I’ve had another question from a table tennis parent, this time regarding equipment. You can view other Q&A posts, and ask me a question yourself, here.
Do people that are playing table tennis regularly keep a spare bat ready to go, or rely on running repairs? My daughter recently had a rubber start to come off her bat, prior to a tournament, and it required some urgent repairs.
Also, many players at clubs appear to only have one blade but to me it seems sensible to have a spare one made up just in case. Does the rubber deteriorate once cut and glued even if not used? Could this be why?”
Most serious players that I encounter do have a spare bat with them. Personally, I always have three bats in my bat case but that’s because I’m a coach. I use my spare bat for all my coaching (to save the rubbers of my competition bat) and I have a third bat to give out to any players that manage to forget theirs (this happens at pretty much every session I run because I work in a school).
Many table tennis bat cases, such as the one to your right, are “double wallets” meaning they have space to accommodate two bats. So, it appears that the equipment companies, at least, are assuming that many players will carry a spare.
However, you will find that most players (excluding the top ones or the wealthy ones) have an old blade and used rubbers as their spare bat. It’s a bat that could be used in an emergency but would be far from ideal. Few seem to have an identical copy of their competition bat.
I think that the majority of the top players have practice-only bats and competition-only bats and many play each tournament with fresh rubbers. In the old speed glue days I believe this was much worse with some of the top players changing rubbers pretty much every single day!
I would recommend that you carry some kind of spare bat, just in case. You don’t really want to be carrying glue around with you all the time or having to play with a friends bat if anything was to happen to yours. Ideally, it should be similar to the bat you are used to playing with. If you can afford it, there is no reason not to make up two identical bats and use one for practice and one for competitions. I don’t think the rubbers will deteriorate very much if they are left untouched.
I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please leave a comment below. Thanks for a great question Richard!