OOAK Table Tennis Forum


A truly International Table Tennis Community for both Defensive and Offensive styles!
OOAK Forum Links About OOAK Table Tennis Forum OOAK Forum Memory
It is currently 06 Dec 2021, 15:07


Don't want to see any advertising? Become a member and login, and you'll never see an ad again!



All times are UTC + 9:30 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Ideal Racket Shape
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2021, 18:23 
Offline
Senior member

Joined: 19 Nov 2019, 21:38
Posts: 108
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 30 times
What are my thoughts on the ideal blade shape? I'm glad you asked. I will be referring strictly to shakehand blades but also drawing same parallels to penhold.

Image
I would describe modern shakehand offensive blades as being egg-shaped, with the fatter part close to the handle. But how did we get to this shape? The earliest table tennis blades up until the 1930s looked like miniature tennis rackets with very long handles, and in the 1940s and 50s it seems that every imaginable shape was fair game - square, rectangle you name it.

Did you think the Stiga Cybershape was innovative? Just have a look at the 1950s Dunlop Barna! Looks familiar doesn't it.
Image

As far as I can tell the current shape appeared sometime in the 1940s. I don't think there is a scientific reason for it. Probably someone made it, it was successful and others followed. Sure, it works, but is it the best shape and can it be improved?

I had the idea of creating a sort of a heat map. I wiped my sticky rubber clean then played a few matches. I am a shakehand offensive player. Let's look at the ball impacts on my forehand rubber.
Image

Now let's apply a filter for more contrast.
Image

The first thing that you will notice is that there are no impacts below the red line. That means that that rubber surface is basically useless and just adds to the weight. It doesn't help that it is the wider part of the racket (bottom of the egg). According to the ITTF rules, the area closest to the handle can be left uncovered or covered with any material. So if you wanted to reduce weight you could glue the rubber higher and you could also cover that area with something lighter than rubber like cork or some sort of plushy fabric.

Next let's look how the ball impacts are grouped.
Image

Unsurprisingly, most of them are in the center of the racket. But I bet that the center of impacts is higher than you expected, above the physical center of the racket and at a latitude where the racket width is narrower than its maximum width and narrower even than the useless portion above the handle.
Image

The next area where you will see lots of impacts is the upper third towards the tip. The tip achieves the highest swing speed and I use it a lot for serving, pushes, blocking and reaching balls on my wide forehand. But that is the the narrowest and weakest part of the racket. I would like for the tip to be wider and less round for more surface area and mo powa baby! So to summarize the ideal racket face would be narrower above the handle, the widest part of the racket would be higher where the center of hitting is for maximum sweetspot and the tip would also be wider and less rounded. If we take all these together what do we get? Something very similar with the shape of a jpen racket! It is known that jpen players hit with the tip of the racket more and they produce very fast balls. It is believed it's because of their grip, but I think the shape of the racket also helps them a lot. It's ridículous to me that you literally never see that shape in a shakehand racket anymore.
Image

Stiga Cybershape is going in that direction with the wider and not rounded tip. But I think that those extra corners are pretty unnecessary, they are weak points on impact, make rubber cutting harder and provide more points where the rubber can start to get unglued from the blade.
Image

Lastly, let's draw a vertical line through the center on the racket.
Image

You will notice that there are a lot more hits on the left half of the racket, which is the lower half when the racket is held horizontally (I am right handed). I can assume that that is because it's the part of the racket that's closest to the table and also because we intend to hit with the center of the racket but sometimes catch the ball a little past the center. We intend to hit with the center of the racket because as we hold the racket, the extension of our arm would go through its center. We never intend to hit the ball with the upper half of the racket as it's held horizontally. So I think that a design like the Nittaku Tenaly also increases the hitting area, because due to the asymmetrical handle, most of the racket surface hangs below the arm as we hold it horizontally, creating a bigger target. I haven't had a chance to try one but I think the concept makes sense.
Image

Let me know your thoughts. If any of you are blade makers, I would love to work with you on a prototype and test it.


Last edited by JulianTT on 24 Nov 2021, 23:09, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 


Don't want to see this advertisement? Become a member and login, and you'll never see an ad again!

PostPosted: 24 Nov 2021, 22:49 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 12 Oct 2021, 00:26
Posts: 26
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 1 time
Great post!! I myself realised about this issue some years ago.All my rubbers wore down in the same place while the surface near the handle was like new.What a waste of non playing area !! However,when you serve and want maximum backspin,for example, the more rubber the ball touches , the more spin,so on a sidespin-backspin serve it might be possible to hit with the bottom second half of the blade.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2021, 23:54 
Offline
OOAK Super User
OOAK Super User
User avatar

Joined: 10 Jun 2007, 09:24
Posts: 1109
Location: Universe
Has thanked: 20 times
Been thanked: 82 times
152,5 MM BY WIDTH. The ideal measure for table tennis blade.

BTF Grubba Pro is the only blade currently found on market to meet a reasonable blade size of 152,5 mm by width. A great majority of the blades on market have got undersized for no good reason. Unduly reduced horizontal size of the blade 149-150 mm will always cause a lot mishits in play.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2021, 05:33 
Offline
Chopoleon Bonaparte
User avatar

Joined: 23 Apr 2009, 07:21
Posts: 891
Location: New York, New York
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 155 times
Blade: Nittaku Shake Defense
FH: Nittaku Fastarc C-1 1.8mm
BH: Hellfire X OX
Great post and analysis, but it would be good to add discussion of a similar hit map for the backhand side. I expect it would be similar, except that the other lateral edge of the racket would be on top, so that would affect lateral strike frequency.

_________________
I. Re-Impact Tachi Plus 2019; FH: Nittaku FastArc G-1 1.4mm; BH: Saviga 77 Monster OX
II. Re-Impact Turbo; FH: Spinlord Sandwind 1.5mm; BH: DMS Kamikaze OX
III. Re-Impact Smart; FH: TSP Spinpips RED 2.1mm; BH: Dr. Neubauer Gangster OX
IV. Sauer & Troger Firestarter; FH: Spinlord Waran 1.8mm; BH: Giant Dragon Snowflake OX


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2021, 05:58 
Offline
Senior member

Joined: 19 Nov 2019, 21:38
Posts: 108
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 30 times
TraditionalTradesman wrote:
Great post and analysis, but it would be good to add discussion of a similar hit map for the backhand side. I expect it would be similar, except that the other lateral edge of the racket would be on top, so that would affect lateral strike frequency.


Thank you very much :)

When you play backhand, the same lateral edge of the racket is on top. You are not flipping the racket. If you use your wrist when playing backhand, then you are always hitting with the lower half of the racket. If you would hit with the upper half, the wrist motion would be pointless and the ball would go up. When I play backhand I also hit some balls consciously with the tip of the racket for more speed and control, like a quick smash. So I'd say the same areas as for the forehand are engaged.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2021, 15:44 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 25 Nov 2021, 14:31
Posts: 6
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time
Blade: Wakkibat Poc-Rocket 12
FH: Focus III Snipe 2.2mm
BH: 729 Super FX 2mm
Great OP and great observation. :)

I would add that while most impacts are in the sweet-spot during general play, during a serve it's very different. I personally vary my contact point widely on the bat during a serve deliberately, as it can vary the amount of spin imparted without having to change the direction and force of the stroke. I've tried doing the same during general play to add more deception to my game, but its far harder and unfortunately I'm just not that good a player yet to pull it off. :rofl:

As for the blade-building side of the equation, I've been making my own blades for a while now purely as a hobby, but I'm now having so much fun with it (and they play so well for me personally) that I've decided I'll start selling them online sometime in the near future as a bit of a side gig. (If I can drum up enough business to make them full time, then hey - all the better! :lol:)



Having recently experimented with building my own atypical-dimension blade, I thought I'd share some of my experiences to add to the discussion.

I agree with the OP in that there's something to be said for atypical sizes and shapes, and I've been curious about asymmetrical bats (like the Nittaku Tenaly) for a while. While I've never tried that particular model, I think your analysis is accurate and it's probably designed to create a larger sweet spot, or else change the positioning and size of the sweet spot on the bat.

There is definitely a rationale to the typical dimensions from a blade design / building perspective, in that the "typical" dimensions and shape provide you the largest possible playing surface and least possible wind resistance, whilst still keeping the blade both light as possible and well-balanced in your hand.

While I'm all for experimenting, it's been my personal experience atypical shapes shapes work best as a custom-designed exercise, built and constructed to suit your individual playing style.

I personally for example have a very "wristy" playing style on both FH and BH, and tend to use the very tip of my blade as the main contact point in order to generate greater speed and spin (especially on my BH - love my BH flick-shots!).

To further serve my playing style, my latest/current blade experiment is a deliberately over-length blade (playing surface = 150mm wide x 163mm long) with a flatter, more rounded top third (as opposed to the more egg-shaped profile).

My aim with this build was to augment my natural game by shifting the sweet spot more towards the tip of the blade, as well as increase the racquet head's speed via simple rotational mechanics

This experiment was interesting, but only a partial success.

Having a flatter profile on the top third DEFINITELY seems to increase the size and/or location of the sweet spot on a bare blade so I'll be experimenting a little more in that area going forwards.

However, once I added my "typical" favorite max-width playing rubbers, the point of balance shifted radically forward away from the handle - FAR more than I anticipated it would on paper. This had the exact opposite effect on my game in that in order to wield the bat properly, I now had to treat it like a cricket bat, by locking my wrist and accelerate my entire arm on both FH and BH

I'll be persevering with this experimental length / nose shape on my next build in order to try to bring things back into balance. However, in doing that, I'm also going to have to rethink every other decision I've made thus far about the blade from the ground up: the thickness and type of woods I use, the size, weight and dimensions of the handle, the size & type of rubbers I use and how that change might effect my game, what composite materials to add (if any - I personally prefer all wood blades), the cost of the raw materials, the manufacturing process... absolutely everything about the blade has to be taken back to the drawing board.

TL/DR version - do not underestimate how much balance affects blade performance. Every physical variable you alter on a blade has a direct effect on every other characteristic it possesses. The common shape and dimensions we all know and love present the most commonly-accepted compromise which ticks all the major performance boxes and can be delivered to the market at a profit.

Yes absolutely there are benefits to experimenting with size and shape, and any manufacturer who can both radically change the shape AND still crack all the performance and production variables involved possibly stands to make a fortune.... but I can tell you from experience, improving on the current-optimised shape and build is far harder than it looks. :) :)

PS: Just noticed you're looking to experiment with a blade-maker. Happy to discuss this further, please DM me if interested. :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2021, 19:12 
Offline
Senior member

Joined: 19 Nov 2019, 21:38
Posts: 108
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 30 times
@Wakkbatty Thank you for your comments, and I agree with a lot of your observations. It's always good to hear from someone who likes to experiment with equipment. It sounds like you went the more extreme route of making pretty big changes, which is a good way to test a concept. You might also want to try changing just one thing at a time to better assess the impact of that parameter.

If it was me, I would start with a symmetrical design as it's what we're used to and go one of two routes:

- Keep the same racket surface let's say a typical 150x157, but change the shape to make it narrower above the handle and add more width from the middle to the tip. Basically you're taking surface area from the bottom and putting it to the top. You could also glue the rubber higher above the handle to reduce overall weight, and add those few extra grams to the handle to keep the center of mass lower.
- Make a jpen blade face that you can easily find the measurements and templates on the internet but with a shakehand handle and use that as your baseline.

Where are you based btw?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2021, 20:37 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 25 Nov 2021, 14:31
Posts: 6
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time
Blade: Wakkibat Poc-Rocket 12
FH: Focus III Snipe 2.2mm
BH: 729 Super FX 2mm
JulianTT wrote:
@Wakkbatty Thank you for your comments, and I agree with a lot of your observations. It's always good to hear from someone who likes to experiment with equipment. It sounds like you went the more extreme route of making pretty big changes, which is a good way to test a concept. You might also want to try changing just one thing at a time to better assess the impact of that parameter.

If it was me, I would start with a symmetrical design as it's what we're used to and go one of two routes:

- Keep the same racket surface let's say a typical 150x157, but change the shape to make it narrower above the handle and add more width from the middle to the tip. Basically you're taking surface area from the bottom and putting it to the top. You could also glue the rubber higher above the handle to reduce overall weight, and add those few extra grams to the handle to keep the center of mass lower.
- Make a jpen blade face that you can easily find the measurements and templates on the internet but with a shakehand handle and use that as your baseline.

Where are you based btw?


Thanks for the feedback, all good points. I'll keep experimenting and see how we go.

PS: I'm based in Perth Western Australia - arguably the most isolated city on the planet :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2021, 23:07 
Offline
Senior member

Joined: 19 Nov 2019, 21:38
Posts: 108
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 30 times
Wakkbatty wrote:
JulianTT wrote:
@Wakkbatty Thank you for your comments, and I agree with a lot of your observations. It's always good to hear from someone who likes to experiment with equipment. It sounds like you went the more extreme route of making pretty big changes, which is a good way to test a concept. You might also want to try changing just one thing at a time to better assess the impact of that parameter.

If it was me, I would start with a symmetrical design as it's what we're used to and go one of two routes:

- Keep the same racket surface let's say a typical 150x157, but change the shape to make it narrower above the handle and add more width from the middle to the tip. Basically you're taking surface area from the bottom and putting it to the top. You could also glue the rubber higher above the handle to reduce overall weight, and add those few extra grams to the handle to keep the center of mass lower.
- Make a jpen blade face that you can easily find the measurements and templates on the internet but with a shakehand handle and use that as your baseline.

Where are you based btw?


Thanks for the feedback, all good points. I'll keep experimenting and see how we go.

PS: I'm based in Perth Western Australia - arguably the most isolated city on the planet :)
Wow yeah that's pretty far.

Sent from my SM-G781B using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2021, 00:50 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 25 Nov 2021, 14:31
Posts: 6
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time
Blade: Wakkibat Poc-Rocket 12
FH: Focus III Snipe 2.2mm
BH: 729 Super FX 2mm
JulianTT wrote:
Wakkbatty wrote:
JulianTT wrote:
@Wakkbatty Thank you for your comments, and I agree with a lot of your observations. It's always good to hear from someone who likes to experiment with equipment. It sounds like you went the more extreme route of making pretty big changes, which is a good way to test a concept. You might also want to try changing just one thing at a time to better assess the impact of that parameter.

If it was me, I would start with a symmetrical design as it's what we're used to and go one of two routes:

- Keep the same racket surface let's say a typical 150x157, but change the shape to make it narrower above the handle and add more width from the middle to the tip. Basically you're taking surface area from the bottom and putting it to the top. You could also glue the rubber higher above the handle to reduce overall weight, and add those few extra grams to the handle to keep the center of mass lower.
- Make a jpen blade face that you can easily find the measurements and templates on the internet but with a shakehand handle and use that as your baseline.

Where are you based btw?


Thanks for the feedback, all good points. I'll keep experimenting and see how we go.

PS: I'm based in Perth Western Australia - arguably the most isolated city on the planet :)
Wow yeah that's pretty far.

Sent from my SM-G781B using Tapatalk


Yeah tell me about it :) ... Part of the reason I'm exploring with Australian native timbers is because it's so hard to get any Ayous or limba shipped out here :rofl: ...well, that plus their utterly jaw-dropping and occasionally unprecedented hardness, strength-to-weight ratios and many other fascinating qualities... :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2021, 09:32 
Offline
Super User
User avatar

Joined: 02 Jul 2008, 19:05
Posts: 628
Location: istanbul
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 44 times
A blade with Jap-pen head shape and concav, anatomic or conic handle to play shakehand would be great! Good for both defenders and attackers.
It'd be a bit head heavy...No problem.
Anyway, feeling happy with my Hadrawshield, Joo Se Hyuk and VKMO.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 01 Dec 2021, 23:28 
Offline
Senior member

Joined: 19 Nov 2019, 21:38
Posts: 108
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 30 times
deva sarjan wrote:
A blade with Jap-pen head shape and concav, anatomic or conic handle to play shakehand would be great! Good for both defenders and attackers.
It'd be a bit head heavy...No problem.
Anyway, feeling happy with my Hadrawshield, Joo Se Hyuk and VKMO.
The plies of the blade should also be the same found in a typical offensive blade and then it wouldn't be heavy. I find the typical jpen blades too slow.

Sent from my SM-G781B using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 




All times are UTC + 9:30 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], haggisv and 12 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Copyright 2018 OOAK Table Tennis Forum. The information on this site cannot be reused without written permission.

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group