The first question people ask when they find out about table tennis rubber with pips is whether it is worth trying on their own rackets for a while. The answer to that question, of course, is a resounding yes. When advancing as a player and getting beyond beginner status, it’s important to experiment with table tennis rubber of several brands, sizes, and even pip styles.
So let’s go through some basic questions and answers about pips that will hopefully be of use.
Will pips improve my game?
This question is impossible to answer in a general way, but we can look at the types of players that have the best chance of finding success with table tennis rubber with pips. With short pips, it may or may not make a difference to an average players game.
Playing with long pips can work best with players who are more defensive than offensive, however, even the best players can make the ball really fly with any kind of pips. Short pips can be a good way to better control when receiving a serve or to negate some spin, however, can also be used aggressively. Long pips can really take the spin out of a ball.
I have seen one danger in experimenting with pips on table tennis rubber, and that is that affecting the spin on the ball can give a player huge advantages when playing intermediate players or players unaccustomed to that style.
Therefore, initially, when a player uses pips, there may be a false sense of improvement. It may actually just be that players at that particular level are susceptible to the way the pips affect the ball but show none actual improvement.
If this false sense of improvement leads players to think they are better when actually their skills have not changed, it can affect a player’s later progress.
Many intermediate level players seem to have peaked thanks to their use of pips, but at the same time limited themselves by not continuing to learn the fine points of the game and other table tennis basic and intermediate skills because of that success.
Players may peak at high intermediate, but end up unable to overcome players at the next level for whom a racket with long or short pips is just par for the course. Advanced players know how to deal with spin and the lack thereof, and so players, whether using pips or not, really need to have their basic skills in order to advance.
In conclusion, you can try table tennis rubber with pips. You can try long pips, short pips, intermediate pips, and a variety of brands. However, please don’t let yourself rely on the racket for your wins.
Continue to work your basics, footwork, and all the other necessary pieces so that when you meet an opponent who’s ready for pips, you’ll be ready to get the win with superior skills in addition with proper equipment.
Nobody Likes Pimples!
For new people just being introduced to the sport or still undeveloped players, I hope you hear my call. In table tennis, nobody likes pimples!
It seems to me that every player I talk to under the 2000 rating level wants to rip the heads off of people who play with pimples/pips. The “Knuckle Ball” effect seems to throw everyone’s game off. No matter how good a loop an inverted rubber player may hit, it seems to come back deader than a doornail and difficult to play on the table again.
Unfortunately, table tennis players in the United States tend to put a high emphasis on the rating. While it is fun to come home after a good tournament and try to figure out what your new rating will be, you’ll find in the end it’s irrelevant.
I am willing to listen to any backlash that may come from this opinion article. Don’t get me wrong – I think there is a place in this sport for pips players. It really depends on the personality and the goals of a particular player. If someone starting out wants to increase their rating as quickly as possible and is looking more at a short term goal, then pips may be a good choice.
However, I must say I admire people who dedicate themselves to learning the technique involved in playing with inverted rubber. With inverted rubber, it takes time and experience to understand the different spins that can be imparted on the ball.
Pips take away this learning curve and just place whatever balls come back at you dead back to your opponent. At the lower levels, this often is an “easy” way to win matches.
However, as your rating goes up you will find yourself winning fewer and fewer matches. However, the inverted player will find themselves winning more and more matches as their rating goes up. In the end, if you never take the time in really understanding the spins of the ball, how can you possibly take down someone who does understand?
2000 seems to be a benchmark and a target for tournament players in the United States. I remember coming up and wishing I could be 2000. If that is your case, I recommend you slap on two sheets of inverted rubber and start learning.
How many pips players do you know over 2000? Not many. How many inverted players over 2000 do you know? It’s probably safe to say 95% of the players out there over 2000 are inverted rubber players.
Granted, I have put a lot of time into this great sport over the past years and not everyone may have the time available to them I have had. Even so, if you are playing in tournaments then you are probably putting in enough time necessary to learn enough with inverted to sit all of those pips players down.
In closing, I’d like to say what it’s like for me playing against pips players. When I play pips players, I seem to have more time to get off my shots. I worry less about being pressed for time to perform my shots.
Where an inverted loop coming at me may seem like a major league 90 m.p.h. fastball a pip ball coming at me seems like a 20 m.p.h. grapefruit-sized softball. It took a lot of time for me to get where I am but trust me, I still remember the battles I used to have with the pips players when I was coming up and it is still ever so sweet beating up on them now!
So I call to all of you beginners out there and even intermediate players who find themselves still under 2000. Don’t give up! There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep working on your game with inverted rubber. There is nothing sweeter than seeing a pips player who used to junk you down walk away after being looped killed by your ever improving shots! HA!
Side note: Sorry to all you pips players I know, I still love you all!
Butterfly Table Tennis Rubbers in America and Japan