and the forefinger lays 
close to the bottom of the racket 


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Close to the Table Long Pips Attack and Defense Techniques

Jena Newgarden
By: Richard McAfee 
USATT Certified National Coach

Many of my senior (Over 40) students have asked me to do an article on the use of long pips, for close-to-the-table play. This style is very popular with the older table tennis players as it allows them to slow down play and to put the focus on using their hand skills rather than movement and power to win points.

Table tennis robot training is particularly useful when learning and practicing these techniques as few players can consistently attack against this style. In fact, as you are learning this style many players may become frustrated and not want to practice with you at all.

Let's take a look at the six basic strokes that should be in the arsenal of any close-to-the-table long pips player. All of these strokes are described as backhand strokes.

  1. Lift against backspin: This stroke is executed with a slightly open paddle. The stroke itself is very simple. At contact, push forward and slightly up. Use mostly the forearm and little or no wrist action. This stroke, when executed with long pips, allows you to use your opponent’s backspin to produce a controlled topspin attack. This is the only stroke in which you can produce enough topspin to hit with speed.
  2. Sidespin attack against backspin: This is an unusual looking stroke to most inverted players. The stroke is executed much like the straight lift against backspin, but at contact, the racket is pushed forward and pulled to the right (for right-handed players). Depending on the racket angle this return will produce a wide range of no-spin, sidespin, or light topspin returns, all with some degree of sidespin. This stroke can force many errors from your opponents.
  3. Attacking backspin by pushing: Pushing with long pips can be very aggressive. While pushing, if light contact with the ping pong ball is made, the return will be a dead ball (no-spin). If harder racket contact is made (more force), a light topspin can be produced. This leads to a lot of high and very attackable returns from your opponent.
  4. Controlled counter attacks: The key to attacking with long pips against topspin is to remember that controlling the speed of your returns is the key to success. Do not over-hit. Your returns will carry some backspin, so there will always be a limit on the amount of speed you can produce. Generally speaking, if you are using long pips without sponge this stroke will be quite slow and carry heavier backspin. If you are using long pips with sponge, this return will be faster but without as much spin. Once again, keep the stroke simple using only a forward pushing motion, with the forearm. Remember, when counter attacking with long pips, let the racket do the work for you. It is the ever-changing spin on your returns that will force errors from your opponent, not the speed of your returns.
  5. Defensive chop blocks: This stroke looks just like its name suggests—a block with a downward chopping motion. When used against heavy topspin, this stroke can produce heavy chop returns. Often your opponent will be forced into pushing this return back, which will allow you to attack.
  6. Pullback block: Once again, the name says it all. Against a topspin attack, you simply pull your racket slightly back at contact, thereby taking almost all of the pace off the ball. This can be used to produce a very short return making it impossible for your opponent to continue an attack. This technique works best with long pips without sponge.

There you have the major long pips, close-to-the-table techniques. When used properly, these table tennis strokes can make life very difficult for your opponents. Fortunately, your robot will not mind at all while you practice and perfect these techniques.

My next article will deal with robot match drills for the long pips close-to-the-table player.

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The Penhold Reverse Backhand

Jena Newgarden

By: Richard McAfee, USATT Certified National Coach

Traditionally, penhold players used just one side of their racket, held in a pen like grip. This grip produces a very strong forehand style of play with a rather cramped, less versatile backhand.

Perhaps the most innovative new stroke technique of the last ten years has been the development of the Penhold Reverse Backhand. First made famous by former Olympic and World Champion, Liu Guoliang, this stroke has now become standard fare for almost all penhold players.

This stroke has revolutionized the penhold style by allowing penhold players to develop backhand techniques that are as strong as their shakehands counterparts. The advantages of this stroke are:

  • The ability to produce a true backhand loop
  • The ability to extend the reach of the backhand stroke
  • The ability to use rubbers of different surfaces
  • The ability to easily attack high balls with the backhand

Stroke Description

The name of the stroke, the Reverse Backhand, describes the stroke. Using the traditional penhold grip, the racket’s regular playing surface is rotated towards the player, which makes the reverse side (backhand side) point towards the opponent. The player then executes a very traditional backhand stroke, loop or counter.

Learning the Stroke

When first learning this stroke, you will probably find the wrist position somewhat awkward. However, it should not take long before it begins to feel natural. Your Newgy Robot is the perfect practice partner when learning this or any new stroke technique.

Key Stroke Elements:

  • While either Chinese or Japanese Penhold grips can be used. Most players will extend the fingers (Japanese style) when using the Reverse Backhand Stroke.
  • Do not over use the wrist. This stroke is mostly executed by extending the forearm.
  • Contact the ball early. The natural wrist position for this stroke puts the racket in a closed position. You can lay the wrist back a little by pushing with your thumb. With this in mind, contact your loop against backspin at the top of the bounce. Contact your counter drives when the ball is on the rise.

Stroke Videos

Our thanks to Phillip Gustavson, Atlanta, GA, for volunteering to demonstrate the Reverse Penhold Strokes. Phillip is unusual, as he is a native American player who decided to learn the penhold style. Phillip plays a traditional penhold pips-out hitting game combined with strong reverse backhand loops and smashes.

Video One – Penhold Reverse Backhand Loop Against Chop

You will notice how much this stroke resembles the shakehands backhand loop. Phillip starts the stroke low between the legs and generates a lot of lift with his legs. Also notice that he contacts the ball at the top of the bounce (do not let it descend). He then strokes towards his target, using mostly the forearm.

Video Two – Penhold Reverse Backhand Counter-Drive Against Topspin

Notice the natural closed position of the racket that the Reverse Backhand Grip produces. This makes counter driving and smashing very easy against topspin. Remember to hit flat, pressing through the ball, and not letting the wrist “roll over”. Also notice, how early Phillip is contacting the ball.


Ten years ago, many coaches felt that the penhold style of play would soon die out as the backhand was just not strong enough to keep pace with the development of the strong backhand loops of the shakehand players. The Reverse Penhold Backhand has changed all that. Players such as Ma Lin and Wang Hao of China, exponents of this new style, are at the top of the World Rankings.

Regardless of your level of play, if you are a penholder, you should strive to add this new technique to your game. It will open up a new world of possibilities for your style and your opponents will not know what hit them.

Next month, I will cover more drills designed to help you integrate these new strokes into your game.


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Jena Newgarden

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis newsgroup, This month's question was posed by Dave Shook on the TT newsgroup. We encourage readers to send in your own questions. You may email us at or fax orwrite us. All questions cannot be answered, but every month we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.

I just moved into a new house and plan to put a table in the basement. The room is 17' wide and 22' long, so I already know from the recent posting on "space needed for a table" that it should be larger, but that was the best I could do. Anyway, I need to install lighting and the obvious choice for a novice like myself would be fluorescent lights. Any other recommendations? Track lighting?


It's great that you've decided to add a Table Tennis Room (TTR) to your house. Your room dimensions are very similar to the TTR in my house. As is typical in many American homes, these are the average dimensions of a two car garage, which can be converted into a decent table tennis room.

To situate your light fixtures, I would start with one mounted in the center of the room directly over the center of the table when it is positioned in the center of the room. Then I would add lighting going towards each of the 17-foot walls. Recessed light fixtures are best, but commonly, most converted garages will dictate surface mount fixtures because of the ceiling height and the direction of the ceiling joists.

In situating the lighting, give priority to positions close to or over the table, where the majority of rallies will take place. Lighting close to the wall is less critical because your body will be taking up space in front of the walls in addition to the space required for your backswings. Your eyes will be 2 to 3 feet away from a wall even when your "back's against the wall".

As a minimum, I would suggest at least one 4-foot double tube fluorescent fixture centered above the table net and another similar fixture centered with the table about 2 feet in back of each endline (See Layout A). All fixtures are parallel with the endlines of the table. Fixtures should be shielded by an opaque covering to prevent glare from direct eye contact with the bulbs.

To improve on this minimum, 4-tube, 4-foot or 2-tube, 8-foot fixtures could be substituted. The 4-tube fixtures will concentrate more light over the table, while the 8-foot fixtures will spread out the light more evenly across the entire room. Another option would be to add 2 more fixtures (Layout B). In this case you could have one fixture in the center, 1 at each end of the table and 1 lighting up the playing areas in back of the table. This would be ideal.

Also with only 22 feet of room, it will be difficult to play a competitive match without feeling quite hindered (only 6.5 feet of backup room for each player). That is however, an ideal amount of room for robot play. With a 9 foot table and approximately 1 foot for the depth of the robot attached to the end of the table, you would have 12 feet of backup room to practice strokes and footwork relatively unhindered if you push the table up against a wall.

I'll give you one more tip here too, although it has nothing to do with the lighting. If you have a choice of flooring, go with wood. One of the least expensive wood floors is a wood parquet floor. Home Depot and Lowes have wood parquet flooring for under $2.00/sq. ft. This is cheaper than many linoleum flooring materials. This is what I used for my TTR 3 years ago and I've been extremely happy with it.

Happy Ponging!

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