OK, so you've decided that ping pong is the game for you - a wise decision! (Here is a list of all the reasons why you made the right choice). Now, what are you going to need to start the sport? As a beginner, there are many things you do not know yet. Here is a list of the seven essential things you will need to start playing table tennis.


First, you will need a bat.
Of course, you can always borrow other people, but it's best to have your own personal Best ping pong paddleI'll talk later about how to choose your first table tennis racket, but for now, I'll just describe what a table tennis racket is, without getting bogged down in all the rules about snowshoes (and there are not bad!).
First of all, the racket is made up of a mainly wooden blade, which can be of any size, shape or weight but must be flat and rigid. See the picture for an example of a typical penhold table tennis blade.
Then either sandwich rubber or plain pleated rubber is glued to the sides of the blade that will be used to hit the ball. These rubbers are colored red or black and the color on one side must be different from the other (ie one red side, one black side). If one side is left without rubber, you should not hit the ball with that side, and it should be colored red if the rubber on the other side is black, or vice versa.
Ordinary pimple rubber consists of a single layer of non-cellular rubber, with buttons evenly distributed over its surface.
A sandwich rubber is composed of a layer of cellular rubber, to which another layer of pimpled rubber is glued on top. The cellular rubber (or sponge) is glued to the blade, and the pimpled rubber layer is used to hit the ball.
The buttons can face indoors or outdoors. If the buttons are facing outward, this is called a sandwich rubber (or pips-out). If the buttons are glued to the sponge, this is called a sandwich rubber, an inverted rubber or a smooth rubber.
The most commonly used rubber today is the smooth rubber, which usually gives the most spin and speed when it hits the ball. However, sandwich rubber is still used by some players because of its good speed and better control of the strikes. Regular spiked rubber is rarer due to the lack of spin and speed it can produce but is an option for some players who prefer better control (when regular rubber is used on both sides of the blade, this is 'call a hardbat).
Interested in buying a table tennis paddle?


Ping pong balls can be purchased from many sports shops, although most clubs will buy them from table tennis dealers. Bales of 40mm in diameter are now used, so be careful not to play with old 38mm bullets that you may have been dragging for years!
The balls are usually celluloid and are white or orange at competitions.
Most manufacturers classify their balls according to a 3-star system.
The 0 and 1 star balls are generally used for training purposes, as they are cheap and quite acceptable for this type of game. They are inferior balls, but 0 star balls from manufacturers such as Stiga Butterfly or Double Happiness are surprisingly good these days.
The 2-star balls are supposed to be of better quality than the 0 and 1-star balls, but are still not considered good enough for a serious competition. In reality, these balls are rarely seen or used - I do not remember ever having seen more than two 2-star balls!
The 3-star balls are the standard competition balls and are of the best quality. Sometimes you will have a starting ball not quite round, but it is rare. They are almost always a good roundness and a good balance. They are a bit more expensive than 0 or 1 star balls, and they do not seem to last longer either!
Some manufacturers, such as Stiga and Nittaku, now manufacture "premium 3-star" balls. These are supposed to be of the highest quality possible. Whether it's really true or just a bit of hype marketing is open to debate - I know I can not tell the difference between a 3-star and a 3-star premium.
Do not bother starting with 3-star balls or "premium" balls - they are too expensive and are not really worth it for beginners. Just buy some 0 or 1 star balls from a reputable manufacturer such as Butterfly or Stiga and these will do just fine. You will not want to cry if you accidentally walk one!
Interested in buying table tennis balls? Compare the prices

Ping pong table

If you play in a club, they will provide you with the tables - after all, you would not want to bring your own every time you play!
You may want to buy your own ping-pong table for use at home, in which case there are a number of factors to consider. For the moment, though, I'm just going to say stick to big tables rather than a compact or mini tablet. Also, be aware that you will need enough space around the table to move around a bit and make a good swing. Somewhere between 2 or 3 yards (or meters) on each side would be good. Much less than that and you run the risk of developing bad habits, such as playing too close to the table or using cramped strokes. Of course, if you only play for fun, it does not really matter, but you never know when this competition bug is going to bite you!
Interested in buying a ping pong table?


Good quality nets can be bought without spending a fortune. I would recommend using a thread with tweezers to attach each side to the table, although the spring clips may be OK as long as they can hold the table firmly.
Make sure that the net can be tightened on each side (usually by a string running through the top of the net), and that the clamping system will hold the string firmly without slipping. There is nothing more annoying than having a net that keeps coming off.
One last thing to watch - the net is supposed to be 15.25 cm high. Remember to check that the net you are considering buying is at the right height. Many of the best nets have adjustable posts to allow you to lower or increase the height of the net, which is convenient. You do not want to spend too much time playing on a table with a net lower or higher if you seriously play table tennis later - it's all too easy to get into bad habits.
Interested in buying a table tennis net?

Shoes and clothes

For beginners, most reasonably-priced tennis or squash shoes with a soft rubber sole will do a good job. You probably will not need a quality table tennis shoe (which are known for their lightness and flexibility, as well as their price!) Until you are more advanced. Sneakers may be fine, but sneakers with plastic soles may lack traction on dusty floors and may be a little heavy.
As for clothes, wear what is comfortable and easy to move.
Keep your shorts above the knee because you will need to lean freely, and avoid wearing shirts with logos, slogans or distracting colors (like a shirt covered with 40mm white circles, for example!). A tracksuit to wear before and after games is also a good idea.
The most competitive women wear shorts and shirts similar to those of men, but the skirts are perfectly acceptable. There is actually a trend among manufacturers to produce women's table tennis apparel, which is always comfortable, so I hope that women's choices in this area will improve in the future.


After gathering all your equipment, you must now find a place to play. In addition, at home or at work, you can also find places to play in many gyms, recreation centers, or of course local ping pong clubs.


Finally, once everything else is in place, you need someone to play against! It could be your family at home in the game room or your colleagues at lunch. Clubs are also great places to find ping pong friends, and can also give you access to competitions and coaching.
Remember that it takes at least two people to play table tennis, so always give your opponent a firm handshake and a sincere "thank you" for every game you play. After all, without an opponent, you would not have much fun, would you?

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