How many kinds of ping pong rubbers are there? So many people are confused by this question.
The term “pips” refers to the small protrusions on the surface of the rubber that make contact with the ball. As we can see from the picture, “long pips” gets its name from the form. The pips are longer than the short ones.
In fact, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, finding the right equipment is always crucial to your success on the court. One aspect of your equipment that can greatly impact your game is the type of rubber you use on your paddle.
In this blog, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the world of long pips rubbers in table tennis and exploring what makes them such a unique and effective choice for players who prefer a defensive playing style.
As a chopper, I have played with long pips rubber for over 13 years and I have accumulated sufficient experience in using it. I am willing to share what I know with you in this in-depth blog.
What is Long Pips in Table Tennis
Long Pips in table tennis refer to a type of rubber in which the pimples are out, which is different from the traditional inverted rubber. Unlike long pips rubber, inverted rubber has a smooth surface with no protuberances (pips) facing out.
The unique ball behavior includes less spin and an increased level of disturbance on the ball’s trajectory, making long pimples rubber a popular choice among players who employ a defensive playing style.
How Long Pips Work in Table Tennis
Long pimples rubber in table tennis works by changing the behavior of the ball when it comes into contact with the rubber surface. Specifically speaking, long pips rubber does not generate spin on the ball; rather, it can reverse the spin already on the ball. Please keep this point in mind as all the strategies of playing against long pips that we are going to propose later are based on this principle.
Unlike conventional rubbers that generate spin through the topsheet, long pips rubber creates spin by using the pips to disrupt the trajectory of the ball. When the ball hits the pips, it generates a chopping motion, which can result in a change of direction, spin, or speed of the ball, making it difficult for the opponent to return.
This means that if an opponent hits the ball with a strong topspin, the ball will come off the long pips rubber with a backspin. This makes it difficult for opponents to control the ball and return it accurately, as the ball’s trajectory and spin are altered in unpredictable ways.
Long pips VS Inverted rubbers
The biggest difference between long pips rubber and inverted rubber is their act to spin.
The performance of long pips to actively generate spin is poor. It mainly depends on the incoming ball’s strong spin to increase the returning ball’s spin.
Long pips rubber works by having a low contact area with the ball, which means that the spin on the ball is not absorbed but instead bounces off the rubber. In this case, the low contact area also means that long pips rubber has a relatively low level of friction compared to inverted rubber.
In addition, the low contact area also means that the ball does not stay on the rubber for very long, which can further disrupt the opponent’s shot and make it more difficult for them to read the spin on the ball.
When hitting the ball with long pips rubber, the spin on the ball depends on the spin of your opponent’s shot.
For example, if your opponent plays a backspin shot, a push shot with long pips rubber can reduce the spin on the ball and even produce no spin ball, making the opponent confused about the spin. If he pushes back, the ball will become super high, and it’s easy for you to smash and kill the game.
However, if your opponent plays a topspin shot, a block with long pips rubber can result in the ball bouncing off the rubber with a heavy backspin, which can make it more difficult for the opponent to attack the shot.
Inverted rubber, on the other hand, has a smooth surface with a layer of sponge underneath. The sponge provides a more consistent and predictable spin on the ball compared to long pips rubber. The spin will be generated through the friction between the ball and the surface of the rubber.
Inverted rubber is well-suited for offensive play and for players who want to generate a lot of spin on the ball to play aggressive shots such as topspins, loops, and smashes.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, How to choose a great table tennis blade for beginners, the performance of inverted rubber is mainly decided by the thickness and hardness of the rubber.
Unlike the strange spin that the long pips will generate, the rules of inverted rubbers can be grasped easily, so we recommend that beginners learn from inverted ones.
The Pros and Cons of Long Pips
Pros of long pips
Advantage at receiving serves
Many players struggle with serving and receiving serves, as they have difficulty accurately determining the spin of the ball, leading to lost points and matches. However, when players use long pips to return serves, they don’t need to consider it at all. Due to the characteristic of the long pips, players are less likely to eat the serves.
Players can effectively return almost any serve, whether it’s long or short, fast or slow, to their backhand or forehand, with a simple block or push. This ease of returning serves allows players to focus on other aspects of their game and can give them a significant advantage in matchplay.
Long pips players have many options in their playstyle, as they can use pimpled rubber on their backhand and inverted rubber on their forehand. With their long pips, they have the choice to block, chop, or brush the ball while using the inverted rubber for attacking purposes. This is also what I like most about long pips rubber.
This versatility in their equipment allows them to change their tactics during the game, creating mistakes for their opponents by generating high balls with their long pips and then finishing the point with a powerful attack using their inverted rubber.
This combination of defensive and offensive play makes them unpredictable and can put their opponents in a difficult position, causing discomfort.
Cons of long pips:
Not so fast
One of the main drawbacks of using long pips rubber is its inability to generate high-speed shots. This means that against opponents who are skilled at attacking, the ball may not move quickly enough, giving them ample time to prepare for their own attack.
As a result, players using long pips may find themselves in a passive playing style, unable to apply the necessary pace and aggression to keep up with their opponents.
This lack of speed and acceleration can be a disadvantage in high-level competition, where opponents may take advantage of these limitations and dominate the match.
Cannot generate spin
Long pips rubber does not have the capability to generate significant spin like inverted rubbers. This means that players relying solely on long pips rubber may struggle to impose their own spin on the ball, making it more challenging to control the game and play an attacking style.
So it’s common that some players always change the side of their racket. Sometimes they use the inverted rubber side to return the ball. This can help them generate speedy balls with more spin and change the game’s rhythm.
Will have problems once the opponent is used to
Once an opponent becomes familiar with a player’s long pips rubber or playing style, it becomes easier for them to counter and win the match. Opponents may take advantage of the predictable nature of long pips and become more comfortable attacking.
In some cases, players using long pips may win the first two sets of a match due to their opponents being unfamiliar with their style, but as they adapt, there is often a significant shift in the match dynamic.
To counteract this, long pips players often employ tactics such as twiddling or twirling their racket to keep their opponents off balance and prevent them from becoming too comfortable with their playing style.
This helps to maintain an element of unpredictability and keep the opponents guessing, increasing the chances of success for the player using long pips.
Should I play with long pips?
Long pips rubber in table tennis can be used by a wide range of players, but it is typically preferred by defensive players who want to control the pace of the game and disrupt their opponent’s shots. This type of rubber is best suited for players who have a good understanding of spin, placement, and tactics and can use the ball’s unpredictable spin to their advantage.
If you are not a crazy looper or you are interested in playing the game in a defensive style, then you can probably try pip-out rubbers. That’s why I chose to play with long pips when I was a child as I was not so interested in attacking.
Long pips rubber is well-suited for defensive play, as they often use chopping, blocking, and countering shots to keep the ball in play and force their opponent to make mistakes.
Controllable players can also use long pips rubber in table tennis, which offers reasonable control and versatility. In China, many old people like to use long pips because they prefer to control the game with their pace.
Long pips rubber can help controllable players maintain good control over the ball and produce an unpredictable spin. Controllable players can do drop shots, short pushes, long pushes, chop blocks, and lots of techniques with long pips rubber.
For those choppers, many of them use long or short pips to do backhand chopping. Choppers can generate heavy backspin with long pips rubber, especially when playing with offensive players and their powerful topspin. In our blog How to play chops in table tennis, we discussed the technique of chopping.
In fact, in many cases, it’s supper difficult for offensive players to do constant lift up faced with the heavy backspin generated by the choppers. They can only choose to do some pushes and wait for the next stroke.
A great example is Korean table tennis player Joo Sae-hyuk. He performs amazingly with long pips in his matches. In fact, he is my favorite table tennis player, and I have been imitating his play style since I was a child.
So overall, long pips are really cheating in spin, and those players usually win the game by relying on their opponents making mistakes. So that’s why they are sometimes called junk players.
Long pips rubber is popular among table tennis players for its versatility and unpredictability. It offers several advantages, such as ease in receiving serves and the ability to disrupt the opponent’s rhythm.
However, it also has limitations, such as difficulties in accelerating the ball and generating spin. Players who use long pips must continually employ tactics such as twiddling or twirling to keep their opponents guessing and prevent them from adapting to their style.
Whether you’re a defensive player or one who prioritizes control, long pips rubber is worth considering as it offers unique benefits to help you succeed on the table tennis court.