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Table tennis rubber is the surface that comes in contact with the ball, thus playing an essential role in delivering strikes. In this article, we will discuss the rubber types, sponge & sponge thickness, and how these factors affect one’s playing style.
- Smooth: This is also known as the “inverted” rubber. The rubber’s surface is smooth with an underneath layer of sponge. 85% of table tennis players joining tournaments held by ITTF use smooth rubber.
- Short Pips: It is also known as the “pimple” rubber. How to use short pips on the blade is opposite to using the smooth rubber, in which the short spikes come in contact with the ball. Underneath the short pips is a layer of sponge. Short pips rubber is suitable for these playing styles: lose-to-table, all-around, and defensive styles. Short pips also have an advantage in offering more control, especially for beginners having difficulty playing against spin.
- Long Pips: The pips on this rubber are longer than the short pips one. When the ball touches the pips, it causes the pips to sink deeper. Therefore, these extra-long pips can facilitate the opponent’s spin reversal. In the competition, athletes do not use long pips, or if they do, they only use this rubber for one side of the paddle. It is not recommended for beginners to use long pips because it is more important to learn how to read the spin and improve other necessary skills.
- No sponge: Like short pips, except for it does not have a layer of sponge underneath. This rubber is ideal for hitting fast shots with high speed. Yet, it is an unpopular type of rubber.
- Anti-topspin: Neutralize the opponent’s spinning speed. However, shots made by anti-topspin do not generate much spin, and their speed is slow. Anti-topspin rubber is best for using penhold paddles. Or, players can use it on one side of the paddle, then the other side with a different rubber.
Sponge thickness influences the rubber’s speed.
- Thinner sponge: The sponge is lighter and has a woodier feel, thus offering more control.
- Thicker sponge: The weight is heavier, providing more speed and spin while giving a somewhat more cushioned feeling.
Offensive players prefer 1.8 to 2.5mm thickness, while all-round players prefer 1.5 to 2.0mm. Defensive players commonly prefer OX (no sponge) to 1.6mm, and loopers prefer thicker sponge. For choppers, they tend to go for the thinner sponge. Also, developing players or those who need more control should opt for the sponge thickness on the thinner end of the range that goes well with their playing styles.
- Speed: The scale is from 1 to 100. The higher it is, the faster the speed is. European standard: 79.
- Spin: The scale is from 1 to 100. The higher it is, the more spin is generated. European standard: 79.
- Control: The scale is from 1 to 100. The higher it is, the more control is provided. European standard: 80
- Hardness: The scale is from 1 to 100. The higher it is, the harder the rubber is. European standards: 40 – 50
- Sponge Thickness: Max
In conclusion, rubber is a crucial part of complete paddles. It greatly affects the quality of each shot and how the professional table tennis players perform. If you are looking for the best table tennis rubber, it is almost impossible to recommend the best product as there is only the most suitable rubber, not the best one.