As a coach, I often give advice to beginner players about what table tennis bat to buy. There is a lot of choice available and if you have never played before it’s quite difficult working out a good bat from a rubbish bat.
Rather than giving my wisdom only to players I coach, I thought it would be good to share my thoughts on the best beginner bats to a wider audience. So here’s what I tell my beginners…
Avoid really cheap table tennis bats
Before I start a coaching session with a new beginner, I always check their bat first. Often the bat will have an impressive sounding name, like ‘G Force’ or ‘Nitro Power’. But in reality, the quality of the rubbers and blade don’t get remotely close to living up the name.
These are the bats which usually cost less than £10. They’re cheap for a reason – the materials used to make the bat simply aren’t very good. The biggest issue I have with these bats are that they are useless at generating spin. Some of the really cheap bats, play more like anti-spin rubbers. A player will play a drive shot and instead of the ball coming back with a bit of topspin, the ball comes back with no spin at all.
With cheap equipment like this, it’s much more difficult to learn the basic strokes and technique you need to play table tennis, as you have to play exaggerated strokes to generate spin. This leads to bat habits, which will limit the progress a player can make.
Avoid really expensive bats with fast rubbers and a fast blade
Occasionally a beginner will turn up with a really nice bat. They have done some research and spent a load of money to get the best equipment. The bat is beautiful, but the problem is that it’s far too responsive for the beginner player and they have great trouble controlling the ball.
The ball flies off the rubber and will shoot off left and right, pop up high and sail past the end of the table. There is nothing wrong with the quality of the bat, but it is too advanced for the beginner player. It takes time to develop the technique you need to play with these fast bats.
It’s not necessarily a bad investment, as the player could use the bat in the future when they are more advanced. But for a beginner, a really fast bat is not going to be very helpful for their initial development.
What are the best table tennis bats for beginners?
Ideally you should start with an all-round bat. What does this mean? This is a bat with a medium speed blade (not too fast, not too slow) and medium speed rubbers. Medium speed rubbers will allow you to more easily control incoming spin, but will still allow you to generate your own spin.
You should ideally buy a bat with rubbers which have ITTF approval. This means they have been tested by the world governing body, so you will be buying something of decent quality.
The good news is that you really don’t need to spend a lot of money. You can get a decent starter bat for around £20-£50. Below are some options which I recommend. These are all ‘all-round’ bats which are ideal for beginners and have all been approved by the ITTF.
Recommended bats (UK)
- BRIBAR Winning Loop Table Tennis Bat + Case (Amazon)
- Palio Expert Table Tennis Bat (Amazon)
- FireBlade ‘Shinai’ – Allwood Table Tennis Bat (Amazon)
- Blutenkirsche Elite table tennis bat (Amazon)
- Cornilleau Excell 2000 Carbon PHS Performa 2 Table Tennis Bat (Amazon)
Recommended bats (USA)
- Palio Expert Table Tennis Bat (Amazon)
- Stiga Evolution table tennis racket (Amazon)
- Killerspin JET400 Table Tennis Paddle (Amazon)
- Eastfield Allround table tennis racket (Amazon)
- Donic Waldner 700 table tennis racket (Megaspin)
- Xiom MUV Prospeed (Megaspin)
BEST-SELLERS: Also, take a look at my list of the most popular table tennis bats purchased by readers of my website.
You should do your own research too. All table tennis shops will stock suitable bats for beginners. On their websites look for ‘pre-assembled’, ‘ready-made’ or ‘complete’ bats. If in doubt, contact the shop and ask for their advice.
If you’re a beginner, the most important thing at this stage of your blossoming table tennis career is to buy a bat which allows you to develop good technique, generate some spin, but is not so fast that you keep over-hitting the ball.
A beginner bat won’t be forever. It will probably be good for a year or two depending on the speed of your progress. As you improve, you will need to switch to a bat more suited for an intermediate standard.
If you only ever want to play table tennis for a bit of fun, it’s fine to buy any old rubbish. But if you’re serious about improving, you should avoid the really cheap bats. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but a little extra investment in a decent starter bat will help you improve quicker.
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