The equipment used for table tennis is so basic, you would think there was no way of streamlining it further... There’s a table, a net, a ball and two bare-bones paddles - what could you possibly get rid of? As it turns out, those paddles don’t really need their handles. And according to the makers of Brodmann Blades, eliminating the handle and sticking your hand inside the paddle will make you a better player.

Each Broadmann Blade consists of two paddle faces, a front and a back, with a gap between them. You just insert your hand in the gap between the faces (sandwich-style), stick your thumb through the thumb hole on the side, and wear it like a glove.

Why is this this a good idea? According to the company website, there are several reasons. First of all, they say, the Blades are more comfortable than traditional paddles because you’re not constantly clutching a handle. You also get a lot more sensory feedback, as you can feel exactly where and how the ball hits the paddle. They’re also supposedly more intuitive, as you just move your hand towards the ball, as opposed to allowing for a paddle that sticks out from your hand. The result of these benefits, we’re told, include better ball control, a faster, easier game, and a superior backhand.

Broadmann Blades are not yet approved for international competition, although they apparently received a good reaction when recently presented to the International Table Tennis Federation. Company representative Fredi Brodmann told us that they expect the ITTF to approve the Blades later this year.

If you’re interested in picking up a pair, they only come in a set that includes two paddles, four balls, two toweled wristbands and a carrying case. The whole thing costs $US100, and is available through several retailers listed on the Brodmann Blades website.