Having the right ping pong paddle can elevate you from an ordinary player to the best of the best. As a ping pong player, your paddle is what a pen is to a writer- you’re nothing without it.
And so it is important to know every part of your paddle- how it fits in your hand, the design of its handle, the rubber type used in its construction, and its maintenance & care are all things you should pay attention to as a ping pong player that’s worth his or her salt.
Plus, ping pong equipment is not cheap. You can easily spend thousands on equipment and if you want to avoid spending more money than you should, then you must maintain your gear. You want your paddles especially to last as long as possible while retaining their grip and tack which will give you lots of spins on every shot.
Maintaining your ping pong paddles doesn’t take much. But it can make a huge difference in your game. To help you out here is how to maintain a ping pong paddle:
Clean your paddle properly
The rubber on your ping pong paddle attracts dirt and grime easily. The good news is all you need to get rid of this unwanted grime is a little water and a soft cleaning cloth. Simply dip your cloth in the water and start cleaning the surfaces of your paddle.
Be gentle and don’t apply too much pressure as it could affect the tackiness of the paddle. Water will be sufficient in getting rid of most of the grime, but not all of it, which is where specialized ping pong paddle cleaners come in. Water will help you clear the dust but a paddle cleaner will ensure that you eradicate traces of sweat and oils too.
Every week or before a league match or tournament, consider giving your paddles a deep clean using a paddle cleaner. Don’t use specialized cleaners all the time as some contain chemicals in the spray that may cause the rubber on the paddle to deteriorate faster.
If your paddle has pimple rubbers, you might get away with using foam cleaners for the surface. However, if the pimples on your rubber are longer, cleaners are generally not recommended as the liquid gets trapped easily between the pimples. You can use a simple brush or a very soft toothbrush to get to the hard to reach places.
Invest in a high-quality case
If you don’t have a case for your ping pong paddles already- get one. The primary purpose of the paddle case is to keep your paddle dust-free as well as provide them with protection when they are not in use.
Though ping pong paddles are designed to be durable, the rubber on the surface tends to scratch up pretty easily. So if you don’t store your paddle somewhere safe, your rubbers will likely sustain a lot of damage that can be avoided.
Any old paddle case is better than none at all. However, some provide more protection than others. There are also many designs of cases out there, so your choice will be based on your preference and budget.
If you play professional ping pong however, you may have to spring for a large paddle case capable of fitting a couple of paddles so that you can always have spared whenever you are playing or practicing.
Rubber protectors are also fine
If you cannot afford a case or don’t want to get one, you can alternatively get rubber protectors to keep your paddles safe and scratch-free. Rubber protectors are typically thin and transparent films that can be used to cover the surface of your rubber, kind of like foil.
Always use your rubber protectors after every tournament. Remember to clean the surface first before proceeding to use the protector.
Consider using foam edge tapes
While not every ping pong player uses edge tape for their paddles, it does go a long way in offering some much-needed protection to the blade of the paddle. Depending on the type of paddle that you have, you may have to place the foam edge tapes yourself as some manufacturers assemble their paddles with edge tape during the production stages.
If you need extra protection, you can apply several layers for more cushioning. However, you should know that it is bound to add a few grams of weight to your paddle, which could be an issue for some.
It is recommended that you use foam edge for blades that are made using soft types of wood such as balsa. Please keep in mind that you must only use edge tape on the blade so when applying it, ensure that it is not protruding to the rubber surface as it could place you at risk of being fined or disqualified from a competition.
Patch any damaged spots
As you continue to use your paddles, the rubber surface is bound to start wearing and tearing. If your rubber starts to dislodge, you must try and repair it quickly to prevent further damage. Once the edge of the rubber loosens up, it is only going to get worse as time goes by eventually ruining the surface beyond repair.
If you notice a torn area, try and glue it back as soon as you notice it to prevent further deterioration. Simply lift the rubber in the area where it’s loose and dab some glue. Wait for a few minutes before pressing the rubber back down.
Ping pong, the preferred name for table tennis in many parts of the world has been around since the 1800s. although there are several variations across the globe, a lot of ping pong enthusiasts keep ping pong equipment such as ping pong tables in their basements and garages for entertainments.
If you’re going to invest in ping pong equipment, whether paddles or tables, you want to make sure that you maintain it properly so that it can give you the kind of service that you deserve.