Saturday, March 27, 2010

Guest posting from Fahad

Hi everyone! It's been a long time since our last post, but Fahad from 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.

Handle types

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.

Carbon fibre:

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 Reading

How to choose your table tennis rubbers

Top ten table tennis rubbers

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

world junior championships 2008

This year, the 2008 World Junior Championships are being held in Madrid, Spain. The US has sent Olena Sowers, Lily Zhang, Ariel Hsing, and Isabella Chen for the Junior Girls' Team, and they caught the attention of everyone on Saturday in the team event:

After being down 2-0 against Chile, Olena Sowers (one of Atha and my good friends and teammates in last year's World Junior Championships at Stanford University in California) turned the tie around and sparked a comeback that kept the US from elimination in the first round of the team event. While the US ended up falling to Japan the next morning, they still caused quite a stir with their 3-2 come-from-behind win over Chile. Click here for the story from

For more stories and live results from Worlds, click here or visit

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

regionals 11-16-08

The New York City region had its regional tournament on Sunday, November 16, at FIT in downtown Manhattan. The tournament itself was a huge success thanks to the quick, efficient set-up and clean-up before and after the tournament (props!), and because of the tournament's huge turn-out. Co-ed matches lasted from about 10am to after 7pm, and the women's matches lasted from about 10am to around 3pm. In both co-ed and women's, Rutgers dominated the scene by going undefeated in both events, so congratulations to the Rutgers' co-ed team: Judy Hugh, Adam Formal, Iuliana Radu, Wing "Leon" Sit, and Jin Yang; and to the Rutger's women's team: Judy Hugh, Iuliana Radu, Jin Yang, Rekha Bachwani, Shriya Patel, and Elizabeth Cho. On another bright note, Columbia's co-ed and women's teams both got 2nd behind Rutgers, losing only to Rutgers, so KUDOS to the Columbia co-ed team: Carlos A. Perilla, Victor Leung, David Loeffler, Vanck Zhu, Shih-Hung Hsu, James Skoufis, Kagan Irez, and me; and to the women's team: Lina Cao, Jenny Chen, Wendy Mu, Vivian Wang, Dehui Kong, and me!

This was the first of two regional tournaments (the next one will be in the spring), and the top two teams from each region get a bid to the College Nationals, being held in Minnesota this year. Although the tournament took basically all day and drained the hell out of everyone there, it was great to see old friends and meet new ones. Teams that went included Columbia, Yale, Stonybrook, Rutgers and NYU, [among others], and some matches got heated and intense; the best ones to watch throughout the day were probably NYU vs Stonybrook (or really NYU vs anyone, what with their energy level and team spirit, contributed mostly by Joe Kim) and Columbia vs Rutgers, with both ties going down to the wire: NYU and Rutgers both won in the 5th game of the 5th team match (the format of NCTTA tournaments are best 3 out of 5 team matches, with 4 singles and 1 doubles, so if you see tight doubles matches going on, chances are that the team tie is at stake).

I was silly and forgot my camera, so the following pictures are credited to Shih-Hung Hsu:

David Loeffler:

Judy vs Carlos:

Victor Leung:

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Recently, the US Women's Olympic coach, Teodor Gheorghe, emailed me with these news:

"If any[one] was born in another country and never represented USA at the World Junior Championships and want[s] to represent USA in the future, please read the attached document, fill out and sign the form... and send it back to me ASAP"

And since I can't figure out how to put the actual document up, here's the copy and pasted version:

New ITTF Eligibility rule registration form

According to the new ITTF eligibility rule, players under 21 years old and were born in another country, but wish to represent the United States have to be registered with ITTF through USATT.

The new eligibility rule applies only for the World Title events - World Championships, World Junior Championships, and World Cup and is as follows:

In addition to the provisions of 3.8 (the general rule of eligibility) players being eligible to represent an association other than the one they intend to represent, shall register with the ITTF, through this new association.

Such players shall not represent the new association before:
* 3 years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 15 when registered;
* 5 years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 18 but at least 15 years of age when registered;
* 7 years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 21 but at least 18 years of age when registered.

Players being 21 years of age or older will not be registered with the ITTF and will not be eligible to represent a new association at World Title events.

Players who have already represented USA at a previous World Title event will keep that eligibility and do not need to register with ITTF.

Players who are under 21 years of age, born in another country, and have never represented USA at a World Title event must fill out and sign the below application for registration with the ITTF and send it to USATT HQ, attention Doru Gheorghe or by email to:

So, if this applies to you, and you want to represent the US in future international tournaments, EMAIL DORU for the form!!! I also have a copy of the form as well, so you can email me at too, but it would probably be better for you to just contact Doru directly.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tibhar's SINUS

Despite its ridiculous-sounding name, Sinus is a really great rubber. It's the sort of off-spring/next generation of Nimbus, and was designed specifically with the forehand and those who are used to hard, spinny rubbers in mind. Actually, the Nimbus was really intended to be mostly a backhand rubber, but it's definitely versatile and all-around enough for a forehand rubber (I used it for around four months until last night, when I tried Sinus). For anyone who's looking for that powerful, explosive, spinny shot that you used to have with harder sponges, definitely try this one out. I like it more than Butterfly's Tenergy, because I feel like you get a better grip on the ball with Sinus, and more control overall.

And to answer Alex's question from the last post, I was talking specifically about Butterfly's glue... Sorry for any confusion or issues that ambiguity may have caused!

Sorry it's been a while, but college life tends to catch up to you...

Speaking of which, college table tennis has definitely been an experience. I would venture to say that the Columbia table tennis team practices quite a lot for a college team, and that we're a relatively cohesive one at that. No politics or animosity or anything like that, and that's always a good thing. For anyone who doesn't know how collegiate table tennis works, there is an organization (NCTTA): There are different regions all across the country (Columbia is in the New York City region with NYU, Rutgers, Cooper Union, Yale, Stevens Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University, FIT, Stonybrook, NJIT, and a few other teams that are inactive this year), and teams within each region play each other at regional tournaments (ours is coming up in November!) and the top two teams from each region go to Nationals at the end of the school year. Anyone applying to college or looking at colleges that still wants to play or start playing table tennis, look to see if your schools have a club or a team. If yes, then join, if not, then look to start your own club!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

more on water glue

So I know that in the last post I listed a few rubbers that would fall under the "Hurricane of the new era" category, but I tried out another one today that I would definitely add to the list: Butterfly's Tenergy. Compared to other new rubbers, the Tenergy's sponge is VERY hard and could be comparable with Hurricane; it has the same relative hardness, is quite spinny, and can deliver a pretty explosive shot. For anyone who uses Hurricane and is looking into rubbers to try out, I'd definitely suggest trying this one out before you get used to a softer sponge; the only reason I'm not flying off the walls crazy about the rubber is because I'm used to my Nimbus (Tibhar) now and I like it a lot, so I'm sort of over my "I-have-to-use-Hurricane" phase. In any case, there will never be another rubber exactly like Hurricane, so I'm over looking for a replacement.

For anyone using water glue for the first time, this is how you go about gluing: take your new sheet of rubber out of the packaging, and leave it out in open air for around 3 days. The reason you're supposed to leave it out is so the "speed effect" built in the sponge can sort of sink in and "breathe"; I'm not exactly sure how racket inspections/testing will work, but I've been told that unless your sponge gets the 72 hours of open air it needs, it could fail the test. Anyway, after 3 days, put a glob of glue roughly the size of a quarter, maybe a little smaller, in the middle of the sponge, and spread it out as evenly as possible; any bumps will be immediately noticable when you put the rubber on the blade. Water glue looks basically just like Elmer's glue (the white pastey stuff we used in like first grade for arts and crafts), and is just as harmless- the gluing process can get VERY messy, so make sure you have a tissue handy, but in case it gets on your hands or something, it's not toxic.. no biggie. To glue the blade, use a very small glob of glue and spread it evenly. When wet, the glue looks white, but will look transparent when dry, so you'll definitely be able to tell when it's dry. It should take only about 5-10 minutes for everything to dry. One layer of glue for both wood and rubber is definitely enough, and it wouldn't make a bit of difference if you use more glue anyway, so the whole gluing process should take no more than 10-15 minutes, if even that much. Plus, gluing can be a one-time experience for each rubber; you do it once and never again (unless you need to because it's coming off or something like that).

Overall, I'm pretty chill with the new glues/rubbers. My only issue is that my forehand rubber (Tibhar's Nimbus) has sort of a short lifespan; while I only need to glue it once, it usually doesn't last me more than 2 or 3 months. But, it's nice not to have to worry about gluing before practice anymore, and I'm down for not inhaling poisonous toxins any day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

dealing with water glue (yes, you have to now)

Ok, so it's been September for a while, and for those who don't know, this means that the table tennis world officially has to start using ONLY water-based glue. Water glue really is going to change the game, as shown by Li Xiaoxia, winner of the Volkswagen Women's World Cup earlier this month; Li has real power, and she has never needed to rely on her rubber and glue to get by, unlike most people, and therefore blew away the competition. That's right, people will no longer be able to blame a bad match on a bad gluing job, because gluing is essentially no longer important and plays little to no role in actual play.

I said it before and I'll say it again: FOR PEOPLE WHO NORMALLY USE HURRICANE, GIVE IT UP. I know it's hard and I know Hurricane is an amazing rubber, but I can guarantee you 110% you will not be able to use it anymore. Using Hurricane is especially out of the question now that Optimizers are officially illegal. The way the rubbers of the new age work is that the stuff that made speed glue speedy is now built into the sponges. This the reason why you only need to glue a sheet once and never again; regluing is not necessary because the "stuff" isn't in your glue anymore (it's been about two months since the last time I glued). It's weird to imagine gluing only about once every two or three months, but it's been great, because I don't need to sit and glue my Hurricane for 10-20 minutes anymore, and there is no unpredictability in my rubbers' performance. Definitely, for sure, absolutely, positively, undeniably, you're going to need to take some time to look into company's new lines of rubber, try them out, and get used to them (Tibhar, Donic, Butterfly, and Xiom have come out with pretty good ones, but, obviously, not everyone will like the same ones).

In addition to investing in new rubbers, you probably will need to try out new blades too; depending on how long you've been using your current one(s), it may be considered illegal because speed glue from before has been absorbed into the wood. Also, blades of a certain hardness may just not match up with whatever new rubber you get, so that's going to require some mixing and matching as well.

Shots with the new rubbers aren't as spinny or as powerful as with speed glue, but this definitely is not to say that making powerful or spinny shots is impossible. All I'm saying is that you absolutely cannot depend on your glue or your rubber to make your shots for you anymore. It will take some work and some getting used to, but it is definitely doable. Good luck to everyone in making the switch! It's kind of a pain, I know, but we don't have a choice, do we...