The article by Frederick Dreier charts the decline of excitement in table tennis due to sponge paddles than can cost hundreds of dollars and make rallies shorter, by tracing the story of Marty Reisman–Table Tennis Nation’s founder and a huge opponent of expensive, tricky, sponge paddles–and the rise of the Table Tennis Nation paddle “designed for power rather than spin” and the option to customize these world class paddles with PaddleYou:
Rec room historians love to tell the tale of Marty Reisman, the skinny Jewish kid from Manhattan’s Lower East Side who entered that year’s Table Tennis World Championships in Bombay as the front-runner. Standing in Reisman’s way was the little-known Japanese player Hiroji Satoh, who used an unorthodox paddle fashioned with spongy rubber on each side. Unlike the hard paddles of the day, the sponge allowed Satoh to manipulate the ball with vicious spins, flummoxing his opponents. With his competitive advantage, Satoh handily beat Reisman en route to the world title.
The article goes on to describe how we’re here to take what worked in the past, and evolve it into the 21st century with a customizable paddle designed to make the game easier AND help you beat players with expensive paddles:
In New York City, Reisman’s vision has continued at a more grass roots level. In 2007 he founded the company Table Tennis Nation alongside former elite player and entrepreneur Tony Ettinger to produce simple sandpaper paddles for mass distribution.
The group now manufactures sandpaper paddles that are designed to make the game easier for novice players. The face of the sandpaper paddle is 25% bigger than that of a competition-grade sponge paddle. Layered wood and a carbon-fiber interior also create a bigger “sweet spot.” It costs just $30, and players can customize designs on the paddle’s face.
Ettinger claims the paddle also neutralizes spin from sponge paddles.
“A $300 sponge paddle tries to shorten the rallies,” Ettinger said. “Our paddle is designed to make it easier to return the ball.”
Table Tennis Nation promotes hardbat play at bars and restaurants around the city, and the upscale table-tennis club SPIN, with amateur tournaments it calls Brawls. It also holds regular competitions at the headquarters of various tech startups, where ping pong tables have become regular office furniture.
The company’s paddle, however, won’t be seen at international tournament soon. The International Table Tennis Federation bans sandpaper paddles, requiring all players to use sponge.
What’s more, Dr. Michael Babuin, chairman of USA Table Tennis, basically admits the organizing bodies of table tennis have no interest in making the game easier or more exciting for fans and those who like the fun side of the sport, “They are not in the business of promoting sandpaper bats, they are in the business of promoting higher-dollar bats,” while admitting that Table Tennis Nation is the answer, noting “there is no better way to bring people into the sport.”
The article even touches on the World Championship of Ping Pong that based their paddle on the Table Tennis Nation racket:
This past January, veteran English sports promoter Barry Hearn organized the World Championships of Ping Pong at the Alexandra Palace in London. The stock-car style tournament forced players to use sandpaper paddles.
Hearn, who has helped snooker, fishing and darts become mainstream televised sports in Great Britain, got the idea after meeting Reisman in 2009. Hearn saw images of Reisman playing at the Garden in the early 1950s in front of 20,000 fans and saw potential.
“For once in my life, I looked backward rather than forward in history, and I found out that current table tennis had no television appeal,” Hearn said. “The rallies are too short. It lacks athleticism. It’s just not big enough.”
The Table Tennis Nation paddle is amazing and the pictures in the article are customized Table Tennis Nation paddles which were made with PaddleYou. The PaddleYou process doesn’t change the way the paddles play and makes the world’s most played sport even more interesting. We’re honored to be developing the future of table tennis and to be recognized by the Wall Street Journal for our efforts (check out the full article). We want to make the game better for all players by developing fun ping pong paddles, that make the game easier and more exciting, and help grow the world’s most played sport.
Pick up a Table Tennis Nation paddle now, or design your own using PaddleYou technology below which will help you play better AND have a one of a kind paddle, and start experiencing the best version of ping pong.
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