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PostPosted: 20 May 2018, 03:51 
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Konkrete wrote:
The trouble with going towards the frictionless end of equipment is that you become very vulnerable to intelligent players - see sitting ducks for details. That’s why ultimately to improve you need sponge.


You do not need sponge to improve. Look at high-end level players like Ronel Davidov, Gustaf Ericson, Manika Batra or Sebastian Sauer. They play with no sponge. You need to learn how to play against no spin, to which you're indeed more vulnerable without sponge, but you're by no means a "sitting duck."

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PostPosted: 20 May 2018, 16:14 
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TraditionalTradesman wrote:
Konkrete wrote:
The trouble with going towards the frictionless end of equipment is that you become very vulnerable to intelligent players - see sitting ducks for details. That’s why ultimately to improve you need sponge.


You do not need sponge to improve. Look at high-end level players like Ronel Davidov, Gustaf Ericson, Manika Batra or Sebastian Sauer. They play with no sponge. You need to learn how to play against no spin, to which you're indeed more vulnerable without sponge, but you're by no means a "sitting duck."


Agree entirely. Table tennis, especially when material comes into it, is a lot like playing a well-balanced computer game / simulation. The best example I can think of is Starcraft. In Starcraft, there are three 'races' you can play - one is basically human, with recognisable tech, and broadly balanced advantages and disadvantages. One is a very advanced 'alien' race, with a lot of advanced but expensive tech, and one is a much more primitive-seeming 'alien race', with very little tech, but prolific growth capabilities. Playing each race requires knowledge and skills which are different from each other, but the game is incredibly well-balanced - there's no advantage in playing one race over another - they just require different strategies and approaches.

Table tennis is the same. It is demonstrably possible to reach a very high level with no sponge, but you need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages. You need to build your game around creating opportunities to use your strengths, and avoiding your weaknesses, and you need to be aware of the ways your opponents will try to target what they perceive to be shortcomings in your equipment and technique. Make sure you have an approach, and practice it, explicitly. Playing with OX pimples is no less/more flawed as an approach that playing with 2 x inverted - it's like the difference between playing Zerg and Terran. They require radically different skills and tactics, but neither is inherently better.

There are lots of posts on this fine forum with clear guidance on how to handle 'no spin' shots, or other kinds of "anti pips' strategies. Coming across a player who has learned or developed such counter-strategies does not in any way make an OX LP player a "sitting duck". The player is a sitting duck only insofar as they haven't worked on their own counter-strategies.

The idea that meeting an "intelligent" player means it's game over, so we need sponge is absolutely preposterous.... unless the person meeting the "intelligent" player is also very lazy and very stupid.

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PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 17:24 
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TraditionalTradesman wrote:
Konkrete wrote:
The trouble with going towards the frictionless end of equipment is that you become very vulnerable to intelligent players - see sitting ducks for details. That’s why ultimately to improve you need sponge.


You do not need sponge to improve. Look at high-end level players like Ronel Davidov, Gustaf Ericson, Manika Batra or Sebastian Sauer. They play with no sponge. You need to learn how to play against no spin, to which you're indeed more vulnerable without sponge, but you're by no means a "sitting duck."


Well that very much depends on how you interpret the question. If you’re mainly a club playing 70/80% passive blocker with a bit of attack somewhere then you’re vulnerable. If, on the other hand, you’re a high end world ranked attacker with a predominant forehand loop then less so. Just because a player is top end with LP ox doesn’t mean they play a style that matches many on here.

Sponge gives you options but the trade off is less easy points. Work and practice are the answer to progression whatever style you adopt.


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PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 20:02 
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Konkrete wrote:
If you’re mainly a club playing 70/80% passive blocker with a bit of attack somewhere then you’re vulnerable.


That has nothing to do with the equipment. It has to do with technique and strategy. You indicated that using OX pips makes a player a sitting duck against intelligent players, and that in order to improve, using sponge is mandatory.

On the contrary, as you subequently say yourself:

Quote:
Work and practice are the answer to progression whatever style you adopt.


There absolutely no reason why a club player can't put in some work to develop tactics and skills to allow them to have an answer against 'intelligent' players. They can do that regardless of whether they put any sponge under their pips. The two are entirely unrelated.

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PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 23:45 
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LordCope wrote:
Konkrete wrote:
If you’re mainly a club playing 70/80% passive blocker with a bit of attack somewhere then you’re vulnerable.


That has nothing to do with the equipment. It has to do with technique and strategy. You indicated that using OX pips makes a player a sitting duck against intelligent players, and that in order to improve, using sponge is mandatory.

On the contrary, as you subequently say yourself:

Quote:
Work and practice are the answer to progression whatever style you adopt.


There absolutely no reason why a club player can't put in some work to develop tactics and skills to allow them to have an answer against 'intelligent' players. They can do that regardless of whether they put any sponge under their pips. The two are entirely unrelated.


Not sure why you’re taking the tone you are, or twisting my words into absolutes which I’m not suggesting, this is a friendly forum isn’t it? I feel under attack here!

By and large I don’t disagree with what you say at all. In theory I suppose you could be world champion playing OX blocking style with enough work. But I don’t think that theory is at the centre of the issue. The reality is somewhat different for most club players.

One of the big drawbacks of OX blocking is when you are pinned down with fast or slow no spin balls. It’s a frequent topic of ‘sitting duckery’ on this forum and others. Especially for passive players, of which there are many, who rely on that. My point is, and in answer to the original question posed, is that in using sponge then so you have more ability to affect the game yourself. OX is great, and it can take you a long way blocking as I’ve experienced, but it is only unpredictable up to a point. After that it becomes entirely predictable. Sponge takes that predictability away because you can change the spin yourself. I guess that’s why the top LP players in the world play with sponge. I’ve no idea who the world’s top LP blocker is as I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, Solja briefly but I think she went to anti. Using sponge also means that you can’t just play passively but have to develop your strokes and spin perception. Which in themselves are good things.

FWIW, I’ve played LP for 20yrs + both with OX and sponge so whether you agree with me or not my opinion does have some experience behind it.


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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 00:56 
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The best ox pips blockers in Sweden (at least three who plays in third highest league) uses Yasaka Phantom 0012 (or is it 0011?). When that rubber gets old it looses grip. But pips don’t break that easy. So I guess thre are ways to make the old rather fast... The one I looked at and felt had pips as hard and frictionless as my frictionless anti. An experienced umpire would not accept that rubber... I have no idea how the rubber plays when new though...

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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 01:21 
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Konkrete wrote:
LordCope wrote:
Konkrete wrote:
If you’re mainly a club playing 70/80% passive blocker with a bit of attack somewhere then you’re vulnerable.


That has nothing to do with the equipment. It has to do with technique and strategy. You indicated that using OX pips makes a player a sitting duck against intelligent players, and that in order to improve, using sponge is mandatory.

On the contrary, as you subequently say yourself:

Quote:
In theory I suppose you could be world champion playing OX blocking style with enough work. But I don’t think that theory is at the centre of the issue. The reality is somewhat different for most club players.

One of the big drawbacks of OX blocking is when you are pinned down with fast or slow no spin balls. It’s a frequent topic of ‘sitting duckery’ on this forum and others. Especially for passive players, of which there are many, who rely on that. My point is, and in answer to the original question posed, is that in using sponge then so you have more ability to affect the game yourself. OX is great, and it can take you a long way blocking as I’ve experienced, but it is only unpredictable up to a point. After that it becomes entirely predictable. Sponge takes that predictability away because you can change the spin yourself. I guess that’s why the top LP players in the world play with sponge. I’ve no idea who the world’s top LP blocker is as I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, Solja briefly but I think she went to anti. Using sponge also means that you can’t just play passively but have to develop your strokes and spin perception. Which in themselves are good things.

FWIW, I’ve played LP for 20yrs + both with OX and sponge so whether you agree with me or not my opinion does have some experience behind it.


The point is that every style has advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation and whom you're playing. Passive blockers, like Pushblocker on this forum, have gotten to a 2300 level at his highest, if I'm not mistaken. I think that's well above "club play." If you use sponged LP, which I did for a long time before switching to OX, for instance, you're much more of a "sitting duck" when facing attacks aimed at your pips when you're stuck close to the table. You can block those, but it's much harder than with OX, and even if you do, you risk being pummeled by the next ball due to the low spin reversal you've generated. On the other hand, further away from the table, you're far more dangerous than an OX player, typically. A double inverted player is a total "sitting duck" if they don't play intelligently and actively, right? So if all you're saying is that an OX player is a "sitting duck" if they don't have the skills and/or brains to overcome long no-spin balls and try to use passive blocks on those balls, I could say the same about a double inverted player. You need skill and intelligence and experience to play any style effectively. That goes without saying.

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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 01:52 
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Konkrete wrote:
Not sure why you’re taking the tone you are, or twisting my words into absolutes which I’m not suggesting, this is a friendly forum isn’t it? I feel under attack here!



Then I apologise unreservedly - I certainly don't mean to come across as aggressive. I just strongly disagreed with what you said... which was:

Quote:
The trouble with going towards the frictionless end of equipment is that you become very vulnerable to intelligent players - see sitting ducks for details. That’s why ultimately to improve you need sponge.


In fact, I contend, anyone is vulnerable to intelligent players - it has nothing to do with your equipment. And I completely disagree that "you need sponge to improve".


Quote:
I suppose you could be world champion playing OX blocking style with enough work.


Maybe. But that's not really what I was taking issue with.

Quote:
One of the big drawbacks of OX blocking is when you are pinned down with fast or slow no spin balls.


I agree with this statement, and in the context of the OP, I agree with you too: if the OP wants to play a 'passive blocking' game, they are limiting themselves, and an intelligent player will target their inability to control or generate spin. However, to improve they don't need sponge. Sponge gives them a different set of weaknesses that an intelligent player will target. Not the same weaknesses, but still weaknesses. What they need to improve is generate alternatives - whether its aggressive responses to a no-spin ball, or twiddling, or moving and using a FH - what they need is to practice those alternatives.

Quote:
My point is, and in answer to the original question posed, is that in using sponge then so you have more ability to affect the game yourself.


I think that's fair.

Quote:
OX is great, and it can take you a long way blocking as I’ve experienced, but it is only unpredictable up to a point. After that it becomes entirely predictable.


That's also fair, and I agree.

Quote:
Sponge takes that predictability away because you can change the spin yourself.


I don't agree. You cannot generate spin with sponged LP. You have somewhat more ability to vary, but you can't "change" the spin because you will never have enough grip to add more spin that was given to you.

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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 02:27 
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Couple of points... once you get to a certain level of opponent then blocking with LP as a style has its limits. The available rubbers today have been curtailed to discourage this type of play and so there’s simply not enough in them to be effective against superior attackers. Sure you’ve got some top players who play OX, but they’re not blockers (I think someone hinted at David Barr earlier). They know that that style of play can’t get you to the top end because of the limitations of the rubbers. That day ended with the introduction of the shameful friction rules back in 08. And even then I don’t think there were many/any world players playing that style. There’s just not enough threat to call on anymore.

People also get confused with the variation in LPs. Pips with sponge and grip(eg Curl) can generate spin of their own, slick pips without sponge cannot to any extent. It’s a bit like comparing Tenergy and Super Anti as they’re both inverted.

Anyway, an interesting debate.


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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 05:56 
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Konkrete wrote:
People also get confused with the variation in LPs. Pips with sponge and grip(eg Curl) can generate spin of their own, slick pips without sponge cannot to any extent. It’s a bit like comparing Tenergy and Super Anti as they’re both inverted.

Anyway, an interesting debate.


It is! --> viewtopic.php?f=11&t=33024

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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 13:43 
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In any case this thread is about passive blocking and some of us here are not necessarily aspiring world champions. I’m 55 years old and play TT at minor club level for fun. I’ve been blocking passively on my BH and enjoying the game for decades and switching to sponged grippy LP at this stage is unlikely to further my enjoyment of the game or catapult me into the world’s top 100.


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PostPosted: 22 May 2018, 14:45 
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