How to Choose the Table Tennis Bat, Tennis Balls and Rubber?


  Choosing the right table tennis bat and balls is very crucial and so is selecting the type of rubber. If you want to feel comfortable with your playing style then all of these decisions need to be made after careful consideration of the different factors playing their part. Moreover, the choice you make will also be influenced by the level of player you are – whether you are a beginner or a professional.

Read on to find out the various aspects that play a role in making the right choice.

A Bit of Background History on Table Tennis Bats

Previously, there was no bar on the colour of rubber you are using on either or both sides of the tt bat. But with more and more researches into the world of rubber technology, the need to use different rubbers on either side was established due to strategic reasons. Depending on the rubber that is being used on either side of the bat, the player will be able to flip over the bat and with the same stroke produce different types of shots.

In the 1980s, when the use of combination rubber bat was first starting, players often couldn’t figure out what rubbers their opponents were using for deceptive shots. The players using the combination rubber thus had the upper hand in the game.

Finally, in 1986, the ITTP adopted a rule whereby they mentioned that one side of the bat will have the black colored rubber and the other side will have bright red colored rubber. This rule was primarily launched to combat the twiddle rubber trick of anti-spin and long pimple players.


Factors to Consider While Choosing Tennis Rubber

tennis rubber


    The function of the red and black colored rubbers on the TT bat


  • Several players have admitted that rubbers which are red in color are often associated with faster speeds and also known to create a lesser amount of spin as compared to the black rubbers. This usually results due to the difference in the type of material and dye used for the different bats.

  • The use of the rubber color also has some visual strategies involved. For example, if you are wearing a jersey that has the same color as that of your rubber, then the receiver might not be able to make out serve swing prior to the contact if you serve really close.

    However, the rule requires the receiver to be able to see the contact. The ball color will also play a role. When you are playing against a red rubber, ball colors like white and orange will show less of a contrast. But the same white ball will have a great contrast on black rubber.

    So, hiding your spin becomes easier when you go for the less contrasting options.


    Side of bat that you should play and when?


  • Well, there is no hard and fast rule about playing a particular side of the table tennis bat. It will entirely depend on you and the tactics that you want to implement. But if you are choosing the Chinese tacky tennis rubber, then going for the black colored rubber for your forehand is usually recommended.

    This is because of the following reasons –

  • As compared to red, black rubber is tackier.

  • When it comes to spin, black rubber has an upper hand.

  • Black rubber has a great longevity when it comes to choosing it for being tackier.

  • If you want more feeling during the long strokes, then the black rubber is what you need.

  • But the same properties do not apply while choosing the backhand rubber because the playing style becomes completely different then. In forehand, you are hitting the ball with a longer stroke and much harder force as well.

    And when it comes to backhand, the strokes become shorter and quicker. Consequently, players prefer the red rubber on their backhand side and for good reason.

    This is because usually hitting hard on the backhand side is quite tricky and players don’t opt for it. So, opting the red rubber on your backhand side is perfect because a bouncier and dynamic rubber is what you need and the characteristics of the red rubber suit perfectly in that scenario.


    Influence of Different types of Rubbers on the Table Tennis Game in Reality

If you are choosing Japanese or European tennis rubber then the slight difference is the quality of red and black rubber might not be such a significant aspect for your game. But if you are using Chinese rubbers or those using antispin and pimple rubbers, the difference can be significant enough. The detailed breakdown is given below –

  • Non-Tacky Inverted Euro/Japanese – This type of TT rubber has such a low amount of difference that it becomes insignificant during the game.

  • Non-Tacky Inverted Chinese – Whenever it comes to the Chinese-made rubbers, the difference between the different colored rubbers becomes significant. Usually, the red colored rubber tends to be faster than the black. The black might be a bit slower but it is also known for being grippy.

  • Tacky Inverted – When you are using these types, the difference is big enough to be noticeable. If you want a lesser sensitivity and a greater speed at the same time to an incoming spin, then choosing the red coloured rubber would be the better option. But if you want to go for a greater grip, then it is the black coloured one that you should choose. But you will also have to remember something if you are choosing the black one.

    The black one has to be kept sticky with the help of a protection sheet or a cleaner otherwise its tackiness will be lost. This will defeat the purpose of choosing the black coloured rubber as it will become something similar to the red. Moreover, the quality control of Chinese rubbers is not that good and so you cannot rely on the rubbers to be exactly what they should be. For example, you might come across a red sheet that has a much greater tackiness than a black sheet.

  • Short Pimples – If your main aim is to hit through the spin or to control it, only then you should choose these rubbers. Spin reversal or extreme spin is not something that you should expect from these rubbers. Thus, the colour of the rubber becomes insignificant to majority of players. You should pick a spinnier short pimple if a higher grip is what you aim for and if you want a sink effect and lesser grip, then a less spinny short pimple should be your choice.

  • Long Pimples – When you aim to reverse or control the spin of the balls, then these are what you should choose. Red sheets have lower grip and thus produce the best reversal effects. Moreover, the soft nature of the red rubber helps in absorbing the pace even more. So, if you are aiming for a close-in pusher or a blocker then a no-sponge red sheet should be your priority. But if you are more inclined towards being a chopper and want to add in a bit of your own spin, then the black pimple might be your best friend owing to its better grip.

  • Antispin – When it comes to antispin rubber, a low grip is always more preferable because it helps to reduce the incoming spin’s effect. It also helps to put the opponent in a tricky position. If you want the lowest grip possible, go for the red coloured rubber and if you want a bit of a grip, the black can be a good option but it will also depend on the type of rubber you are choosing.

    pimple rubber

    Influence of the Thickness of Rubber Sponge


  • Thicker sponger, that is the ones with a thickness of more than 2.0 mm, are often associated with more offensive play. But when it comes to gaining more control, rubber thickness of 1.9 mm to 1.5 mm is usually advised.

  • When you swing and the ball makes contact with the rubber, it slows down. When the ball keeps moving into the sponge, it eventually hits the wooden blade underneath it. That is when the sponge helps to kick the ball out.

  • But in this entire process, the sponge is what promotes a friction between the top sheet and the ball. This is an important factor because it adds a huge amount of spin which would not have been possible without the sponge.

  • But when it comes to the spin and speed ratings of the rubber, the thickness factor is never used for categorization. Do you know why? This is because the sponge’s effect on the rubber is hugely affected by your style of play. For example, the ball will be slowed down by the sponge when it absorbs the impact during a soft swing. But if you take bigger swings and hit hard, the speed of the ball will be increased.
rubber thickness


How to Cut and Glue the Rubber of Table Tennis Bats?

Cutting the rubber of a table tennis bat should be done with care otherwise you might ruin the blade.

  • You can use normal scissors to do it but make sure the cut portion fits the blade perfectly.

  • You can use a knife cutter but while cutting you should be careful about not damaging the outer layer or even the edge of the blade. Don’t use too much force otherwise, the wood layer can be damaged.

  • You can also use electric scissors which provide comparatively much efficient and clean cuts.

  • Tennis shops use professional rubber cutter machines which are efficient but highly costly and not quite fit for an individual.

tt rubber cutting

Now coming to the process of gluing the rubber to the table tennis bat, the following steps should be followed –

  • There should be a thin layer of glue and it should be spread evenly.

  • Peel the old rubbers off the blade carefully not to damage the wood in the process.

  • Seal your blade first if it already isn’t.

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe the blade thoroughly.

  • Place a clean paper on the table and on it place the rubber and its top sheet face should be towards the table. Place the blade the way you want it to be on the sponge and trace an outline.

  • Use a non-speed glue, open the tube and place a small amount of it on the sponge. Use a piece of paper to spread it evenly on the surface.

  • Follow the safe procedure with the blade so that the glue spreads evenly.

  • Once that is done, put the sponge on the blade. Use a roller to ensure that they are firmly attached.

  • After an hour, cut the excess rubber.

The most sold TT Rubbers in India are Yasaka Mark V, Donic Sonex JP Gold and Donic Coppa Ja Gold TT rubbers.

rubber glue spread


 How to Choose the Right Table Tennis Bat?

The weight of the table tennis bat definitely plays a big role while choosing the right bat. In the game, you can use a bat that weighs anywhere between 150 g to 250 g. The simple definition of table tennis bat is a blade that rubber on both sides – forehand and backhand.

The average weight of the rubber is approximately between 40-50 g. So, the two rubbers combined will weigh somewhere around 80-100 g. The density and thickness of the rubber will also play a role in the weight and so will the size of the blade.

The blades are usually classified to be light, normal and heavy.

  • Light blades usually weigh between 75 g to 80 g.
  • Normal blades are the most common ones and they weigh between 80 g to 87 g.
  • The heavy blades are the ones that are usually used by advanced players and they weight between 90 g to 95 g.

Some of the advantages of using a light table tennis bat are as follows –

  • It will be much easier to spin and swing and so you can deliver close to the table easily.
  • You can deliver with just a small amount of force to accelerate the ball to greater lengths.

But the drawback of a light table tennis bat is that it lacks power.
Some of the characteristics of a comparatively heavier table tennis bat are as follows –

  • You need to hit at the right time if you are using these bats. Thus, you need to be accustomed to good techniques in order to deliver good acceleration.
  • When it comes to hitting too far and mid-distances, these bats are better because they have more power.
  • They have better re-bounce force.
  • They are good for blockers because they can easily dampen a shot.
  • Since these blades vibrate more, they will give you a better feel and so, you will have more control over the shots.
  • When it comes to attacking and counter-attacking, these bats get an upper hand, especially in modern-day table tennis.

So, as you can see from the comparison above, the heavier table tennis bats obviously have a longer list of advantages but it takes time to get a hold of them. So, if you are a beginner, you can start with lighter bats and then move on to the heavier ones but if you are playing in a tournament then going for a heavier bat would always be advisable if you know how to use it. Between Intermediate players under Rs. 1000, GKI Offensive XX is the best table tennis bat and the whole bat including rubber weighs around 195 gm and you will get at best table tennis bat price only on Sportsuncle. Some good tennis bats are GKI Euro XX, Infinite Laser Drive, Stag Ninja Fire, Donic Carbotec 3000 and many more.

How to Clean Your Table Tennis Bat?

A regularly maintained tt bat always functions better than the one that was lying around in some corner of your house collecting dust. When dust and grime collect over the bat, they dampen its functionality, so cleaning from time to time is mandatory. Here are some of the best ways to do so –

  • Using water and sponge – This is not only the simplest but also the least expensive way to clean your bat. Use some warm water and a standard kitchen sponge would do perfectly fine. Although you can also use specialized sponges that are meant to clean the table tennis bats and they also provide much better results.

    Now, dampen the sponge with the warm water and gently wipe the dirt from the surface of your table tennis bat. Don’t scrub vigorously. Even if there is grime and oil build-up, allow the sponge to soak it in. It might take some time but scrubbing hard will only deteriorate the quality of the bat. Air dry the bat once you have wiped it clean.

  • Using rubber cleaning solutions – They are quite controversial because of the mixed reviews. Some suggest that they are good for cleaning while others say that they can badly affect the rubber quality over time. The solutions come in the form of sprays and foams. The procedure for cleaning will be the same. The only difference is that instead of the warm water, you will be using this special rubber cleaning solution.

    tt bat cleaning

  • Toothbrush method – If you have the pimpled rubber tennis bat, then a simple sponge might not be enough for cleaning. The toothbrush method is usually considered the most effective for these types of rubbers. The bristles of the toothbrush can reach the areas that a simple sponge cannot reach. Once the little masses of debris are cleared from the grooves, your tennis bat will become tackier again.

You can use any of these methods depending upon your preference but what you shouldn’t do at all is using detergent. They are highly abrasive and a big no-no for the rubber on your tennis bat.


Things to Know to Choose the Right Table Tennis Ball


If you want to make the right choice with your table tennis ball, then firstly you need to know what they are made of and then the various types of balls that are there.


What is a Table Tennis Ball Made Of?

Previously, the material that is used to make a table tennis ball is celluloid polymer. It is a type of thermoplastic. The main characteristic of the material is that it can be moulded into any shape during the manufacturing process. The composition of celluloid comprises of camphor and nitrocellulose. The celluloid sheets are made soft by soaking them in alcohol.

Once the sheets are soft enough, hemispherical balls are made from them. Two such balls are aligned in position and then glued together with the help of adhesives to form a table tennis ball.

Today, the process remains the same but the material has been changed to non-flammable plastic. These are often termed as the plastic balls or the 40+ table tennis balls.


  What are the Different Types of TT Balls?

All table tennis balls are not the same and there are different types. They are described below and based on that you can choose the one that suits you best.

  • Fun or Novelty Balls – Available in different sizes and colors, the fun or novelty balls are usually suitable for recreational purposes. Children often play with these balls. They can, however, be very hard or very soft. They are usually available in packs of mixed colors and sizes. These balls are not at all suitable for competitive play.

  • Practice or Training Balls – These balls are specially manufactured for beginners who have just started learning the game. When hit hard, these balls usually have a tendency to break and are thus not quite durable in nature. When they have a diameter of 40mm with a weight of 2.7 g and are either white or orange in color, they can be used in competitive play legally but owing to the several drawbacks they have, they are not usually used in professional tournaments.

  • One Star Balls – There are some balls which are classified as one star. They are mostly used in youth clubs and schools. They have a softer nature like the training balls but will be legal if they are of a 40 mm diameter weighing 2.7 g and having either white or orange color like Stiga Cup.

  • Two Star Balls – These balls are usually used by improvers and also in multi-ball practices or robots. If there is a non-match play situation, then these balls can be a good substitute for the professional three-star quality balls. Although they do not have the highest standards when made with a 40 mm diameter having a weight of 2.7 g and coloured in wither white or orange, they will be permitted in games legally like GKI Euro Plastic

  • Three Star Balls – These are the only types of balls that are actually allowed by the International Table Tennis Federation. They have the highest quality and have passed the stringent requirements mentioned by the ITTF. Some popular one's are GKI Superb, Stiga Competition.


So, this was all that you need to know about the tt bats, balls and rubber that will help you make the right choice. Making the wrong choice can affect your training and also hamper your performance during the tournament. So, go through everything wisely and weigh in all the factors before finally settling for anything.

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