How does different rubbers effect the table tennis ball?
What is the purpose of pimpled rubber,or bouncy rubber, or tacky rubber? How does thickness of rubber come into play?
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The rubbers have a big impact on how the ball behaves during and after the hit. Thicker sponge (not rubber) means longer contact of the ball on the racket, because it dives in and gets pushed out for a longer time which results in a catapult effect. Longer contact time also means more possibility to create spin.
Thinner or no sponge rubbers result in shorter ball contact and produce less spin and tempo, but give more control over the ball. They are less effected by the coming spin and just slower in general.
There are anti-spin rubbers, on which the ball just slips and the spin is directed back to the opponent. They cant produce them on their own and are never affected by it. Keep in mind that if you chop and your opponent then returns with an anti spin rubber, the ball is still spinning in the same direction but coming to you now, which results in a hit as if your opponent looped. Also the other way around: if you looped and your oppoent hits the ball with an anti spin rubber, the ball comes back as if he chopped.
Pimple rubbers have a similar effect, but not as strong. They can still turn the spin around (In the perspective of the opponent player it was backspin and now it is topspin, while in reality it was only the ball flight direction which was changed) but not to the same extent and they can still produce spin on their own, depending on their grip.
There are long and short pimples. Short ones are used by players with a harder playstyle, because they dont need to care about the opponents spin and can smash in almost any position. They dont allow a flexible playstyle though. Long Pimples bend while you hit the ball and slow it down. The bending can result in weird and unusual flight curves, especially when more and more spin is involved. Defensive players like to have a long pimpled rubber on their backhand to slow the opponents attacks down and turning the attacking loop into backspin so the attacker has a harder time to loop again and is not able to smash because of the spin.