Rubber Selection Guide:
There are many variables to consider when choosing rubber for your table tennis paddle. This article is a guide to choosing table tennis rubber. It includes information about rubber types, speed & spin, and sponge thickness.
Keep in mind that one rubber sheet covers one side of a blade, so a shakehands blade requires two rubbers. ITTF regulations require red rubber on one side and black on the other. The rubber is custom-assembled to a blade after the player makes their blade and rubber choices. Paddle Palace will assemble rubber to the blade as a free service upon request.
There are four main types of rubber sheets: Smooth, Short Pips, Long Pips, and Anti-Topspin.
Smooth: Most players in the modern game of table tennis use smooth rubber, also called “inverted” rubber. The surface of the rubber is smooth with a layer of sponge underneath. Smooth rubber provides the most spin and is used by over 85% of tournament players. Hitters, loopers, all-around players and defensive players all use smooth inverted rubber.
Short Pips: Short pips rubber, also called “pimpled” rubber, has a bumpy surface and usually has a layer of sponge underneath. It is used by players who do not execute a great deal of spin in their game. Some close-to-the-table hitters, all-around players, and defensive players use short pips. Short pips often provide more control for players who have difficulty playing against spin. “Hard rubber” is the term for short pips rubber with no sponge, and it is used primarily for the old-fashioned “Classic” or “Hardbat” play.
Long Pips: Long pips rubber has extra-long pips that reverse the spin of the opponent. The unpredictability of the spin from the long pips can give the long pips player an advantage over the opponent who has not learned to read the spin. It is difficult to play offensively with long pips, so most players who use long pips only use it on one side.
Anti-Topspin: Anti-‘Topspin rubber has a smooth surface but does not generate much spin and it is slow in speed. Anti rubber neutralizes the spin of the opponent. Most players who use anti rubber block with it on one side and use a different rubber on the other.
Speed and Spin: With so many rubber sheets to choose from, how do you choose? The Paddle Palace Rubber Ratings are a good place to start. Look at the speed and spin ratings of the rubber and match one to your playing style. Offensive players who use topspin, drive, loop, and smash usually prefer rubber with a high speed rating, while defensive players who primarily use underspin, chop, push, and block usually prefer slower rubber. Loopers and choppers prefer rubber with a high spin rating. Keep in mind that the faster or spinnier a rubber is, the harder it is to control. Rubber that is spinny also is more affected by the opponents’ spin.
Sponge Thickness: Sponge Thickness affects the speed of the rubber. Thicker sponge provides more speed and somewhat more spin. Thinner sponge provides more control. Thicker sponge adds weight to the paddle, and also gives a more cushioned feeling. Thinner sponge is lighter and gives a woodier feeling. Offensive players prefer 1.8 to 2.5mm. Allround players prefer 1.5 to 2.0mm. Defensive players prefer OX (no sponge) to 1.6mm. Loopers prefer thicker sponge. Choppers prefer thinner sponge. Developing players or players who need more control should choose a sponge thickness that is on the thinner end of the range that fits their playing style.