Percentage of spin function of equipment

Table Tennis Equipment

Last updated 9 years ago

Michael Stack

Michael Stack Asked 10 years ago

Hello,

I searched the forums and didn't see this question answered already, so I thought I'd ask:

Roughly, what percentage of spin can be accounted for by equipment, and what percentage technique? Let's say I took a pro player and let him hit the ball with his equipment, and let's say he puts a lot of spin on the ball, and that represents spin of 10/10 - a lot of spin.

Next, that player took a pre-assembled bat he bought for $15 at Dick's sporting goods and hit the same shots. How much less spin would be on the ball? 9/10? 3/10?

The question is specific to spin but I'd also be interested in knowing the breakdown of technique vs. equipment for:

* control

* speed of the ball

Thanks!

Michael


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Michael,

This is an interesting question.

The speed, spin and control would be directly proportional to the level of the bat.  If it was a $15 bat they would probably be able to put 50% of the spin and speed as with their top quality rubber.


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Michael Stack

Michael Stack Posted 10 years ago

Thanks for your insight. I'm somewhat surprised - I had expected it to be closer to 90% technique. I have another good reason to upgrade my bat!

 


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hey Michael,

This is a really good question. If you don't have a decent ruber on your bat that allows you to generate spin, you can't play aggressive Table Tennis. This is because you need the topspin to generate the dip so you can hit the ball hard from a fairly low ball.

And again for a good serve you need the ability to generate a lot of spin. Not every serve has to have a lot of spin as the key is variation but you still need a spinny variation.

The other point to note is that as you use your rubber it wears out. As a general rule a rubber will last around 80 playing hours and then need replacing.

The one thing we are wary about here at PingSkills though, is people becoming too obsessed with equipment. You definitely need good quality equipment that suits your level and style of play but once you have that you should focus on developing your skills and not mess around too much with your equipment. You can replace your rubbers as they get older and move to faster equipment if you feel you've progressed but don't just change your equipment for the sake of it.

If you do feel you need a change of equipment then experiment around a bit and then settle on some new equipment and stick with it for a minimum of a few months. You don't want to be constantly guessing whether your technique is wrong or if you just need to get used to your latest piece of equipment.

I'd love to hear people's thoughts and experiences. If you've bothered to read this far then please leave a comment on how often you change your equipment and whether you consider yourself and equipment junkie!


B G

B G Posted 10 years ago

I found this very interesting.

On another note, how much speed/spin/control, etc comes from the rubber versus the paddle?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Most of the spin comes from the rubber.  The speed comes from both the blade and the rubber.

Michael Stack

Michael Stack Posted 10 years ago

Alois/Jeff, thanks so much for the feedback. Honestly until now I'd been purchasing the $15 pre-assembled bats, assuming that for my level of play, they were just as good as the more expensive bats. I'm now reconsidering.

 Per Jeff's point, I'm no equipment junkie (at least, not in table tennis ;) ) but I want to make sure I have the right equipment for my playing ability. It sounds as if I'd be justified in spending a bit more money to get better equipment. I'll probably buy a pre-assembled bat, though one in which the company assembles the rubbers & blade for me personally, rather than something assembled at the factory. 

 Thanks again for answering my question!

Sincerely,

Michael


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

I would go with either the top end of the pre-assembled bats or the more control end of a custom made bat.

Claus Hamacher

Claus Hamacher Posted 10 years ago

This is an evergreen question not only in tabletennis. I am moderator in a german forum on saxophones and you wouldn't believe how many threads deal with equipment - be it the saxophone, mouthpieces, reeds or even ligatures and their effects on the sound.

Truth is, of course, that it is mainly the player that makes the sound. I could buy a $ 10.000 Selmer Mark VI Tenor and still wouldn't sound like Michael Brecker. As long as the instrument is of decent quality and well kept, the secret to a better sound is simple: practise, practise, practise....

Jeff's comment is right on spot and holds true for almost every sport, music or art.


Michael Stack

Michael Stack Posted 10 years ago

Agreed, but between the "equipment is meaningless" and "equipment is everything" positions, I'm interested in knowing whether there is a substantive difference between a $15 paddle & a $150 paddle (sounds like there is). Clearly one can get carried away with equipment but that's not my intent. 

 Along the lines of Brecker have you ever listened to Heavy Metal Bebop? Wow. 


Michael Stack

Michael Stack Posted 10 years ago

I just wanted to leave an update to this question. I went and bought some professional equipment and the difference is like night & day. I wouldn't have guessed the difference would be so large. 

 If you're questioning whether to upgrade from a pre-assembled bat to a custom bat, you should definitely do it. 

 I'm still so amazed.

  


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Thanks for the update Michael. I think we should make a new lesson and put it under the equipment section explaining the minimum level bat you need in order to be able to generate spin and hence follow the rest of the lessons.

I'm glad you've got a good bat and will now be able to focus on improving your technique. Good luck!


B G

B G Posted 10 years ago

To add this this, I just got back from visiting the nearest pro shop / table tennis club for the first time, and the owner let me try some different racquets and rubbers, all with MAX thickness rubber (or "toku atsu" as they call it in Japan).

 

I was so impressed with Yasaka's tension rubbers that I broke down and had Pryde 40 put on my racquet.  The rubber cost more than my racquet did.  Compared to my Medium Butterfly Tackiness Drive, the power and ease of use was night and day.  I think I actually have more control, plus I am less effected by my opponents spin. Hitting is effortless, and smashes have gotten especially easy now.

 

Apparently in China, rubbers only come in THICK and MAX.  The owner told me that it's a waste to get an expensive rubber in anything but MAX, and that's what the vast majority of expert players use anyway.


Michael Stack

Michael Stack Posted 10 years ago

The one thing I've noticed is that good equipment is really helpful *IF* you have the correct technique. If you don't have good technique, or you don't understand how spin affects your shots, better equipment might make you (at least temporarily) a worse player. 

 The things I wasn't ready for:

 1. The amount of spin I can generate. It feels like I'm generating 2 to 3 times the amount I was generating with my off-the-shelf racket. It's truly astounding. 

 2. The effect of my opponent's spin. I have to account for their spin very carefully now. Previously I could be a bit sloppy about this. 

3. How fast the ball comes off my racket. It is a rocket. My rubbers are of 'medium' speed. I can see why Alois and Jeff so strongly advise players to stay away from the tensor rubbers until they're ready. Controlling shots requires better technique now, and I can't get away with some of the shots I previously was able to get away with.

 


B G

B G Posted 10 years ago

This is true.  Stick with something middle-of-the-road until you've got the basics down, and then feel free to crank it up to 11 once your first set wears out (in six months to a year).  The lack of effort required is really quite astounding, but you can't really appreciate it until you have used something slower.

The difference between the level of grip/friction on year-old Tackiness-D and brand new Pryde is pretty amazing, and Pryde isn't even an adhesive-type rubber, per say. 


Jukka Juujärvi

Jukka Juujärvi Posted 10 years ago

Very interesting topic! I´ve been playing once a week for 6months now, so I´m pretty new to tabletennis, but I want to share my experiences regarding bats.

My very first bat was a custom made bat with 2mm rubber on it, not super fast or super spinny but remarkably faster and spinnier than the "off the shelf" premade butterfly bat i use now.

With the "better" bat I developed my strokes and play them pretty well with it, in fact better than with my current bat. The reason I´m forced to play with the premade bat is that I never learned how to return spinny serves with the faster and spinnier bat. With the custommade bat I fail to return 30-50% of my opponents serves, so I have to stick with my premade one to be able to win some matches.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Jukka,

You make a good point here.  That is one of the reasons we encourage players to get something that they can control first.  It really helps with return of serve as well as short pushing and return of serve. 


digby howis

digby howis Posted 9 years ago

I've played on and off for about 9 months now. I'd be a fairly normal C grade player. I bought a pre made Butterfly Yuki II with 1.9mm Flextra rubbers which did me well while I learned to return serves, push, chop and keep the ball in play. 3 months ago I bought some DHS Hurricane 3 Neo 2.1 rubbers which have made a massive difference. The biggest difference out of the whole upgrade was having a friend who was able to provide good advice and guidance about what my natural style of play was which helped me with my selection of rubber. Now I am definitely more competitive against B and A grade players. right advice + right upgrade + right time = best


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