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  1. Baal is offline
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    #1

    Editorial: It's hard to know if an equipment change actually makes you better

    There are a number of inherent biases at work but the real challenge is measurement, and on a lot of EJ (equipment junkie) threads it is just assumed that something like "my forehand loop was spinnier" or other such statements are actually true.

    In fact, though this kind of statement should not be simply accepted at face value and should probably be read with a healthy skepticism.

    What would someone really need to know to be sure that their overall level changed, or even one aspect of their game? Videotape matches against several different people on quite a few different days. Chart what was missed, what winners were made and how the opponent missed. Make tables. Do some kind of analysis. (Or after a sufficient time, did the rating change, or more wins in the league, or some objective measure).

    But if it is just based on impressions, maybe from an hour or two of hitting around, you need to be very skeptical about any claims made or impressions you draw even if you are the one testing the new stuff. What you are reading is what it FELT like to the writer, but the person approached that with all sorts of biases, one of which is hope -- "I hope I like this one better", not to mention what they have read about it beforehand, what the manufacturer says, what pro uses it, all sorts of things. Even what you paid, maybe how well you slept the night before.

    Now, bear in mind that I am talking about the kinds of equipment changes that most people are going to be making in the EJ spirit (of which we see countless threads on TT forums). Say you normally use Tenergy 05 and decide to try MXP or one of the Dignics -- or you switch from say a Viscaria to some DHS composite -- I'm not talking about something drastic, like switching from inverted to some pips or something like that. (But even then, once you learn what you can about the new equipment, you will still have all the same physical and mental limitations).

    I'm guilty of all of this myself. And I should add that there are equipment choices that can make you a bit better, but it takes a long time and lots of matches to know for sure.

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    Last edited by Baal; 01-01-2021 at 12:47 AM.

  2. Der_Echte is offline
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    #2
    There are two points of your post I would highlight of special attention.

    In fact, though this kind of statement should not be simply accepted at face value and should probably be read with a healthy skepticism.
    This is especially true if the player is not an advanced player.

    Actually probably very little. Your brain learns to accommodate the equipment, it starts to feel natural and then your level is ----- whatever your level is (and was before). Your feet and eyes and sensory and motor nerves will still work the same way, your mental processes will be the same... ... I'm guilty of all of this myself. And I should add that there are equipment choices that can make you a bit better, but it takes a long time and lots of matches to know for sure.
    Way to measure is how destructive you become to opponent. This can be measured by the sum of comments from opponents, and it can also be measured in points won compared to vs same opponent in earlier months.

    Another measure is QUALITY of shot. most players are not good enough to discern this, but many advanced players can do this. If a high level player tells you suddenly your shots have more quality, that is a good thing.

    It MAY or MAY NOT lead to more points won or games/matches won, but it is a step in the right direction.

    I think Baal hints or directly says that there are so many other factors that need to be improved before an equipment change really makes a dent. I would agree with that.

    In fact, that is maybe reason and motivation for over one half of my sarcastic posts over the years. Players ALL THE TIME discuss this or that blade or rubber and ask if it will help their perofrmance or level. There are SO MANY more iportant fundamentals related things that need improvement, and equipment alone doesn't do it - equipment only makes it easier or harder to do some thing or things. Many players would certainly NOT be a better performing player no matter what blade/rubber they used.

    Before our local TT club closed, an older lower level player asked me my opinion on his blade and rubber. it was a faster BTY composite blade and T05 he had bought from a higher level player earlier. I tried it for one minute, handed him my bat (mine was slower) and gave him his back, then hit another 5 minutes.


    I told him that honestly he would be same level with whatever inverted bat he used. His fundamentals were not even 1/100th developed. I told him that frankly and to use whatever equipment he felt comfortable using, fast or slow or medium. He wasn't getting coaching or effective advise often enough to make a difference, so why say this or that is the only required stuff?

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  3. Baal is offline
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    #3
    DE

    I actually deleted part of my post that you quoted because I thought it was too long and nobody would read it!

  4. Der_Echte is offline
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    #4
    Maybe would add if equipment makes it easier to be more consistent, which is good, but without quality, may or may not add up to points, games, and matches won.

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  5. Der_Echte is offline
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    DE

    I actually deleted part of my post that you quoted because I thought it was too long and nobody would read it!
    Negative Ghost Rider, if a post is informative or quality, a little long is not a deterent to most.
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    #6
    The posts above have stated what I have been trying to tell people for years. The equipment doesn't make YOU better. Bad equipment, or paddles you can't adapt to, can make you worse. Everyone has preferences.

    The TT forums make a big deal about the next new rubber or blade but how is it different from the previous rubbers? I recently got a Paddle Palace catalog with hundreds of rubbers and blades. There must be many that are almost the same or so close that one can't tell the difference from each other.

    People are not calibrated. TT forums are full of opinions and too many are willing to be suckered by the latest fad. The current one is hard rubbers. The latest BS can be seen on this forum in the upper right corner. Why is Rasanter R53 made for Timo Boll? Does Timo Boll really use R53? Why not something harder yet? What is the purpose of the add. Do you think that playing with r53 will make you play better like Timo Boll? What is there about hard rubber that make you think it is better. If you really think hard rubber is good then why not buy SST Pro Team God Favored.
    https://revspin.net/rubber/729-sst-pro-team.html
    It is much cheaper.
    There is a data base that someone keeps on mytt that has data on the different rubbers. I submitted some SST pro team to the person that was keeping track of the data and had the durometer to measure how hard the rubbers are. SST pro team was the hardest when I donated it.

    Another myth is dwell time. The forums are clueless on this topic. What should be obvious is that hard rubbers will have a shorter "dwell time" as in contact time because the ball will not sink into the rubber as far as it would with a softer rubber. What you feel doesn't matter. It doesn't change reality.

    Baal has said something that I totally agree with. People are very adaptable. As long as the equipment isn't too different most people can adapt to the changes rather quickly.

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  7. Der_Echte is offline
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    #7
    TT forums are full of opinions and too many are willing to be suckered by the latest fad. The current one is hard rubbers
    Well, I certain discovered that hard rubbers are not for me. After enough testing, powered by HUNDREDS of samples provided by TTD Member erm, I discover I actually play better, am more consistent, and also more destructive with SOFTER modern dynamic rubbers (or on BH an older gen soft rubber).

    This goes totally against the trend, but my personally gathered empirical evidence confirms this for my stroke and impact at least.

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    Well, I certain discovered that hard rubbers are not for me..
    The question is why are they good for anybody? I can understand that some people may prefer harder rubbers but I can see no reason why harder rubbers are better.

    If I were to pick a new forum name it would be "Goldilocks". No I am not a girl but Goldilocks was looking for a bed that wasn't too hard or too soft but just right. I really doubt that most people on the forum will find hard rubbers "just right" for them. I really do believe there are more than enough rubbers and blades that will be "just right" for you now without paying for the latest fad.

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    #9
    Nexy Korea's latest rubber collaberation with Tibhar, the MX-K 47.5 (med) and MX-K H (52.5) were made for Korean players, who predominently are hard solid hitting and benefit from a hard rubber like 52.5 MX-K H. This kind of rubber makes it much esier to be consistent in those fast drive to drive exchanges or pick hit put aways. This kind of rubber would excell at that more than the softie rubbers for the majority of Korean players that hit real hard instead of going for spin.

    The MX-K series wouldn't be a fad, based on what each rubber is designed to make easier... but it would certainly be a fad if 52.5 H is pimped to players who do not have the kind of impact to use that rubber as intended.

    Many forumers are totally unfamiliar with Goldilocks story, but if anyoneone would read up on it, they would discover that the girl in that story is pretty much what many EJs are doing and are equally in the end unsatisfied as BB points out.
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    #10
    The right equipment for you makes you play better not just equipment alone. Time is the major factor to know if the equipment is right for you aside from the obvious skill requirement.

  11. zyu81 is offline
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by brokenball
    The posts above have stated what I have been trying to tell people for years. The equipment doesn't make YOU better. Bad equipment, or paddles you can't adapt to, can make you worse. Everyone has preferences.

    The TT forums make a big deal about the next new rubber or blade but how is it different from the previous rubbers? I recently got a Paddle Palace catalog with hundreds of rubbers and blades. There must be many that are almost the same or so close that one can't tell the difference from each other.

    People are not calibrated. TT forums are full of opinions and too many are willing to be suckered by the latest fad. The current one is hard rubbers. The latest BS can be seen on this forum in the upper right corner. Why is Rasanter R53 made for Timo Boll? Does Timo Boll really use R53? Why not something harder yet? What is the purpose of the add. Do you think that playing with r53 will make you play better like Timo Boll? What is there about hard rubber that make you think it is better. If you really think hard rubber is good then why not buy SST Pro Team God Favored.
    https://revspin.net/rubber/729-sst-pro-team.html
    It is much cheaper.
    There is a data base that someone keeps on mytt that has data on the different rubbers. I submitted some SST pro team to the person that was keeping track of the data and had the durometer to measure how hard the rubbers are. SST pro team was the hardest when I donated it.

    Another myth is dwell time. The forums are clueless on this topic. What should be obvious is that hard rubbers will have a shorter "dwell time" as in contact time because the ball will not sink into the rubber as far as it would with a softer rubber. What you feel doesn't matter. It doesn't change reality.

    Baal has said something that I totally agree with. People are very adaptable. As long as the equipment isn't too different most people can adapt to the changes rather quickly.
    No, Timo Boll does not use R53 because he has been sponsored by Butterfly for over 2 decades. That would be Simon Gauzy. Common mixup.

    The point of this thread, as I understand it, is not that there are hardly any differences between rubbers. There are definite differences between rubbers. The point of the thread is that most of the people on forums cannot properly assess those differences, due to their own skill level or inherent biases.

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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by brokenball
    The question is why are they good for anybody? I can understand that some people may prefer harder rubbers but I can see no reason why harder rubbers are better.

    If I were to pick a new forum name it would be "Goldilocks". No I am not a girl but Goldilocks was looking for a bed that wasn't too hard or too soft but just right. I really doubt that most people on the forum will find hard rubbers "just right" for them. I really do believe there are more than enough rubbers and blades that will be "just right" for you now without paying for the latest fad.
    Watch a good player with good technique power loop with hard rubber and then loop with soft rubber and see if you notice a difference.

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    #13
    I personally believe we need a support group for recovering EJ's.

    When you have settled for the foreseeable future on a specific blade and rubber, it feels like there is a big void in your TT life. You still go to online TT stores to browse, but it brings no joy. And yet, you return day after day... You read reviews of new and exciting equipment, but without any plans of a little taste, they are meaningless and empty. Yes, you have more time to watch matches on Youtube, but there's still something missing.

    Maybe we can start a support group here. Hi. My name is PushSmasher, and I'm an EJ. It has been 14 months since my last equipment change.

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  14. lodro is offline
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by PushSmasher
    I personally believe we need a support group for recovering EJ's.

    When you have settled for the foreseeable future on a specific blade and rubber, it feels like there is a big void in your TT life. You still go to online TT stores to browse, but it brings no joy. And yet, you return day after day... You read reviews of new and exciting equipment, but without any plans of a little taste, they are meaningless and empty. Yes, you have more time to watch matches on Youtube, but there's still something missing.

    Maybe we can start a support group here. Hi. My name is PushSmasher, and I'm an EJ. It has been 14 months since my last equipment change.


    YES !!!
    I will join this support group immediately.
    I know the feeling you describe so well.
    The "emptiness", not being able to buy something else because we have now found the ideal blade-rubber combo is devastating and soul destroying.

    I am contemplating taking up Crack-cocaine instead.

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    #15
    I am here to attest that switching to the dark side did relatively quickly improve my score against my peers but I found going along that path was not sustainable for my preferred style of play and stamina and for future growth against better players so I switched back. It was fun to also give other dark siders a taste of their own medicine and to learn the weaknesses of pips and I recommend those who are curious to try pips out - long, medium and short.

    EJ and not ashamed of it.
    Last edited by WingTT; 01-01-2021 at 05:05 AM.

  16. Николай Петров is offline
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    #16
    Yea I agree equipment wont make you better player but there are rubbers that produce massive amount of spin with the same stroke so that makes you a better player when your shot becomes spinnier with the same power and that upgrade comes only from the rubber equipment these days is super advanced and those new technology hard and springy rubbers are just crazy I my self still try to avoid them because I am still developing solid technique but in table tennis coaching is a must if you plan on playing seriously and the sooner you start the better and the best way to test equipment is by having good solid technique so your stroke is the same every time then you will be able to feel the difference just by few hits but anyways for the average joe the faster the equipment the better they feel in open game and in matches the hell starts for them one club guy tried my bat and sayd it is super slow he had some carbon blade with fast rubber but no coaching technique and I destroyed him and he was very confused how was I hitting the ball so hard with that slow bat and my topspin had such kick effect.

  17. Music&Ping is online now
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    #17
    I know that issue as a musician, since it's all about the senses of course there are a lot of biases due to the person's psychology talking about his/her equipment. In music it's about ears, and also touch feeling like in TT, and everyone has it's own biases for sure.

    1- There are the beginners or amateurs telling ya that their 99 bucks entry level instrument is worth the "ferrari" Fender Custom Shop or Sadowsky jazz archtop guitar or the vintage stratocaster sold 100K at an auction.

    2- There are the aspiring pros telling ya that a well built custom instrument they asked a luthier to make for them is the right move to get to another level

    3- the pros telling ya either "that" entry level instrument is now their weapon of choice, or that 10K instrument specially tailored for them by a luthier is killing everything on earth, but of course it's all biased because of... endorsement system in the music industry. Most of them didn't pay anything to get that instrument.

    People in general want to be reassured that they made the right move, because in that world we're living in not having enough money, or having too much ! is an issue: feeling ashamed we don't have enough money to buy the custom shop model, so we are inconsciouly biasing our brain and then our senses, or feeling ashamed we have too much or don't have to buy any equipment with all the endorsements we have and reassuring ourselves we are preaching the good when talking about pricey equipment.

    So yeah it's difficult because we have to train ourselves to be the most objective possible regarding our own psychology, our own feelings,our own senses, do we think we really know ourselves that well ?

    And finally, how to put the correct words on it ? the correct vocabulary that will be understood by the vast majority of players ? it's another source of biases too.

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    Last edited by Music&Ping; 01-01-2021 at 09:14 AM.

  18. Baal is offline
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    #18
    Again, something that FEELS better may not actually BE better. A shot that FEELS spinnier may even BE spinnier, but maybe it's costing you points in ways that aren't staying in your memory because it wasn't spectacular. But a point is a point either way.

    Memory is selective and feel isn't always real.

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    #19
    The 'honeymoon effect' (as I've heard it called by a more experienced player) is a real thing. Those first few hits with a new blade or rubber are always going to feel great because your brain is getting new, different and more interesting feedback. Now, whether you're actually playing better? Probably not.

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    #20
    So a lot of equipment changes do make you better, at something. They also make you worse at something else. All of this is within the constraints of your level.

    I changed a couple of years ago to short pips backhand. This made my backhand attack way better. Better as in, more consistently landing and much harder for opponents (at my level) to return. But I can't play backhands away from the table now, and my backhand push sucks. These are reap changes because of the equipment. I happily take that trade because I want to attack and I want to play close to the table. But even with a massive change like that there is no free lunch. If something is better something else is worse.

    Most modern inverted rubbers make literally no difference. But I changed for a while from fastarc g1 to butterfly aibiss. Aibiss is about 61° on the ESN scale, the hardest rubber I have ever felt by far. Suddenly my short touch was ridiculous. I could take a long backspin ball and push it so it bounced four times on the opponents side. And my short push is bad. But my forehand loop was less consistent and had less spin and speed. So as much as receiving short would help me get the first attack in, I probably wouldn't win many points with it.

    But with either of those changes, which are much bigger than what most EJs routinely do, I'm still going to play within my 1800 - 2050 range. Because playing level is < 5% equipment and > 95% skills.

    So baal's OP is true that equipment changes hardly ever make a difference to your overall level. But he left out that they can rearrange your level on different strokes by a lot. Unfortunately, for something to go up something else almost surely went down. If you don't find that out because you only looped vs block with a borrowed setup then you are in for disappointment when you buy one and have to serve and receive with it. The key is to match the strengths of your equipment with the way you want to play.

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