Table tennis bats have come a long way, from the first hollow drum bat to the polished sponge racket we have today. When choosing a table tennis bat, you need to consider the balance between spin, speed, and control.
That said, shopping for one can prove to be hectic as these bats are highly diversified and come in all shapes and sizes. However, familiarising with the official laws of table tennis racket may be a good first step.
The rules state that the racket can be of any size, shape, or weight, but the blade must be flat and rigid. At least 85% of the blade’s thickness must be made of natural wood, with other materials not being thicker than 7.5% of the total thickness.
Also, the blade's surface should be matt, black on one side, and brightly coloured on the other side.
Types of Table Tennis Bats
Carbon fibre is made of thin, lightweight material generally used to make the blade harder, providing speed while allowing the blade to retain its lightness and stiffness.
Carbon fibre also allows the blade to have a larger sweet spot, which is more helpful to amateur players. Nonetheless, these types of bats are desirable to both amateurs and professionals alike.
Table tennis bats made of this material are even lighter and stiffer than those made of carbon fibre. It is deemed faster than the rest and therefore recommended for highly skilled players.
Its stiffness can transmit too much shock and vibration to your shoulders and arm if you fail to hit the ball on the sweet spot.
Aluminium is used in less costly bats and offers enough power and a good amount of feel. This one makes for a perfect option for you if you are on a tight budget. Aluminium bats are also an acceptable choice for newbies.
The indoor table tennis bat uses a traditional wooden bat combined with rubber.
These are extremely durable table tennis bats designed to withstand all weather conditions. Outdoor bats are ideal for recreational play.
Other Things to Consider
Most rackets are similar in size, with a majority measuring approximately 6 inches wide and 6.5 inches long. However, a much longer racket may increase your chances of hitting the sweet spot, but again, this means you will have to work with a heavier racket that could make you slower.
Pimpled Rubber Surface
The rubber surface is the part of the bat that impacts the ball every time you strike. It has a significant influence on the ball's speed. The pimples on the rubber can be either facing upwards or inwards and aid the rubber in becoming more responsive when you hit.
The inward-facing pimples are the most common type, as they allow for a wide range of playing styles and strokes. The outward-facing spots, called pimples-out table tennis rubber, have a small surface area in contact with the ball. They lead to less friction and grip.
This type of bat is not the best for beginners; it is most suitable for professional players.
It is also of essence to consider your ability as a player before purchasing a table tennis bat. Table tennis player falls into the following three categories:
- Beginner: This is an unskilled player who is just getting started on table tennis.
- Intermediate: An intermediate player has limited skill sets.
- Expert: This is a professional player who has had many years of practice. They have perfectly mastered how to spin and are in control of their speed.
Style of Play
The style of play is mostly influenced by the thickness of the sponge. A thicker sponge will provide more speed with less control.
On the flip side, a thinner sponge will help you have better control but slow you down. A thicker sponge is a choice of preference for expert players. Beginners find the thinner sponge a lot easier to use.
Harder blades and sponges give more speed and less control hence compromising the quality of spin. On the other hand, softer blades and sponges will provide more spin and maximum control as there is a longer contact time with the blade.
When buying a table tennis bat, you should also consider protecting your bat with a durable cover shielding it against liquid spills, dirt, sunlight, and rain.
See to it that you settle for a table tennis bat that comes with a warranty as a shield if it malfunctions or fails to meet your expectations.
There is always something for every pocket. You can always use your budget to help narrow your searches to only what's within your budget.
Table Tennis Bat Maintenance
Taking good care of your table tennis bat is vital if you want to maximise its performance and extend its lifespan.
If you have purchased a new blade, ensure the blade is sealed by putting a thin layer of varnish on the surface. This will prevent water from soaking into the wood and stops the wood from chipping when removing a worn-out rubber.
Use a damp kitchen sponge to wipe the rubber surface gently until it is clean. Allow it to completely dry before you can safely store your bat in its cover.