Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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Equipment Details

Racket, Rubber, and Poly Ball

Which racket/rubber combination is the best?  It depends on your skill level and your style.  I’m going to outline several styles and give racket/rubber recommendations.
     For my style as a mid-distance looper, I recommend the Nittaku Ludeak blade with FastArc G-1 rubber.  The Ludeak is well-balanced with a solid feel that is suited for powerful loops away from the table.  The handle design makes it easy to smoothly transition from forehand to backhand.  I started using FastArc G-1 about 2 years ago when one of my best friends from Japan suggested that I try the new Nittaku rubber. At first, I was a bit skeptical.  I don't like making equipment changes.  After trying Fastarc, I was convinced. The powerful sponge teamed with the grippy topsheet is the perfect combination for spin shots as well as counterlooping off the table! 
     Many players ask the difference between FastArc G-1, FastArc S-1, and FastArc C-1.  G-1 has a very grippy topsheet with medium hard sponge – good for spins and counterloops away from the table.  S-1 has a less grippy topspin with very soft sponge – this is recommended for intermediate level attacking players who stay near the table.  C-1 is a good blend of the two types with a very grippy topsheet and soft sponge.  I recommend C-1 to most of my under 2200 level students who loop from near the table.
     For loopers that stay near the table, I recommend the Nittaku Barwell blade with Nittaku FastArc C-1 rubber.  This blade is used by my good friend Yahao Zhang to produce quick loops near the table.  The C-1 rubber is the ideal combination with a very grippy topspin for good spin variation and soft tension sponge for a great spin/spin combination.
     For all around players who play a blend of offense and defense, I would recommend using the Nittaku Violin blade with Narucross EX Hard rubber.  The Violin blade is a 5-ply wood blade with excellent feeling that can be used to execute any shot.  The Narucross EX Hard is a very good all-around to offensive rubber that I previously used for 3 years.  Narucross EX Hard produces awesome spin from any distance while still maintaining excellent control.
     For the defensive player, I would recommend using the Nittaku Monophonic blade with Narucross EX Soft rubber.  The Monophonic blade is designed with 5 ply wood and 2 ply glass fiber to give a huge sweet spot – great for blocking, chopping, and lobbing.  The Narucross EX Soft has some of the best controls of any rubber but still has enough kick for the surprise attack.
     For the beginning junior, I would recommend using the Nittaku Rising Blade with Retora Rubber.  For juniors, this blade is excellent because of its light-weight design and smaller handle.  Retora rubber is the best quality, longest lasting control rubber that I have ever seen.  This is the combination that I recommend to all of my juniors who are approaching the 1000-rating range.  
     Many players have also been asking me about the new poly ball.  After trying various brands, I can say that the new Nittaku (made in Japan) ball is far above the competition.  During a training session with this new ball today, I immediately noticed that it was clearly superior to any poly ball on the market because it is perfectly round, consistently hard, and very balanced.  The Nittaku Premium 40+ is so much better that it can be clearly seen by all.  Rec players to professional players, everyone will be able to notice a significant difference and that difference will make it more enjoyable and competitive for all.  These premium balls with soon be arriving at Paddle Palace.  Be sure to try it out for yourself!