EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW PLAYING WITH OR AGAINST ANTISPIN RUBBERS

from http://n3sport.no

 

 

Playing with antispin

 

How does antispin work?

What are the advantages of antispin?

What are the limitations of antispin?

Tactics and Techniques when using antispin - What to do

General Tips

Playing against Anti-Spin

 

Ban Junk Rubbers!

What is Anti-spin Rubber?

Why do People use Anti-spin Rubber?

How does anti-spin work in theory?

How does anti-spin work in Practice?

What Happens when I Topspin?

What happens when I Backspin?

Conclusion

When in Doubt, What Do I Do?

by Greg Letts - an International coach, an International Umpire and one of the top ranked players in Australia.

In today's article I'd like to discuss the subject of how to play table tennis with antispin rubber. I have used antispin previously, but it was quite a while ago now (over 10 years) so I'd be happy to hear from anyone with more recent experience who has something to add.

That said, let's get down to it.

How does antispin work?

Suffice to say that antispin rubber is not the solution to all your table tennis problems. It is a rubber that has been created to fill very specific requirements. When used for those purposes, it does an excellent job. The problems start when people start trying to use it for what it is not designed for, or equipped to do.

What are the advantages of antispin?

Antispin rubber has several good points, including the following:

  • A large difference in the way it reacts to spin compared to normal rubber, which can cause the opponent to make mistakes, and can also increase the control for the user;
  • A possible difference in speed compared to normal rubber (if slower, softer sponge is used), which can also cause the opponent to make mistakes due to the change of pace;
  • A possible closer match in speed to normal rubber (if harder, faster or speed-glued sponge is used), which can be more difficult for the opponent to know which side has been used until it is too late;
  • A closer match in sound (when the ball is struck) and visual appearance to normal rubber, which can cause the opponent to incorrectly decide on which side of the bat has been used to strike the ball, hopefully causing an error;
  • It can be intimidating for players who do not understand how antispin works, and may give up before the match even starts;
  • It can allow older players who have slower reflexes or other physical limitations to slow down the pace of the game, allowing them to compete on a more equal footing. It can give these players the chance to use their experience to play a tactical game that maximises the assets that they do have (usually experience, reading of spin, and use of strategies) while minimising their liabilities (slowing reflexes, less agile, slower footwork, less stamina, less power).

What are the limitations of antispin?

Despite all these pluses, you don't see every person out there playing with antispin. Here are some reasons why:

  • It's harder to generate spin using antispin - which can be a severe limitation when it comes to making powerful attacks. The safety margin provided by hitting with heavy topspin is greatly reduced when using antispin.
  • It's difficult to vary the spin using antispin (depending to some extent on the brand used). Suffice to say that when compared to normal rubber (and even long pimples), it is much more difficult to kill or change the spin to any significant degree with antispin.
  • When choosing his own strokes, the player is much more dependent on what spin is put on the ball by his opponent (we'll discuss this in greater detail later).
  • Unless the player is a competent twiddler, it can be difficult to avoid getting pinned down on the antispin side by a good opponent.

Tactics and Techniques when using antispin - What to do

Check out your opponent

Study your future opponent carefully if you get the chance before the match, or even during your match if you have to, looking for such points as:

  • Is he good at noticing when his opponent twiddles?
  • Does he know how it works? Does he make a lot of mistakes or hesitate when playing against the antispin?
  • Is he aggressive or safe when playing against the antispin? Does it work well?
  • Does he return the antispin balls with little spin, heavy spin, or varied?
  • Does he play better against the antispin when you chop with it, or hit? Or is he equally good/bad at both?

Dealing with floated balls

Many opponents try to nullify the antispin by hitting no-spin balls to it, so that there is no spin to reverse, thus helping them have less problem in reading the spin. Others use a no-spin return in the hopes that the antispin user will pop the ball up high when attempting a normal chop with the antispin side (sound familiar?).

Here are some tips for dealing with floated balls to your antispin.

  • The bread and butter shot that you use should be a stroke that is mainly from up to down and with just a little bit of forward motion. The angle of the bat is slightly open, so the ball is lifted only a little. This results in a return from the antispin that will stay low over the net, and will be difficult to attack. Using more forward motion whilst keeping the amount of up to down movement the same will result in a return that is low and fast. Be aware that there is a limit to how fast you can perform this shot, since there is a minimal amount of topspin on the ball. You are basically relying on gravity to pull the ball on to the table, so to much forward motion will push the ball too far off the end before gravity can do its thing.
  • A second shot that can be made occasionally (don't overdo it) is a chop return with the antispin. There are two important things to note here: firstly, the swing must be reasonably fast, and secondly, the ball must be brushed, with the bat sliding under the ball.
    • Forgetting to swing fast enough will result in a ball that doesn't reach the net.
    • Forgetting to brush the ball will cause the ball to go high in the air, off the end of the table.
    • A reasonably fast swing with a good brush of the ball will result in a return that is low, fast, and that looks like it has a fair amount of backspin but actually has none. The opponent will probably misread the spin and return the ball too high, and this return should be attacked with your normal rubber.
  • A third shot that can also be used every so often is to hit the ball with a stroke that looks like topspin. The bat should be slightly open, since you will need to lift the ball a little in order for it to clear the net. Remember that there will be very little or no topspin on the ball, so you will be depending on gravity to bring the ball down on the table. This means that this attacking stroke cannot be performed at high speed, unless the ball is above the level of the net, in which case the ball can be hit directly onto the table. The higher the ball, the harder it can be hit.
    • Don't worry that you can't hit the ball very hard - against all but the best opponents the sheer change of pace and spin will be enough to prevent them from making a strong attack.

Dealing with spinny pushed/chopped balls

Quite often, your opponent will start with float balls to your antispin, and see how you handle them. This is because the float return is the easiest and safest for him to use. Once you have shown him that you can deal with the float ball without any problems (by using the techniques mentioned above), the more advanced opponent will often then try using heavily spun pushes to the antispin in the hopes that he can make you put the ball in the net.

The techniques mentioned above for the float ball will still work with the backspin ball, with some minor changes.

  • The up to down stroke with only a little forward movement now needs a lot more forward movement. The backspin from your opponent will be turned into topspin and cause the ball to drop a lot faster, so if you don't hit more forward, the ball will go into the bottom of the net. Don't change the amount of up to down movement though, just add a bit more forward motion. You will end up with a quite fast push/block that drops quickly onto the opponent's side of the table.
  • The chop return can be used more often now. The fast chop stroke with a brushing of the ball helps to return the ball with a little topspin, although it looks like chop. Again, you should find the unwary opponent popping up his return for you to hit with your normal side.
  • Hitting the ball now becomes a much more workable option. Your opponent's backspin will be converted to topspin, and will help bring the ball down onto the table faster. This means that you can hit the backspin ball with a lot more power than the float ball. The main thing to be aware of is that you will need to hit the ball harder forwards while still hitting it a little bit up with a slightly open bat to get the lift to clear the net.
    • Hitting the ball harder but failing to lift the ball will give you a fast ball that dives into the bottom of the net, or even on your side of the table.
    • Lifting the ball but failing to hit hard enough will result in a ball that rises above the net on your side of the table, but falls into the bottom of the net or even on your half of the table.
    • A properly struck ball will rise a little above the net before dropping on the other side of the table. The more backspin the opponent puts on the ball, the harder you can actually hit it and still drop the ball onto the table.

Dealing with Topspin Balls

I'm assuming here that you are playing fairly close to the table - simply because it's difficult to use antispin to counterhit or topspin balls back from 2-3 metres away from the end line - and so the standard chop is used more often from a distance.

Here are your basic options when returning a topspin ball from close to the table:

  • Counterhitting the ball back is a viable option - the main thing to keep in mind is not to overhit - there will usually be a fair bit of pace on the ball from your opponent's shot, so you won't need to hit too hard. You actually won't be able to hit too hard and still get the ball on the table, since you won't be able to generate any meaningful topspin with your antispin.
    • The higher the ball bounces, the harder you can hit and still land the ball on the table. If the ball bounces well above the level of the net, you can pretty much hit the ball directly onto the opponent's half. As the ball gets lower in relation to the net, you will need to reduce your speed in order to allow gravity to drop the ball on the table.
    • Don't bother with brushing the ball when counterhitting - you won't generate enough topspin to make it worthwhile. Just use a solid counterhit to maximise your chances of making good contact.
    • Due to the nature of antispin, you will return a ball with a small to medium amount of backspin, depending on how much spin your opponent originally put on the ball.
  • Blocking or push/blocking is also very useful. The key here is to have 'soft hands' or a looser grip on the blade, to help absorb some of the power of the attack. You may also need to tilt the bat a little bit forward to adjust for the tendency of the ball to jump higher.
    • Focus on placing the ball around the table rather than trying to hit winners. Allow the antispin to do its job in changing the pace and varying the spin compared to normal rubbers. Resist the temptation to blast the ball back at the opponent - you'll miss 4 or 5 for every one glory shot that goes on.
    • After your block or push/block, get ready for a slower, weaker return from lower level opponents. Be prepared to step in and put the ball away with your normal rubber. Higher level opponents will be able to maintain their attack, so remember to keep moving the ball around and varying the type of return you use.

General Tips

  • Most antispins are a fair bit slower than normal rubber and can drop the ball shorter much more easily. Against less mobile opponents, take advantage of this by using extreme angles to move your opponent wide to the backhand, then wide to the forehand etc.
  • Antispin is not designed to power the ball through your opponent. Unless you are very good with it, stick to playing safe and sure, moving the ball around the table, and changing your stroke for variation. Resist the temptation to try to hit winners with the antispin - get the ball on and let the opponent make mistakes in reading the spin and pace.
  • In general, don't hit the ball twice in a row with the antispin. The second hit is rarely as effective as the first, since the opponent has had the first one to adjust to the change in pace and spin. Hit once with the antispin and then look to use your normal rubber to put away the return. If the opponent manages to get the ball back to your antispin after you hit the first time, change to a push or push/block and move the ball around the table instead for your second shot - you can always try another hit later.
  • Don't be afraid to twiddle - but generally twiddle once and then go back to your normal side.
  • Don't get lazy and use the antispin as an excuse to not watch the ball and bat carefully when your opponent is serving - as you go up against better opponents being able to read the serve will be an important part of your game, antispin or not. In fact, try to return less often with the antispin - it has less ability to vary the spin and good players will often look to serve to the antispin because of this.
  • Finally, remember that the antispin is there to allow you to slow the game down and hopefully set up your attacks with your normal rubber. Don't get caught trying to hit every ball with the antispin. Be looking to use your normal rubber to attack when possible, and use your antispin when you have to, or for a specific pattern to set up an attack.

 

Playing against Anti-Spin

How to defeat your defensive opponents

by Greg Letts - an International coach, an International Umpire and one of the top ranked players in Australia.

Ban Junk Rubbers!

Anti-spin and long pimples, yuk! They should be banned! Everyone should have to use normal rubbers!

Sound familiar? I think we all have heard a fellow table tennis player say this at one time or another. Suffice to say that anti-spin and long pimples don't look like disappearing soon, and although there may not be many players in the World's Top 100 Men using anti-spin or long pimples, I'm willing to bet that you, dear reader, are not in such elite company either or else you probably wouldn't be interested in hearing my views on how to play against these 'funny' or 'junk' rubbers. I'll start with anti-spin because it's a bit simpler to play against than long pimples.

So take a deep breath, gird up your loins and read on...

What is Anti-spin Rubber?

In general, anti-spin rubber is a smooth sandwich rubber with little or no grip on the surface of the rubber. You can hold a table tennis ball in your fingers and rub (not roll) the ball along the surface, and the ball will simply slide along the surface with very little friction when compared to a 'normal' smooth rubber. Different anti-spin rubbers have varying amount of grip, which is why not every anti-spin plays exactly the same, but they will all have much less grip than a normal rubber.

Why do People use Anti-spin Rubber?

Anti-spin is used by players of a variety of styles, but overall there are three main reasons why anti-spin is used:

  1. To provide very good control of the ball regardless of what shot your opponent makes;
  2. To provide variation in the behaviour of the ball in comparison to strokes made with the normal rubber that is typically on the other side of the bat.
  3. To allow the user of anti-spin to turn or 'twiddle' the bat in his hand and make his opponent incorrectly guess which side of the bat was used, thus forcing a poor return.

How does anti-spin work in theory?

There are several factors involved in how a particular anti-spin rubber works. Each anti-spin rubber uses these factors differently, which is why no two anti-spin rubbers play exactly the same way. The factors involved are listed below. Please keep in mind that this is my theory about anti-spin, so I'm not claiming to be the last word on the subject.

(1) Amount of grip of the topsheet.
All anti-spins have much less grip than normal rubbers, but this does not mean that they all have no grip. There is actually quite a difference in grips between different anti-spin rubbers. The more grip they have, the more the player will be able to change the spin that you have put on the ball.

(2) Softness of the topsheet
The softer the topsheet, the more the topsheet will 'wrap' around the ball when the player attempts to put spin on the ball, and the more spin the anti-spin will generate. Keep in mind that this will not be anywhere near the amount of spin that comes from a normal rubber, but it is still significant. A player with a soft topsheet will be able to produce more spin variation that a player using a stiff topsheet, such as one of the Dr Nebauer topsheets that is rock hard.

(3) Thickness and hardness of the sponge
As in (2) above, the thicker and softer the sponge, the more the rubber will be able to wrap around the ball and generate spin which a brushing motion is used. This will also affect the speed of the return, as noted in (7) below.

(4) Speed of the rubber
The faster the overall rubber, the less time the ball will stay on the rubber and the less opportunity to spin the ball. I think that there have been studies done that indicate that the speed of the rubber does not affect the dwell time, but this is my gut feel about the effect of rubber speed.

(5) Speed Glue
Speed glue softens the sponge, allowing the rubber to wrap around the ball more and generate more spin as well as speed.

(6) The type of stroke used
A stroke where the rubber makes flat contact with the ball without brushing it will have the least effect on the spin already on the ball. A brushing motion will apply more spin than a flat stroke (but still a lot less than a normal rubber), keeping in mind that if the ball already has a lot of spin on it then the anti-spin rubber will struggle to change the spin in any significant way.

(7) Speed and bounce of the return (as pointed out by heavyspin)
The effect of the anti-spin on the spin of the ball is not the only problem that you will face. Compared to a stroke with an ordinary rubber, the amount of speed on the ball will be less with the same stroke made by an anti-spin rubber. A thicker, harder sponge will tend to return the ball faster, but it will still not be anywhere near as fast as a normal rubber. A speed-glued anti-spin rubber might just about get there, though. In addition, the bounce of the ball off the table will also be different, due to the difference in spin and speed applied by the anti-spin rubber.

All of these factors will affect the amount that your opponent can change your spin. Bear in mind that if you spin the ball and your opponent does not change your spin, the ball will keep spinning in the same way but it's overall motion will be in the other direction, so if you hit a topspin it will come back to you as backspin, and if you hit a backspin it will come back to you as topspin. This is true regardless of what rubber your opponent is using, it is just easier to do with anti-spin. (Think of a chopper chopping a loop, for example. The spin on the ball is always in the same direction, but it is coming to the chopper as topspin, and to the looper as backspin.)

How does anti-spin work in Practice?

To explain how anti-spin works in reality, it is probably easiest to compare it to how normal rubber works. Imagine this scenario: You and your opponent are both using normal rubbers such as Sriver. You topspin loop the ball to your opponent, and he plays his stroke by moving his bat from near his knee to above his head, in a fairly typical topspin action. What type of speed and spin will be on the ball that is coming towards you?

Answer: The type of spin can vary all the way from a slow heavy topspin if your opponent has spun the ball without much forward motion, to a medium-fast loop with medium spin if he has spun the ball and hit through the ball about equally, to a very fast loop or drive with not very much spin if he has hit through the ball without spinning it much.

In this day and age of smooth grippy rubbers, most intermediate and advanced players will know what is happening instinctively when they are playing, and adjust accordingly. This type of topspin rally is what the many hours of training has prepared you for. It is an entirely predictable scenario - if you watch your opponent's stroke closely enough, you will know what spin and speed is on the ball coming towards you.

Now imagine that your opponent is playing with an anti-spin rubber. Once again, you topspin loop the ball to his forehand, and he uses the anti-spin side to play a stroke from his knee to his head, in a fairly typical topspin action. What type of speed and spin will be on the ball that is coming towards you?

Answer: The ball will be anywhere from a heavy backspin ball to a float ball, depending on the type of anti-spin used and the type of contact made by your opponent. It will not be a topspin ball. Read on for the reasons why.

 

What Happens when I Topspin?

The Short Version

As Carl Danner was nice enough to point out, the short version for both topspin and backspin is as follows - "Basically, anti-spin continues the spin already on the ball, so you get (effectively) back the opposite of what you have hit -- only slightly less intense, as you noted."

The Long Version

Since I lack Carl's ability to take a complicated idea and boil it down to it's essentials, here are a few example scenarios and an explanation of what will happen in each:

(A) Your topspin to your opponent's topspin style stroke.

  1. You hit a heavy topspin ball. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has virtually no grip. He hits the ball with a topspin style stroke and with flat, non-brushing contact. The anti-spin will have little effect on the spin already on the ball, so most of the spin will remain, and the ball will come back to you fairly quickly and with medium backspin. It won't be a heavy backspin, since the spin has been steadily getting less due to air resistance ever since you hit the ball. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return would have no spin or a little topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go into the bottom of the net.
  2. Same as for (1), but now your opponent brushes the ball rather than flat-hitting it. Because the topsheet has little grip, the only factor able to change the spin of the ball is the sponge giving way, allowing the rubber to wrap slightly around the ball. The thicker the sponge and the softer the topsheet, the more your spin will be reduced. Your opponent will still not be able to fully kill your spin though, so the ball should come back to you with medium to light backspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return would have medium to heavy topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will bounce on your side of the table.
  3. You hit a heavy topspin ball. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has a little grip. He hits the ball with a topspin style stroke and brushes the ball rather than flat hitting it. Now both the topsheet and the sponge can help to change the spin on the ball, although it is still unlikely that your opponent will be able to kill all your spin. The ball should come back to you as a light backspin to a near-float. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return would have medium to heavy topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will bounce on your side of the table.
  4. Same as for (3), but now your opponent hits the ball with a flat, non-brushing contact. Since his rubber has a little grip, this will act to kill the spin just a little, much less than if he tried to brush the ball. The sponge and topsheet will give way, but since your opponent is not brushing the ball they should have little effect on the spin. The ball should be coming back to you with a medium backspin, not as much backspin as in (1) above but with more backspin than in (2) and (3). Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return would have no spin or a little topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go into the net.

(B) Your topspin to your opponent's chop style stroke

  1. You hit a heavy topspin stroke. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has virtually no grip. He hits the ball with a backspin style stroke and with flat, non-brushing contact. The anti-spin will have little effect on the spin already on the ball, so most of the spin will remain, and the ball will come back to you fairly quickly and with medium backspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return would have little or no backspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go into the net.
  2. Same as for (1), but now your opponent brushes the ball rather than flat-hitting it. The only factor able to change the spin of the ball will be the sponge giving way to wrap slightly around the ball. The thicker the sponge and the softer the topsheet, the more your spin will be increased. Since it is an anti-spin rubber though, it will not be a huge increase in spin, so the ball should come back to you with medium-heavy backspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have heavy backspin. Your bat angle will be slightly incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' higher than expected from your bat.
  3. You hit a heavy topspin ball. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has a little grip. He hits the ball with a backspin style stroke and brushes the ball rather than flat hitting it. Now both the topsheet and the sponge can help to increase the spin on the ball, so the ball should come back with a medium-heavy backspin, with a little more spin than in (2) above. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have heavy backspin. Your bat angle will be slightly incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' higher than expected from your bat.
  4. Same as for (3), but now your opponent hits the ball with a flat, non-brushing contact. Since his rubber has a little grip, this will act to kill the spin just a little. The sponge and topsheet will give way, but since your opponent is not brushing the ball they should have little effect on the spin. The ball should be coming back to you with a medium-light backspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have little or no backspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go into the net.

Ok, so much for returns from your topspin strokes. But what happens when you backspin the ball to your opponent?

What happens when I Backspin?

Here are a few example scenarios and an explanation of what will happen:

(A) Your backspin to his topspin style stroke.

  1. You hit a heavy backspin ball. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has virtually no grip. He hits the ball with a topspin style stroke and with flat, non-brushing contact. The anti-spin will have little effect on the spin already on the ball, so most of the spin will remain, and the ball will come back to you fairly quickly and with medium topspin. It won't be a heavy topspin, since the spin has been steadily getting less due to air resistance ever since you hit the ball. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have little or no topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go 'pop up' into the air.
  2. Same as for (1), but now your opponent brushes the ball rather than flat-hitting it. Because the topsheet has no grip, the only factor able to change the spin of the ball is the sponge giving way, allowing the rubber to wrap slightly around the ball. The thicker the sponge and the softer the topsheet, the more your spin will be increased, although not by very much, so the ball should come back to you with a little more spin than in (1) above, but still a medium amount of topspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have heavy topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go into the net.
  3. You hit a heavy backspin ball. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has a little grip. He hits the ball with a topspin style stroke and brushes the ball rather than flat hitting it. Now both the topsheet and the sponge can help to increase the spin on the ball, so the ball should come back to you as a medium topspin with a little more topspin than in (2) above.Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have heavy topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will go into the net.
  4. Same as for (3), but now your opponent hits the ball with a flat, non-brushing contact. Since his rubber has a little grip, this will act to kill the spin a little. The sponge and topsheet will give way, but since your opponent is not brushing the ball they should have little effect on the spin. The ball should be coming back to you with a light topspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have little or no topspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' into the air.

(B) Your backspin to his chop style stroke

  1. You hit a heavy backspin stroke. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has virtually no grip. He hits the ball with a backspin style stroke and with flat, non-brushing contact. The anti-spin will have little effect on the spin already on the ball, so most of the spin will remain, and the ball will come back to you fairly quickly and with medium topspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have little or no backspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' into the air.
  2. Same as for (1), but now your opponent brushes the ball rather than flat-hitting it. The only factor able to change the spin of the ball will be the sponge giving way to wrap slightly around the ball. The thicker the sponge and the softer the topsheet, the more your spin will be reduced. Since it is an anti-spin rubber though, it will not be a huge reduction in spin, so the ball should come back to you with medium topspin, but with less spin than in (1) above. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have medium to heavy backspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' into the air.
  3. You hit a heavy backspin ball. Your opponent is using a medium speed anti-spin rubber that has a little grip. He hits the ball with a backspin style stroke and brushes the ball rather than flat hitting it. Now both the topsheet and the sponge can help to reduce the spin on the ball, but they will not be able to kill the spin entirely, so the ball should come back with a light topspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have medium to heavy backspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' into the air.
  4. Same as for (3), but now your opponent hits the ball with a flat, non-brushing contact. Since his rubber has a little grip, this will act to kill the spin just a little. The sponge and topsheet will give way, but since your opponent is not brushing the ball they should have little effect on the spin. The ball should be coming back to you with a medium-light topspin. Why you will hit a bad stroke next - with a conventional rubber his return will have little or no backspin. Your bat angle will be incorrect, and the ball will 'pop up' into the air.

Conclusion

If you are still with me after all that heavy going, congratulations! Now go back and read it again to make sure it all makes sense. Then go out and find an anti-spin player and try it out.

In a nutshell, there are 3 basic rules that you must remember:

1. What did you just do to the ball?

An anti-spin rubber will not affect the spin that you have put on the ball very much. So the most important thing to keep track of is what was the last stroke you played - chop or topspin? If you chopped the ball, your opponent will only be able to use his anti-spin to give you a return that ranges from float to heavy topspin, and the amount of spin will increase with the more spin you put on the ball in the first place. Similarly, if you loop the ball, your opponent can only use the anti-spin to give you a return that varies from float to heavy backspin, and the amount of spin will again be in proportion to the amount of spin you gave the ball first.

2. What stroke did your opponent play?

This doesn't actually matter that much when the anti-spin rubber is used. The grippier the anti-spin, the thicker the sponge, and the softer the topsheet, the more this will have an effect. It won't be more important than Rule 1 though.

3. What side of the bat did he use?
Remember, all of the above assumes that your opponent actually hit the ball with the anti-spin side. All bets are off if your opponent twiddles the bat and uses the conventional side when you are not looking!

When in Doubt, What Do I Do?

Sooner or later, it's going to happen. Your anti-spin using opponent hits the ball and you don't remember what spin you put on the ball, or you didn't notice what side your opponent used. What is your best course of action? The way I see it, you have two choices:

  1. My own personal recommendation is to hit the ball slowly but put as heavy a spin on the ball as possible, based on the theory that if you heavily spin the ball you will have a better chance of overriding whatever spin is on the ball already, and the slowness of the shot will give you a large area of table to land the ball on.
  2. Other players I know like to hit the ball as fast and flat as they can, working on the principle that if you pick a specific spot on the table and aim for it, hitting quickly and flat should help kill the spin on the ball and it will hopefully go in a straight line towards where you have aimed.

Which theory works best for you? - try it out and see!

 
 

20.11.2005 00:00