Playing with grippy anti – the basics.
The purpose of this article is to explain how playing with grippy (non-slick) anti-spin rubber can be a good alternative for modern defenders.
A word of caution first, though; if you want to give anti a good try, it will take at least one or two months to find out its true potential and by the time you have an informed opinion you won’t in all probability want to simply return to the kind of rubber you used before - nor will you be able to, because you have become used to handling anti: there is point of no return and having passed it, you will have to relearn playing with your previous equipment in your previous style, which will take you another one or two months.
Another thing to keep in mind is that anti doesn’t work according to the same principle as LP. LPs can have (and mostly do have) a difference in degree of grip between pips and sides; as a result it matters whether the ball contacts the tips or the sides. With anti there is no such difference and in the eyes of many this makes anti one-dimensional as compared to long pips; it is, however, worthwhile to consider that many top-level modern defenders prefer using short pips over long pips, and as compared to long pips short pips are as one-dimensional as anti. Being one-dimensional, anti-spin rubbers may seem easier to use than long pips rubbers, but they are not; nor harder; they’re just different. LPs with significant difference in grip between tips and sides require special handling which has to be trained; long pips without this difference are as easy to handle as anti, and equally require training nonetheless.
In general, there is no reason to prefer anti over long pips or any other kind of rubber on account of a single quality; but players looking for a specific mix of qualities may have good reason to do so. At the end of the day the best reason for preferring anti over LP is that you consider long rallies with lots of different strokes to be more fun than hitting a winner with the 3rd ball, for this is what will bring out the special qualities of grippy anti. Using grippy anti will win you points, but not easily or quickly.
The rubber of reference for this article is the Tibhar Ellen Def anti-spin rubber, black, 1.5 mm, used on a Tibhar Defence Plus blade. The Ellen is a bit slower and grippier than most anti’s, and like them offers some (not a lot) unaided spin-reversal. Performing the strokes and tactics, described here, with other grippy anti’s (Juic Neoanti, Yasaka Antipower, Nittaku Best Anti, Donic Classic Anti, etc.) or the same anti on a different blade, may require adaptation. Slick anti’s (Butterfly Super Anti, Neubauer’s anti’s, etc.) and anti’s on very thin sponge (e.g. Giant Dragon Guard) are a different story altogether.
As has been said, grippy anti needs very active play to bring out its potential. It is not suitable for a blocking game close to the table. Therefore, although it is indeed possible to successfully just defend in a classic way with grippy anti, or also to just attack with it, the style of play this article is intended to support is modern defence which involves doing both - playing at a lot of different positions close to the table and away from the table during one rally as well as frequently alternating between defence and attack. The strokes and tactics needed for this are described below. Examples of all of them can be found in the videos in this section (especially watching Eric Boggan in the allround section is recommended for active blocking and countering).
Playing a grippy anti actively means doing more with it than just using what little potential of reversal its top-sheet has – you have to use its sponge as well. No active stroke really works if the bal doesn’t penetrate the sponge; this is the technical principle of playing with grippy anti.
There are three ways to make the ball penetrate the sponge. The first is to use gravity: the ball will drop into the sponge if you open the blade. As the ball can’t fall off, strokes made with the blade open (chop, push) are very safe and relatively easy to perform. The second way is to use the incoming speed of the ball; if the blade is at rectangles with the trajectory of the incoming ball the maximum amount of incoming speed is used to make the ball penetrate the sponge, but at any angle incoming speed will be a factor. Incoming speed is used when blocking; as now the blade isn’t necessarily open and as a result the ball may drop out of the sponge, the angle of the blade is more critical. The third way is to make speed of your own, hitting the ball into the sponge. This is used in attacking strokes. As with blocking, the angle of the blade must be right or the ball will drop out of the sponge and the stroke will be ineffective.
Changing the angle of the blade during the stroke means changing the grip the sponge has on the ball. This will affect the stroke negatively, except when the blade stays open anyway (chopping, pushing). Therefore: always keep the blade stable and especially do not roll your wrist, except when pushing (and helping reversal) or chopping (doing the same).
For the same reason – getting a good grip - you must contact the ball when it is rising or on the top of the bounce, except when pushing or chopping. It is best to train yourself contacting the ball on the rise, always at the same height; for this way the sponge is getting the best grip and the angle of the blade can always be the same, whether you are blocking, or driving, or hitting – the only difference will be that you add power.
Blocking with grippy anti may be used to break up the rhythm of the opponent’s attack (by forcing him to loop with a higher arc, lifting backspin, or dealing with no-spin) or to move the opponent into a less favourable position (dropping the ball short, out of reach, or generally where it is hard to handle well). As the anti is relatively slow, the opponent has time to adjust, so blocking should only be used in situations when the opponent has backed off or is otherwise out of position (e.g. because you place the ball well) and hence cannot fully adjust. Active blocking is to be preferred over passive blocking, because speed will make the stroke more dangerous (or in fact less harmless). Blocking away from the table is impractical, because the ball will lack sufficient speed to be dangerous; blocking should be done close to or over the table. In itself a blocked ball is not of sufficient quality to win either a point or the initiative; it has to be used tactically in combination with other strokes.
The neutral block against topspin or no-spin is a stroke for passive defence, only to be played when you are out of options or the opponent is hopelessly out of position: it does return the ball safely on the table, but with no spin or very little backspin, and little speed. Hold the bat vertical (even against fierce topspin; the angle is determined by the timing of the contact, not or almost not by the incoming spin and speed:) and always take the ball on or immediately after the top of the bounce. This will allow the sponge to absorb most of the speed and as the top-sheet will not react to the incoming spin much it will produce a flat trajectory, with the ball just clearing the net, and the ball will land somewhere mid-table or shorter, if no forward force is added. Always, on contact, help the ball into the sponge and a little up by moving your underarm up a bit, softly, but don't let that change the vertical position of the bat. If you bump forward into the ball, it will go longer, but for real active blocks, use the punch. Make very sure you place the ball out of your opponent’s immediate reach.
Reversal on blocks is generally not spectacular and only a weak opponent will net the first return because of it; repeated blocking, however, will compel the opponent to put more topspin on the ball and hence the reversal will steadily increase – it may take three or four blocks in quick succession to make the opponent err.
The catching, holding, or smothering block against topspin or no-spin is an extremely slow version of the neutral block, used to drop the ball just behind the net or smother a smash or lob when the opponent is off the table. Contact is made on the rise and therefore the blade has to be closed somewhat (far less than what you would do with inverted). For the rest, do as with the neutral block; helping the ball into the sponge and up a little is now done by going over the ball a bit. Be completely relaxed: neck, shoulder, and arm; just use the underarm a bit going over the ball to drop it over the net. You will return practically no speed and very little spin if any at all with this stroke.
A nice but harder to execute version is the backspin-smother-block: instead of going over the ball (forward) you pull the blade back and down a bit (have it a little bit more open) in order to help reverse the spin – this will return very little speed and quite a bit of backspin if incoming spin is topspin. Don’t worry if the ball doesn’t fall directly behind the net; the backspin will help to increase its quality, making it difficult to return. Still, the opponent should be away from the table (or wrong-footed).
The chop-block against topspin or no-spin resembles the neutral block, but the blade is slightly more open and the movement of the hand is down instead of up. The quicker the downward motion is, the more spin will be reversed to backspin. Still, the ball should be caught in the sponge or nothing much will happen! This is easier when you make forward speed by bumping into the ball a bit when you chop down. Make sure you do not bump too hard, or the ball will float over the table. In any case, as the movement of the hand over the table is restricted, you will not produce very heavy backspin, so placement is crucial once more – block the ball out of immediate reach or awkward to return (transition point).
The punching block against no-spin or topspin is an active block and therefore the one to be preferred. Contact is made on the rise, always – contacting the ball later (on the top of the bounce) is less effective – and so the blade is closed to get the ball well into the sponge. At the same time a very short but very vigorous forward motion is made, normally by stretching the underarm (which has been crooked first), without straightening it. This is a direct stroke: the face of the bat should face exactly the point of the table you want the ball to go to and the forward movement of the bat should also be exactly in that direction – a punch has to be “dry”. You can (but don’t have to) increase friction and control by a short and very quick snap of the wrist, bringing the blade pointing from 11 or 10 to 12 o'clock during the stroke, but there must be nothing like grazing the ball. There should be no swing towards the ball and no follow-through to speak of, as a longer stroke tends to make you graze the ball which will make it drop out of the sponge. Make very sure you hit the ball well into the sponge; let it come up to the bat, don't reach for it (you won't be able to use your underarm correctly with your arm stretched), but also don't wait too long, or the stroke will be too long itself. The punch produces a no-spin ball or very light top-spin, so do not expect the ball to drop to the table quickly – its trajectory will be rather linear! Especially players who have been using long pimpled rubbers or slick anti-spin rubbers will have to adapt. The punch can also be effectively used against backspin when the ball bounces high, in the same manner; in this case, there will be more than sufficient topspin on the ball to make it drop.
Punching away from the table is doable, but only practical if the ball will go where the opponent cannot reach it, so to finish the point.
Whereas blocking (except for the punch) tends to be passive and is a way of gaining time or slowing the game down or manoeuvre the opponent out of position, countering is done to gain or retain the initiative, or even to win a point outright; never to slow down. Countering must put immediate pressure on the opponent and as this cannot be done by spin (there will be little of it on the ball) it must be done by speed and placement. Keep in mind that even though countering strokes may superficially resemble drives or loop-drives executed with inverted rubber or grippy short pimples, they are nothing of the sort, since really grazing the ball is out – it would drop out of the sponge. Using the incoming speed is essential when countering. Driving – and certainly loop-driving – a slow ball is rather difficult because you have to bring the ball into the sponge yourself and make speed; it is easier when you can use the incoming speed to do half the work for you. As with blocking, countering is generally only practical close to or over the table, even if it is doable away from it.
The counter-drive against topspin or no-spin is in fact an elongated neutral block or punch (depending on the speed imparted). It superficially looks like a normal drive with inverted, but there is virtually no upswing, contact must be made on the top of the bounce or just before, and the blade is only slightly closed. Make sure the ball penetrates the sponge (the angle of the blade should approximately be at rectangles with the trajectory of the rising ball, to catch it really well), and do not under any circumstance graze it or attempt to do that. The ball should be hit flat, making a short movement up and forward (no long one or you’ll lose the ball out of the sponge), and the wrist should only be used to increase the grip on the ball, bringing the point of the blade from maybe 9 to 12’o clock (or less). Do not close the blade while performing the stroke! This may happen when your arm is stretched too much, so keep the stroke short, with minimal follow-through. A smash is a very hard drive which you should perform when the ball is higher than usual, but before it is too high – smash as early as possible, that is, when the ball will leave your racket and hit the other half of the table in a straight line comfortably over the net. The earlier you smash, the flatter the trajectory, the more the ball will skid and be more difficult to lift. But as the trajectory will be linear rather than parabolic, because of the virtual absence of spin, the ball will not drop quickly to the table, so good placement is needed. If heavy topspin is coming in, odds are that you will reverse some of it and produce light backspin - in that case you must take care not to over-hit or the ball will float long. It is better to hit with less force and more precision, aiming to cut the sidelines.
The flick against topspin or no-spin is a shorter version for use over the table and/or close to the net. In this case just use the underarm (going down before contact, up on contact), bumping into the ball and bringing it over the net. Close to the net the blade should be less open; if you make contact on the top of the bounce, help the ball up and over a little (see neutral block). The closer to the net and the higher the bounce, the easier it is to hit the ball with good speed.
The counter-loop against topspin or no-spin is essentially the same stroke as the drive, but now you add, on contact, a good flick of the wrist to get maximum friction and make the stroke longer, having an good up-swing. If you contact the ball just before the top of the bounce, the ball will penetrate the sponge deeper and you will have more grip, so you can – using the increased friction the wrist-flick added – drag the ball a bit forward instead of just hitting it flat and hence make it look like you really are looping as with inverted. But there will still be little spin on the ball, and it won’t drop because of it, although it does drop; you are actually bringing it down on the other half of the table by half losing it (it drops out of the sponge because your blade is closed) – the forward motion (drag) will bring it over the net. This will look like a fast topspin ball, because of your arm movement and the dropping ball, but it will be nothing like it. Still, it is a good way to kill balls that go slow and bounce slightly high. It works even better against backspin, because then there will be topspin on the ball; it is the ideal stroke to attack a weak push or failed drop-shot which returns one of your chops – coming in to the table, you can make the upswing with great force.
Attacking backspin you must, as always, keep in mind that the ball must penetrate the sponge, or you wont be able to help reversal.
Pushing against backspin is done with the bat open (but not too much, somewhere around 45 degrees), maintaining the same angle during the stroke. You will not use the wrist (no slicing motion), only the underarm to bring the bat to the ball and bump into it, just a bit forward, and stop. If contact is made on the rise, the ball will go over the net. You can add sidespin by pulling the bat sideways doing this. You can add topspin by pulling the bat up (grip pointing upward, “dragging” the ball while bringing the grip more forward than the tip of the blade) in a sort of scoop. You can also use the wrist anyway and make a fast chopping motion, downward and forward, which may produce some backspin depending on the amount of incoming spin; this will also keep the ball low.
Pushing is done over the table, but the scoop can also be aggressively performed at some distance away from it; of course more forward motion is needed then (harder bump, fiercer drag). Reversal will be low if it is not aided by dragging the ball up and in this case the ball will not drop quickly; the trajectory of the ball will be more linear and there is the danger that you will push the ball long; you have to compensate for this by using less forward speed.
A good stroke to enhance reversal when dealing with backspin is the sideswipe. The bat should point a bit downward, the ball should be contacted on the rise, as early as possible, and the bat (face slightly open) should be jerked to your right and a bit upward fast. The ball will go straight ahead, low over the net, having good topspin. Forward speed can be added, as the ball will dip because of the topspin.
Performing a sideswipe isn’t easy, yet it is vital to have as many strokes in your repertoire as possible, because (see below under tactics) you should try to never play the same shot twice in a row (except for the chop): variation is all-important using anti.
If the ball is closer to baseline backspin can also be attacked very well by rolling: the stroke is similar to opening with inverted, but the wrist-action must be very fast and the ball must be deep in the sponge when you bring it up and forward. The follow-through should be short because you do not really pull the ball up – what you do is in fact performing an active block with a neutral blade angle and helping reversal. The fast wrist-action is only for reversal; bringing the ball up and forward, in the sponge, is for the underarm-action. In a weird way, dissecting the stroke would reveal that you go forward and up to bring the ball into the sponge and then jerk the bat up to help reversal – that is doing a loop sort of inside out. If you try to graze the ball you will open your blade and push the ball over the table, so don’t graze it, bump it. This is a stroke to follow up a push. Make it a point to attack (roll) backspin after you have pushed it once or twice, or you will end up pushing back weak balls. There will be good topspin on the ball because of this stroke, so the ball will dip fast.
If the opponent pushes or drops a ball (that you chopped well) short behind the net, this is an ideal ball to attack with a flick. Just touching it will send it over the net. Hitting it harder, aim for the sidelines.
Defending against topspin.
Defending is done by blocking close to the table and floating or chopping away from it. Floating is just for variation; good chopping is the basis of the defence.
Floating can be done by performing a catching-block away from the table, when the ball is dropping. Catch the ball, press it into the sponge by going a bit forward and flick the wrist a little to kill the spin; press it softly forward, low over the net.
Chopping close and mid-distance you must contact the ball on your left beside you, hip-high. Start the stroke (have your bat at shoulder-height) when or before the ball bounces off your half of the table, because a good chop takes as much time as a good loop! Bring the bat up to near your left shoulder, crooking your arm and cocking your wrist. Turn your shoulders and waist to the left, so you can reach the ball comfortably when it is beside you. Chop down quickly, but not deep, make it a scoop, going under the ball; you have to turn the bat rolling your wrist to make it horizontal for that. Contact the ball and flick your wrist plus stretching your arm (never completely, though!) when your bat is almost horizontal, dragging the ball a bit down and into the sponge, and then fast forward and a bit up again. Make forward speed by turning your waist and shoulders back. The bat ends up somewhere before your right hip when you are facing the table again. Varying the spin is done by making the wrist-action and the underarm-action slower or faster. Always accelerate towards the ball, not after you have made contact. Keep the ball low over the net by going down (bending the knees a bit) with the stroke. This stroke will produce a lot of backspin, but not much speed, so be careful to place the ball well.
Chopping long-distance it is best to contact the ball in front of you, lower than your waist, standing with your legs well apart. Chop from your left shoulder down to your right knee, in a straight diagonal line, turning the shoulder and waist to make the stroke straight, and bending over to bring the ball down. This stroke will keep the ball low and fast, but needs good wrist- and under-arm action to produce good spin. Generally it is not as easy to vary spin far away from the table as it is closer by, because you have to generate speed with your under-arm and some energy is lost to transfer into spin.
Serve and return of serve.
Serving with the anti is a distinct possibility and can produce awkward balls, but only for an opponent who is slow to read spin or slow to move. Because the rubber is slow you can serve very short and low over the net, but not with good spin. However, anti can produce enough sidespin for this one: serve from your backhand corner with the backhand, producing sidespin anti-clockwise, dropping the ball close behind the net and close to the sideline – the sidespin will make it turn over the edge and drop off the table. A fast, half-long no-spin serve to the backhand can also be awkward. If the opponent has LP on his backhand, a very fast, long, no-spin serve can be very effective (bullet no-spin serve). But you should use the inverted rubber most of the time, generating spin which will be met and returned and give you something to work with.
Returning serve with the anti has its possibilities too. First of all, the anti is good for receiving very tricky, spinny serves, sending the spin back and the tricks with it. Just bumping softly into the ball will send it over the net, drop short and curve away. Bumping harder and adding a sideways pull will send it to the opponent, who may now figure out what to do with it. If, however, the opponent is smart he knows this and has anticipated it; in that case you can attack his serves all-out, contacting the ball on the rise, and hitting it out of reach or to the transition point, giving him no-spin and good speed to deal with. If he can handle that, twiddle to use your inverted rubber. Fast no-spin serves to your backhand can either be attacked (you have to expect them) or you can let the ball drop and chop it with great force – as no-spin seldom really is no spin at all, the topspin will be reversed and you will add to it, producing decent enough backspin to force the opponent to loop with less speed and more arc, so you can chop his return with even greater effect.
If you don’t know what kind of spin is on the ball, and want to be safe anyhow, contact the ball on the rise with a neutral bat-angle and going only, but very quickly, sideways. Try to contact the side of the ball doing this. Top- or backspin won’t bother you now, and sidespin will be neutralized.
The tactics of an all-round defence game consist of (1) taking away the speed and the topspin from the opponent and attacking his backspin and no-spin close to table, and (2) drawing out (if necessary) speed and topspin to defend, chopping mid-distance, or long if you are fast enough on your feet to get back to table in time to attack pushes or drop-shots. You alternate between (1) and (2) to stay unpredictable.
The first ball is essential: it has to have good spin and placement, or good speed (or sometimes for variation: none at all) and placement. You have to be aggressive; frequently use the inverted rubber to impart spin on the first ball, either when serving or when receiving serve. You can’t wait and let the anti do the job.
Typically you will chop one, maybe another, move in to attack the push, or push it yourself if you have to, but so that your next stroke is either a good chop or a hard attack; use blocks and pushes and floats to disturb (break rhythm, slow down) and move the opponent in the wrong direction. Variation is the key: in spin, in speed, in angle – you have to feed the opponent more variation than he can handle. But variation can only exist in series of strokes, in longer rallies, so you must be patient and smart, thinking ahead all the time. A good rule of thumb is never to play the same shot consecutively!
Attacking defensive strokes is an essential part of your game, both real and as psychological pressure on the opponent. Early in the game you should put in some good attacks against pushes and drop-shots (balls dropped short behind the net are easy to hit with the anti), so the opponent will think playing conservatively is not an option against you - this will save you a lot of moving in and out in the rest of the rally and it puts pressure on the opponent since he now will feel forced to loop and keep looping, which is what you want him to do. Using the incoming topspin and adding to it or varying it you will force the opponent to make errors or push weakly which will enable you to attack.
When attacking you should do it in such a way that if the ball is coming back it will be where you want it; the logical thing to do is to aim at the opponent's backhand corner, so the ball will be returned (with topspin) to your backhand, that is, where you are able to use the anti most effectively. Aiming at the middle or the forehand is running the risk that the opponent will regain the initiative in the rally. Only for variation, to keep the opponent guessing, attack to the middle or his wide forehand. Break off the attack as soon as it looks you won't hit the winner with the next one; if you keep attacking, the opponent will get used to it and being an attacker using an attacker's equipment he will - again - regain the initiative. The rule of thumb is: hit a winner or start again. Do not try to keep up attacks with the anti; it is too weak for that; but if you have enough power in the forehand, you may try to out-hit or out-loop the opponent from time to time. In any case: do not give away the initiative - lead the rally. Feed the opponent balls to hit to where you want to chop them, balls to push to where you can easily attack them. This way, anticipation - which is vital - becomes easy.
Twiddling may add to the variation. Don’t twiddle too often, or it will not surprise the opponent, but confuse yourself; twiddle when you have a plan, hence a use for it, and ample time. Typically twiddle breaking up rallies that are becoming too long and unvaried: in a series of pushes, twiddle to mislead the opponent and break the rally up. Also twiddle to receive serve. And twiddle when under pressure and want a safe chop away from table.
Keep varition in bounds and subtle. If you vary too much the opponent will be on his guard all the time, expecting the unexpected. It is far better to lull him into a false sense of security by allowing him to repeat his loops a while and then subtly change placement or spin to force an error, or quickly attack.
The level of the opponent is also an important factor in your tactics. The better the opponent technically is, the better the chance that he will use topspin or backspin in significant amounts and keep doing so throughout the match; this is to your advantage, as spin is something the anti will work with. If however the opponent refuses to use spin or is unable to, play will become tedious because incoming no-spin will generate outgoing no-spin with your anti and hence it will be impossible to add good speed, as the ball would likely go long. In this case you have the choice of patiently driving and blocking, varying placement until the opponent misses one, or using your inverted rubber to take the initiative; the latter will mean a lot of legwork. Playing lesser opponents with anti is simply hard work and you should be prepared to do it. Avoid irritation, impulsiveness, and impatience; stay cool and in control knowing that the opponent, being weaker, will make mistakes eventually. But the best thing to have is a reliable counter-hit with the anti as this can be used against any weak ball; if the threat of your attack with the anti is a fact, the opponent will be unable to play weak or conservative and make you work hard; this is also true when playing advanced opponents.
Good footwork is always very important in table tennis, even if you do not move around a lot. In this all-round defensive style, you will move around a lot – except when playing passive or strictly defensive opponents. It is important, therefore, to stand lightly on your feet. Spread your legs, but not too much, or you will lose the possibility of adapting your position and posture quickly. Be behind the ball at all times. Keep your centre of gravity relatively high for chopping; but when pushing and blocking, and especially when attacking, bring the centre of gravity down fast by bending your knees and your upper body, and also spread your legs wider (Joo Se Hyuk is the perfect example if you want to watch how moving in an out, left to right, and up and down – for the attack he goes very low - should be done).
When coming in to hit you have to keep your bat low, as hitting from a low bat position is easier (it is behind the ball already, so you don't have to bring it there) and if you decide this ball isn't one to hit, you can easily adjust and push or chop it. If you are high or your bat is held high (as for a chop) and you bring it and yourself down just before hitting the ball, the opponent will spot it and expect the attack, gaining time to prepare for it. So always move forward going low, with the intention to hit, having your knees bend and the legs well apart, and your hand also.
Move left to right and vice versa with small steps or hops; move away from the table to the left by stepping away with your left foot first and bring the right foot alongside it, step with the left foot again, and so on; move out to the right using the right foot first; move in towards the table by taking “normal” steps, but go down and bring your feet further apart as you move in to attack.
Always face the table or you’ll wreck your overview and your tactics with it!
As a rule, move opposite to the direction of the ball, for that will bring you to where the ball most likely is to go next - if you chop to left, move to right a bit, and if you push to the right move to the left a bit, and if you place the ball deep, move away from the table, if you place it short, move in.
As another rule, always return to your basic central position – if you favor your backhand stand a bit more to the right, if the forehand, to the left, so it is easier to avoid balls aimed at your body, which is the weakest point of a defender – as this makes it easier to move out and come in. Do look for opportunities to come in, especially after you have chopped producing huge backspin, since odds are that the return will be a push or an attempted dropshot, which you should attack.
Using blades and rubbers is a very personal matter, but it is likely you will be best off using a flexible blade that offers good feedback and that has the same speed and control at both sides; using an anti-spin rubber you do not need, as a rule, a slower backhand side on your frame. The speed of the frame should probably be somewhere between Def+ and All, slower if you tend to be more defensive, faster if you like to attack often; but a lot can be done by choosing the right inverted rubber to accompany the anti. The advisable thickness for the inverted is 1.5 to 1.8 mm, which allows attack as well as good chopping. You may like to choose an inverted with a sponge that is about as soft as the sponge of the anti; it will help to make feel alike chopping with backhand and forehand and hence it will increase consistency when twiddling.
Anti-spin rubber must be cleaned after use, using a damp cloth which should be lint-free, soft, and moistened only with water. I use soft micro-fibre cloth myself. Do not rub hard, stroke the surface gently. Let it dry completely before you put the blade into the box or whatever you use for taking it with you in. Handled with care like this, the rubber will stay as new and last for many seasons, even quite a few years. This durability is also a fact to take into consideration when you are looking at the prices of anti-spin rubbers.
Warning for LP-players.
If you decide to give anti a try and are coming from using LP, you will have to make adaptations or the rubber will seemingly not work for you. First of all, a bat with anti is heavier than with LP; this will slow down your former hand-speed and you will make mistakes because of it (being a split-second late for a fast drive or smash, hitting with the edge of the bat, having trouble to flick accurately, etc.). Then, unaided reversal with grippy anti is always less than with LP; if you keep pushing and blocking the same way you did with LP, you will push or block the ball over the table, or, compensating for that, into the net – it will be frustrating and you might blame the anti, but should blame your technique. Pushing with a grippy anti the incoming backspin will not as much be reversed (without help) as it would be with LP and hence the ball will not really dip much, and fly long. Furthermore, playing with anti you should use different tactics; if you do not, again, it will seem that the anti fails. So if you want to try out anti in earnest, to discover its true potential, take the time to learn how to use it – and run the risk of losing your former game as well as having to relearn it if you decide to return to it.
Without opponent, no match.