tennis racket / paddle / bat guide
Looking for your first decent racket to
improve your game, or is your current one slowing down or halting your
progress in table tennis, but you’re not sure what to buy and how much you
need to spend? If the answer is ‘Yes’ than this guide may be just right for
you. It will outline what the basic choices are available, the advantages of one
over another, and the sort of costs involved.
It's important to develop and improve your game with the
right table tennis or ping pong equipment. This does not mean going out to buy one of the
most expensive blades that professional use, but you may need to spend a little
more than your basic Kmart special. You need something that allows you to
develop the correct strokes, and that allows rapid development of your game when
you put enough effort into it. It should not be 'the equipment' that holds back
your progress. At the same it should be something that offer value for money,
and you should not be paying extra for an expensive brand name, where (at your
level) you will not be able to notice the difference.
A table tennis
bat, also commonly referred to as a
‘racket’ or ‘paddle’, basically consists of two parts, namely the
“blade” which is the wooden part of the bat, and the rubbers which cover the
blade on both sides. The first choice you need to make is whether you buy a
‘pre-made bat’ (or recreational bat) or whether you buy a ‘custom bat’.
A ‘pre-made’ bat has the rubbers have already
been glued to the blade, and ratings refer to the bat as a ‘whole’. For a custom bat, you need to choose the blade and two rubbers separately, and
the rubber and blades are rated separately, so the overall ratings of the bat
are unknown. You would need to assemble a custom bat yourself, or ask you
supplier to do this for you, which may incur an extra fee at some retailers.
So how do you choose between these two options? Well the
main advantage of the pre-made bats is that they're ready to go, and they
generally work out a lot cheaper. For the beginners this is usually a good
choice, since you have not yet developed/discovered your own style, so choosing
a blade and rubbers separately can be quite hard and overwhelming. However the
rubber on the pre-made bats is not really meant to be changed, so if the rubber
get damaged, or wears out, or you need to change to something very different,
replacing the rubber is not always an option. This is where a custom setup has
advantages, since either the blade or the rubbers can be changed at any time. So
if you damage just the rubber on one side of the bat or wish to upgrade, you can
simply pull it off and replace it. Similarly (although far less common) if you
damage the blade or wish to upgrade to a different one, you can pull off the
rubber, and re-glue them to another blade (assuming the size of the blades are
Custom bats vs Pre-made
/ Pre-assembled bats
The main advantages/disadvantages of pre-made bats and
buying them separately are summarised below. Note that there are some very high
quality pre-made bats available, which don't really fit in either of the
categories below, so there is some overlap between the two types:
|Premade bats advantages:
||Custom bats advantages:
They are usually much cheaper.
They are already assembled with a good finish and ready
You don't need to buy glue or edge tape or tools for
assembling the blade or pay to get it done (some retailers offer this as a
You're not faced with too many decisions on
options/choices that you cannot yet make.
More choice in type of rubbers and blades to suit your
Blades are characterised and has a description so you
can choose it to suit your style
Blades are usually of much better quality
Rubbers may be of better quality.
As you develop your game (or change your style) you can
change the rubbers
When the rubbers wear out you can replace them, as they
The rubbers can be 'speed glued'
So you'll need to weigh up these factors, and also decide what you’re willing to
spend on a new bat. A decent pre-made is often a good and cheap choice, and you
can always upgrade to a customs bat when you have a better idea of what you
really want. It’s well worth approaching a table tennis club or checking out a
specialised retailer to buy your new bat. The quality is likely to be much
better, the price most likely cheaper, and you can get some advice on what suits
your style. Great savings can also be made by buying online, and information and
advice can often be found on a website like this one, or sought from the retailer via
Email. Choosing a winning combination is not necessarily buying the best bat on
the market, but more about choosing what's appropriate for your budget and
level, and something that's not going to hold back your progress.
Once you've decided between pre-made or custom bats, you
can continue on to the following guides for more information:
table tennis racket or Chinese
table tennis racket
Choose a brand name racket like the most well known Butterfly brand or similar since they have
a good reputation, or a cheaper brand but with unknown performance?
tennis rubber and blade Guide
Choosing the right rubber and blades for your custom bat