Seeking Equipment Advice for Rapid Improvement in Table Tennis

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Hello everyone,

I'm a 25-year-old table tennis enthusiast who transitioned from a competitive volleyball background (age 4-19) to functional training, crossfit, and gym work. In May, I took up table tennis seriously for the first time, joining a club where I now train for about 4 hours a week in group sessions and have an additional hour of coaching focused on proper technique.

I started with a second-hand JOOLA Allround blade fitted with Donic Quattro (FH) and Tenergy 05FX (BH) rubbers. My aim is to improve rapidly while learning clean technique, as I aspire to compete at higher levels in the coming years. My coach is quite impressed with my learning curve; I've become consistent with forehand loops and topspins and am working on my backhand. Additionally, I've started playing in the lower regional league to gain match experience.

In October, feeling that my racket was too slow, I switched to a more advanced setup: an ALC Fan Zhendong blade with DHS Hurricane 3 (41 degrees) on my forehand and Dignics 09C (39 degrees) on my backhand. This change seemed to improve my game, as I started winning more. However, my short game suffered, and some experienced club members suggested that my new racket might be too fast and could hinder my learning.

I'm considering whether I should switch back to an all-wood all-round blade while keeping the same rubbers. What do you think? Would this be beneficial for my development, or should I stick with my current setup and adapt to it? I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations or experiences you could share, especially from those who have transitioned to faster equipment and how it impacted your learning curve.

Thanks for your insights!
 
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Most people would think that switching to an outer carbon blade that pros use after only 6 months of playing might be too early, even if you are receiving an hour worth a week of coaching. I've gotten coaching for about a year now and I am still hesitant to switch from all-wood, even though my coach suggested that maybe it's time for me to try something faster.

I tried a ZJK recently with boosted H3 blue sponge and my shots became instantly more powerful and dangerous, but I'm not sure whether that's a good thing for development since I'm aware that my technique needs some work.

Of course your coach would know best so get his thoughts on the matter. But objectively speaking you did skip about 3 levels of blade speed and controllability going from an All-around blade to a FZD ALC (i.e., a 5-ply OFF- blade, a 7-ply OFF-/OFF blade, and a carbon inner). I don't think there are many 6 month beginners out there who are blade-limited by an 5-ply OFF- blade like a Xiom Offensive S or Tibhar Stratus Powerwood.
 
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+7 ply wood.

I'd say get good coaching first and then material. It is true that good blade helps but in the long run coaching matters more.
Get a good blade with Hurricane 39 forehand and a 45 degree rubber backhand.

I always recommend clipper for improvement.
if you want better feedback i highly recommend Yinhe purple dragon blade.
 
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Most people would think that switching to an outer carbon blade that pros use after only 6 months of playing might be too early, even if you are receiving an hour worth a week of coaching. I've gotten coaching for about a year now and I am still hesitant to switch from all-wood, even though my coach suggested that maybe it's time for me to try something faster.

I tried a ZJK recently with boosted H3 blue sponge and my shots became instantly more powerful and dangerous, but I'm not sure whether that's a good thing for development since I'm aware that my technique needs some work.

Of course your coach would know best so get his thoughts on the matter. But objectively speaking you did skip about 3 levels of blade speed and controllability going from an All-around blade to a FZD ALC (i.e., a 5-ply OFF- blade, a 7-ply OFF-/OFF blade, and a carbon inner). I don't think there are many 6 month beginners out there who are blade-limited by an 5-ply OFF- blade like a Xiom Offensive S or Tibhar Stratus Powerwood.
You can work on your technique with anything that vibrates sufficiently for you to feel that you can produce different balls with different degrees of grip pressure. The only issue is that some shots will be easier and some shots will be harder because of loss of feeling. I wouldn't so much measure the setup you choose by the power you generate but by what happens when you serve, push and block, the latter two especially. And maybe the ability to loop the ball when pulled out of position with sufficient arc to get it on the table
 
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+7 ply wood.

I'd say get good coaching first and then material. It is true that good blade helps but in the long run coaching matters more.
Get a good blade with Hurricane 39 forehand and a 45 degree rubber backhand.

I always recommend clipper for improvement.
if you want better feedback i highly recommend Yinhe purple dragon blade.
I would recommend the Bernadette Szocs Signature 1 with Fadtarc C1 on both sides as a decent starting point for a player who is going to train a lot.

But to me, more important than anything is the mental approach to mistakes and adjusting to incoming balls. Too many players don't push the limits of their practice and they think of their game as what it is right now rather than what they need to grow into the equipment they ideally will use. The biggest skill to learn is how how to soften the hands to absorb pressure.
 
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In May, I took up table tennis seriously for the first time, joining a club where I now train for about 4 hours a week in group sessions and have an additional hour of coaching focused on proper technique.
4 hours/ week are way too little for RAPID improvement.
For rapid improvement you have to play about 2-3 hours per session, 3-4 times per week and you have to play mostly drills and not matches.
In October, feeling that my racket was too slow, I switched to a more advanced setup: an ALC Fan Zhendong blade with DHS Hurricane 3 (41 degrees) on my forehand and Dignics 09C (39 degrees) on my backhand. This change seemed to improve my game, as I started winning more. However, my short game suffered, and some experienced club members suggested that my new racket might be too fast and could hinder my learning.

I'm considering whether I should switch back to an all-wood all-round blade while keeping the same rubbers.

First of all, the blade that you are using is too fast for your level.

Second, Chinese rubbers and semi-tacky ones like Dignics 09c are not for beginners: they require perfect weight transfer and waist rotation in order to be "activated", otherwise your spins will be very weak.
Dignics 09c especially is a FH rubber not a BH rubber, unless you have Kreanga's backhand.

In short: If you want to improve, buy a good ALL+ to OFF- all wood blade like Korbel, Tibhar PowerWood etc and pair it with a couple of medium speed rubbers.

Improvement comes from DRILLS, DRILLS, DRILLS. Not equipment.
 
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If just short game problem, use your elbow to control the racket, move your foot for position. Will never fast. No matter what blade you use. It's not about your blade in short game, it's your technie.
Haha you've been watching some Fang Bo tutorials ;)
 
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Hello everyone,

I'm a 25-year-old table tennis enthusiast who transitioned from a competitive volleyball background (age 4-19) to functional training, crossfit, and gym work. In May, I took up table tennis seriously for the first time, joining a club where I now train for about 4 hours a week in group sessions and have an additional hour of coaching focused on proper technique.

I started with a second-hand JOOLA Allround blade fitted with Donic Quattro (FH) and Tenergy 05FX (BH) rubbers. My aim is to improve rapidly while learning clean technique, as I aspire to compete at higher levels in the coming years. My coach is quite impressed with my learning curve; I've become consistent with forehand loops and topspins and am working on my backhand. Additionally, I've started playing in the lower regional league to gain match experience.

In October, feeling that my racket was too slow, I switched to a more advanced setup: an ALC Fan Zhendong blade with DHS Hurricane 3 (41 degrees) on my forehand and Dignics 09C (39 degrees) on my backhand. This change seemed to improve my game, as I started winning more. However, my short game suffered, and some experienced club members suggested that my new racket might be too fast and could hinder my learning.

I'm considering whether I should switch back to an all-wood all-round blade while keeping the same rubbers. What do you think? Would this be beneficial for my development, or should I stick with my current setup and adapt to it? I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations or experiences you could share, especially from those who have transitioned to faster equipment and how it impacted your learning curve.

Thanks for your insights!
Best not to change setups. If you can't short push with Hurricane or D09c, something is wrong with your short push technique, not the setup. Both of these rubbers are the best at the short game especially Hurricane.

I can short push sidetopspin serves even with Viscaria and D05 (probably one of the worst short push setups out there), just that the quality won't be as good as that coming from Hurricane, but I try.
 
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Thanks guys for your feedback! Do you think I should go with a pure allround or something like an off-? I was thinking about Yasaka extra or classic to go cheap

ALC is way too fast for you.

Transfer the same rubbers to a fast 5-ply blade. 5-ply blade will improve your short touch tremendously. One of these will work:
  1. Stiga Intensity
  2. Yasaka YEO
  3. Stiga Nostalgic OFF
 
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Hello everyone,

I'm a 25-year-old table tennis enthusiast who transitioned from a competitive volleyball background (age 4-19) to functional training, crossfit, and gym work. In May, I took up table tennis seriously for the first time, joining a club where I now train for about 4 hours a week in group sessions and have an additional hour of coaching focused on proper technique.

I started with a second-hand JOOLA Allround blade fitted with Donic Quattro (FH) and Tenergy 05FX (BH) rubbers. My aim is to improve rapidly while learning clean technique, as I aspire to compete at higher levels in the coming years. My coach is quite impressed with my learning curve; I've become consistent with forehand loops and topspins and am working on my backhand. Additionally, I've started playing in the lower regional league to gain match experience.

In October, feeling that my racket was too slow, I switched to a more advanced setup: an ALC Fan Zhendong blade with DHS Hurricane 3 (41 degrees) on my forehand and Dignics 09C (39 degrees) on my backhand. This change seemed to improve my game, as I started winning more. However, my short game suffered, and some experienced club members suggested that my new racket might be too fast and could hinder my learning.

I'm considering whether I should switch back to an all-wood all-round blade while keeping the same rubbers. What do you think? Would this be beneficial for my development, or should I stick with my current setup and adapt to it? I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations or experiences you could share, especially from those who have transitioned to faster equipment and how it impacted your learning curve.

Thanks for your insights!
The people who are saying the racket is too fast for you and who have seen you play in person probably know best. That said...

A racket being too fast for you is mostly an assessment based on how you play at that point in time and usually based on the belief that to learn strokes and to win with your current game, you would ideally do better with something else. This is pushed as a clear cut assessment but it is not as straightforward as it might seem. Have you trained with a coach with the new blade? Have you practiced trying to adapt your technique to hitting shors at various speeds and spins with the new blade?

The truth is that good coaching is more important than anything else. Also, the one argument in favor of using a slower blade is that it vibrates harshly when used on flat shots and that looping shots vibrate less, which can encourage one to learn to spin earlier. On faster blades, the stiffness makes all shots feel fairly similar so there is no easily accessible indicator for shot quality.

All that said, with a good coach, you can use just about any reasonable setup (and what you are currently using is a reasonable setup) as long as you are patient and getting good instruction. That said, you might have worse results for a bit than you would have with a slower blade in some aspects of the game (pushing and blocking especially) as the quick rebound will give you less room for margin and thr spin reactivity will be embarrassing. But IMHO, it is better to get a good coach and learn to cushion the ball than to go to a slower blade and just use it. That said, you would still need a lot of training hours to make anything work. That's the missing variable, not what you use (as long as what you use is not that far outside the box).
 
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ahhh. another can of worm.
forget what people recommended. talk to your ( or a)coach because he sees and knows how you play. see what he says.
 
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Stick with your ALC, and train more. I would practice like 20+ hours a week (It would be best if 5 of them are coaching 1v1), that would help you more. The ALC can suit with beginner-intermediate and take you the competition level if you're dedicated to it. I EJed like 5,6 blades already and now I come back to stick with a Long 5 (which is an inner carbon structure). Short game sucks for below intermediate players, everyone does, you just need to practice returning serve and short game tactics more.
 
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Hello everyone,

I'm a 25-year-old table tennis enthusiast who transitioned from a competitive volleyball background (age 4-19) to functional training, crossfit, and gym work. In May, I took up table tennis seriously for the first time, joining a club where I now train for about 4 hours a week in group sessions and have an additional hour of coaching focused on proper technique.

I started with a second-hand JOOLA Allround blade fitted with Donic Quattro (FH) and Tenergy 05FX (BH) rubbers. My aim is to improve rapidly while learning clean technique, as I aspire to compete at higher levels in the coming years. My coach is quite impressed with my learning curve; I've become consistent with forehand loops and topspins and am working on my backhand. Additionally, I've started playing in the lower regional league to gain match experience.

In October, feeling that my racket was too slow, I switched to a more advanced setup: an ALC Fan Zhendong blade with DHS Hurricane 3 (41 degrees) on my forehand and Dignics 09C (39 degrees) on my backhand. This change seemed to improve my game, as I started winning more. However, my short game suffered, and some experienced club members suggested that my new racket might be too fast and could hinder my learning.

I'm considering whether I should switch back to an all-wood all-round blade while keeping the same rubbers. What do you think? Would this be beneficial for my development, or should I stick with my current setup and adapt to it? I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations or experiences you could share, especially from those who have transitioned to faster equipment and how it impacted your learning curve.

Thanks for your insights!
I also switched to a carbon blade too early and it didn't go well. There are really good players above 2000 points using an all wood blade. If your blade feels too slow you need to improve your technique and maybe use waist and weight shift more, a pro could still hit super hard with an all wood blade, the carbon maybe provide those last 5%.

I understand that as a former high level athlete in another sport you feel that you can progress faster but it probably isn't a good idea to try it.
 
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