USATT Hall of Famer Larry Hodges

Ask The Experts: Larry Hodges, No. 74

Ask The Experts: Larry Hodges, No. 74
Butterfly Table Tennis Question and Answer

Blade: Stiga Classic (non-carbon)
Forehand Rubber: Flextra
Backhand Rubber: Flextra

Question: Hi Mr. Larry Hodges,

My name is Ryan, 32 years old and I’m from Indonesia. About 10 years ago, I bought your book “Table Tennis Steps to Success” (translated Version) and it’s such a wonderful book. It is very helpful for me to understand about the basic of table tennis.

10 years ago, I still actively played table tennis in local table tennis club 2-3 times a week. But, because I got very busy in the last 10 years (I had to work in the rural area), since then, I had never played table tennis again.

Now, I have gone back to my hometown and two weeks ago, I went to a local table tennis club and started to play table tennis (for the very first time since 10 years). I used to play with STIGA CLASSIC (pure wood-no carbon) and RITC (German sponge) for FH-Yasaka Mark V for BH, but now all of them become death rubber (it’s totally broken). Then, I bought Butterfly Flextra to use on my FH and BH (I still use the same paddle).

The problem appears when I use Butterfly Flextra, I feel it’s just too bouncy, very hard to control, and not tacky enough (less spin). My strokes and loop (because of less spin) often off the tables but i believe that my technique is right (even after 10 years I didn’t play table tennis). As a comparison, my new friend in the local table tennis club lends me his paddle (Warner Schalger OFF+ with Donic rubber for FH). I tried it, and the result is fantastic. The ball trajectory is just as what I expected.

I read a lot from table tennis blog/website that a beginner players should do a lot of practice to “adapt” their paddle instead of keep changing their paddle/rubber (and expect a “magic result” by changing it), but in my case, I believe that I’m not a beginner player. So, my question is: When one should change his paddle/rubber (because he feel the paddle/rubber is not fit for him) or when he has to keep practicing to adapt with his paddle/rubber. What is the KEY FACTORS to decide it?

Sorry for my English and thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Best Regards,

Ryan

Answer:  Ryan wrote: I read a lot from table tennis blog/website that a beginner players should do a lot of practice to “adapt” to their paddle instead of keep changing their paddle/rubber (and expect a “magic result” by changing it), but in my case, I believe that I’m not a beginner player. So, my question is: When one should change his paddle/rubber (because he feel the paddle/rubber is not fit for him) or when he has to keep practicing to adapt with his paddle/rubber? What are the KEY FACTORS to decide it?

This is never an easy question, but here is the main factor to consider. Once you are beyond the beginning stage it’s time to think long-term, and think about what your ultimate style of play will be. Once you decide that, look at some of the top players who play that style. What equipment are they using? If you want to play like them and hit shots like them, it’s helpful to have similar equipment. So once you are past the beginning stage, it’s time to adjust your equipment to the way you want to play.

The comparison isn’t exact; they play at a much higher level and train full-time (including physical training), so depending on your level, you might want something slower, though not too much so. For example, if their sponge is too fast, you might want to get the FX version, which is softer and a bit slower. Or consider thinner sponge.

One other thing to take into consideration is that if your game is centered around looping – as nearly all players at the higher levels are – then you do want something extra bouncy, that allows you to loop nearly anything, such as one of the Tenergy rubbers, either regular or (at first) the FX version. Hope this helps!

Larry Hodges