We often receive the question of how long a table tennis bat lasts, and when should you replace the frame and rubbers?
The answer to this question begins with distinguishing between the frame and the rubbers! The frame, provided it meets the player's skill level, can last for several years. Material fatigue at most can pose a problem, but metaphorically speaking, the heart of the bat, its quality, remains preserved for a long time. However, as the player improves their skills, they face new choices. Should they use carbon for a stiffer frame, or should they opt for other combinations of wood to generate more speed? What about the "feel" that is inherent in the wood? From all these questions, it can be concluded that the choice of the right frame is crucial and often underestimated.
Rubbers contribute to speed and grip, and these qualities diminish with prolonged use. The elasticity of the underlayers has significantly increased in the last 10/15 years due to continuous technological advancements. Before water-based glues became mandatory, chemical glues with VOC were used. The fumes from these glues penetrated the rubber's underlayer, causing it to expand, resulting in increased speed. When the fumes dissipated, the rubber returned to its original form and speed values. Therefore, players used to re-glue every day to maintain that speed!
While these rubbers still exist, official regulations prohibit the use of such glues, making them non-competitive. Modern rubbers have a built-in gluing effect, retaining their elasticity. However, this is not unlimited; the rubber gradually loses its properties. This applies to grip as well – despite repeated cleaning (always after playing), the rubber becomes smoother over time. Re-gluing is ineffective because water-based glue lacks fumes.
What does this mean for replacement? Depending on the frequency of play, it can generally be said that with 2 to 3 times weekly usage, replacement is advisable after about six months. For daily training, replacement might be recommended after two to three months, while with less frequent training and matches, it can be extended to around 9 months.
This is advisory, of course; delaying replacement may lead to compensation. To maintain the same quality in action, more strength may be required. It's essential to note that there will be material unreliability. Areas where the ball has been hit most frequently are less resilient and effective than those less frequently hit. The same stroke will yield different results.
In conclusion, in the labyrinth of all material types, it is advisable to seek advice. The number of training hours and playing style also determines a responsible choice, and our experienced experts are happy to assist with all kinds of pleasure!