Using a Blade designed for table tennis - Why isn't everyone making the switch!?

This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Jun 2021
34
8
85
OK, so my background is in physics, I analyse a lot.

For some time I felt frustrated that table tennis rackets don't allow the use of the wrist to accelerate the ball FORWARD effectively. This is really obvious because when you watch the professionals play, they tend to contort their wrist in the most ridiculous way to hit the ball effectively (eg. Ovcharov backhand or Timo's forehand)

Now obviously, it works for them - I get that. You can make anything work I suppose if you try hard enough.

However, wouldn't it make more sense to use a table tennis racket DESIGNED for table tennis?

I think it's pretty obvious that the modern rackets we have all been using forever (there's a hint, forever! No change, what does that tell you!?) have NEVER been designed. Seriously a round paddle with a handle in the middle.


So to articulate my biggest concern, when we look at the moment we contact the ball on the forehand for example, if you give your wrist a flick to add some kick - the racket head actually moves to your left (if you are right handed). In other words, it moves 90 degree in the wrong direction (unless you contort yourself almost risking injury).

So after many years frustration, I designed a racket that makes more sense. Then I found out about the Nittaku Tenaly rackets - I bought one, and must admit that their design was much better than mine. Whilst the general shape was the same, the angles are more correct.

I have found that after the first few sessions where I was topping edging the ball a bit, everything works better. Much easier to add an extra kick with the wrist - much more spin for serves, especially the tomahawk. I had been a bit concerned that pushing wouldn't be so good (or at least I wasn't sure), but to my surprise, it's a significant improvement for pushing also. Flicking feels more natural.

What was most interesting is that from day 1, whenever I got a wide ball to backhand where I had to reach, which I used to often mess up (my angles broke down somehow), this wasn't happening with the tenaly shape. I am not sure exactly why that is, but hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth right!?

Obviously, this blade isn't for people that twiddle, but what about everybody else?

Now I get what people say about preferences - BLA BLA BLA - look, when you look at the obvious physics of this, how a DESIGNED blade allows you to direct the energy FORWARD in the direction of your stroke - it seems like an obvious decision. Frankly, it was very easy to transition.

I understand that everyone started on the basic paddle first conceived in the 1800s, but I just don't understand why the professionals haven't made the switch!?

Seriously, it seems so obvious - I get why most of us are slow to transition, but the professionals surely should be seeking improvements in equipment as they do in other sports like Tennis.

What am I missing? (please dont' say nothing and that IF there was an advantage the professionals would be doing it - hehe - that doesn't fly, let's actually have some reasoning behind the answers!)

Here is an image of the blade in case you haven't seen it: https://nittakuaustralia.com/cdn/shop/files/product_big_4307_1024x1024.jpg?v=1696648480

Looking forward to your thoughts - honestly, I think it's bizarre nobody is latching onto this.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Nov 2022
1,170
1,576
4,326
I've always enjoyed the idea of the Nittaku tenaly handle. Even got to handle a few while shopping in Tokyo.

But there's just a lack of attractive models. For a while it was just Tenaly and Tenaly Acoustic. Looks like they now have Tenaly Carbon and Tenaly Acoustic Inner as well.

But why are the Tenaly Acoustic and Carbon Acoustic models using an undersized head (160x148)? This will be annoying when transferring rubbers from normal blades. Also, why is the Tenaly Acoustic Carbon Inner only 5.5mm. That just seems absurdly thin for the new (if you consider a decade 'new') ball.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Danttgeek
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Nov 2022
1,170
1,576
4,326
Looks like Sanwei used to make a line of tenaly blades that they called "leaning handle"

Here's the page although now it looks like it's been out of production since I can't find it on sale anywhere:

 
  • Like
Reactions: Danttgeek
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Jul 2023
107
103
251
Some guesses on why it's not popular:

1. Only Nittaku has the blade and perhaps they patented the design. Unless you are sponsored by Nittaku, you would use the brand that sponsored you.
2. No pros use it so there's no following from amateurs
3. Lack of models. There's no ALC, ZLC, 7 ply, hinoki, hardwood, etc
4. Thin handle.
5. Players are already used to the straight and flared designs of their first blades.
6. Transition period. Players would have to rebuild their techniques during which they would miss out on leagues and tournaments. Even more so for pros.
7. There's no coaches for tenaly blades. All of them walked the path of straight and flared, and may be against it.
8. The blades are expensive compared to similar alternatives
9. Not enough advertisement. Almost nobody knows about it. Unless you have some sort of wrist injury, you wouldn't do the research. More focus is put on rubbers and carbons fibers.
10. People want new stuff. Tenaly is more than a decade old.
11. Few stores carry them for customers to try out. You would have to fly to Japan just to hold one.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Jan 2023
128
72
267
A sheet of wood on each side of the hand would be even better.

86848_1000x1000.jpg
 
  • Haha
  • Love
Reactions: Kopp and Danttgeek

NDH

says Spin to win!
What was most interesting is that from day 1, whenever I got a wide ball to backhand where I had to reach, which I used to often mess up (my angles broke down somehow), this wasn't happening with the tenaly shape. I am not sure exactly why that is, but hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth right!?
I have never seen this bat in action - Could you record some video of how it plays?

Your skill level isn't all that important here (although it's not completely insignificant), but it would be nice to see the mechanics behind the stroke and to see why you like it so much.

I understand that everyone started on the basic paddle first conceived in the 1800s, but I just don't understand why the professionals haven't made the switch!?

Seriously, it seems so obvious - I get why most of us are slow to transition, but the professionals surely should be seeking improvements in equipment as they do in other sports like Tennis.

What am I missing? (please dont' say nothing and that IF there was an advantage the professionals would be doing it - hehe - that doesn't fly, let's actually have some reasoning behind the answers!)

Do you not think you are underestimating the muscle memory that thousands of hours of lifetime practice builds up?

We've seen professional players try 100's of bats and pick their favourite 10 from "feel"....... It would take someone a very long time to get accustomed to a new design having played a lifetime with a different one.

You then have sponsorship and marketing to think about.

If I were Nittaku, I'd try and throw money at a promising junior player, on the off chance they become a superstar and everyone thinks their bat shape is some secret advantage.
 
This user has no status.
I agree. This design would be tremendously better in terms of short game (particularly FH flick, but also it will make the chiquita more deadly as you can make more variations with less differences in preparation), while not really sacrificing much in terms of the main strokes.

But tbh, making such a change is a huge adjustment - someone has to take the lead on it first.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Danttgeek
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Nov 2022
1,170
1,576
4,326
Alright guys, I'm going to Tokyo in a few weeks and now with the exchange rate being so good, the Tenaly Carbon is selling for an affordable $60.

So I'll be picking it up and trying it out. Thin carbon plies (not sure what type but guessing it's the FE Carbon that Nittaku often uses). 5.7mm which is a bit thin, and don't know what the composition is except for the outer plies appear to be limba.

If anything, it can be used as a penhold blade too, so it's a nice blade to have around for variety. I'll be doing a detailed review when I come back and use it in Vietnam.
 
says toooooo much choice!!
says toooooo much choice!!
Well-Known Member
Jul 2020
1,796
1,266
4,570
Read 11 reviews
I liked the feel of the DOTEC handle.
I liked the feel as well, the 4 SDC blades I own have got 'dotec' wings and a normal handle (straight flared not concave flared) the wings are thicker and rounded off, no sharp thin(er) wings digging into flesh between thumb and index finger!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: FrenchFrog33
says Fair Play first
says Fair Play first
Well-Known Member
Jan 2012
1,346
447
1,864
R5pPPC-Lp0g.jpg

CoYD6ob6E00.jpg


The best reasonable grip vs obsolete grip.
The grip exposed on the right side will allow you to spin the ball like hell because of your wrist totally relaxed.

Be happy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: riemsesy
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Nov 2022
1,170
1,576
4,326
Found this video of WRM guys playing with Tenaly.

I guess if anything exists in table tennis, WRM and Gucchy will have a video about it somewhere. You also see Gucchy actually using his backhand here.


Some points towards the end of the video:

- Chiquita is improved because racket head is dropped naturally.
- Backhand rallies are more comfortable
- Good at 'unique' serves
- Tenaly sugoi
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
May 2011
1,315
1,446
3,506
I agree. This design would be tremendously better in terms of short game (particularly FH flick, but also it will make the chiquita more deadly as you can make more variations with less differences in preparation), while not really sacrificing much in terms of the main strokes.

But tbh, making such a change is a huge adjustment - someone has to take the lead on it first.
It's actually not that big of an adjustment. Charlie of BBC is a big proponent of this, as well as the "advanced grip" @igorponger posted about down the thread. He's let me use some of these blades and it really only takes a few minutes to adjust to it for basic practice shots. I'm sure fully adjusting to it will take longer, but it's probably easier than say switching from a wood to a carbon blade.

I have an extra small blade made by Charlie (half the blade head size) to practice hitting specific spot on the blade, and that uses the same Tenaly style handle. Even with the much smaller head size it's not that difficult to use.
 
  • Love
Reactions: Danttgeek
says The trick to lose the sight of big picture is to focus...
says The trick to lose the sight of big picture is to focus...
Member
Aug 2013
383
230
1,068
Read 3 reviews
OK, so my background is in physics, I analyse a lot.

For some time I felt frustrated that table tennis rackets don't allow the use of the wrist to accelerate the ball FORWARD effectively. This is really obvious because when you watch the professionals play, they tend to contort their wrist in the most ridiculous way to hit the ball effectively (eg. Ovcharov backhand or Timo's forehand)

Now obviously, it works for them - I get that. You can make anything work I suppose if you try hard enough.

However, wouldn't it make more sense to use a table tennis racket DESIGNED for table tennis?

I think it's pretty obvious that the modern rackets we have all been using forever (there's a hint, forever! No change, what does that tell you!?) have NEVER been designed. Seriously a round paddle with a handle in the middle.


So to articulate my biggest concern, when we look at the moment we contact the ball on the forehand for example, if you give your wrist a flick to add some kick - the racket head actually moves to your left (if you are right handed). In other words, it moves 90 degree in the wrong direction (unless you contort yourself almost risking injury).

So after many years frustration, I designed a racket that makes more sense. Then I found out about the Nittaku Tenaly rackets - I bought one, and must admit that their design was much better than mine. Whilst the general shape was the same, the angles are more correct.

I have found that after the first few sessions where I was topping edging the ball a bit, everything works better. Much easier to add an extra kick with the wrist - much more spin for serves, especially the tomahawk. I had been a bit concerned that pushing wouldn't be so good (or at least I wasn't sure), but to my surprise, it's a significant improvement for pushing also. Flicking feels more natural.

What was most interesting is that from day 1, whenever I got a wide ball to backhand where I had to reach, which I used to often mess up (my angles broke down somehow), this wasn't happening with the tenaly shape. I am not sure exactly why that is, but hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth right!?

Obviously, this blade isn't for people that twiddle, but what about everybody else?

Now I get what people say about preferences - BLA BLA BLA - look, when you look at the obvious physics of this, how a DESIGNED blade allows you to direct the energy FORWARD in the direction of your stroke - it seems like an obvious decision. Frankly, it was very easy to transition.

I understand that everyone started on the basic paddle first conceived in the 1800s, but I just don't understand why the professionals haven't made the switch!?

Seriously, it seems so obvious - I get why most of us are slow to transition, but the professionals surely should be seeking improvements in equipment as they do in other sports like Tennis.

What am I missing? (please dont' say nothing and that IF there was an advantage the professionals would be doing it - hehe - that doesn't fly, let's actually have some reasoning behind the answers!)

Here is an image of the blade in case you haven't seen it: https://nittakuaustralia.com/cdn/shop/files/product_big_4307_1024x1024.jpg?v=1696648480

Looking forward to your thoughts - honestly, I think it's bizarre nobody is latching onto this.
Similar to your thoughts, there is a blade series from Donic as well. This series is called DOTEC but I haven't seen anyone using it. Now before you reject it, you should check that DOTEC technology is used to design blades in such a way that it offers more open angle on your backhand. Extending the same idea further, with Stiga Cybershape, brand owner stiga claims a larger sweet spot along with host of other benefits.
Even if you leave the design aside, the outer playing surface of the blade, like limba, Koto, Hinoki, Walnut etc. is projected as its own individual benefit for the feel of the ball.
However, table tennis is a sport which is based on feeling, which is a personal thing to every individual. Some players like to play with a head heavy combination whereas, some prefer balance more towards the handle.
Circling back to the topic, switching from one setup, blade and rubber combination to another takes micro adjustments which are not easy to make. Long time ago, there was an answer from Pingskills, where they mentioned that if you like a particular brand then stick to it. Since the rubber and blade quality within that brand should not vary too much. However, making a switch between brands takes a lot of adjustment.
Not to discount the part of player sponsorships. Brands make longer horizon contracts with players and as the player moves up the rating, the host of benefits associated with the sponsorship also undergo a change. I know that at a lower level brands sometimes ask players to pay 20-30% of the cost involved in rubbers and blades. Whereas, at the much higher level it is either free or very miniscule amount.
So to summarize -
1. It is a matter of feeling.
2. Time to adjust.
3. Money involved.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Oct 2014
12,957
18,667
46,848
Read 17 reviews
If I were Nittaku, I'd try and throw money at a promising junior player, on the off chance they become a superstar and everyone thinks their bat shape is some secret advantage.
Truls WTTC performance in 2021 did more for the Cybershape than any regular advertising campaign would have ever done.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Nov 2011
357
236
615
Ergonomic blades have been around for a long time. I used to use the Dotec blades and loved them. I moved away from them simply because I wanted better performance that they didn't offer. Also their blade shape was more round and cannot easily exchange rubbers from other brands. If I could find a comparable ergo blade to the one I'm using I would be willing to give it a try.

The only downside is that I wouldn't be able to spin the blade in my hands.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Oct 2014
12,957
18,667
46,848
Read 17 reviews
Similar to your thoughts, there is a blade series from Donic as well. This series is called DOTEC but I haven't seen anyone using it. Now before you reject it, you should check that DOTEC technology is used to design blades in such a way that it offers more open angle on your backhand. Extending the same idea further, with Stiga Cybershape, brand owner stiga claims a larger sweet spot along with host of other benefits.
Even if you leave the design aside, the outer playing surface of the blade, like limba, Koto, Hinoki, Walnut etc. is projected as its own individual benefit for the feel of the ball.
However, table tennis is a sport which is based on feeling, which is a personal thing to every individual. Some players like to play with a head heavy combination whereas, some prefer balance more towards the handle.
Circling back to the topic, switching from one setup, blade and rubber combination to another takes micro adjustments which are not easy to make. Long time ago, there was an answer from Pingskills, where they mentioned that if you like a particular brand then stick to it. Since the rubber and blade quality within that brand should not vary too much. However, making a switch between brands takes a lot of adjustment.
Not to discount the part of player sponsorships. Brands make longer horizon contracts with players and as the player moves up the rating, the host of benefits associated with the sponsorship also undergo a change. I know that at a lower level brands sometimes ask players to pay 20-30% of the cost involved in rubbers and blades. Whereas, at the much higher level it is either free or very miniscule amount.
So to summarize -
1. It is a matter of feeling.
2. Time to adjust.
3. Money involved.
Lots of players, especially professionals, have all kinds of micro adjustments to their blades that no one will seriously discuss because they are all preferred personal preferences over time. Someone posted to my complete surprise that Steffen Mengel has a very specific handle/blade design that he gets from Soulspin.


In the end, given there are so many different grips in the sport, even historically given penhold and shakehand and the variations in both, we are still at a point where anyone claiming to have found the ultimate blade design or grip is speaking for himself.
 
Top