Equipment

Suppliers - YLT Rackets

Article based on a post by Mark Bellamy on the hardbat forum.

Blades by YLT - Mark Bellamy

M

y name is Mark Bellamy (YLT Table Tennis), I have designed and created the two hard bat blades kindly displayed on this forum by Francis Leibenguth last week. To date I have created two blades with a further two being developed for later in the year.

Background:

Hard bat rubber specialists ATP Sport approached me last year to produce an authentic original classic hard bat from the the golden era of table tennis, the 1930's through 1950's. The reason(s) being, they felt, and correctly so, that modern (today's) blades are:

  1. Smaller
  2. Too flexible - in many cases
  3. Less rigid - in many cases
  4. Softer
  5. Quieter

And arguably most important, the modern blades do not make the rubber ATP have painstakingly re-created perform to its maximum potential and / or enjoyment.

The Blades:

Having had the original blades material species identified, my blades too are hand crafted from the finest selected materials available.

Following extensive testing with a variety of ATP Sport hard bat rubber, I am confident that the blades produced, the Master Craftsman and the Magyar, the first in my hard bat series The Tribute Range, perform and sound like authentic hard bats.

Each blade is supplied with its own uniquely numbered owner's card.

Blade Rating — Speed / Control / Weight:

Blade rating is such a subjective topic with so many variables to take into account. Unfortunately, there is no table tennis bench mark that table tennis manufacturer's use to test their products enabling players to compare like for like across brands, rendering modern blade ratings as mere marketing aids.

During the the golden era equipment was possibly regarded as a tool by which the table tennis craftsman applied his trade. Indeed perhaps it was the players themselves that were rated / gauged in terms of style of play, ability, tactical skill, technique, athleticism, ability to expose and maximise opponent weakness, fitness etc. etc., with skill defeating your opponent rather than equipment advantage.

To that end, and to distance myself from modern day terminology, I have not attempted to rate the blades (only the weight which cannot lie) but have chosen to quote original phrases used to promote the different equipment available at the time, as I feel these more accurately reflect what I have produced and are more in keeping with the spirit and true values of hard bat table tennis:

  • Exceptional rigidity without sacrificing lightness.
  • Amazed at the extra speed and perfect ball control.
  • They are craftsman built and have superb balance and feel.
  • Made from the finest selected materials.
  • Used by champions the world over.

Availability:

Both the Master Craftsman and the Magyar are now available direct from me or from Paddle Palace in the US.

Website:

I am in the process of redesigning my website www.yltonline.co.uk which will display the hard bats and accompanying text. I hope the website will be complete by the end of January, mid February latest. In the meantime should any one be interested in the hard bat blades or require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail: mark@yltonline.co.uk

Thanks for taking time to read this lengthy posting.

Kind regards,

Mark Bellamy.
YLT Table Tennis.