What's In My Table Tennis Bag?
Have you ever seen one of those blog posts about some celebrity’s handbag and the things that you can find inside it? If you haven’t yet, it just basically involves going through each item and explaining its uses and how essential it is to the owner and the owners are often asked the question “What items can’t you live without?”
Well.. What if we make our own version? What if we asked you table tennis players “What’s in your tennis tennis bag and what items can’t you live without?”
We would like to assume that the items below are just some of them!
You know what can annoy your coach the most? It is when you say “Coach, sorry but I forgot my racket at home.” Well, it should be obvious why!
Your table tennis racket is the most important equipment you will ever need and you can never walk into the training room or into the playing court without it otherwise it’s like running into battle without your sword and full battle gear on. Never mind if you forget to bring your playing shoes to the tournament as you can always borrow your teammate’s (as unhygienic as it sounds, but it’s your fault). But when you forget your racket, you can never borrow someone else’s. Actually you can, but be ready for the consequences.
Table tennis rackets vary in several aspects (weight, type, speed, control, etc) especially because they are assembled according to the playing style of the player – meaning your racket is specifically made for you. So when you forget to bring the racket that you have been using in training to a tournament and resort to using someone else’s, chances are it will have a different feel and it can affect your performance. Because no matter how good you are, the transition from using your own racket to another’s cannot be done by doing a few drills before the game. It takes a lot of practice to get used to a racket so never ever leave your house without your racket in your bag!
Scared you might damage your blade and scratch your rubbers while inside you bag? Do not fret because there are several convenient and not to mention stylish racket cases you can always choose from!
Tournament organisers always provide official tournament balls but if you are up for a few drills before the actual game, it is always best to carry your own. No need to worry about squeezing and destroying the balls while in your bag as you can always purchase ball containers to protect them.
Ping pong balls vary in quality and there are only specific balls that the International Table Tennis Federation allow for official games. The number of stars determines the quality of the ball and the grade ranges from one (1) to three (3) stars.
If you are just going for multi-ball training and drilling exercises, using one-star and two-star balls will do since you will be needing a lot of them and they are way cheaper than the three-star ones. These balls are generally soft and can easily break when hit hard but nonetheless they are can substitute three-star balls for friendly and unofficial matches. Three-star balls on the other hand are the highest quality balls and are the only kind the ITTF allows for official matches.
So if you are a serious player of table tennis, you pretty much know the kind of ball you should be carrying with you all the time!
So we were saying that you can always borrow your teammate’s shoes if you forget to bring yours… or maybe not really, that is why I am sure you will agree that it’s still best to carry and wear your own.
It is common knowledge that table tennis requires a lot of footwork and lateral movement and one of the factors that allow table tennis players to improve this skill is the kind of shoes that they wear. (Interested in improving your footwork? You might want to check this article out!)
Some people might get away with wearing normal kinds of rubber shoes and sneakers while playing the sport but serious players would know that there are several factors to consider when choosing the perfect shoes – the level of grip, the weight and cushioning and the price.
To be able to move quickly and properly, the shoes you are playing in should have gum soles that have anti-slip provisions and can grip the floor well. This will prevent you from slipping as you shift weight and prepare for your next move.
At the same time, it should be lightweight and have comfortable cushioning that will allow your feet to breathe. Since we all feel anxious and nervous when competing, the last thing that we’ll need during those times are painful and uncomfortable shoes to play in, right?
Another thing to consider is the price of the shoes. The price range for table tennis shoes can vary depending on the brand and technology. There are cheap pairs that are decent enough but you can always invest on top-of-the-range ones if you have the budget.
Extra Shirts and Towel
How many hours do spend on each training session? 3 hours? 4 hours? Well, can you imagine just how sweaty you can get?
As an athlete, you should know how important it is not to leave your sweaty training shirt on. You have to have extra shirts and towels with you every time you step into the training gym not only because hanging out in your sweaty training shirt is unhygienic, but also because it can have bad effects on your skin and health.
We are sure your coach will agree on this one. Coaches cannot afford to have a sick player who will not be able to join training for a couple of days. So if you do not want to be stinky and get pneumonia and skip training, always carry extra pieces of shirts and towel in you bag.
Wondering where you can get these light, comfortable and stylish dri-fit shirts? We have several pingpong apparel to offer here!
Table tennis rubbers do not really need to be re-glued to the blade every training session but you want to be ready in case the need arises. It is therefore convenient to carry a bottle of rubber glue in your bag with you all the time.
Clearly, the reason table tennis players would re-glue their rubber is when some areas of the rubber sponge start to detach and fall off the blade. When rubbers start to detach, it results to air pockets between the rubber and the blade and this could affect and downgrade the performance of the racket.
There are different kinds of rubber glue and the most common ones are the speed glue and water-based glue. Speed glue can increase the speed of table tennis rubbers but it got banned in 2007 because it contains substances that are harmful to humans and the environment. Since then, people switched to using water-based glue. This kind of glue provides short drying time and can be easily removed from the blade when you want to change or re-glue rubbers.
Cleaning Solutions and Sponge
Table tennis rubbers do not come cheap and sure enough you want to keep it in good condition for as long as possible. Unfortunately, dust and dirt get on the surface and this downgrades the performance of the rubber as it becomes slippery and dirt prevents the ball from gripping on it. So how do we avoid this and get that dirt off our precious rubbers?
You can get away with using water and a normal piece of cloth clean your rubber but this method might not preserve the quality of it. Good thing there are available rubber cleaner solutions and sponges that can do the job!
Rubber cleaning solutions can effectively remove dust and grime off your rubber and they can also extend the durability and firmness of it. And with the use of cleaning sponges and brushes (for pimpled rubbers), you can also avoid the tendency of damaging scratching the rubber’s surface.
It is always better to carry these items with you and not just leave them in the gym lockers. Whether you are training or competing, your rubber gets dirty just the same. So never remove them from you training bags!
No cleaning equipment yet? No worries! You are just one click away from them!
The items mentioned above are necessary for table tennis players but for athletes in general, we believe that there are other things that should come handy all the time, just like the items below.
Injuries are an inevitable part of being an athlete and this is the reason why medics are always present during tournaments and competitions. However, when you are training, say inside the campus or at training centers, first aid services might not always be available, therefore, it is also important to always prepare and have your own first-aid kit with you.
It does not have to be the typical first-aid kit that we know. You can always eliminate some items that might only take up space in your bag. But some of the items that we think should be in the kit are these: bandages, muscle spray and muscle tape.
Bandages can be used to cover blisters. Table tennis players do a lot of footwork exercises and they usually suffer from blisters because of too much friction between their feet and shoes. Sometimes they also get blisters on the palm of their hand because of their tight grip and from holding on to their racket during trainings for several hours. Fortunately, covering blisters with a bandage can minimize the pain and protect the skin from being damaged. So it is always good to have them in your training bags.
Muscle tapes on the other hand offer substantial muscle support for athletes especially when they encounter muscle injury in the middle of an event or training. Muscle tapes are usually applied to help stabilize and hold together affected muscle to prevent further damage allowing athletes to continue and maintain performance. Aside from tapes, athletes can also use muscle spray-on pain relievers for aching muscles and joints. Since it is normal for athletes to get their muscles overworked, spray-0n painkillers should always be present in their bags.
Since it is not advisable to eat heavy meals before training, athletes should always have some snacks in their bags. It could be anything that can give them energy but as an athlete myself I prefer carrying bananas and hard boiled eggs.
When athletes work their muscles and sweat, the potassium present in their body gets depleted and this event could lead to an increase in blood pressure. Good thing bananas are rich in this mineral and they can support an athlete’s body energy requirement. They are also an instant source of iron and vitamin C that help transport oxygen throughout the body allowing it to perform strenuous activities. Hard boiled eggs on the other hand are rich in protein that allow muscle building and development. They also contain vitamin D that strengthen bones and develop endurance – exactly what athletes need in order to perform.
So if each of your practice sessions lasts for several hours, it is best to bring some snacks so that you will not run out of energy!
Honestly, we do not really need to expound on this part. As an athlete, you need to stay energised and hydrated. During training and competition, you need to drink as much water as possible to regulate your body temperature and lubricate your joints. Our body needs water in order to perform at it’s highest level so never leave the house without your water container in you bag!
So that’s just about it! We hope we didn’t forget anything else. But in case we did, feel free to comment and share what else you think is important to have in our bags all the time! 🙂