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.
Never Buy A Premade Racket
When you search on the Internet, you can see that many sites will recommend this racket is the best, this one is the best.
But in fact, this is not true. Never buy a premade racket! It’s the worst thing that you can buy as a beginner’s racket.
Here are 3 reasons:
- As there are many styles in table tennis: blocking, looping, two-wings, one-wing, counter, defender, etc. Do you think that a premade racket will fit all of these styles? Is it good for your game? No!
- Premade racket is cheap and bad quality. They are produced in mass (normally in China). The blade has bad wood quality. It will absorb humidity quickly.
- With the same amount of money, you can buy a much higher quality setup. (for example with 40 USD)
I’m new to table tennis. Which racket should I buy?
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, Cornilleau, Nittaku, Darker, etc. Each year, there are hundreds of new blade, racket, and rubber are released.
A racket is a combination of the blade and 2 rubbers: 1 forehand rubber, and 1 backhand rubber.
- So you need to understand your playing style first. Ask your coach, or ask me about how to choose the right racket.
- Then select the right blade. Take a look at the top 10 blades here.
- Then you add the backhand rubber (in red color). Each backhand rubber will fit your backhand style. Best backhand rubber to look at.
- And finally, complete your setup with a good forehand rubber (Chinese forehand rubber or hard ESN rubber).
Common mistakes buying beginner’s racket
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.
- 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 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 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 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. 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.
- Never choose carbon, too hard, too fast blade. Another big problem of 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”.
- 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 his 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.
Understanding the parameters of a racket
Beginners often misunderstand the parameters of a racket. Here is the quick recap for you:
- Handle Shape: It’s very important! There are 6 types of handles. Choose the right one that fits your playing style. Handle size is very important. It’s the place where you put your finger to apply the right pressure (place the thumbs on the neck of the blade).
- Blade composition: 5-ply wood, 7-ply wood, 9-ply wood, or ALC, or ZLC? Allwood or carbon racket?
- Thickness: The optimal blade thickness is from 5.7mm to 6.1mm in this modern table tennis.
- Weight: The optimal weight of a blade is about 85g to 93g.
- Blade size: Don’t choose too small racket (lack of feeling and flexibility). Don’t choose too big head (only for the defender). The optimal size is about 157-160 mm (length), and 149-151 mm (width).
- Class/Speed/Control: There are DEF, ALL+, OFF-, OFF, OFF+, and OFF++ blade. A balance between speed and control. The best range is ALL+ to OFF- for beginners to advanced players.
- Price: Don’t waste your money. Around 20 USD to 80 USD is so good for a good racket. Read here for a cheap example under 40 USD.
- Combo: Combine the right rubbers on the right blade is important. Search “table tennis equipment pingsunday” to learn more.