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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2015, 05:45 
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Blade: from Juic Smasher
FH: Yasaka A-1-2
BH: Yasaka A-1-2
For my next hardbat, do I want a more-grippy rubber or less-grippy rubber?

Should I attempt to squeeze a little offense out of the more-grippy rubber
or should I embrace the defensive advantages of less-grippy?

Would the spin reversal of less-grippy rubber help me get more blocked balls on the table
than the dead ball blocks of the more-grippy rubber?

Background:

I play mostly against sponge in a club that is "Winner stays" format,
i.e. no leagues with players grouped by ability.

I win at least some of the time against the bottom 10% of players there.
Against the other 90% I get beaten easily like clockwork.

My goal for the next couple years is to win at least some of the time against the bottom 20%
(up from the bottom 10%)
and make the others work harder by keeping the ball in play for a few more strokes.

I have spent 12 out of the last 20 calendar years playing table tennis about 4 hours per week.
Four hours per week is about what I play now, and most of it games,
though I have a friend near my playing-level who likes to do drills in my garage occasionally.
I am a 50-something-yr-old guy who plans to continue to play 4 hours/week, so its not
like I going to move to Sweden and train 40 hours/week.

At my first USATT tournament a decade ago,
the director generously estimated my rating at 1200.
After spending about 9 playing-years trying to use inverted with sponge,
my US rating sank to below 400.
I believe the below-400 was accurate (and maybe where I should have started).

I switched to hardbat about 3 years ago.
Players that would be beat me because I could not put my serve-return back into play
suddenly had to beat me with 3rd ball attack.
I found this was lots more fun that getting beaten by first ball attack (serve).
My rating has risen to over 700, and I believe that is accurate.
(though I haven't played a tournament in well over a year,
so maybe I am over 800 ;) ).

I like the feel of the ball with hardbat.
I like smashing any high ball regardless of its spin.
I get the "romance of hardbat" as articulated by Scott Gordon, et al.
But, the whole get-the-serve-return-back-into-play issue
may be what I value most about hardbat.

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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2015, 19:38 
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I'd get a slow bat (something similar to a Hock 3 ply or 5 ply), a fairly grippy hard rubber and then work on the strokes and serve returns. Have you actually had anyone coach you on proper hardbat strokes? If you can't find a high level hardbat player nearby try looking in the public library for old table tennis books from the 1950s and 60s (I actually found several, some years back, when I looked) and these will have photos. There may actually be videos on YouTube.

If you're having trouble reading and returning serves I'd suggest formally practicing serve returns. Reading spin and dealing with it is part of table tennis, and trying to deal with it with a slicker bat will only work to a small degree. Personally, I find the slicker sorts of rubber (long pips!) are the hardest to control of the lot (perhaps because it's so different from what I'm used to). Comparatively grippy short pips are a great deal easier to control, as long as I remember to drive with a high follow through (over the head) when attacking.

Finding time to fomally practice might be a problem, I agree. If you can't find a coach try to find another like-minded player at the club to do it with. Instead of playing games, do formal drills. If they insist you play games, incorporate the drills into the games (e.g. opponent serves topspin/sidespin, you try to return it with backspin, he tries to attack, you try to counter-attack, then do it over again the next point).

To be honest, I don't know which short pips rubbers are the grippiest. If your clubmates aren't sticklers for "legal" vs. "illegal" rubber, there's this "mushroom pips" rubber (Yung 63-9A) that plays much like short pips and is pretty spinny, with good control:

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product ... 21960.html

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2015, 19:40 
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Blade: Butterfly Def2
FH: Tibhar Evolution MXS
BH: Joola Octopus 0.5mm
rotation gives control
hardbat is always lower rotation than usual racket so i would say go for 2x grippy SP

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PostPosted: 25 Mar 2015, 13:09 
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Blade: from Juic Smasher
FH: Yasaka A-1-2
BH: Yasaka A-1-2
Thanks for the responses so far.

I think my table tennis strokes have never been very "inverted", even before my switch to hardbat.
IMHO my strokes are closer to "proper" hardbat strokes than inverted-sponge strokes.
I played a lot of casual hardbat in the 1970s.

I am slowly unlearning parts of the the wood-racqet tennis training of my youth.
In particular, I am learning to have a more supple wrist and softer hands. I see promise in the "soft hands" habit and allowing a bit of wrist involvement that was discouraged in tennis.

I do own Jack Carrington's 1938 book "Modern Table Tennis". I should probably read thru it again.
Though I think playing hardbat vs sponge may not fit his descriptions.

I wholehearted agree with the slow blade advice. I have been moving toward slower for the last several EJ episodes. I currently use a 5-ply ALL speed blade (LKT Instinct) and I think it is the best (and slowest) blade I have used so far.

I am currently using BTY Orthodox for rubber, FH and BH, playing shakehands.
My next EJ episode (planned for late 2015) will likely be either presumably more-grippy Yasaka Cobalt or the presumably less-grippy Gambler PeaceKeeper.
Note: I am trying to stay for now within the rubbers listed at
http://www.hardbat.com/hardbat.html
You never know when I might get to play in a hardbat event. :P

My inverted-with-sponge opponents sometime say the presumably more-grippy BTY Orthodox sends them a dead ball.
I wonder if the less-grippy PK would help me control my blocks better (due to backspin from reversed topspin in stead of no-spin dead ball).

This is your chance to offer an opinion and I hope many do and give me a idea what to expect.
But, none of you will be surprised if I will buy and play with what I please in the end. |(
I hope to report what I find.

Thanks again for your observations, I really enjoy reading them. I want to read more of them.

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PostPosted: 25 Mar 2015, 15:16 
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I don't think the fundamental strokes would change very much when dealing with sponge - I remember Larry Hodges writing (some time back around 1999) that the main problem of hardbat vs. sponge is dealing with very spinny shots (i.e. loops). Otherwise a hardbat player should be able to handle most of what a sponge player throws at him (when it comes to the bat, I mean - there's skill level to consider, of course). Fortunately, most U-1000 (or even U-1200) level players can't loop very well or very often anyway, so you probably don't have to deal with that too much. From what I see, with hardbat, there's a lot less of the topspin-to-topspin rallies you see in sponge vs. sponge (mainly because it's a lot harder to generate spin, so topspin doesn't bounce off your racket with "reflected topspin", but would rather come off with some backspin instead) - it's mostly chop when you get topspin and topspin when you get backspin, so you'd probably have to adopt this sort of game.

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2015, 07:20 
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Hi NLTL, nice to meet another hardbat afficienado. Will you be at the US Open? What is your name and where do you play?

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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2015, 14:19 
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OP, I have seen a LOT of HB players "hang" very well vs some really good club players. Some of these HB players are 2000 USATT level using their BH vs other 2000+ inverted players and win. It can be done. If BH is what you like, go for it and keep going. I wouldn't sweat too much about whether this rubber has a little more grip or less. I would say focus on being able to play close to the table and off the bounce (or on the rise) whether it is it blocking or punching or hitting.

You do not need a boatload of spin to block (or counter or punch) you need to be there and take it off the bounce and control your hand pressure (and bat angle) that is what gives you the control and variation.

I have seen too many matches where the HB player did that and received serves tight enough or had good placement and kept opponent off balance.

I say it is possible to get to well above club average level growing with a HB, but it takes times and a good understanding.

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PostPosted: 01 Jul 2015, 11:52 
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Blade: from Juic Smasher
FH: Yasaka A-1-2
BH: Yasaka A-1-2
DerEche and others, Thank for the encouragement

scottgordon, let's just say I play in USA east of the Mississippi.

A big reason I like hardbat is to aid my return-of-serve. With sponge my serve return was AWFUL, where 1700 players seemed to limit me to 1 return-of-serve back into play per game. With hardbat my return is much "less bad" and when I get beat it is way more fun when my opponent has to hit at least a 3rd ball.

scottgordon, I have read may of your posts in various forums over the years. Thank you for your gracious explanations to folks about the charms of hardbat. Thank you for the years when you served in leadership positions (often providing "adult supervision" to a rowdy crowd)

I actually do have a hardbat rating of 1461 based on 2 matches back in 2008. However, I think my actual skill level with any equipment is closer to my 800-ish sponge rating.

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PostPosted: 04 Jul 2015, 06:10 
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I've played only with hardbat now for the best part of two months, and I've experimented before. I echo entirely what Der Echte says about the timing - hitting the ball on the bounce or just after, and developing the ability to use angles, soft hands, and misdirection. I think you can learn this regardless of what you elect to put on your blade.

However, I would tend to say that although you *can* develop a fair amount of spin with OX SP, it takes strong technique, and isn't really the point of the style. I would settle on any of the popular/approved hardbat rubbers and just stick at it.

We don't have strict rules in the UK, and I don't play in a hardbat league, I just play with regular league players, so I have a little more flexibility, and currently play with OX SP on one side and OX LP on the other, and twiddle often. In terms of a personal recommendation, I can speak very highly for Dr Evil.

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PostPosted: 28 Jul 2015, 11:49 
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In the mid to late 50s, players like Marty Reisman were seen to be significantly increasing the amount of spin generated with hardbat. My take on the issue is that the "point of hardbat" is whatever it is that you personally want/can make of it.

Make it your own. Play like you like to play.

I agree with the general advice of just picking one rubber and sticking with it. There is less to be gained with experimenting with hardbat rubbers - especially in the U.S. if you are playing USATT hardbat where the rubber choices are significantly limited. If you love to experiment, I think you'll find more real difference in trying different blades.

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