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Tactics Against Long Pimples

Is it possible to prepare any tactics against long pimples or are long pimples just too unpredictable? Find out here...

Table Tennis Tactics Against Long Pimples

If you're playing against a table tennis player who uses long pimples (also known as long pips, funny rubbers and junk rubbers), is it possible to use any tactics against them or are long pimples just too unpredictable?

Well, once you understand how long pimples work you'll soon discover that they're entirely predictable.

So let's take a closer look at these table tennis rubbers and then we'll discover how to play against them.

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Develop your own table tennis skills first

Table Tennis Tactics Against Long Pimples by courtesy of the ITTF

Before you can implement any tactics against a player who uses long pimples (pips) you first need to have developed your own table tennis skills to a reasonable level.

So it's important that you've mastered at least the four basic strokes and that you understand the basics of spin before you start thinking about which tactics you should use.

You should also note that tactics are only useful if you're playing against a player of a similiar standard to yourself, or a player who is slightly better than you.

If you're playing against a player who is at a much more advanced level than you, then it's unlikely that any tactics you employ will be effective because the difference in playing standard will negate any tactics which you try to use.

So by improving your standard of play you'll also be able to use a wider range of tactics in order to defeat your opponent. Therefore it's important that you practice your own table tennis strokes first.

There really is no substitute for practice if you want to improve your table tennis skills.

After you've developed your own skills, you can then start to consider which tactics you can use against long pimples (pips).


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The Official Rules of Table Tennis

Basic Table Tennis Rules

The official rules of table tennis (Rule 2.04.03) specify the type of racket coverings which are allowed, but for higher levels of play there are additional "Regulations" which supplement these basic rules.

Within these additional Regulations, Rule 3.02.01.03 states...

The covering material on a side of the blade used for striking the ball shall be currently authorised by the ITTF and shall be attached to the blade so that the ITTF logo, the ITTF number (when present), the supplier and brand names are clearly visible near the handle.

So if you're playing in a higher level event where the additional Regulations are being used, your racket coverings must also be on the List of authorised racket coverings which the ITTF produces every six months.

On that list there are nearly 1400 authorised racket coverings.

Of those, approximately 1050 are "normal" inverted rubbers, 25 are "anti spin" inverted rubbers, 200 are short pimples out rubbers and 115 are long pimples out rubbers.

So you can see that long pimpled rubbers only account for about 8% of all authorised rubbers.


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Short and Long Pimples

Pimples-out table tennis rubbers can be used with or without sponge underneath them, but the dimensions for all pimples-out table tennis rubbers must comply with the following criteria...

Table Tennis Pimpled Rubbers

h = height of pimples (minimum 1mm)

a = pimple diameter on top
     (minimum 1mm, maximum 2.2mm)

t = thickness of rubber (maximum 2mm)

However, the aspect ratio of pimple height / pimple diameter cannot be greater than 1.10.


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Definition of Long Pimples

Well the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) classify table tennis rubbers as having long pimples when the aspect ratio of pimple height / pimple diameter is 0.9 or larger.

Table Tennis Tactics Against Long Pimples

Short pimples     -     long pimples

The most well known brands of table tennis rubbers with long pimples are Friendship 755, Stiga Destroyer, Tibhar Grass, TSP Curl, Yasaka Phantom, Butterfly Feint and Dr Neubauer.

Table tennis rubbers designed to be used without sponge are sometimes named OX.


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How Long Pimples Work

Some players believe that long pimples should be banned because they're unpredictable. But is that true?

Well the first thing to understand about long pimples is that, in fact, they're entirely predictable.

So why are they so confusing to some players?

Well it's probably because they don't work in the same way as "normal" inverted offensive rubbers.

Let's take a look...

Table Tennis Tactics Against Long Pimples

The most common scenario is when two players are playing against each other and they're both using "normal" inverted offensive rubbers.

When you topspin the ball to your opponent and they topspin it back, you know that the ball will return with topspin on it.

And when you play a topspin stroke to your opponent and they play a backspin (chop) stroke, you know the ball will return with backspin on it.

But what is actually happening is that the rotation of the ball is being reversed by your opponent's racket.

However...

Table Tennis Tactics Against Long Pimples

Long pimples work in a different (although predictable) way to "normal" inverted offensive rubbers.

With long pimples the rotation of the ball is NOT reversed when it hits the long pimples. The ball continues rotating in the same direction.

This means that you sometimes receive the opposite type of spin to that which you are expecting.

So what do you need to know?

Well, when you're playing against a player who use long pimples, you don't want to be thinking about the mechanics of what's happening to the spin on the ball, you just want to have a few simple principles to remember.

So the simplest way to learn how to play against long pimples is to remember the following general principles.

Of course, you should remember that there are over 100 different brands of long pimpled rubber, and that different players can use them in slightly different ways. But the principles are always the same.

So let's take a look at what spin will be returned to you if you play with a "normal" inverted offensive rubber, and your opponent uses long pimples.

You play Your opponent plays Spin you will receive
Topspin Backspin (chop / slice) Backspin
Backspin (chop / slice) Backspin (chop / slice) Topspin
Push Backspin (chop / slice) No spin or slight topspin
 
Topspin Topspin Backspin
Backspin (chop / slice) Topspin Topspin
Push Topspin No spin or slight backspin
 
Topspin Block No spin or slight backspin
Backspin (chop / slice) Block No spin or slight topspin
Push Block No spin or slight topspin

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Tactics Against Long Pimples (pips)

Table Tennis Tactics Against Long Pips by courtesy of the ITTF

As I pointed out earlier, there are over 100 different brands of long pimpled rubber and some players are better at using them, but the general principles outlined above remain true.

But when you know the type of spin that long pips rubber will generate, it's easier to work out your tactics.

So now you know that ... if you want your opponent to give you topspin, you need to play a backspin stroke or a push stroke.

And if you want your opponent to give you backspin, you need to play a topspin stroke.

Martin's Top Tip

A very important point to remember is that a player using long pimples is unable to generate their own spin.

So generally, the less spin you impart onto the ball, the less spin they can return to you.

Conversely, the more spin you impart onto the ball, the more spin you will receive in return.

So if you impart excessive spin onto the ball, you'll usually get excessive spin in return, but if you play a no spin stroke, you'll generally get a no spin (float) return.

So what other tactics can we use?

One tactic against long pimples is to force the player away from the table with strong topspin drive strokes.

The advantages of this are that you will have longer to read the spin and, due to air resistence, the amount of spin on the ball will decrease slightly before it reaches you.

Additionally, if the player uses different rubbers on either side of his racket, you'll have more time to see which side he used to play the stroke.

 

If your opponent prefers to defend, another tactic to use is to not play the topspin strokes they want. If you don't play a long shot then they won't be able to play a backspin (chop / slice) stroke away from the table.

 

Placement of the ball is also very important, as is varying the speed of your returns.

If they play close to the table, playing fast returns into their crossover point (right hip / right pocket area for a right-hander) can be very effective as they'll have less room to play their stroke and will also have to quickly decide whether to play a forehand or backhand stroke.

 

Of course one of the best ways of playing any player is to develop serves which enable you to launch the first attack.

For more information about how to improve your service and how to serve in order to help you attack first, see my book entitled "Service Secrets".

RECOMMENDED  TABLE  TENNIS  BOOK

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Table Tennis Service Secrets Discover the fastest way to improve your table tennis by 30%

Improving your service and return of service will add three points, or more, to every game you play.

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RECOMMENDED TABLE TENNIS BOOK

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Discover the fastest way to improve your table tennis by 30%

Improving your service and return of service will add three points, or more, to every game you play.

Click here for more details


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