Buying the first racket is not easy, especially for new players. Therefore, I explain to you the Guide to choosing your first equipment in table tennis. Here are the most common mistakes that beginners made by buying their first paddle. I’ve also presented the best 3 budget rackets for beginners.
I’ve explained the most popular mistakes in terms of technical and gameplay. This article is the list of the wrong choices of equipment.
I won’t tell you the marques of a table tennis racket that you should buy because the racket quality and table tennis evolves with time. Of course, you are new to table tennis, and you may hear about the best equipment nowadays like Butterfly, Stiga, DHS, Donic, Tibhar, Joola, etc. Each year, there are hundreds of new blades, rackets, and rubber are released.
Equipment Guideline – Instructions from Chinese coaches
During my own experiences of coaching, I found that new players often make these bad choices. These are the common mistakes in buying a beginner’s racket. In general, you should choose the best blade, and combine it with the best rubbers that fit your style.
But I want to show you the right way, and some mistakes to avoid when choosing your first racket. New players often make the wrong choice when buying their first equipment.
Follow these guidances to have better table tennis equipment!
1. Upgrade if necessary
In your career, you will change/upgrade several rackets. Based on your improvement, you could choose the faster or harder racket. Some new players just upgrade their equipment because others say that. You should understand your style, and upgrade only if you need to. Like if you lack power, or spin in your shots, then you should upgrade to a faster setup.
2. Say no to pre-made racket
As a new player, never buy a pre-made racket, with cheap wood quality, and very thin rubbers. This is very bad for your learning. Bad and cheap wood will eliminate all of the good vibrations to your hand. Too thin rubber forces you to open more your racket to spin the ball (which is a very bad habit).
3. Choose the right rubber’s hardness
Never choose a too soft rubber (softer than 40 degrees on your forehand side, and softer than 35 degrees on the backhand side). If you want to improve fast, choose the hardest rubber that you can manage to hit. The harder you choose, the faster you improve. Chinese kids always play with hard rubbers.
4. Don’t buy a too light blade
Never choose a too-light blade (Lighter than 80g). The heavy blade is not comfortable to play with at the beginning. But it will prevent you from the bad habit of some players: Hit only by the wrist. Some new players just love playing with a very light blade, because they have a bad habit, (hit with only the wrist). Heavy blade forces you to use your body, and develop the full mechanism of the stroke.
5. Choose the right rubber’s thickness
Never choose too thin rubber, thinner than 1.8mm. Some coach just asks a new player to play with thin, to very thin rubber (1.5mm). No! Playing with too thin rubber, the new players tend to open more his racket’s angle. Thin rubber makes the ball “bottom out” very soon. So the players need to open more the racket to topspin and to compensate this “bottom out”. This is a very bad habit. The ball is weak, and less accuracy. You will not improve fast with this setup.
6. Slow down but higher quality
Never choose carbon, too hard, too fast blade. Another big problem with new players, they always want “faster, faster and faster”. But they don’t know how to spin the ball.
Chinese philosophy about table tennis
“The blade gives the feeling. The blade is your hand. That is the rubber and your power will give the speed to the ball”.
7. Stick with one set up for at least 6 months
Never change equipment because they tell you this one is better. For each type of blade and rubber, try to stick with them at least 6 months. Try to discover your equipment. Don’t just buy and try in only 2 hours and conclude. You are wrong! Each type of equipment has its own advantages. Try to figure it out! And understand why you need to change (to have more spin, more speed, low-throw, attack style, more control, etc). Understand your playing style, your technique first, and then change your racket later.
8. Focus on feeling and spin
And remember, as a new player, feeling and spin is the most important. My best advice if you want to improve fast in table tennis. Believe it! This message is not to promote any equipment. It’s for you! Based on my own experiences of coaching and playing. So your first equipment needs to provide this information: good vibration, and feeling to your hand.
You should also read the common equipment mistakes for new players when choosing their first equipment.