Q&A About rackets, rubbers and blades.

Hi table tennis friends!

We have made this Q&A page with some of the questions we get the most from our customers. Hope you get an answer to yours... If you have a question, that we haven't answered here, please send us a message.

Anyway - here it is:

Q: Does it make any difference which racket I use?

A: There is a huge difference between different kinds of rackets – and to choose the right one isn’t so easy. It depends on your level and experience, but mostly on your style of play. But you don’t need to go for “a perfect optimization” where you look for the last few percent – that usually leads nowhere. What is important is to get a racket that covers all your needs and isn’t too difficult to handle.

Q: I’m a beginner – can I really feel a difference between rackets?

A: In the beginning most players just “push” the ball over the net and try to hit it is best they can. To be honest it doesn’t do much difference which racket you use – except that with a powerful racket, you tend to push the ball too long. But, if you want to learn the techniques, spin the ball and so on, then it makes quite a difference which racket you use. You need a racket which makes it easy to make the different shots and especially one that makes it easy to spin the ball. Really powerful rackets work best at a hard impact and require a lot of practice to really master, on the other hand most standard rackets tend to lack both spin and overall quality – which makes many shots difficult as well. Our beginner rackets have great spin possibilities and work very well at low impact.


Q: Is it only the rubbers that are important – how about the blade?

A: The blade is just as important as the rubbers. The obvious part is the handle. You need to be able to hold the racket and still be relaxed in your hand. If you must hold the racket hard to feel a good grip, then you also tend to flex the muscles in your arm just to hold the racket – this can really ruin your technique. However, it’s not like there is such a thing as the perfect handle – you can get used to a lot of things. We use 6 different handles including two for children – this should cover the needs for most player. For more information about the handle – please check our “Choosing the right handle”-guide.

The veneer is just as important as the handle. What is most important is the amount of flexibility: To get good contact with the ball, the racket need to “catch” the ball a little – but not too much. Players who hit the ball hard get the best contact with a rather stiff blade, while those who don’t hit that hard need a more flexible blade.


Q: In other shops they rank blades by speed and control. Why don’t you do that?

A: Because it – at least in our opinion – doesn’t make any sense. It is not like a “fast” blade gives the ball more speed. How fast the ball moves are mainly determined by how hard you hit the ball. And most players hit the ball harder with a “slower” blade since it makes it easier for them to control the ball. When the best players use “fast” blades it’s because it has the right amount of flexibility for their style and power – not because “the blade is faster” whatever that means. When looking at blades at most other shops you get the impression that you need to make a compromise between “speed” and “control”. This is not the case. If you find the right blade the reality is, that you will get more power and more control – than with a blade that don’t fit your game.

Instead of taking part in “the numbers show”, we have just split the blades in the following categories: ALL (Flame, Safe), ALL+ (Columbia), OFF- (Explorer), OFF (Galaxy). The ALL blades work best at relatively low impact. They are for a style of play where there are not that many really hard shots. They are for less experienced players and children who don’t hit the ball that hard, but also for more experienced players, who – because of their style of play – don’t make that many hard shots. ALL+ is slightly stiffer and is best at what we can call “medium impact”. It’s for players at all levels (maybe except beginners), who mix their game up with all kinds of strokes – also powerful ones. OFF- and OFF work best at a rather hard impact and is mostly aimed at more experienced players with an aggressive style of play with many hard shots. We feel that these 5 high quality blades cover the needs of at least 90% of all table tennis. Our best sellers are the ALL and ALL+ blades.


Q: How about weight – should the racket be light or heavy?

A: The answer to this question is rather complicated: The racket should have the “right” weight – whatever that is. For children the problem is to get the right “quality” into the racket without making it too heavy to handle. Our Flame blade is quite light, but not super-light because then we would have to compromise the selection of veneers. Both Evolve and the Vizion rubbers are quite light as well, but to be honest we have chosen to go for high quality instead of super-low weight – so for children below the age of 10, the rackets are a little to the heavy side, but not more than they can handle.

For adults the weight is – at least for most players – not that important. Generally, a heavy racket is better off the table, while a light racket is better above the table. So, if you want to make it easier to return serves or be quicker shifting from forehand to backhand, a light racket is to be preferred. If you want to make powerful shots from half-distance, then it will usually be easier with a racket that is slightly heavier. But since we all want to do both, our advice is not to look for extremes.

When combining a racket, it is good to be aware that the blade weighs about the same as two rubbers, and that both rubbers and blade differ quite a bit in weight. So even if you choose a relatively light blade, you might end up with a heavy racket. Curiously all brands tell the approximate weight of the blades, and no brands tell anything about the weight of the rubbers. It makes it quite difficult to tell if you’ll end up with a light or heavy racket when you combine it from other brands.


Q: I have played with the same racket for a while and improved my game a bit. When is time to get a new one?

A: There are two reasons to change your racket: That the current racket used up (usually it’s the rubbers, but of course the blade can break as well), or that you need a new one to fit your current game. Usually it can be “timed” so that you upgrade your racket when the rubbers need replacement anyway.

Our experience is that many customers tend to increase the power of their racket too quickly. You should be aware that the way to “the top” is very long, and that the needs of the top players are quite different from the rest of us. Table tennis is a difficult game, and there is absolutely no reason to make it more difficult than you must.

That being said: Of course, it’s good idea to upgrade you racket to fit your needs. Just take small steps. Be aware that especially a stiffer blade and thicker rubbers can make the more difficult (and fun) elements of table tennis too difficult, and that there is a big difference between practice and match – and that the racket should be good both when playing for fun with you regular practice partner, and when returning a difficult serve at 9-9 in the decider.


Q: What is the meaning of rubber thickness, and which thickness should I choose?

A: The thickness mentioned is the thickness of the sponge below the red or black surface. It is usually between 1.5 mm and 2.3 mm.

Choosing the right thickness is difficult, and unfortunately requires a bit of technical explanation to understand:

The sponge works as a spring. A thicker sponge means a more powerful spring. A common misunderstanding is that a thicker sponge means more powerful shots. For most of us it is not the case, and often the other way around. The most important is to get the right amount of resilience in the sponge: If the sponge don’t have enough resilience your hard shots will “hit through” the rubber and the blade will dominate too much, and if it has too much you can’t feel the blade at all. In both cases the racket doesn’t work too well.

So, you need a rubber that have the right amount of resilience for your game. A thicker and/or harder sponge generally has more resilience, while a softer and thinner has less. For less experienced players a thin and soft rubber is usually preferable, and with experience it can be a good idea to (slowly) increase thickness and hardness. Our experience is that it is often a good idea to increase hardness from soft to medium before changing to thicker rubbers. Natural steps could be Inzone Vizion AR+ 1.7 -> Inzone Vizion AR Accel 1.7 -> Inzone Vizion AR Accel 2.0. But some players prefer the softer feeling and would go the other way around: Inzone Vizion AR+ 1.7 -> Inzone Vizion AR+ 2.0 – where their next upgrade could be a stiffer blade and stick to the soft rubber.

The softer rubbers don’t need that much impact to be “springy”, and thick rubbers generally shoots the ball longer than thin rubbers.

As an example: Vizion AR+ 2.0 shoots the ball quite long and is quite lively even at a softer impact. This could be good for a blocking game, where you want to keep pace on the ball without too much effort. A harder rubber needs a little more impact to react, and since a thinner rubber shoots the ball shorter, a Vizion AR Accel 1.7 (which has approximately the same resilience as AR+ 2.0) is better for a more active game, where put a bit more power into your shots – you can hit the ball harder without shooting too far, but also need to do it to keep pressure on the ball.

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