Lily Zhang Tries New JOOLA Equipment
- ARTICLES BY LILY ZHANG, Blades, Equipment, EQUIPMENT REVIEW, Rubbers

Lily Zhang’s JOOLA Equipment Journey

When I first changed sponsorships to JOOLA, I recognized that finding the right equipment for me might be a process – one that I knew I needed to be patient during.

My playing style and my usual equipment choices are actually quite unique. Since I first picked up a table tennis racket at the age of seven, my hands were very small and every racket I held was rather large and heavy. Consequently, my coach at the time helped me select a paddle that was very light, slender, and thin, so I could manage during the practice sessions and matches without seriously injuring myself. Ever since then, I have always and still prefer thin and light rackets, even though it’s 16 years later and I am (hopefully) much stronger and more capable.

Furthermore, my backhand is one of my strengths and an important asset in my game, so it was imperative to find the right rubber and racket to complement this aspect. I normally play very fast and close to the table and I knew I wanted an offensive-offensive extreme carbon blade that possessed extreme speed. As for my rubbers, I also wanted noticeably fast rubbers on both sides, but more importantly, I needed more spin so I would be able to control the ball carefully. It’s important to balance speed with control, otherwise the ball would be blindly flying all over the court without any stability or accuracy.

Therefore, my JOOLA equipment journey commenced with the JOOLA Energon Super PBO-c blade along with the JOOLA Rhyzer Pro 50 rubber on the forehand and the JOOLA Rhyzer 48 on the backhand. My friend and teammate Jennifer Wu recommended it to me, as she is currently using the same blade with the Rhyzer Pro 50 on the forehand. We have similar all-around attacking styles, so I considered that this combination might be suitable for me as well.

When I first started using the equipment pair in practice, I actually had a fairly pleasant experience. Particularly, I noticed that the blade was exceptionally reliable during rallies where I found myself a bit further back from the table and was using more power in my strokes. Not only did I feel more explosiveness in each strike, but I also felt surprisingly in control of the ball and its placement. My only hesitation with the JOOLA Energon PBO-c blade was that my game doesn’t depend on being further away from the table. Moreover, it was much heavier than my previous blade, which was something I could possibly become accustomed to in the future, but I also thought that perhaps there was something out there that could fit me better.

The second blade I tested was the JOOLA Zelebro PBO-c blade paired with the JOOLA Rhyzer Pro 50 on the forehand and the JOOLA Rhyzer 43 on the backhand. Although I had always used harder rubbers in the past, I just wanted to give a softer rubber on the backhand a try since my backhand is normally very fast and softer rubbers usually produce more speed and bounce. However, I didn’t find this to be very advantageous in my case. Yes – the ball flew toward the other side of the table with extraordinary acceleration, but the rubbers didn’t generate as much spin as I would’ve liked for my game. With this in mind, I decided I needed to exclusively work with harder rubbers in the future.

The next blade I opted to try out was the JOOLA Nobilis PBO-c Blade along with the Rhyzer Pro 50 rubbers on both my forehand and backhand. As soon as I held the blade, I instantly felt much more comfortable with the grip. The handle was slim and the blade was perfectly light – the only issue now was would it suit my playing style?

JOOLA Nobilis PBO-c Blade
JOOLA Nobilis PBO-c Blade featuring JOOLA’s signature PBO+Carbon technology

When I began warming up with this combination during the practice session, I immediately sighed a breath of relief. This racket, paired with the harder rubbers, finally embodied the exact speed, control, and spin that I had been looking for. The JOOLA Nobilis blade uses PBO-c Carbon technology, which gives the blade its fast/extreme speed. Furthermore, the construction of the blade allows for prolonged ball contact time, necessary to be able to control the ball with precision, even during high speed rallies. Finally, the JOOLA Rhyzer Pro 50 rubbers were ideal for me since they supplied extreme spin on the ball, all the while still being fast enough for my own quick and close to the table playing style.

This was it. Finally, after months of trying various types of blades and rubbers, I have now found the JOOLA equipment perfectly suited for me – the JOOLA Nobilis PBO-c blade paired with Rhyzer Pro 50 rubbers on both forehand and backhand. With the perfect weight, handle shape, speed, power, control, and spin, I am confident that my game can only go up from here.

Lily Zhang

About Lily Zhang

Lily is a JOOLA sponsored table tennis athlete. She has traveled all over the world, representing the United States in international tournaments. Some of her biggest successes include representing the United States in the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics. She is also a 4x U.S. National Champion, a Pan American Games Gold Medalist, and a Youth Olympic Games Bronze Medalist. Lily graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently pursuing a professional table tennis career in Germany.
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