Many players asked me about the equipment of Zhou Qihao. And today, I will answer you. Not only show you his equipment, but also I want to explain why he choose this equipment. Because when we talk about the equipment, we should understand the playing style. Each playing style has a different type of equipment.
Who is Zhou Qihao?
Zhou Qihao is born in 1997. So he is 24 years old now.
Height: 178 cm.
His ITTF world ranking is only 252.
But last week, he has won in the Men’s Singles, Gold Medal Match: Zhou Qihao 4-2 Fan Zhendong.
Incredible performance from the young star Zhou Qihao! He won 4-3, Ma Long, in the semi-final, and 4-2 Fan Zhendong in the final!
Zhou Qihao equipment
At Chinese Trial 2021, he is using Butterfly LinGaoyuan ALC.
Why he has chosen this blade?
Here, I will explain to you why Butterfly Lin Gaoyuan ALC, but not another blade. There are many blades on the market, but why he takes Lin Gaoyuan ALC as his racket in the 2021 Chinese Trial.
His Major award is the 2011 ITTF Youth Tour Hong Kong Open Men’s Singles Championship. At a young age, as the new generation in China, everybody used the Viscaria blade. Trust me, more than 80% of the young generation in China used Viscaria. Viscaria is the star of the star (check price 1/ check price 2).
So Zhou Qihao used Viscaria as his racket.
Why? Because Viscaria is the best blade for the new trend in table tennis. I’ve explained it in another video a long time ago. The new trend is that the players stay closer to the table, mostly use the backhand flick, and backhand to backhand to control the pace and the placement, pivot, and forehand attack to finish the point.
Viscaria blade has an oval shape, with a smaller head shape. So this blade is easier to maneuver close to the table. Backhand flick, backhand fast, and powerful attack right after the serve. The main representative of this style today is Fan Zhendong.
In order to understand why Zhou Qihao has changed from using the Viscaria to the Lin Gaoyuan ALC, we need to compare these 2 blades.
Butterfly Lin Gaoyuan ALC vs Viscaria
What is the difference between Lin Gaoyuan ALC versus Viscaria?
Well, when you see the statistic, they are very similar.
Both are the ALC blade.
The blade has 7 plies, included 5 plies of wood and 2 plies of Arylate Carbon.
I’m a long-time user of Viscaria. At first impression, it is an amazing blade. The vibration is clear, and the backhand flick on the table is very fast. Why? Because the ALC layer is very near the outer plie. There are 2 types of main butterfly composition, ALC near the outer plie, and ALC near the core. ALC near the outer plie like Viscaria, the blade response is very quick. You can feel the ball quickly, and the ball is bounced very fast right after the contact.
But the main weakness of Viscaria is, when you pushed away a little bit far from the table, you will lose the advantage. The problem is that Viscaria has a smaller head size only 150×156 mm. The vibration for longer strokes is very bad. The feeling at the forehand side far from the table is strange. Viscaria is the best blade when you play close to the table and at mid-distance. But it is not good for far from the table, topspin to topspin powerful style.
I’ve also tried Lin Gaoyuan ALC. And I can assure you, the Lin Gaoyuan is faster. My topspin is faster and stronger, especially with the mid-distance attack. The backhand counter topspin close to the table is also stronger. We can say that Lin Gaoyuan ALC is an upgraded version of Viscaria. This is the new trend that Butterfly staff has developed.
Nowadays, players love to play faster and faster. With the new plastic ball, table tennis requires you to perform more physical strength.
The Weight of Lin Gaoyuan ALC is around 86 to 91g. Material 5 ply wood + 2 ALC outside like Viscaria. Thickness is around 5.8mm.
The head shape is a little bit different than the Viscaria. It allows for a big sweet spot. This head shape will favorite more the long-distance playing style.
Zhou Qihao playing style
Zhou Qihao in this tournament relies mostly on his forehand side. He plays a little bit further from the table. He lobs the ball, forehands chop the ball, which is rarely seen at other young players in the China Team. I would say his style has more variation, look very similar to Ma Long (the more classical way than the young generation). Watch this video:
He lobs the ball
He plays further from the table
He chopped the ball
He plays far from the table and pivots a lot. Using his forehand topspin.
That’s why he has changed his blade. Lin Gaoyuan ALC is better when you play further from the table. It gives move power and a larger sweet spot for your forehand topspin.
Don’t combine this type of blade with soft rubber. Don’t combine with something like Evolution MX-P (check prize 1). The feeling and the vibration are not good. Combine the blade with a harder rubber and make it a good mid-distance topspin machine. Soft rubber fits better to the close-to-the-table style.
If you have the money and a solid technique I recommend the Lin Gaoyuan ALC.
Personal review of Lin Gaoyuan ALC blade
There is a small detail that not many players discuss.
That is the handle. For me, the handle is very important. It’s the place that you feel the vibration. The shape of the racket’s head and the handle are very important. I’ve both blades. So here is my personal feeling.
I feel that the Lin Gaoyuan ALC is a little bit heavier. 91 g in Flared handle.
If you compare the information, Lin Gaoyuan ALC is almost the same as Zhang Jike ALC but has a different design. The center of gravity is on the grip, and the grip shape is also a rounder-flared handle. So I can feel the weight difference between the Zhang Jike ALC, Viscaria, and the Lin Gaoyuan ALC.
Lin Gaoyuan ALC has a shape size: 157 x 150. 5.7mm thickness
But the size handle: 101 x 24 mm.
But the Viscaria handle is slightly wider and fatter.
This handle will help you to maneuver easier on the table. The length of the Viscaria handle is a little bit shorter around 100 x 25 mm.
So Lin Gaoyuan ALC handle is longer. I’ve explained that Flared handle is the best handle for the forehand topspin far from the table. It gives you more confidence to topspin. This is the principle of the design of the flared handle: A confident feeling for a longer stroke.
Flared handle is better for a longer stroke.
Far from the table.
With this handle, it has more power far from the table on both sides: forehand and backhand. The blade has high resilience and a perfect balance of speed and control. The quality this blade has will make it a favorite amongst attackers.