Table tennis is a game of inches and adjustments. The best players adapt to the style and spin of their opponents. Even beginners quickly learn to adapt their positioning and style to counter their opponent's favorite shots. As we develop as players, we settle on preferred grips, play-style, favorite serves and types of shots to play. There is an endless variety and every player, even at the very top level of ping pong, is unique in style.
It would make sense, then, that table tennis equipment is highly customizable. Once you get beyond the classic "hard paddle" of rec rooms and basements, there is an almost endless variety of paddles to optimized your game. Most players will change paddles a few times as they progress in the sport, learning what suits their game best, or what paddle helps them learn best while they practice.
When it comes time for you to choose your own customized paddle, all of the choices between blade, grip, and rubber can feel a little overwhelming. We're here to help! Killerspin has made a variety of Ready-To-Go (RTG) paddles that are designed around the most common play styles to help you settle on just the right paddle for your game. Read on for our paddle selection guide.
A paddle is made up of 6 core pieces. There is the handle, a blade, a forehand sponge and rubber, and a backhand sponge and rubber. Each of those pieces can be chosen to create a paddle that is tuned to support your playstyle. Let's walk through how to figure out the best paddle for you!
Step 1 - Grip:
How do you hold the paddle? A vast majority of players use a Shakehand grip. But there are still players, particularly in Asia, who play with a Penhold grip. You'll want to select a handle that supports your grip style. Our RTG paddles are designed for Shakehand players and come in Flared or Straight handle options.
Choose your Flared or Straight handle option to your taste. Generally speaking, the Straight handle is more comfortable for players who grip the paddle a little more loosely, while the Straight handle is a little bit more thin and suits players with a firm grip.
Step 2 - Playstyle:
A paddle is ultimately a very personal choice. Every player has a unique style and swing, but there are paddles suited for general playstyles.
So, how do you play? Are you an attacking player who hits powerful shots? A defensive player who uses placement, patience and guile to beat opponents? Or do you prioritize control, choosing to place your shots carefully and move your opponent side to side?
Play a few games and pay attention to your style and preferences. Or ask a friend, coach, or opponent to watch you play and give you their input on your preferences and tendencies.
This info will help you for the next few steps.
Step 3 - Picking a Blade:
The blade is the solid part of your paddle and does the most to determine the power rating of your paddle. Lighter, more rigid materials create a more attacking paddle, while a heavier paddle made from softer stuff will help a defensive player.
If you like playing a fast paced game, you'll want a blade with 5 or more layers of material. The lighter the better, so blades that incorporate rigid-but-light carbon fiber or titanium carbon are suited for your playstyle.
Defensive players are best served with an all-wood blade that will absorb some of the ball's energy and help slow the game down to suit your style.
Step 4 - Picking your Rubber:
Rubbers are typically measured in their tackiness and their firmness. More tackiness creates more spin. A softer rubber typically produces more spin.
So, if you want to play a slow, defensive game, you'll want a soft, tacky rubber. If you play an attacking game, you'll want a more firm rubber.
Step 5 - Picking your Sponge:
Sponges are a layer that goes between your rubber and the blade. They usually come in three ratings, thick, medium and thin. A thick sponge (2.0 mm or more) usually results in a faster, attacking paddle. Defensive players tend to prefer thinner sponge.
I realize that even following that step by step guide can still leave you feeling a little overwhelmed when picking a paddle. Luckily, Biba and our product team have worked on building and producing a few paddles that are perfect for players who are still learning the game and trying to find the right paddle. These are durable, pre-assembled paddles that are tuned toward specific types of play. There's two suggestions for each style of play, with the more expensive option in each being made from higher-quality materials that add some extra nuance for a more advanced player. So, if you're a new player, try the entry-level option. If you love it and you feel that it's helped your game, try the next one when you're due for a replacement. We're excited to have you on our team and growing as a player with us!
Speedy Paddles for Attacking Players
Softer Paddles for Defensive Players
Tacky Paddles for Control and Spin