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View Full Version : Could my equipment be hampering my consistency?



Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 01:13 PM
I have Donic Balsa Carbo Fleece(OFF+) with MX-P on my forehand and Rakza-7 on my backhand. I got the entire set-up second-hand but it was still pretty new. I have been practising with it for almost a year and although it has improved my shots I still am struggling to find good consistency, especially on my backhand. I tried switching the rubbers, but still facing problems. I am a bit confused as I tried MX-P and Rakza-7 earlier on other blades and that seemed much better. So, I am worried if it is my blade that might be a problem. Or it could just be my technique which I will continue to keep on improving. I know it is probably the latter, but I just wanted an opinion about this.

Kuba Hajto
04-14-2020, 01:18 PM
How do you practice? Are you only playing with a friend, are you playing in a club or are you doing regular fed drills. If something might be causing incostistency it's technique I would wager or the equipment is too fast :|

If you don't have access to fed drills then get a bucketful of balls, drop ball, let it bounce, stroke the ball. Film yourself, compare with a good players footage, adjust repeat. When balls runs out gather them lolz, then repeat the whole thing.

SamTheMan
04-14-2020, 01:19 PM
There is a reason the worlds top players play with slower blades.

Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 01:53 PM
I play in a club and doing regular drills. My pickup shot and 3rd ball attack is fine, but once the rally starts getting fast or if I receive a good quality topspin, I struggle to keep the ball on the table. It is always flying out.


How do you practice? Are you only playing with a friend, are you playing in a club or are you doing regular fed drills. If something might be causing incostistency it's technique I would wager or the equipment is too fast :|

If you don't have access to fed drills then get a bucketful of balls, drop ball, let it bounce, stroke the ball. Film yourself, compare with a good players footage, adjust repeat. When balls runs out gather them lolz, then repeat the whole thing.

Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 01:54 PM
So are you suggesting i should use a slower blade? Could you recommend something? Thanks!!

There is a reason the worlds top players play with slower blades.

Brs
04-14-2020, 01:56 PM
Maybe your swing is the same from third vall vs backspin to 5th ball vs topspin or block, too vertical. You can drill vs multiball one push then one or two block or topspin to work on adjusting your swing to the incoming spin.

Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 01:59 PM
Thanks! I keep it in mind but I will practice more!

Maybe your swing is the same from third vall vs backspin to 5th ball vs topspin or block, too vertical. You can drill vs multiball one push then one or two block or topspin to work on adjusting your swing to the incoming spin.

lasta
04-14-2020, 02:05 PM
No, but thinking that an equipment change will help your consistency will definitely do the opposite.

That being said, when I see carbon and balsa together, I immediately shake my head. Perhaps get something more mainstream and practice on that.

Rubbers are fine, don't expect mind blowing differences when you switch to another brand.

You never said how long you played or about your preferences on performance and feel (very important) of your gear, so hard to give specific recommendations.

Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 02:13 PM
Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I also thought the same and I kept practising with this.
I have been playing on and off for almost 5-6 years. Earlier, I used Mark V on both sides on an all-wood blade (dont remember the name, it was a very basic blade). After the switch, my consistency dropped off rapidly, although the spin and power increased, and it has been like that for almost a year, so I am kind of getting frustrated.
I am an offensive player who likes to topspin everything with spin and power on both backhand and forehand. I prefer to play away from the table as much as possible. Hope this clears it up. Thanks again!


No, but thinking that an equipment change will help your consistency will definitely do the opposite.

That being said, when I see carbon and balsa together, I immediately shake my head. Perhaps get something more mainstream and practice on that.

Rubbers are fine, don't expect mind blowing differences when you switch to another brand.

You never said how long you played or about your preferences on performance and feel (very important) of your gear, so hard to give specific recommendations.

yoass
04-14-2020, 02:22 PM
Balsa and carbon also caused my eyebrows to raise. Explosive combination.

SamTheMan
04-14-2020, 02:32 PM
Yes, I am.
It´s difficult to recommend a specific blade when there are so many good blades and impossible to know which one you would like the most. If I would go for a recommendation it would perhaps be to go for any off- wooden blade. But my best advice is to try your clubmates blades to find something you like.:)

Kuba Hajto
04-14-2020, 02:44 PM
Balsa and carbon also caused my eyebrows to raise. Explosive combination.
It's a typical combination though. It's hard to make a good balsa blade without carbon extra kick. I've made like 2 of those, they were very good in terms of feel and spin, but they were drastically lacking in terms of speed (ash, ash, balsa, ash, ash) XXX. carbon balsa core carbon XXX, are very good (for example Gewo 375 had such composition). I've made a couple of them. I had a guy buy one from me and he very much liked it, because it was very light (he had issues with heavier blades), quick and could be made big without making them heavy.

Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 02:50 PM
Thank you so much.


Yes, I am.
It´s difficult to recommend a specific blade when there are so many good blades and impossible to know which one you would like the most. If I would go for a recommendation it would perhaps be to go for any off- wooden blade. But my best advice is to try your clubmates blades to find something you like.:)

UpSideDownCarl
04-14-2020, 03:12 PM
Alright. So, good info has been presented. I am going to qualify everything I have to say with this:

Nobody on the forum can really give you accurate information without seeing footage of you playing with the equipment.

But you have left some clues for us:

1) The same rubbers with a different blade were easy to control!
2) Before using this setup you used a basic, all wood blade!
3) You had trouble controlling this setup right from the start!

Other clues:

1) The blade you are using has a 5mm Balsa core!!!
2) Balsa plus Carbon is usually great for slapping the ball but not for spinning, so it might be a good choice for some short pips players.

Given the facts on the ground, you have gotten some good info:

1) Different blade....maybe all wood.
2) Try the setups of club mates and see what feels good to you.

In truth, you probably could use an Inner Fiber ALC. An Off rated 7 ply all wood blade like a Clipper, would likely be a good option: not slow, but easy to control. Any 5 ply all wood blade would also likely be a good choice. The rubbers can't be the problem if you have used them on other blades and they were fine. Even if, with amazing high level technique, someone could control that Balsa Carbon blade, there is a reason why very few high level looping players would choose that blade.

Regardless of how you sort out what to do, you should probably change the blade. When the equipment you have is an acceptable match for your needs, changing equipment is a mistake. But that blade is very likely not just bad for you, it is more than likely it is terrible for you. So trying to work with it and get used to it would likely be a big mistake.

So you should probably get a blade that you can control and that helps you develop your technique.

Somjit Nath
04-14-2020, 03:26 PM
Thank you so much for the detailed response. That cleared up a lot of things. I would change the blade after trying out other set-ups of my club-mates.


Alright. So, good info has been presented. I am going to qualify everything I have to say with this:

Nobody on the forum can really give you accurate information without seeing footage of you playing with the equipment.

But you have left some clues for us:

1) The same rubbers with a different blade were easy to control!
2) Before using this setup you used a basic, all wood blade!
3) You had trouble controlling this setup right from the start!

Other clues:

1) The blade you are using has a 5mm Balsa core!!!
2) Balsa plus Carbon is usually great for slapping the ball but not for spinning, so it might be a good choice for some short pips players.

Given the facts on the ground, you have gotten some good info:

1) Different blade....maybe all wood.
2) Try the setups of club mates and see what feels good to you.

In truth, you probably could use an Inner Fiber ALC. An Off rated 7 ply all wood blade like a Clipper, would likely be a good option: not slow, but easy to control. Any 5 ply all wood blade would also likely be a good choice. The rubbers can't be the problem if you have used them on other blades and they were fine. Even if, with amazing high level technique, someone could control that Balsa Carbon blade, there is a reason why very few high level looping players would choose that blade.

Regardless of how you sort out what to do, you should probably change the blade. When the equipment you have is an acceptable match for your needs, changing equipment is a mistake. But that blade is very likely not just bad for you, it is more than likely it is terrible for you. So trying to work with it and get used to it would likely be a big mistake.

So you should probably get a blade that you can control and that helps you develop your technique.

UpSideDownCarl
04-14-2020, 03:34 PM
Thank you so much for the detailed response. That cleared up a lot of things. I would change the blade after trying out other set-ups of my club-mates.

Cool. All I did was synthesize what was presented. That is the logical approach. When you try a bunch of setups, it will help you know a range of setups that will work for you. Then you can choose for yourself.

Kuba Hajto
04-14-2020, 03:37 PM
I would change the blade after trying out other set-ups of my club-mates.
Smallest of hints though. When you will be testing those blades keep in mind that what you feel while playing is determined by two factors, namely rubbers and blade, not the blade itself. Some people use different rubber for BH and FH, if you don't like someone's setup in FH try twiddling the rubber to examine second rubber performance too. Testing it this way it will be easier for you to isolate what benefits and drawbacks come from blade and which from rubbers.

bobpuls
04-15-2020, 09:25 AM
this combination with thick balsa core is very fast but also very unforgiving ... you have to had good hand and many experience to master it . It is bouncy as hell and with such small contact time. You have only tiny window for angle corrections ..
this is why i changed thick balsa core for combined balsa core with different woods , like ayous for example ... speed will decrease slightly but the contact with ball is longer and also the bounciness drops down .
Try All-wood blade or some inner-force type of blade instead.

yogi_bear
04-15-2020, 11:32 AM
The blade is a thick balsa carbon blade that is 7.2mm and when you hav an MXP in the forehand, it is blazingly fast so you less control. Either you continue to practice and tame it or switch to a slower blade and just use this in the future.

Baal
04-15-2020, 02:32 PM
The answer to this depends a lot on your training and practice habits.

People are always looking for equipment so,utions to raise their level and rarely find them. At best these yield small improvements, usually if previous equipment was very highly inappropriate. Otherwise it is just change but you are still you.

Somjit Nath
04-15-2020, 08:25 PM
Exactly, I thought about this too. That's why i have been grinding for a year trying to get my technique right and everything to improve consistency. I just wanted other POVs as to if the blade might be a problem or not. Thanks for your reply :)


The answer to this depends a lot on your training and practice habits.

People are always looking for equipment so,utions to raise their level and rarely find them. At best these yield small improvements, usually if previous equipment was very highly inappropriate. Otherwise it is just change but you are still you.

Baal
04-15-2020, 10:12 PM
Maybe a somewhat slower blade or rubber could help a little, I'd need to see you play to know for sure. It depends a bit on the economics of it. If you can easily afford another blade you could try getting something in the OFF category, but only expect small improvement. If the price of blade or rubber is a strain on your budget, dont do it. When your rubber finally wears out, then get something a little slower.

Until then just train hard. That will make you better.

Der_Echte
04-15-2020, 10:27 PM
A lot of my lurker friends have been laughing their tails off over the thread title what blade/rubber combo is in use with the limited experience and training level.

It is beyond apparent when a player with a play style of flexible offensive attack and not so developed fundamentals suddenly gets an OFF+ Balsa-Carbon blade and wonders why it is more difficult to land the common offensive shots.

That setup is optimized for a hitter (at least the blade is) who plays mostly direct impact shots with very solid impact producing flat shots with pace and little spin. This setup class (OFF+ blade and more controllable modern rubbers) is the favored setup of old-school Korean coaches when they start someone out. (as much as it would shock a pundit). That type of setup makes it very easy to use a low power, technically sound compact stroke (the very ones they start out teaching) to produce a fast, straight ball with little spin close to the table. Very quickly, (like within the first 1-3 months of training) these new Korean players become very good at fast drives close to the table with placement and often hit 100 or 200 consecutive without miss.

The point of all that paragraph is that the uber fast setup in question, while crappy for flexible OFF play is a controllable preferred option for a different style of play.

The thing that is cracking up my lurker friends is that the OP plays what appears to be a common flexible offensive style (that the center of mass is ALL to OFF- blade and modern control oriented dynamic rubbers) and is using the polar opposite of that (OFF+ blade and more dynamic oriented rubber) without having established/fully developed fundamentals and is wondering why it is now much more difficult to land the common offensive topspin shots.

It would be very obvious why... and there is now a lengthy thread inquiring about this.

What is even more remarkable about this is that the OP goes to an actual table tennis center (where we would presume are coaches, more knowledgeable/experienced players), has the opportunity to actually practice and presumably, receive some basic feedback and what the player is doing right and wrong.

If a player is not in such a favorable situation, it may be understandable for a player to make such a mistake about equipment and wonder what is going on as such a player has no one around them who knows. In this situation, it is common to make an equipment selection mistake and not know it.

In my own country of USA, the most common place where we play is not an established full time TT club open every day, but great majority only have a 1-2 time a week "TT Club" that is basically volunteers renting out community center space for a couple hours 1-2 times a week to setup tables and play, winner stay and get off after 3 wins, loser make a claim for next match on a table, and wait 3 matches or an hour to get back on.

Players do not generally develop much anything of fundamentals at such a place for obvious reasons. It would be much more understandable for a player from this situation to make this error, not know, and ask about it.

Even if this class of player in that situation were given the most appropriate bat to develop (say a common wooden ALL+ with Vega to use on of a million examples) these kind of players already have many ingrained poor strokes, never developed fundamentals, have no access to coaching or a place to get coached, or if no coach, at least no better knowledgeable player to guide and correct... so this class of player could use the most appropriate equipment and still never develop. (Heck, I see this class of player in a regular full time club)

Why do I write all that?

Heck, that is EXCATLY how I got my start. For 4 years, that is what TT was for me... barely able to get to where tables are setup and no chance to train, get coaching, or learn much. Since I wasn't better than most, I would get on a table, play the match, and promptly get the Das Boot off the table. I also had zero sense of equipment. Soon enough, when I wanted some more "power" I also ended up with an OFF+ blade and some of the most offensive rubbers around... and it wasn't helping my shots... but in that situation, there really wasn't much help for me until I cold get in a situation with better structure to learn the fundamentals and get supervised experience. Myself included at that time, you coulda handed me the same appropriate setup and I still would have missed a lot of shots. I just wasn't fundamentally sound at that time and the trendline for me wasn't good either.

I can say I have been there and done that the exact say manner in which the OP did. If I was around coaches and better players, I could have avoided it, but it is kinda like birth or growth pains in the sport that many of us go through.

NextLevel
04-15-2020, 11:32 PM
The thing is that learning to use equipment is like learning to play an instrument or mastering driving a car. The more you do it and the more you push yourself to the extremes doing it, the better you get at it.

While a slower blade might help you in many ways, the most important thing is that you enjoy playing with it and not blame it for whatever issues you have. For me the main issue I had with faster blades was that I couldn't feel the ball and that was hurting me when I tried to block. But knowing what I know now, I could probably adapt to it better but I would probably not enjoy it as much as getting a blade within a certain frequency range.

I train with a guy who is almost 70. His regular preferred training routine is to begin his practice session doing an hour of forehands and an hour of backhands ( with a few mixed drills) across different points on the table. We begin forehand crosscourt, then go forehand inside out cross court, then forehand down the line on the backhand side and then forehand down the line on the forehand side and then forehand down the line on the middle. I think next time I will recommend we also do some shots to the middle from the corners just to mix it up. Then we do something similar for the backhand.

When you hit the ball this much(and some would argue that it isn't going to help you beyond a certain point), and Other players you are hitting with are trying to pulverize the ball with spin and control and trying to block and make the other person miss while still not avoiding their general requirement to place the ball properly, you get a different view of practice. Especially when the person you are hitting with is so consistent that your very best shots are sometimes getting blocked or smashed back in your face. So you have to hit the ball but be very clear on your angles and placement and be sure to recover for the next ball. In the beginning you feel as if you are being punished because you don't think you should be training this way. But at a certain point, you realize that once you know where the ball is going, you have zero excuse not to at least put it back on the table if you are in position to do so. If you don't your stroke is the problem or your ball read is the problem.

The thing is that when you train this much, you can use anything you want because you will get better quickly. And players who train this much and play topspin at the highest levels generally play with equipment that had two requirements- good serve return on short balls and the ability to play with good spin and power when early and late to the ball on longer balls. The key is that when late, the arc will keep the ball safe. If the blade is too fast the lack of arc will send the ball long. If the rubber is too fast one may struggle pushing certain serves short and low on demand.

Because how well you use a blade is usually about how hard you train with it, there is no magic pill in equipment. The main thing I tell people is to use something standard that another player you know or want to play like uses so you can learn from them without difficulty.

To OP, your rubbers clearly bring confidence. The blade doesn't sound like something standard so it may not work the way you think it should when you play someone else. But if you trained hard to figure out how to use it and your fingers responded to the amount of vibration it provides on shots, it doesn't matter.

But if you don't train that much or you don't have that much ball feeling, you may do better with something slower. The slower rebound will give you the feeling of more vibration and hence more control. But this won't necessarily make you a much better player. It will just mean that you can feel more differences in how your shot affects the ball. And if you don't train to make those differences have a lasting effect, it will be just ending up in the same place.

Because paradoxically, when you develop better technique and ball feeling, the blade that was too fast can become a blade you can control assuming the practice hours are there. But some people find that with good physical technique they will prefer the extra control and arc of the slower blade to the speed on shorter strokes of the faster blade. For others it is quite the opposite- they are looking to smash and play faster and find the slower blade control too stifling and want something that makes the ball move so they can finish points faster. This balancing act prevails at all levels of play and while most coaches will bias serious adult learners to use slower equipment to learn to hit the ball properly, at a certain point, if you can block consistently with something, you may want to trade some of that consistency for faster blocks and drives as long a stout service return and looping consistency isn't compromised.

The biggest takeaways are

1) use what you enjoy playing what.
2) there is no shortcut to getting good beyond lots of practice and trying to enhance your technique. Technique for blocking, looping, moving/footwork etc.
3) usually less practice time and less ball feeling means you should use slower equipment. But it doesn't mean that this will improve your game. It just makes it easier for your to get feedback from your practice.
4) table tennis is really difficult.

Der_Echte
04-16-2020, 01:49 AM
Next Level could never get 1/3 the coherent usable info from my mouth from all I ever said in our personal meetings compared to what he just posted.

UpSideDownCarl
04-16-2020, 02:24 AM
Exactly, I thought about this too. That's why i have been grinding for a year trying to get my technique right and everything to improve consistency. I just wanted other POVs as to if the blade might be a problem or not. Thanks for your reply :)

But in this circumstance, it does sound like the blade is a problem. And it would make sense that this is likely the case since, with the blade you have that it would be a problem for a decently large percentage of players.

yogi_bear
04-16-2020, 03:40 AM
I do not think changing to a slower equipment equates small improvements automatically. By experience, i have seen players who shifted from off+ to off blades who have improved a lotin their games. At the end of the day, it is relatively about able to control. With the kind of rubbers today, you do not really need off+ blades to have a fast setup.

yogi_bear
04-16-2020, 08:57 AM
There is one blade that I forgot to suggest - Yasaka Ma Lin soft Carbon. This is my go to blade for control carbon blades that i always suggest to people personally. Medium-soft carbon blades are ideal for a balanced control and speed. The Ma Lin Soft Carbon kinda fell into obscurity but I think it is the best carbon blade ever made by Yasaka.

Simas
04-17-2020, 07:22 PM
There is a reason the worlds top players play with slower blades.

And there is a reason why manufacturers make faster and faster ;););)

Somjit Nath
04-18-2020, 07:49 PM
Sorry for the late reply. Just to clarify. I realise I made a mistake, but as I posted, this was not my preferred set-up. I bought this entire set-up second-hand and at that time I did not have a coach or the knowledge of good equipment. So, I do agree it was a mistake on my part not to research it thoroughly. I just saw that I was getting the expensive set-up for such a low price, so I went for it. Thanks for your reply :) I realise where I went wrong.


A lot of my lurker friends have been laughing their tails off over the thread title what blade/rubber combo is in use with the limited experience and training level.

It is beyond apparent when a player with a play style of flexible offensive attack and not so developed fundamentals suddenly gets an OFF+ Balsa-Carbon blade and wonders why it is more difficult to land the common offensive shots.

That setup is optimized for a hitter (at least the blade is) who plays mostly direct impact shots with very solid impact producing flat shots with pace and little spin. This setup class (OFF+ blade and more controllable modern rubbers) is the favored setup of old-school Korean coaches when they start someone out. (as much as it would shock a pundit). That type of setup makes it very easy to use a low power, technically sound compact stroke (the very ones they start out teaching) to produce a fast, straight ball with little spin close to the table. Very quickly, (like within the first 1-3 months of training) these new Korean players become very good at fast drives close to the table with placement and often hit 100 or 200 consecutive without miss.

The point of all that paragraph is that the uber fast setup in question, while crappy for flexible OFF play is a controllable preferred option for a different style of play.

The thing that is cracking up my lurker friends is that the OP plays what appears to be a common flexible offensive style (that the center of mass is ALL to OFF- blade and modern control oriented dynamic rubbers) and is using the polar opposite of that (OFF+ blade and more dynamic oriented rubber) without having established/fully developed fundamentals and is wondering why it is now much more difficult to land the common offensive topspin shots.

It would be very obvious why... and there is now a lengthy thread inquiring about this.

What is even more remarkable about this is that the OP goes to an actual table tennis center (where we would presume are coaches, more knowledgeable/experienced players), has the opportunity to actually practice and presumably, receive some basic feedback and what the player is doing right and wrong.

If a player is not in such a favorable situation, it may be understandable for a player to make such a mistake about equipment and wonder what is going on as such a player has no one around them who knows. In this situation, it is common to make an equipment selection mistake and not know it.

In my own country of USA, the most common place where we play is not an established full time TT club open every day, but great majority only have a 1-2 time a week "TT Club" that is basically volunteers renting out community center space for a couple hours 1-2 times a week to setup tables and play, winner stay and get off after 3 wins, loser make a claim for next match on a table, and wait 3 matches or an hour to get back on.

Players do not generally develop much anything of fundamentals at such a place for obvious reasons. It would be much more understandable for a player from this situation to make this error, not know, and ask about it.

Even if this class of player in that situation were given the most appropriate bat to develop (say a common wooden ALL+ with Vega to use on of a million examples) these kind of players already have many ingrained poor strokes, never developed fundamentals, have no access to coaching or a place to get coached, or if no coach, at least no better knowledgeable player to guide and correct... so this class of player could use the most appropriate equipment and still never develop. (Heck, I see this class of player in a regular full time club)

Why do I write all that?

Heck, that is EXCATLY how I got my start. For 4 years, that is what TT was for me... barely able to get to where tables are setup and no chance to train, get coaching, or learn much. Since I wasn't better than most, I would get on a table, play the match, and promptly get the Das Boot off the table. I also had zero sense of equipment. Soon enough, when I wanted some more "power" I also ended up with an OFF+ blade and some of the most offensive rubbers around... and it wasn't helping my shots... but in that situation, there really wasn't much help for me until I cold get in a situation with better structure to learn the fundamentals and get supervised experience. Myself included at that time, you coulda handed me the same appropriate setup and I still would have missed a lot of shots. I just wasn't fundamentally sound at that time and the trendline for me wasn't good either.

I can say I have been there and done that the exact say manner in which the OP did. If I was around coaches and better players, I could have avoided it, but it is kinda like birth or growth pains in the sport that many of us go through.