What makes a ping pong paddle great for a beginner?
Here are some of the things that will make a ping pong paddle great for you as a beginner:
A ping pong paddle for a beginner should be way cheaper than a model for professionals. You actually don’t have to buy the paddle your favorite professional uses. At least not yet. You can find a pretty decent paddle at a reasonable price and it would offer all you need as a beginner player.
As a beginner, you don’t want to be burdened by a heavy paddle. You will experience fatigue and soreness if you practice for longer periods. Straining your arms might make you give up early before you start enjoying the game or just affect your performance generally.
Easy to Use
A beginner-friendly ping pong paddle is easy to use and familiarize with. It is designed to help you learn ping pong techniques easily without suffering any learning curve.
Spin, Speed and Control
For you to master the basic ping pong techniques, the paddle should be able to offer decent speed and control. Control is especially crucial for an amateur. Choose a paddle with an ergonomically designed handle that provides a good feel and balance to your hands. If you have a secure grip on your paddle, you will have better control of it, which in turn will improve your skill.
How to choose the best ping pong paddle for a beginner player
When pondering over ping pong paddles it is helpful to consider a few crucial aspects. One is knowing you playing style and skill level. You also need to know the parts of the paddle so that you can choose one that suits your playing needs with ease. Here are some of the aspects that you must consider:
The first thing you will notice when looking for a ping pong paddle is a ratings system. There is no standardized rating system for ping pong paddles. The ratings are usually given by the manufacturer.
Most manufacturers will provide clear performance levels for their paddles which will be numbers on a scale ranging from 10 up to 100. Speed, control and spin are the most commonly displayed performance criteria. It is almost impossible to compare the performance of different paddle brands just by looking at these numbers.
Instead of looking at these numbers, experts recommend that you look at the detailed specifications separately. You can compare the weight, handle, blade and rubber thickness of the paddles to get one that suits your needs.
Size and weight
The dimensions of the paddle should be a top consideration for any beginner. Choose a paddle that fits your hand well and wouldn’t weigh you down. For instance, if you have big hands, you don’t want to go for a paddle with a short handle. You want to choose a paddle with a reasonable weight. You shouldn’t feel fatigued or sore after long hours of playing.
The size and weight of a paddle is mainly determined by the materials used to make its blade.
Paddles are made of different kinds of materials. The most common material used to make the blade is wood. Most blades consist of several layers of wood. The lightweight models are mostly made from plywood.
Paddles also consist of sponges, between the rubber and the blade. Sponges come in 3 ratings: thick, medium and thin. A thicker sponge makes a faster attacking paddle while a thinner one makes a great defensive style paddle.
Rubber is another material used to make paddles. Rubber is rated according to tackiness and firmness. A soft tacky rubber produces more spin thus great for an attacking game. Firm rubber produces less sin thus great for an attacking game.
Type of rubber
The side of the blade that hits the blade must be covered with rubber evenly. There are 2 main types of rubber used: sandwich rubber and ordinary pimpled rubber. The pip or pimpled rubber can be natural or synthetic. It should have evenly distributed pimples and they can face in so that you hit the ball with them or out so that they face the sponge.
The sandwich rubber is a single layer of cellular rubber covered with a single layer of ordinary pimpled rubber. The thickness and density of the cellular rubber (sponge rubber) affects the speed of the paddle. The thicker the sponge the more the speed and the thinner the sponge the more control it offers. As a beginner, you’d be better off with the paddle with more control.
You can also have a 2-faced rubber which consists of 2 different rubber coatings on each side of your paddle.
Essentially, if you are buying anything rather than a low-budget addle, look out for the ITTF logo on the rubber. This means that the rubber on the paddle meets the ITTF competition standards. It will save you the pain of going through the whole rubber technicalities. Another thing that really matters is the color of the rubber. It should be black one side and red on the other so that your opponent can be able to tell which side you are using.
You can play with the paddles that have red and green colors like the Killerspin JET200 Ping Pong Paddle, or black and black on both sides, only you wouldn’t be allowed to enter any competition with it.
The grip or handle of a ping pong paddle is attached to its blade. Different addles come with different types of handles. It can be short or long, flared or penhold, covered or uncovered, straight or anatomic. It is up to you to choose one that suits your needs.
Paddle handles are usually shortened to AL (Anatomic), ST (Straight) and FL (FL). So, which is the best handle for you? If you like a penhold grip, then you should go for the penhold handle. It feels like holding a pen and it is highly preferred for its ability to keep the paddle close to the table. It also allows the wrist to remain flexible. Its only drawback is that you cannot apply backhand spin.
The flared handle is a bit longer than the penhold handle and is a fantastic option for beginners it helps the paddle stay firmly in the hand. It’s the most common type of handle especially in the low to mid-priced paddles. If you use the front-hand play predominantly, the flared handle should be your prime pick.
Straight handles are made for players who change their grips. Most professional player prefer straight handles. As a beginner you want to avoid this because it is likely to slip off your hands, thus hard to control.
If comfort is your main priority consider getting an anatomical handle. They are designed for player who maintain the same grip and they feel more natural in the hand. Flared handles are more available compared to anatomic handles but they both offer comfortable grips.
Also, be sure to go for a round shaped handle over a square one because it allows you to quickly flip your paddle around when changing grips. It also feel better in the hand because its edges are curved.
This is the main part of the paddle. Blades are mostly made of wood but the ITTF allow the infusion of other material like carbon or compressed paper. For a paddle to meet the competition standards its blade must consist of 85% of wood.
Blades can be made of 5 or more layers of wood. 5 ply and 7-ply blades are the most common. Most manufacturers use soft woods, hardwoods and composite materials to build a high-performance paddle.
If you are looking for precision, speed, stability, and a uniform bounce from a ping pong paddle, go for one made with some carbon fiber like the Gambler Custom Professional Table Tennis Paddle. On the other hand, if you want a good spin and better control, then go for a paddle made with 100% wood.
Ping pong paddles don’t come with many accessories. The most common accessory included in a paddle set is a carrying case. Though some brands like Killerspin go out of their way to include a memory book in which you can record your scores or get an autograph from your favorite professional.
There are particular brands that offer excellent beginner-friendly paddles like STIGA, Killerspin and Butterfly. They are high-quality and offer excellent value for money. Consider paddles from such popular brands as they are made with your needs as a beginner in mind.