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When using a paddle, there are three basic parts that establish it: The blade, the sponge, and the rubber.
The blade is the basic form of the paddle. It is the handle and foundation of the actual paddle. The paddle can be made of either wood or carbon-fibre. The difference between the two is generally feel and weight.
When it comes to paddles, there are two components to be aware of:
1. The thickness of the sponge
2. The rubber
The thickness of the sponge creates a spectrum of defense versus offense. The general rule is that a thicker sponge would mean more power, and a thinner sponge would mean more control.
In table tennis, there are three particular rubbers: inverted (or smooth), short pips, and long pips.
Pips, or pimples, are the little nubs that protrude from a single side of a rubber. Rubbers can have short pips or long pips.
Short pips usually have use in close-to-table and reactive counter play styles. This is because it generates a lot less spin than a smooth surface rubber and also does well in absorbing spin. It can be used for a defensive play style. It is known primarily for bringing back the old-fashioned "classic" play of the pre-spin table tennis.
Long pips have extra long pips protruding from the rubber. The way it is used in play is by counteracting and reversing the spin of the opponent. The longer pips also enact unpredictability in its spin. It makes the ball "wobble" and alter its trajectory. This makes it difficult for players who are unable to read spin. Long pips are difficult to play offensively, so players generally use it on a single side of the paddle.
Inverted rubbers are the most utilized rubber in the sport. This is because smooth rubbers have the most potential for spin while accommodating all-around play. Table tennis players use this rubber to achieve massive amounts of spin that allow heavily hit balls to hit the surface of the table. It is the modern rubber of table tennis. Furthermore, there is actually a fourth form of surface rubber that is particularly smooth. It is known as the anti-spin rubber which as its name suggests, it cancels out spin. It is not as effective as long pips, but it is easier to use. Anti-spin is generally used as a defensive rubber to slow down the pace and spin of play.