Tennis racket pad — a layer covering the playing surface of a table tennis racket. Usually the pad consists of rubber (outer layer) and sponge (inner layer). Provides control over the delivery and reception of the ball, rotation control, and also allows you to demonstrate the technique of the game.
Important: When choosing a rubber, it is advisable to seek advice from a coach or an experienced player. Even better, if there is an opportunity to consult with several professionals.
Elementary (marked «B») — suitable for beginners who have not yet formed the playing technique.
Amateur (marked «L») — the best option for amateurs mastering the technique of the game. A racket with this overlay is not suitable for regular training.
Professional (marking «A») — used by professional athletes for training and competition.
- Overlays spiked outward
- Smooth overlay
The rotation and speed of the ball depends on the quality of grip and elasticity of the rubber. In turn, these characteristics of the lining are determined by the side of gluing rubber (with spikes) with a sponge.
spikes — rubber is glued to the sponge with a smooth side. There are three types of these overlays:
- short spikes (out) — used by attacking players who practically do not rotate the ball during the game. The rubber with short pimples increases ball control for players who find it difficult to play against the spin. The rubber will work well for some defenders or tableside kickers;
- long spikes (long) — used to return the rotation of the opponent, while the ball in flight vibrates and moves along an unpredictable trajectory. Long spikes give good ball control. These rubbers are difficult to play offensively and are therefore usually placed on only one side of the racket for defense;
- spikes without sponge (OX) — have low speed and very high ball control. Spikes without a sponge do not allow you to create serious rotation. Such overlays are used by players who own the classic defensive style or beginners.
smooth (in) overlay — rubber is glued to the sponge with a studded side. The smooth rubber provides very strong spin and good ball control. These overlays can be divided into three types:
- fast — provide a quick rebound of the ball and are intended for attack;
- slow — give a slow rebound of the ball and are used for protection.
Important: The speed of the pads depends on the thickness of the sponge.
- «anti-spin» — this rubber does not create rotation and provides excellent control over the ball. This allows the player to cancel the spin of the ball or return it to the opponent. The anti-spin overlay is usually glued on one side.
Important: short pimples and smooth rubbers are used for attacking, long pimples and anti-spin are used to «destroy» the opponent’s game.
Beginning players should choose smooth overlays that allow you to master the technique of rotation and learn to control the ball. You can then move on to overlays with spiked or «anti-spin».
sticky overlay — has a high grip with the ball, is characterized by low cost and the ability to create a very strong and often unpredictable rotation of the ball. However, such an overlay gives a small speed and is quite rigid.
«Sticky» rubbers will be the best choice when playing at the table (for flat shots, on a stand or block). Velcro is often used by defenders in combination with a studded overlay.
Important: to distinguish Velcro from other overlays, it is enough to press the ball from above with the overlay and raise the racket: in this case, the ball will “stick” to the overlay, or at least jump.
- pads of the same type — racket with smooth pads on both sides, but with different characteristics: one gives high speed to the ball, the second — a strong spin. Such a racket is not turned over during the game;
- linings of various types — a racket with a smooth overlay on the right and spikes on the left (for left-handers — vice versa). Used for offensive play. This racquet is quite often turned over when serving;
- attacking + overlay that destroys the opponent’s game – the racket has a smooth overlay on the right and “anti-spin” or long spikes on the left. With the help of such a racket, you can change the rhythm of the game or set a complex trajectory of the ball, as well as successfully resist the opponent’s attacks. Such a racket is turned over throughout the game.
Outer layer thickness
This parameter is only relevant for players who purchase the sponge and outer layer separately, and then collect them. It should be remembered that the total thickness of the lining should not be more than 4 mm. Otherwise, the racket cannot be used in competition.
The sponge is located between the base of the racket and the rubber pad, providing the ball with rotation on impact. Its thickness determines the speed of the lining and control. Thicker sponges have better speed and spin, but give less ball control.
There are sponges with the following thickness:
- 1 mm – low speed and excellent control;
- 1.5mm – Balanced combination of speed and spin control (best option for beginners);
- 2 mm — high speed and strong rotation, but poor control;
- 2.5mm – maximum speed and very strong rotation, but the worst control.
The following thicknesses are recommended for different playing styles:
- 1-1.3 mm – for defensive play (DEF), passive all-round players (ALL-). These rubbers provide reliable undercut play (defensive hit), precise counter-hit and landings, fast left hand strokes.
- 1.5-1.8mm – for universal style, active all-round players (ALL+). These rubbers are good for short cuts, counters and grounds with medium speed, top spin (attack shot) with effective control and strong spin, feints.
- 2 mm and above – for offensive play (OFF-, OFF, OFF+). These rubbers are perfect for powerful counters and high-speed stands, strong top spins that allow you to vary the speed and rotation.
The game characteristics of the overlay also depend on this parameter. Rigidity is measured in degrees. All sponges can be divided into two categories:
- soft (35°) — give the ball a strong spin. Rubbers with such sponges are perfect for lovers of top spins;
- rigid (47°) — provide a very fast rebound of the ball. A good choice for players who prefer straight hits and rolls.
Speed, rotation, CONTROL These indicators are measured in points. To evaluate these parameters, manufacturers use different scales: 10-point (most often), 12-14-point and even 100-point.
In attacking and defensive overlays, the characteristics differ:
- attacking – speed, rotation, control within 8-10 points;
- protective – speed, rotation, control within 7-9 points.
Important: Beginner players are advised to look for rackets with low to medium speed and spin (5-7) but high control (7-9).
During the game, the overlay gradually loses its qualities: speed, rotation and control. Therefore, it should be changed from time to time. The approximate service life of the rubber is 50-90 playing hours. Spikes and anti-spin rubbers are known to last longer than others.
Also, the conditions of use and storage of the racket affect the life of the lining. For example, when playing outdoors, the rubber quickly loses its qualities.
Store the pad assembly with the racket in a tight case and in a dark place. In addition, the pads should be washed regularly in cold water, without using detergents, soaps or active substances (alcohol or gasoline). To clean the pads, you can use aerosols and foams, which also give them antistatic properties, that is, they protect against dust.
When replacing pads, use special glue. If you use ordinary glue, you can ruin the lining and base of the racket.
Important: Some players use different combinations of sponge and topsheet to get the best performance from their racquet (however, not all combinations are allowed in competition). For novice players, it is preferable to purchase already assembled products, ready to play.
- Check the linings for damage and manufacturing defects.
- Ask the seller about the properties of the selected overlays.
Rarely there are overlays of unnamed brands. It is not worth buying them, despite the small price. If you rarely play table tennis, then it is better to pay attention to the racket assembly.
Among manufacturers of pads for rackets, the situation completely repeats the brands of rackets themselves. The best products in terms of quality and reliability are rackets of brands Cornilleau, Donic, Joola, Stairs, Andro, Butterfly, Tibhar. In the production of overlays, excellent materials are used that last a long time and meet all the requirements of amateur and professional athletes.