Should I choose a pre-assembled paddle or a custom-made paddle?
Buying one of pre-assembled paddles will offer you a quality racket at an inexpensive price. It will also help simplify the buying process as the rubber is already assembled to the racket, so there is no need to spend time studying the blade and rubber to find the right combination. Quality pre-assembled paddles are ideal for beginners up to intermediate players. If you prefer, you can pick the blade and rubber combination that is best suited to your unique style of play. This is known as a custom-made paddle.
Which rubber is right for me?
Much of the overall speed of your paddle is determined by your blade. The rubber, while contributing to the speed of your racket, will primarily function as your source for spin. Most of the rubbers are:
  • Inverted - Inverted rubbers are able to generate tremendous spin due to their tacky surface. Great for all styles of play from the all-out attacker to the most defensive minded chopper. Inverted is the most versatile rubber type.
  • Short Pips - Short pip rubbers are pimples out rubber. The space between the pimples will help to take some of your opponents spin off of the ball. This will allow you to aggressively attack your opponents shots regardless of the oncoming spin. Short pips are great for hitting, blocking and returning serves. However, they are unable to produce as much spin as an inverted rubber.
  • Long Pips - Long pip rubbers are generally used by players who rely on their opponents to make mistakes. The composition of long pip rubbers is similar to short pip rubbers, but the pips are taller. When your opponents ball contacts this surface, the taller pips are easily bent, REVERSING the oncoming spin. This will keep your opponent guessing as to what type of spin is on the ball.
When should I change my rubber sheet?
A rubber's performance will deteriorate as time and the elements take their toll. The rubber will produce less spin than it once did and will not feel as lively. The life expectancy of your rubber sheet will vary depending on how often you play, but a good rule of thumb is:
# of days played/week = # of times to change/year
How to change rubber sheet?
Spread glue on racket blade Spread glue on rubber
allow to dry
Place rubber on racket blade Roll rubber onto blade Trim excess rubber to fit blade
How to select sponge hardness or density and thickness?
In general, players who swing faster prefer the harder sponges. The denser sponges have more stored energy but also require more racket speed to compress the sponge and release this energy. The all-round player or players with shorter strokes will prefer sponges with medium hardness or softer sponges. On the other hand, harder sponge usually are easier to place short in-the-table balls. The sponge also acts as a trampoline. Thinner sponge will be less “springy”and have a hard feel, as the ball will generally sink to the wood surface, producing less spin and speed. Thicker sponge will have a soft feel and will be faster and provide more spin as the ball will sink deep into the sponge layer catapulting it outward with tremendous velocity and increased spin.