You are searching for your first table tennis racket? It is not easy, right? And you can make a lot of mistakes by choosing the wrong setup. This will cost you not only money but also the golden time for your developments. Here is the best advice from the Chinese coach to select the best beginner’s racket.
How to choose the best racket for beginners?
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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.
How to choose your best racket for the beginner
But I want to show you the right way, and some mistakes to avoid when choosing your first racket.
In your career, you will change/upgrade several rackets. Based on your improvement, you could choose the faster or harder 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).
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.
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.
Never choose too thin rubber, thinner than 1.8mm. Some coach just asks the new player to play with thin, very thin rubber (1.5mm). No! Playing with too thin rubber, the new players tend to open more of their racket. Thin rubber makes the ball “bottom out” very soon. So the players need to open the racket to topspin and to compensate for this “bottom out”. This is a very bad habit. The ball is weak and less accurate. You will not improve fast with this setup.
Never choose carbon, too hard, too fast blade. Another big problem with new players is they always want “faster, faster and faster”. But they don’t know how to spin the ball. Chinese philosophy about table tennis is “The blade gives the feeling, the blade is your hand. That is the rubber and your power will give the speed to the ball”.
Never change equipment because they tell you this one is better. For each type of blade and rubber, try to stick with them for 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.
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.
Best Budget Rackets for Beginners (Verified by coach)
1. DONIC APPELGREN ALLPLAY COPPA
This racket (check price) is recommended for new players because it’s a highly sensitive blade with excellent ball control. The racket of Mikael Appelgren, 4 times world champion, 8 times European champion at a great price! Ready To Use and you get a Free Bat Case. This bat case is very good to protect your first paddle (avoid humidity).
- Blade: Appelgren Allplay – a very good all-round blade of Donic.
- Rubbers: Red & Black Coppa X3. Coppa X3 rubbers are very spiny and the soft sponge produces a distinctive sound when playing attacking shots.
- Brand: DONIC
- Combo Weight: 175 g
2. Andro Novacell Off Blade with Andro Plaxon 450 red
Very good combo from Andro (check price). The blade has a lot of control and is fast enough for the aggressive close-table attacking style. Andro Plaxon is a modern ESN rubber with a lot of spins. You won’t go wrong with this setup.
- Blade: Andro Novacell Off Blade
- Rubber: Andro Plaxon 450 red and black 2mm
- Plus Bat Case
3. TIBHAR Drinkhall Signature Table Tennis Bat
This setup (more info) is great for heavy topspin or counter loop from mid-distance.
Drinkhall Power Spin Carbon is a great blade for an aggressive spin game both close to the table and at mid-distance. High-quality arylate carbon and create a fantastic sweet spot for you to both dominate and control your opponent.
Evolution MX-P rubbers – the top-selling and most dynamic of the Evolution range. ITTF approved, great sensation, superb touch, and the choice for powerful loop players.
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