5 years ago
Table Tennis equipment has come a long way in the last 50 years. From the 1950s when the first Pimples In bat was used to win the World Championships, to the 1970s where there were a few recognised racket coverings and a few manufacturers till now, where you can see that there are 86 ITTF approved suppliers. They of course each have their range of rubber that they produce. Making almost 1200 different racket coverings for you to choose from. Add to this the choices you now have for types of blades and you see that the average table tennis player has some choices to make.
So which one is right for you? As a beginner go for a 'Pimples In' rubber.
So what should you look for in a good rubber and how do you find one that suits you?
Firstly there are 4 main categories of Rubber. Pimples In, Pimples Out, Long Pimples and Anti Spin.
This is the most common type of rubber.
This type of rubber allows you to spin the ball well and also have a reasonable amount of control. The surface rubber allows you to grip the ball. I would recommend this for all beginners. It allows you to generate some topspin and backspin to gain control of your basic strokes. It also reacts to spin to allow you to learn the effects of spin from your opponents.
At the advanced level the Pimples in rubber will allow you to generate great topspin and speed with your strokes and huge amounts of spin on your serves. This type of rubber is used by most players at International level, especially in the Mens game.
Short pimples give you good control of the ball. Because ball is not being contacted by rubber all the way around (there are gaps in the contact in between the pimples), you don’t generate as much spin on the ball. Spin from your opponent also doesn’t have as much affect because once again there are gaps in the contact. This is a good rubber for hitting fast and flat. The ball will tend to go a little straighter at its target rather than in an arc as it would with topspin and therefore get there in a shorter amount of time. So short pimples are good for fast and flat attacking players.
In general 'Long Pimples' reverse the spin that your opponent puts on the ball.
This is a good defensive rubber and also a good rubber to generate some different effects on the ball. The softer contact on the ball makes the rubber good for a defensive chopper. When your opponent plays with a lot of topspin you can chop the ball back and turn their topspin into a lot of backspin. You will find that a lot of defenders use this on their backhand side.
You can also be a close to the table player with long pimples but this is a difficult task. It is very difficult to develop enough control to be able to block or chop the ball close to the table with long pimples. However if you master it, it is extremely effective. One of Australia's top female players Jian Fang Lay confounds opponents with this style of play. Her added advantage is that she uses the penhold grip constantly changes the side she is using from Pimples in to Long Pimples. One of the best proponents of this style that I saw was Lo Chuen Tsung from Hong Kong. In 1985 he reached the semi final of the World Singles championships. He combined deft control and touch with his blocking and backhand chopping from over the table with a deadly forehand topspin that often made you feel like he was likely to take off into space.
Anti Spin rubber deadens the effect of your opponents spin but doesn’t allow you to generate much spin at all yourself. The surface is quite slippery which also means that it is difficult to control the ball. Anti Spin rubber has similar properties to Long Pimples but doesn’t allow you the luxury of generating some spin on the ball. This has decreased in popularity in the past decade. Many players who would have used an anti spin are now using Long Pimples.
As a beginner go for a 'Pimples In' rubber. As you progress you can decide which style suits you. If you are an attacking player that likes to use a lot of topspin, then 'Pimples In' is right for you. If you are a close to the table fast and flat attacking player that likes to use speed rather than spin to beat your opponents, then 'Short Pimples' is your best choice. If you are a defensive player then choose between 'Long Pimples' and 'Anti Spin' remembering 'Long Pimples' allows you the added luxury of generating a bit of spin yourself. Even defensive players will usually use a ‘Pimples In’ rubber for their forehand side and the have the Long Pimples or Anti spin on their backhand.
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