All table tennis enthusiasts out there have been faced with this question at least once: should I buy a custom made bat or just settle for a pre-made paddle? The answer is actually somewhere in between, depending greatly on each person and what is it that s/he is trying to achieve. You can find both custom made and pre-made paddles suitable for the intermediate level and it’s all up to you if you prefer the one or the other. However, there are some aspects you might want to consider when deciding between the both:
Price: Ok, so you are an intermediate player. Chances are you are a recreational player, meaning you play ping pong for fun and aren’t yet convinced to spend a lot on a paddle. In this case, you may want to consider the pre-made option because this one is usually cheaper that custom made bats, plus you don’t have to bother with choosing the blade and the corresponding rubber. Famous brands like DHS, Dunlop or Butterfly already provide a great and varied selection of pre-made bats to suit all styles.
Technique:Intermediate players shouldn’t spend a lot of money for the racket at this level, as the personal style can change and/or improve and you might want to change the paddle sooner than you think. So if you aim at improving your technique and consider that you may change your style from an all round play to an offensive play for example, consider buying a cheaper paddle so that you can change it often, without loosing your investment. As we mentioned before, pre-made paddles tend to be cheaper, but there are also some cheap, custom made paddle options aswell. We are going to talk about this in the following paragraphs.
Also, at this level, you should bare in mind that, in order to improve your technique, you will need a blade that gives you good spin and excellent control, but not so much speed, as you are still discovering your style and developing your technique and a paddle with too much speed may force you to stagnate in your technique, while trying to handle an equipment you’re not ready for. So opt for DEF+, ALL-, All+ or OFF- at this point. Of course, you will not win all the games, but at least you will have the change to improve and discover your personal style.
Frequency of use: Also, when deciding between custom or pre-made rackets, you may want to think about the frequency of use. As we have said before, recreational players can easily choose a pre-made paddle, whereas intensive players should go for a custom made. The advantage of the latter is obvious in this situation, because you can quite simply change the rubber when it becomes used and keep the blade. Like this, you just spend money on the rubber, as opposed to buying a new paddle altogether. Besides that, players usually tend to get accustomed to the same blade and handle. Custom made paddles allow you to keep the blade and skip the new period of getting accustomed to a new handle.
Now let’s discover some of the best pre-made paddles, as well as some cheap, yet qualitative custom made combinations, suitable for an intermediate player:
So you made up your mind in favor of a pre-made bat. Here are some of the best options out there:
1. The Dunlop Venom Control: having a very thin rubber (1.2 mm.), this paddle gives you a lot of control. Being designed for defensive players, it is ideal for intermediate players.
2. DHS X4002: this intermediate paddle allows you to develop technique, while providing a good control and an amazing spin, thanks to its tackiness. But you should be careful when cleaning it, because the tackiness can easily fade away. Overall, it is an excellent bat to help you transition from beginner to intermediate level.
3. Dunlop Venom Spin: another best-seller from Dunlop, this paddle provides excellent spin, as the name indicates, and is highly recommended for intermediate players.
4. Robbins Powerlite Super Spin: if you are willing to spend a bit more, you can try this extra light paddle from robbinstabletennis.com. Weighting only 70 grams, this bat is good for intermediate players who enjoy a quick game and have an all round style.
Custom made paddle
As far as custom paddles as concerned, there are also some every good options out there for intermediate paddles, which offer good quality at reasonable prices:
1. Stiga Allround Classic blade with control rubbers like Butterfly Flextra (1.7-1.9 rubber thickness). This combination provides good spin and excellent control, allowing you to easily adjust from a pre-made to a custom racket.
2. Stiga Allround NCT blade combined with Yasaka Mark V rubber. The controllability of the NCT blade, combined with the classic Mark V rubber (2.0 mm), provides a very good, allround offensive paddle. Also, you can combine the bestseller Mark V rubber with a Butterfly Primorac ALL- blade for more control.
3. Nittaku Moniphonic blade with Renanos Bright Soft rubber. This defense paddle has a straight handle, its slim rubber (1.9 mm.) providing a good spin and moderate to low speed. Also, this is a technical bat, suitable for intermediate players.
4. You can also go to colestt.com and try one of the proposed custom pre-made combos. A good intermediate paddle suggested here is the “Premade Buster”: Dawei R2 blade combined with a Dawei Inspirit rubber. This is a good first custom racket, thanks to its maximum control, which allows players to learn new strokes.
We hope this article gave you a good starting point in your search for the ideal intermediate table tennis racket. Good luck and good game!