Sunday, October 23, 2011

New and old Tenergy

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
Sometimes deterioration over time is subtle. For example, you age a little bit each day, those around you don't notice. But for others who haven't seen you for years, the difference can be quite shocking.

A few days ago, I put on a new sheet of rubber on my table tennis paddle. I felt it was time: the older sheet was 5 months old, and perhaps it was just me, but I felt it had lost a bit too much of its spring and surface friction characteristics (for generating spin). In short, it was limiting my play.

(I practice two or three times a week for about 2 hour at a time to maintain my game. Plus take coaching lessons and play in a round robin once about every two months in an attempt to improve it. You can do the math but I probably have about 150 hours on the old sheet.)

So I glued on a brand new sheet of Tenergy 05. Boy, oh boy oh boy... watta a difference!

Having gotten used to the slow deterioration of the surface of the rubber, the new sheet felt like a rocket. In fact, it felt so uncomfortably fast I think it was hindering rather than helping my game. I was swinging hesistantly, didn't feel I had good control and forever adjusting my stroke on the fly. Can't I have a sheet of half-worn Tenergy instead?

(I even entertained thoughts of getting a slower blade than my fancy high-tech marvel, the Butterfly Innerforce ZLC: layers of ZL fiber/carbon for speed/power sandwiched by wonderfully soft feeling wood for good touch.)

At $75 (retail) a sheet, or $150 per blade (since I glued on two sheets, one for backhand, one for forehand), you'll understand why I tend to use it until way past its lifetime. Unfortunately, that's a really bad idea because of the effects on stroke mechanics.

Can you tell the difference just by looking at the surfaces? (Ignore the frayed edges.)

As I said, the difference in playing characteristics is readily apparent and huge. Or to paraphrase Dr. McCoy immortal catchphrase, "It's dead, Jim."

A couple of close up shots, can you see which is old, worn and tired, and which is new?

1 comment: