Table Tennis Equipment:
When I first began playing there was very limited table tennis equipment! Possibly 200 rubbers and 100 different blades (a wild guess). The main rubbers back then were Yasaka Mark V, Sriver L & FX, Mendo, Friendship, and then came Bryce (Tenergy of today, this was late 90’s). Blades included: Primorac, Korbel, Stiga Allround, and Donic Senso, and of course, Speed glue had a huge effect on the rubbers and the overall game.
There was also a big percentage of players using various spoiler rubbers (long, medium and short pimples, anti-spin and tacky rubbers). This market has declined due to new rubber regulations and advanced power equipment. Nevertheless, today’s equipment industry has risen by ten folds and shows no sign of slowing down.
Players are always looking for an edge and to a certain extent, our playing styles and ability requires tailor-made equipment. The issue is how do we find the right equipment for us? Table tennis equipment is not cheap and if we want/need material that suits our unique playing style,
What should we do?
1. Ask a coach,
2. Visit an equipment workshop,
3. Speak to an equipment expert,
4. Try to follow what the top table tennis players use especially if you have similar styles to them.
Personally, equipment has never been a big issue for me, I have changed blades possibly 3 times in the past 15 years and I tend to go for modern offensive rubbers. I think the key is to understand your personal requirements and choose something in that range. I believe initially you should build your game upon; footwork, your technique using suitable equipment, serve and return and once you have passed this stage, then hone in on equipment that benefits and boosts your game.
Does Table Tennis equipment effect our sport?
Yes, it does! It’s extremely difficult to; understand spin, deception and verity of spin plus power placed on the ball by top players. It’s equally difficult keeping up with all the blades and rubber choices and knowing what each one does. Due to a massive variety and characteristics of equipment, it has caused big issues for a novice or non-playing Table Tennis spectators.
When watching a sport, it’s nice to understand exactly why something occurred and Table Tennis is very hard to work out unless you’re a proficient player yourself.
Should the sport cut back on mass production of material?
World Ping Pong Championships, is easy for the naked eye to understand! So, should we follow suit or should we continue developing new material to advance the game in terms of speed, spin and power?
Table Tennis is unique due to technology and not many sports have or can develop in such away Table tennis and its advancing technological equipment provides huge versatility but technology has also changed the game so much over the past 50 years. This has had a huge effect and possibly cost the game in terms of simplicity and roar skill. Today a rubber can produce a lot of effect with little shot implementation but then again, there is no world champion who just puts his bat in the way. All top players have exceptional skill, ability and athleticism but it’s not fully respected due to certain attributes provided by equipment and undetected/misunderstood by a non-playing spectator.
The key is to find a solution for visual simplification, alongside technological advancements.