Monday, June 23, 2008


How could I forget? Before you go out and hit the table tennis club, you need to get yourself some good equipment.

First of all, what can't you play with? No sandpaper rackets, please. They ruin the ball and are illegal to use in match play. Second, any rubber that is not black or red -- purple, green, orange is kaput, no-no, out the window. Third, a racket that isn't mostly made out of wood. If you buy from a big table tennis brand, such as Butterfly, Stiga, or Killerspin, you don't really have to worry about what I just mentioned.

Okay, so there are basically two types of rackets that you can buy. The first is the pre-assembled, recreational paddle, which is used for very informal situations. Recreational rackets come pre-assembled, where the rubber sheets come preglued on the wood racket. Quite inexpensive, these can be found at your local sporting goods store (Big 5, Copeland's, what have you).

The second type is the custom-made, high performance rackets that most competitive players use. The player chooses his or her blade and the individual sheets of rubber. Rubber sheets come in four different varieties: 1) inverted, the most popular, also known as pips-in, 2) pips out, and 3) anti-spin. One assembles the racket by applying table tennis glue (which is very similar to rubber cement) to both the blade and the sheet of rubber and then by cutting the sheet of rubber to fit to the blade's head. This customization allows for the player to choose the right combination for his or her playing style. The myriad choices can also prove to be very, very overwhelming, especially to those just starting out.

I've played with Butterfly equipment my whole life (they've been my sponsor for as long as I can remember), and I'd recommend the Primorac paddle with Sriver rubbers for anyone who's starting out. I would surf around the net and check out different websites and brand names to see which combo might be best for you. To start off, I'd recommend Google-ing "table tennis racket" and seeing what comes up. As for brands, I'd say that these are the big, trusted ones: Butterfly, Stiga, Joola, Donic, Juic, Nittaku, Tibhar, Yasaka.

That's it for now. Peace!