Short Treatise on Pips out rubber
The purpose of this short treatise is to dispel confusion on the various types of pips out rubbers used in the modern standard table tennis game. According to the ITTF there are only 2 major types of pips (or pimples) out rubbers divided into long and short pips out; however, most players know this to hardly be the case. Classification of these rubbers is made more difficult due to the constant barrage of new and innovative products brought out by table tennis (rubber) manufacturers. I will try to break them into what I believe are the major groups of pips out rubbers and classify them. It is truly a daunting task.
1) Short pips out
a) Classic pips out
b) Grippy or sticky pips out
2) Medium pips out
3) Long pips out
a) Close to the table pips out
b) Deep Chopping pips out
c) Frictionless Long pips
Classic pips out are usually or traditionally used close to the table for a quick blocking and hitting game. This game concentrates on speed rather than overwhelming spin. Most (but not all) proponents of this game are pen-holders or shake hands players who use this rubber on their backhands. The main goal is quick attack with drives and smashes, and fast defense with powerful blocks and counter drives. The push stroke is only used as a return of serve or "stroke of last resort" when tricked or “wrong footed.” There is a definite lack of a loop stroke against almost every style except deep chopper/defenders. In this case a pips out loop maybe used as a positioning stroke, and to keep the offense until a more powerful drive or smash can be executed. It is difficult to execute spinney serves as well. Historically, some players (almost all pen-holders) over came this deficiency by having a side with inverted rubber, used for serving only.
Spinney or Grippy pips out came with the advent of tacky inverted rubber and softer sponge. This allows sticky pips to be a sort of hybrid between inverted (pips in) and classic pips out. Pips out players found they could now execute spinney serves, sticky pushes, and acceptable loop drives (although not with the extreme over spin of an inverted spinney loop). This came at a price however, since with more spin came more susceptibility to an opponents spin. Most pips players accepted the new rubber “warts” and all.
Medium pips are a mix between short pips and long pips, the original idea being to mix the spin resistance (or reversal) of long pips with more attacking ability from short pips. This may have been the original idea, but what really was created was a rubber more like “anti spin” with offense. The typical smooth face (inverted) anti-spin rubber strips all spin off the ball giving a very “dead” no spin return (generally). The problem with anti is that virtually no spin (particularly topspin) can be created for attack. Medium pips allows the player to strip off incoming spin, and send the ball back with a little bit of what the player wants on it (probably topspin). Originally, the idea was to let a defensive player play a little more rounded game (being able to attack weak returns with the medium pips), but the rubber was really adopted by offensive players (mostly on their backhand) to attack without spin. This rubber often creates a celebrated sinking quality on the ball both going over the table, and when struck by the opponent (the ball sinks into the bottom of the net-due to the lack of spin).
Close to the table long pips is the newest innovation of the rubber companies. It is what medium pips was probably intend as –a long pips rubber capable of attack, but again what the intent was, and what really transpired, is a little different. Attacking long pips has fast some times very fast sponge underneath the long pips. Combined with new designs in pip design, new shots were developed (or old shots became much more feasible i. e. the chop block). Frankly a light plastic ball under space-age stresses of spin and speed does “weird things” when trapped or reversed by the long pips This new rubber, combined with new technology in blade design, can produce some very strange returns. The trade off being loss of control as a player increases the speed of play. Also, most of the “at the table pips” are not as well suited to long under spin defense of the modern defender.
A subset of close to the table long pips is a rubber called “frictionless” long pips. These pips are used close to the table and basically reverse spin within legal limits imposed by the ITTF. Under spin balls maybe attacked (even looped), and heavy top spin may be blocked low and short over the net and with stiff under spin. These long pips are usually used with out sponge (OX) or with very thin sponge.
Away from the table long pips are the province of the defender. These pips allow a “chopper” to repulse heavily spun and powerful loop drives, and reverse the top spin into vicious backspin taking the ball much higher than ordinary pips out. Frankly, almost all modern defenders attack or fish (play topspin defense) with their inverted forehands, chopping only occasionally (and some players almost never). The under spin reversed by the long pips becomes so heavy it becomes very high risk to loop, but when this ball is pushed to a defender it is difficult to come in and pick hit this push or drop shot away since these long pips are so very soft and slow. Many of the modern defenders, instead of trying to attack with these long pips, either “run around their backhand (ala the tennis term-hitting a forehand from the backhand side),” or "twiddle" to their offensive forehand side (inverted) rubber, and attack with a standard stroke from their backhand, hopefully gaining the element of surprise.
Blade: Giant Dragon Kris: FH: Friengship 729 Judo (red) 2.0 BH: Feint Long 3 (black) 1.3
Blade: Alfa Pro : FH: Friendship Judo (red) 2.0 BH TSP Curl P-1r (black) 1.4
Last edited by ian demagi on 06 Jun 2012, 01:14, edited 7 times in total.