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• The first step is to pick a table tennis blade based on your style of play. Luckily most will state the type of style on the package or face of the blade.
• Offensive blades generally are heavier and faster wood. These are ideal for those that want to finish the point with power.
• All-around blades are medium in weight and have more touch. This is the prefect choice for players that like to control the table and pick their openings.
• Defensive or slower blades are lighter and sometimes oversized (for greater hitting area) for play off the table.
• Once you have the style of play question answered you then need to choose the type of handle.
• The type of handle is totally a personal choice. Choices are: straight, flared, concave or anatomic. Penholders usually choose from Chinese or Japanese style. The handle should fit comfortably and feel balanced in your hand.
• Arylate: Arylate is a reinforcing fiber used to expand the sweet spot of the blade and also to provide unsurpassed vibration control.
• Arylate/Carbon: These blades feature the best of both the Carbon and Arylate benefits. The speed and large sweet spot of Carbon combined with the great vibration control and soft feel of Arylate. Perhaps the ultimate in blade technology.
• Carbon: Carbon reinforced blades produce great speed along with expanded sweet spots. While fast, the bigger sweet spot provides for a shocking level of control.
• Ayous Wood: A lightweight, stiff wood that is excellent for close-to-the-table counterdrive play.
• Koto Wood: Koto wood outer layers produce a faster and stiffer blade. Great wood for players who rely on both looping and countering techniques.
• Bass Wood: Bass wood has been a mainstay in racket making for over fifty years due to its high degree of control and economical price. It is favored by the close-to-the-table counterdriver as well as players looking to purchase their first professional racket.
• Limba Wood: The classic European topspin wood. Limba wood adds the soft feel and great control needed by today's modern topspin players.
• Cypress Wood: The classic Asian attacking wood. Favored by attackers for several decades because of its unique combination of speed and softness. Also known as Hinoki Wood.
• Planchonello Wood: Planchonello outer layers produce great speed. This wood is most often found in blades designed for the power attacker.
• Yellow Aningre Wood: Yellow Aningre is the ultimate control wood. Providing a soft feel on contact, this wood is favored by many all-round styles of players.
The amount of control a blade has cannot be measured. It is different for each individual. Your level of control is proportional to the amount of time you spend practicing. The more you play the more control you will have. To help you choose, we have rated each blades level of control in relation t its speed. Generally, the faster the blade, the more difficult it will be to control.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|