Allwood Or Carbon Blades

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The million-dollar question for every table tennis player, at whatever level he plays, be it club or competition, is, what kind of a blade one should use? Shall it be an Allwood or simply wood or composite or simply a carbon blade?

The construct of the blade is extremely important for the kind of play one wishes to achieve on the table. We see different styles of play, like offensive, all-round, close to the table or away from it, defensive or choppers, players using pips out or anti rubbers, and so on.  Every style requires a suitable or supportive blade. And finally, it rests on the individual to assess the playing style and choose a suitable blade.

Players essentially have two choices. Allwood or Composite. Allwood blades are made from different layers of wood – the same wood or different woods for different layers or “plies”. Popular wood types are Balsa, Hinoki, Kiri, Cypress, Rosewood, etc. Whereas composite of carbon blades are made up of a combination of wood (the core) and a combination of wood and composite material. Generally, at least two layers of composite material (one on each side) are used. There are various types of composite materials being used by blade manufacturers like carbon fiber, acrylate, nylon, Tampa, TXT, etc. A few of these are patented as well.

Wooden blades give a sense of stable feeling and control to the player, although they do not have the explosive firepower of the composite blades, they more than compensate with accuracy and control. The player while making contact with the ball can “feel” it better. They also offer a far better touch play. Also, the dwell time is longer. However, they are not very fast or explosive as compared to the composite blades. A few of the well-known Allwood blades are the Butterfly Primorac, The Stiga NCT V Rosewood, or the Animus Sixty.

In comparison, the composite blades are fast and powerful plies. They are the natural choice for offensive players who like to attack and win the point with power and speed. Phenomenal speed and spin are generated by the modern top-level players using composite blades which also inspires the youngsters and learners of the game to emulate their style and hence adopt playing with such blades. However, the downside is that soft or feel play is not very effective with such blades. Playing short ball games is very difficult and gives the opponent each opportunity to “kill”. Few of the very best Composite blades are Butterfly Timo Boll ALC, the Zhang Jike super ZLC, or many others.

Honestly, there are no correct answers to what a player should use. That’s why the coaches recommend understanding your playing style and using blades that support develop your game further. Choose the one best suited to your style. A huge amount of information is available online in the form of reviews, blogs, and tests, so read them, do some research and become the champion you want to be.

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