Hi everyone! It's been a long time since our last post, but Fahad from tabletennisnet.org has been kind enough to offer this following guest post. I hope those of you who are looking for a new blade find it helpful!
Also, please do check out his site, too! Click here to go to Table Tennis Net, a great blog dedicated to table tennis.
Here's the article, entitled "Choosing the right table tennis blade."
Choosing the right table tennis blade:
We have discussed in an earlier post that the rubbers and blade of a table tennis bat can affect your game greatly. However, we haven’t seen how the different type of wood and ply affects the ball when it is hit.
Let’s take a look at all those important factors and their effects on your game. Hopefully you will be in a better position to choose your next table tennis blade.
Table tennis blade weight
This is a tricky one. Lighter blades are can be swung a lot faster but heavier blades having more mass produce more momentum when hitting the ball. So what you should really look for is a blade that’s heavy enough but also comfortable so that it can be sung quickly. This will give you the best of both, speed and momentum. Nice.
Table tennis blade stiffness
Table tennis blade stiffness refers to how much bend and flex it can take. Generally, the stiffer the blade the faster it will be. However it will be less spiny than a flexible blade.
Table tennis blade balance
The balance is a measure of how close the centre of gravity of the blade is to the handle or the tip of the head. Loopers and hitters tend to go for head-heavy blades to produce extra spin and speed while a defensive player would often choose a blade with the centre of gravity towards the handle as it increases control. You should also be aware that the weight of rubbers affects the blade significantly. Heavy rubbers tend to move the centre of gravity towards the tip of the paddle head.
Faster table tennis blades tend to be used by offensive or more aggressive players whereas defensive players prefer slower blades. Slower blades also offer more spin as the contact time of the ball with the blade is longer. This gives a defensive player more time to put spin on the ball. One should understand that slow blades doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be a slower than other players. Furthermore, we also need to bear in mind that the table tennis rubbers will affect the speed of your game play too.
Table tennis blade head size
Air resistance generated from the head size is comparatively insignificant. So the concern here is that the larger the head of the table tennis blade the more rubber will be required to cover it. This will consequently increase the weight of the table tennis paddle. As we discussed earlier, a heavier blade will tend to move the centre of gravity away from the table tennis handle.
The handle type is only of matter of preference and varies from player to player. Usually, players with a strong forehand tend to go for the flared handle. This is possibly because it allows for better grip before executing the stroke.
Players with stronger backhand seem to prefer straight handles as it gives greater flexibility to execute that stroke.
Mind you, there are other types of handles. Few examples include the pistol handle or even the V-grip blades. I’m not entirely sure of their effectiveness but needless to say that it’s better to stay away from unproven and non-tested equipment (competitive level).
Table tennis manufacturers have also introduced new technologies such the WRB, VSG and Senso. The process involves hollowing out the handle to move the centre of gravity closer to the blade. Some even claim that it reduces vibration and improves the touch and feel of the blade. But I believe that such claim should be treated with caution and if you really want to find out, try them J and check whether they fulfill those claims.
I’ve written an in depth article about table tennis rubbers
Table tennis rubbers
When considering the layers of your rubbers, you need to take into consideration the number of layers and secondly their composition.
The number of layers can vary from 1 to a maximum allowable 7. Table tennis blades with 3 or 5 plies tend to be more popular. In theory, other combinations are also possible but they are rare.
Another point that wanted to share is that the number of layers isn’t necessarily related to the speed produced. So you don’t really have to worry too much about how many layers your table tennis blade has.
Table tennis rules and regulation stipulate that 85% of your blade should be made of wood. This gives manufacturers a leeway to incorporate other materials into the blades such as carbon fibres, glass fibre or Aralyte. Here is a small breakdown about their effect.
Improves the strength and stiffens the table tennis blade. Carbon fibre also increases the sweet spot size of the blade.
Also increases the size of the sweet spot. However it has the advantage of dumping vibration and gives a softer feel compared to the carbon fibre table tennis blade.
Fibreglass: has a similar effect to carbon fibre.
Your playing level
One common mistake that a lot of beginners make is to go from a beginner’s blade to a super fast one. Your level needs to be pretty high if you want to use these type of blades and even if you have been practising for couple of years it might not be enough.
My only advice is that unless you are a professional, stay away from them. Otherwise you will be wasting your money. Period.
Always ask a more experienced player or coach to help you out with your final decision.
Prices vary from few dollars to well above $100 mark. As I mentioned it earlier, you need a table tennis blade suited to your skills not one that cost you more. A cheaper blade might have better characteristics suited to your style of play. So why pay more than you should? Try to select your blade without looking at the price so you don’t get influenced on your choice.
I hope that this article was useful and helped you narrow down your selection of table tennis blade. What blades do you use? How long did it take you before you felt comfortable with them? Don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments below :-)
Further ReadingTop ten table tennis rubbers