Every player you encounter plays at a different speed. Players have a range of speed that they are relatively comfortable with. Some players will attempt to slow down their opponents. Others will try to overpower them with their own fast shots. I had the chance to do a little speeding this week. One of my students uses maximum thickness Tenergy and was kind enough to let me borrow his turbo charged paddle for one game. My opponent was someone who I have won matches against in the past, but I usually had to work a lot harder. Rallies were over awfully fast. I did have to consider whether I would have more success if I went to what seemed like a ridiculously fast paddle.
I know there’s a downside to a racket that’s too fast; but there’s a downside to being too slow as well. It’s possible to make strong shots even with a slow racket, just like driving fast in an economy car. It’s possible; but eventually you’ll burn up the engine. As a general rule, I would always prefer spin over speed. Good placement can make up for some lack of power, at least a little bit. But, truly great shots have spin, perfect placement, and overwhelming speed. A good choice for a paddle is one that is on the edge of being too fast but doesn’t cross that line. It remains a struggle to try to compete against players who can make overwhelmingly fast shots. But, there are other ways to get points than through pure power. It’s even possible to use your opponent’s speed against them. It’s a lot of fun to make those super speedy shots; but it’s at least as enjoyable to outmaneuver a more powerful player. I’m trying to incorporate a bit more speed into my game. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, but I prefer to use water.