Articles, Blog

How to Choose Best Setup in Table Tennis

August 21, 2019

Welcome back to the channel of coach EmRatThich. How to choose the rubber? What
is the best blade? The best combination for my playing style? These are the
common questions that you ask. Today, I will answer it! How to choose the
best setup in table tennis. A true story … A player has shared his own experience. Choosing too fast blade has wasted
his 15 years of table tennis. Now, he recommend playing only allround blade. 15 years ! Choosing too fast blade is the best way to
ruin your table tennis life. Using the too fast blade is a common mistake
of many table tennis players. If
it’s also your case, change before it’s too late! Liu Shiwen once said in an interview that
for her, the best blade is an offensive blade but a flexible blade. Chinese players are so strong in table tennis,
not because they use the super fast equipment, but just because their techniques
are superior. They use
offensive blade (All+, Off-), but not the super fast and hard blade (OFF+,
OFF++). In this modern table tennis, Offensive blade
is obligatory. But the blade need
to be flexible. Flexible increases the spin, and the feeling,
which is more important. The flexible blade also gives the “kick effect”
to the ball. I will
explain it right now. Your setup (blade + rubber) will decide these
3 quality factors of the ball: 1) Ball Seperation Speed 1) Ball separation speed: The speed that the
ball bounces away from your blade. This factor is not very important because
it’s only the initial speed which will be reduced quickly by the air resistance. 2) Spin 2) Spin: The rotation of the ball in your
shot. This factor is important. Because spin controls the consistency. If you can impact the spin to the
ball, you can hit harder and the ball still goes inside the table. 3) Kick effect 3) Kick effect: acceleration upon the first
bounce on the opponent’s court. This is the most important factor. The kick effect is the result of
the quality shot. The “kick effect” is also the reason why Chinese
players dominate this game. Their ball is spinny, fast, and has a very
low bounce. It’s so difficult to return their ball. Let’s feel what I mean. The “Kick effect” in the shot of Chinese players. The ball
is so fast and very low bounce. The Spin alone can’t make this “kick effect”. This effect comes only from the
“powerful shot”, which is loaded with speed, and spin. (I’ve explained it before). Another example of “Kick effect” on the backhand
shot. Let’s compare with the shot of the European
players. Can you feel the difference? The ball of European players is spinny, but
slower, and without the “kick effect”. Look at these rallies, the trajectory is
curvy (due to spin), but the kick effect is weak, not as strong as the Chinese
players. 4 types of combinations
(blade + rubber) According to the Japanese magazine Table Tennis
Kingdom, there are 4 types of setup. 1) Soft Rubber on Flexible Blade. This setup is best for consistency and
rotation. This setup will give you Max Spin (5 stars),
but only 1 star on the ball seperation speed, the Kick effect is Medium (3 stars). Soft Blade + Soft Rubber is best for:
– Recommended for beginner and intermediate choppers
– Ideal for offensive players with variation topspin and blocks
– defensive players who punish their opponent by changing up spin This is the most controllable setup, but weak,
the ball is spinny, but slow. 2) Hard Rubber on Stiff Blade. This setup has the highest rebound speed,
the ball leaves the racket super fast. But it’s difficult to spin the ball because
there is no dwell-time. Rebound speed super fast (5 stars), Spin very
weak (2 stars), Kick effect very weak (2 stars). Hard Rubber + Stiff blade is best for:
– Hitter who loves smashing every ball – But you will make many unforced errors. No Spin means no Control. – Close to the table, quick attack playing
style with tacky rubber. This is the fastest setup, no spin, super
fast, and risky shot: smash and flat- hit (double-edge sword) 3) Soft Rubber on Stiff Blade. This setup give you a Unique Feel of Bite
and Catapult. The soft rubber gives sufficient bite with
good control. The hard
blade gives the ball speed and the catapult effect on soft rubber. This setup is the main type of setup in European
countries. In Western
countries, the philosophy in table tennis is: “Rubber makes the ball spin,
and blade will give the speed”. Soft Rubber on Hard blade, you get fast rebound
speed (4 stars), Medium Spin (3 stars), and Weak Kick Effect
(2 stars). Soft rubber + Stiff blade is best for:
– Player who loves catapult effect (the rubber eats the ball, and rebound
away). – good feel on fast blocks (good for blocker)
– Ideal for players lacking power who stick to the table
– Best for fast-attack play close to the table with some driving Weakness:
– Only Medium Spin. It is surprisingly difficult to impart strong
spin on the ball. Soft rubber means weak rubber. Stiff blade means short dwell-time. – loss of speed once away from the table. As I’ve said, the rebound speed
is not important because it’s just the initial speed. When you play far from
the table, this setup is very weak. 4) Hard Rubber on Flexible Blade. This setup is the Mainstream and very
balanced. With hard rubber, the shots will rebounce
quickly (kick effect). Flexible blade will make it’s easier to applying
spin to the ball (because of dwell-time). This is the main setup in the Asian countries. Chinese philosophy is different:
The hard rubber will give the ball speed and kick effect (more important), the
blade will give dwell-time, feeling, and make the ball spin. With this setup, you get medium ball seperation
speed (3 stars), Very good spin (4 stars) and Excellent Kick Effect (5
stars). Hard Rubber + Flexible Blade is best for:
– the best setup for mid-range looping machine (Ma Long style)
– all-round offensive play slightly away from the table (dominant style in
this modern table tennis) – the kick effect is the key of success of
Chinese players But, you need:
– hard rubber does not bite excessively onto the ball, you need a good
technique, good “acceleration” to spin the ball
– tacky rubber will improve the dwell-time on soft stroke
– The ball rebound speed is not very fast due to flexible blade. You need
to use your physical strength to increase this initial speed. Now you understand why top Chinese players
love using offensive but flexible blade. To increase the flexibility of the blade,
they often ask the supplier to make the custom large head blade for them. Chinese players also love using the harder
rubbers on both side to increase the “kick effect”. While European players love playing with softer
rubber, to have the “catapult effect” (the ball stucked on the
racket and then bounce away). European players use harder blade to compensate
the soft rubber (soft rubber means weak rubber). However, this setup is weak when playing far
away from the table, the kick is effect is also weak
too. Choosing the right
setup is crucial! At the top level, the good setup contributes
about 20% of the performance. Chinese players can’t get such a huge success
if they don’t use a specific setup. A very hard rubber gives a direct feeling
and transfer all of the energy to the ball. Soft and bouncy rubber can’t do this. And when a good setup is
combined with their superior technique, it’s a deadly weapon in table tennis. The Right Setup for the Beginners At the beginner level, it’s even much more
important to choose the right setup at the beginning. I know a player, his name is Vic, don’t know
how to Backhand topspin even after 8 years of training. No one has said to him that
his setup is not good. He is using a very soft rubber on the backhand
side. This one: Donic Desto Big Slam F3, hardness about 35
degree. Some coaches say that
“using soft rubber will give you control”. I say “No”. Using too soft rubber will
limit your stroke, prevent you to develop a full stroke mechanism. Vic has a
bad habit on Backhand side, just put the racket to slightly spin the ball, but
never “accelerate” with a fast and long stroke. So he never knows how to
topspin safely and consistently on the backhand side. Using too soft rubber (right), the ball is
bottom out too soon. “Bottom out” is
that the ball leaves your racket before you finish the stroke. That means you
will loose the energy of your stroke. Too soft rubber also prevent you to
“accelerate” in the stroke, because of the bottom-out. With hard enough
rubber, all of the energy of the stroke is transfered to the ball. You have a
direct feeling of the ball, the more you accelerate, the more ball is spinny. Kids in China, they don’t have much money. They use a 5$ hard rubber on
both side. Hard rubber is not bouncy at all, but gives
the direct feeling of the ball. They develop the full mechanism of stroke. So using the too soft, mushy
rubber is very bad for new players. However, in many clubs that I’ve visisted,
the coach still recommend very soft rubber for kids. The Rule-of-Thumb to choose your setup is:
– Never choose rubber softer than 40 hardness (European scale) on the backhand
– If you want to control, a thin but hard rubber is much
better than a thick but soft rubber – Choose the harder rubber for the Forehand
side, because you can hit harder on the Forehand Reference: I’m using a 50 hardness rubber
on my backhand side, and about 53 hardness rubber on my Forehand side. I still find that 50 hardness is not hard
enough for the new poly ball. Take-away:
– The best way to ruin your table tennis life is using a too
fast blade (faster than OFF+, OFF++, Carbon blade). – Using too soft rubber (softer than 35-40
degree) will prevent you develop the confidence, and the
acceleration in your stroke
– In this modern table tennis, the best set up is: Hard rubber
on a flexible blade, this is the best setup for a looping
machine. Good spin, excellent Kick effect. – On the Forehand side, choose a rubber harder
than 45-47 degree. Choose hard but thin rubber, which is better
than soft but thick rubber. Somewhere in France, Find my video helpful? Offer me a coffee 🙂
Search “Patreon EmRatThich”. Bye bye bye!

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