Once you’ve decided ping pong is a game for you, it’s time to learn more about table tennis equipment – and what you’ll need to play. Beginning players need several essentials, but buying a racket is the first step to take in general. Of course, it’s possible to borrow a paddle from someone else, but having one of your own is an excellent idea. Table tennis rackets have two parts: the blade and the rubber. Blades are generally made from wood that’s flat and rigid – size, shape, and weight can vary. Rubbers are glued onto the surface you use to hit the ball. They are either sandwiched or pimpled in style.
Color is a factor in table tennis rubbers, and one side of the paddle needs to be black while the other is red. Some players choose to have rubber on only one side of the racket, and if you do, the other side still must be colored to the opposite of the rubber you’re using. Also, you only can hit the ball on the side with rubber. Conventional pimpled rubbers are a single layer of non-cellular rubber with pimples evenly distributed across the surface. Sandwich rubbers are two-ply with a cellular (or sponge) rubber first glued to the blade and then a pimpled sheet glued on top. It’s the player’s choice.
Another option with sandwich rubbers is a pimples-out or pimples-in. Most people refer to the pimple-in choice as an inverted, reverse, or smooth rubber. Many players today tend to favor smooth rubbers because they’re useful to increase the speed of shots and add spin. On the other hand, some people prefer pimples out in sandwich rubbers because it helps them successfully handle and return shots with spin. Pimpled rubber without an under-sheet is rarer because it lags in both spin and speed compared to sandwich configurations. As you play and understand more, you’ll want to try the options.
Once you have your racket and are ready to go, the next step is to find an opponent. Most players begin with family and friends or even co-workers during lunchtime or after work. If you live near a table tennis club, chances are they have opportunities for beginners. At the same time, a club will allow you to meet and volley with other ping pong enthusiasts. If, after time, you become more serious about the sport, you can also find coaches and competitions to enter at a club. Lastly, resolve to play with a spirit of good sportsmanship in all your matches. Always shake your opponent’s hand and say thank you.