Why change rubber?
Rubber wears out because we use it! So the more you play the quicker it will wear out! As rubber ages, its ‘optimum’ playing characteristics deteriorate. Shocking Fact! Manufacturer’s estimate the ‘lifetime’ of a rubber to be 50 – 90 playing hours, but don’t panic! Most competitive players change their reverse or long pimple rubber within 12 months. Short pimples or anti spin rubbers last longer. However, the longer you leave it to replace your rubber you will feel a more obvious difference in speed and spin when using a new sheet. If you play a lot or participate at a fairly competitive level and want to maintain consistency of speed, spin and control, you should change the rubber when you feel a lack of response. Teses are the facts but essentially it is down to you.
Here are some quick glance rubber facts:
– 1 x sheet of rubber will recover 1 side of the blade.
– Rubber is priced per individual sheet.
– 99% all rubbers is available in Red or Black.
– Sponge thickness is measured in ‘millimetres’.
Select the correct rubber.
OK – we have been deluged with many new developments and it may feel overpowering. However ‘stay calm’ as these new technology advancements are exciting and their contribution to players at all levels really is positive. Choosing the right equipment will not only ‘notch up’ more wins but will also maximize your enjoyment. Carefully read the following information and apply it to your own game style to get the best possible advantages on offer for your game.
What equates to control? You’ll get many answers to this question! For one player it may mean accurate ball placement in short strokes, for another it means the ability to perform long topspins or safely return a service. We can categorically state that ‘rubber control’ cannot be measured and answered objectively. However we players want pointing in some direction so manufacturers provide us with their subjective guidelines based on the physics of C.O.R. (coefficient of restitution). This test works out the ratio of difference in the velocities between two colliding objects. This is really the only scientific input we can provide for you. As there are many other elements involved such as rubber type, sponge thickness, sponge density, blade choice and of course player ability, an exact measurement is impossible. Even the way you ‘hold’ your bat has an influence over control and spin. Your own control capability will naturally increase the more you practice. Therefore when choosing rubber, concentrate on understanding your own unique game style and ability. The higher the speed and spin values are, the more difficult it could be to direct the ball to where you want. Recent developments in various rubber technologies have improved the control possibilities within much faster rubbers. It’s now possible for a larger spectrum of players to use more powerful and exciting rubbers and to still feel ‘in control’.
Sponge thickness – get the measure of it
When striking the ball, sponge behaves almost like a ‘trampoline” and it catapults the ball back out. Therefore thicker sponges play quicker and offer less control while thinner sponges play slower providing more time with the ball and better control. Consider adjusting the sponge thickness to suit either side of you game if required.
Sponge THICKNESS vs rubber SPEED guideline
SLOW MEDIUM FAST VERY FAST
OX – 1.4mm 1.5mm – 1.9.mm 2.0mm – 2.2mm 2.3mm
Defence Allround Topspin Attack Speed Attack
Rubber Surfaces – the different types
This is the most popular choice as it will accommodate an extensive variety of stroke play. Modern table tennis has benefited from many technical advantages in rubber development, which has provided benefits to all standards of play. Highly tensioned surfaces support forceful and high spin orientated players while flexible elasticised rubber allows greater horizontal movement under the balls pressure, resulting in increased levels of spin.
Tacky Reverse Rubber
This surface provides extra control and assists in playing spin shots. The ball requires spin to start and complete its trajectory: e.g. topspin pulls it down onto the table while backspin pulls it back into the table. Players who are naturally weak at generating spin will feel improved lift and rotation. Tacky rubbers combine the best of both spin and speed at the same time.
Sticky Reverse Rubber
Sticky surfaces really do hold the ball back and have the longest dwell time. They offer great control but can feel slow. They are best suited to slow high top spinners, blockers and a controlled spin defence game. Hard sponge versions are great for over the table play while the soft sponge versions suit high spin defence.
This surface suits quick close to the table play and is used most effectively by reactive counter attackers. Although it generates a lot less spin than a reverse surface it has good capacity for absorbing spin and is capable of changing the return rhythm. Tensor versions provide more spin making advantages.
A famous solution and definitely the most emotive surface in table tennis! Ahh the answer to our aging legs but young minds! Their purpose is to combat spin and deliver spin reversal. This is possible in varying degrees and there is a wide pimple choice available. Choose this rubber type if you want to wobble the ball and alter its trajectory, causing deception and confusion. It’s not a simple solution to restricted movement or lack of spin returning ability but you will have fun and achieve some serious victories with it!
A ‘no grip’ surface developed in the 70′ to combat and nullify spin. Your returns will create confusion for your opponent. Not quite as effective as long pimples but possibly easier to play with. It is not an active surface therefore you will not be able to produce your own spin.
The original surface of table tennis! Used by the great players of the past such as Victor Barna and Richard Bergmann. Back then, many theatres up and down the country were filled with fervent spectators of this fantastic sport! This short pimple has linen backing and generally suits ‘Hard Bat’ players who play in the style of the past.
Speed and Spin Ratings
Simply put, the higher the speed and spin rating the more control you will need. When choosing, consider your game style for forehand and backhand separately. The ratings should be viewed as ‘subjective guidelines’ and are there to help you choose rubbers that are best suited to your game style.
Caring for your Rubber
How you care for the rubber will determine its effectiveness. Try not to touch the rubber surface because you will transfer sweat and oil from your fingers. Rubber does not like direct heat or the extreme cold as these elements will damage its durability and performance. It is recommended that you clean your bat often using a suitable cleaner and protect your bat in a suitable case when not in use.
Rubber is sold per sheet which covers one side of the bat. Therefore if you require to recover your blade you will need to order 2 x sheets of rubber. You will also require glue and a 1 bat side edge tape which are sold separately.