It’s easy to get enamoured by the latest Tensor technology and the bright packaging of the Butterfly Tenergy series, but this equipment is usually not suitable for most people, especially players at the amateur/intermediate level.
My own personal rule is that nobody with a USATT rating under 1900 (or isn’t being coached) should be using very high-speed equipment like the Butterfly Tenergy 05 or an OFF+ rated blade. If you’re a developing player, or are in the market for your first competition-grade racket, pay attention.
It’s all about control
At lower levels, what you need is control, not speed. Most people can generate all of the power they need through good technique. The major problem that I see in developing players is that they get a high-speed carbon racket with Tenergy on both sides, and then can’t control their racket. The ball flies too far, serve returns are always long or high, and they end up looping with half-strokes because a full stroke would send the ball off the table.
For your own good, choose a medium speed racket with well-rounded characteristics, something like:
- Speed: 6 – 8.5 out of 10
- Spin: 8 – 9 out of 10
- Control: 8 – 10 out of 10
- Tackiness: zero to 7 out of 10
- Sponge thickness: 1.8mm to 2.0mm
Moderate speed and spin will give you more control and boost your confidence. As your confidence goes up and you swing with command, your technique will develop faster. Also, avoid highly tacky rubbers as they don’t suit every style, whereas a non-tacky up to medium-tacky rubber can be used for any stroke. You can’t flat smash with much power with a fully tacky rubber. Furthermore, a thinner sponge will reduce the punch on incoming and outgoing shots, allowing you to commit fully to an aggressive stroke. When you can swing your hardest on attack shots and expect it to land with consistency, that’s when you’re ready to get faster equipment. No sooner.
Here are some recommended blades and rubbers that you can’t go wrong with.
Using what Timo Boll uses doesn’t magically make you a professional, in most cases it makes you worse. Choose what suits you now and you’ll develop your game much faster!