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Pips in a Nutshell

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First of all, you’re probably wondering, “what are pips?” The term pips refers to the pimpled rubbers on table tennis rackets. They have raised tubes in a uniform pattern (instead of a smooth surface), and different kinds of pips produce different effects when playing table tennis.

All table tennis rubbers can fall into one of three basic categories.

1.) Grippy Inverted Rubbers

What you see is what you get.  If your opponent strokes the ball with a topspin stroke, the ball will be topspin to some degree or another.  Same principle applies to backspin or sidespin.

2.) Recreational Rubbers, Short Pips and Long Pips with Grip

What you see is not what you get.  Even though your opponent might appear to be spinning the ball, the ball will usually have no-spin.

3.) Anti-Spin Rubbers and Long-Pips without Friction

What you see is not what you get.  If you impart light spin on the ball, when your opponent returns the ball (even if it appears that he is spinning) the ball will be without spin.  If you impart very heavy spin on the ball, then your opponent’s ball will have some spin coming back to you.  If you impart very heavy backspin, then the ball with have some topspin coming back.  If you impart very heavy topspin, then the ball with have some backspin coming back.  The trouble that most table tennis players encounter is that they impart very little spin on the ball, then are surprised when the pips or anti-return comes back without spin.  The main point that you must remember is that anti and pips don’t create spin, they just return the ball with your spin.

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  • Jena Newgarden
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