Every table tennis or ping pong player will seek to get hold of the best ping pong paddle out there in the market. The latest ping pong paddles and tables along with their reviews can be found online on sites like bestgametables.com. The reviews online and from the experienced players will help you to choose the best paddle for your style of play. Some of the tips to choose one perfect ping pong paddle are covered in this article.
What is a ping pong paddle?
A ping pong paddle is confused with its name all over the world. In some parts, it is called a bat, racket, paddle, etc. According to the International Table Tennis Federation, it is officially named as a table tennis racket. A table tennis racket is general equipment primarily made of wood along with some amounts of carbon and fiber covered with rubber and sponge on both sides that are used to strike the ball in a table tennis game. Although choosing a perfect racket will not be vital for a beginner, it is a major factor for an experienced player who is about to participate in national and international events.
Choosing the best paddle
Before choosing the best paddle for your game, you need to figure out what is your play style. You can be an offensive player, a defensive one, or even an all-rounder. Some of the important factors to be considered while choosing a paddle are as follows.
- Handle type and grip
Choosing the Blade
The foundation for a TT racket is the blade. The wooden base on which the rubber and sponge are glued to is called a blade. Choosing the best wooden blade is crucial for the strokes we are going to play. An average TT blade will have minimum dimensions of 157 x 150 mm. According to ITTF, every TT blade should be made of at least 85% of wood. Carbon and fiber can be added in the manufacture to a percentage of up to 7%. It will mostly consider 3, 5, or 7 plies of wood. These plies can be hard or soft that decides the force and pace of the strike. Lighter blade with rigid materials will be used by an attacking player to force the ball hard while heavier blade made of soft materials will absorb the force of the ball and slow down the return speed. A lighter blade will give more control of the ball for the striker and hence it is preferred by a defensive player. There are also blades that are categorized as “All-rounder”. These blades will have hard plies inside and softer plies outside enabling the striker to play counter-attack for the opponent’s style of play. These all-around blades are preferred by a vast majority of players mainly beginners and casual players. So, according to your style of play, you can choose the type of blade you want.
Handle type and grip
There are no rules for the type of handles. Some of the types are,
- Anatomic handle – This handle is in the shape of a convex mirror that is used to have a better grip while held in the hand. This is the most common type of handle. It can be chosen if you want a comforting feel holding the paddle.
- Flared handle – This is a handle with concave type with its sides curved inwards a bit. These handles are for those players who use forehand play predominantly. This can stay in a player’s hand so firmly without any extra grip. This is commonly available in the low priced paddles.
- Straight handle – Although straight handles are likely to skip from the hand, it is the best type of handle for players who change their grip often during the game.
- Shake hand grip – This is a grip in which the player holds the handle in the palm and the forefinger on the bottom of the head like giving a handshake. You can play a complete range of strokes using this grip. It is used by the majority of players.
- Penhold grip – As the name suggests, this type is held by the use of the thumb and the forefinger like in the case of holding a pen. The beginners and casual players will try this type of grip.
Choosing the rubber
According to ITTF rules, one side of the rubber should be red and the other black in color. Rubber sheets will be made with a layer of varying thickness sponge glued to them according to the need. 2 mm thick rubber will act as an attacking tool while 1.5 mm is for medium play while 1 mm thickness is for defensive play.
A pimped-out rubber is a rubber sheet glued to the blade either with or without sponge having pimple-like extensions on the outer side. The ball is deflected using this side. The presence of pimples will help to counter-attack the offensive shots in a defensive manner.
In these rubbers, the pimpled surface will face the sponge or wood. This is the most common rubber that helps you to play a wide range of strokes, unlike pimpled rubber.