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long pipsHere are step by step rules in playing against pimples which is difficult for players unused to them.

So it's taken you years to learn how to drive, smash, push and loop against top and back spin in table tennis.

You're proud of your spinny loops and your side spin serves and you win easily against beginners and start progressing up the divisions in your local comp. Then you come up against an eight or eighty year old who mostly just stands at the table and blocks with his long pimples and beats you easily.

How galling! All your training has gone out the window against people who know almost nothing except to use their pimples, you lose with easy mistakes then when you lift the ball up to reduce your errors they smash your high balls. So to compensate for your ignorance and frustration, you go around and proclaim to the world that pimples rubbers should be banned.

But take heart. By following some simple rules, you will actually look for pimpled players to play against. This is not easy as they steadfastly refuse to give anyone except their friends or  partners any games to practise against, being the desperate types they are to win at all costs without learning all the normal attacking shots of table tennis.

Granted, eighty year olds or those with rickety knees understandably use pimples because their footwork is too slow against younger able bodied players. So they switch to pimples to stay competitive and watch with delight when playing against pimple novices or those refusing to change their all-out attacking style. 

Why do so many women use pimples at pro level? I can't answer that except to guess that women don't like sweating, their female opponents don't have the same looping power as men to overcome pips or some other unfathomable reason, similar to how men cannot understand the female psyche :)

You will realise that pimples players are quite restricted in their attacking shots and the average pimples player is easy to beat. The harder ones to overcome have quick reactions, excellent defensive pushes and chops, great forehand smashes and advanced serve/attack combinations. But good pimples players are relatively rare and are actually a welcome change to play against because you need to adapt, be more patient, quickly understand their strengths and weaknesses and use a different repertoire of defensive and attacking shots. A skillful player who has mastered most of the attacking shots on both forehand and backhand, has no need to use a pimples rubber because it demands a different set of weaker shots and that's why there are not many pips players younger than 60 -70 years old.

Practise against Glass

I recommend that you to practise against a sliding glass door on a timber or tile floor at home to understand how pimples rubber works. When you keep playing topspin, the ball comes back as backspin, eventually if you loop a very spinny topspin against the glass surface, the ball drops to the floor with an incredible amount of underspin. Similarly if you push balls against the glass door, every ball comes back as topspin; the spinnier you push the more topspin comes back. In a game, if you push against a pimpled surface your opponent can make it look like a push but it's actually a block (like the glass door) so his 'push' against your push will be returned as a topspin ball. Similarly if you topspin, he blocks and finishes high making the shot look like a drive but the ball comes back to you as underspin. So similar shots will come back as balls oppositely spinning to what you normally expect.

But if you topspin very hard and he chops, expect a very spinny underspin ball to come back because he's executed an opposite shot. If you push backspin balls high to their backhand pimples, a good opponent will use the (topspin ball to him once it bounces off his pimples) and he can drive it or do what seems like a topspin loop.

This may be very frustrating to you but if you practise enough against a glass sliding door and transfer that concept to the long pimples player, you will quickly grasp what spin to expect for every shot you do. Like a glass door, as well as having no ability to spin the ball, their balls will have little momentum and tend to drop after bouncing on your side of the table.

glass door

Your pips oppponent has the same (lack of) skill and intelligence as this object.

Tip 1. Alternate Pushing and Topspining

I love playing against long pimples players. As soon as I see their pimples, I serve long no spin to their pimples (usually it's their backhand) then I topspin one ball, push the next ball, then keep on pushing/topspinning alternate balls until I get a ball high enough to put away. It's essential for me to rally against their pimpled rubber so that I don't make mistakes, gaining confidence, and hopefully get more than 50% success rate against their pimples side, because they are usually weak on their normal rubber. Often they desperately sidestep wide to their forehand side in order to keep blocking with their pimples rubber.

Look at the bottom video from 3:00 to 6:50 minutes to see how it's done - the alternate push/topspin tactic.

You can practise this at home by topspinning one ball then push the next ball, alternating continuously against a sliding glass door. The secret is to imagine that you're playing against a pimples player. Look at the reflection on the glass: when you push he pushes; when you topspin he topspins. But the balls are coming with 'opposite' spin. YOU control the spin. That's why a good player has no respect for a long pips player who just presents a dead bat to the ball - he has just as much skills and intelligence as an obdurate glass door.

Tip 2. Serve long to his normal (eg forehand) Wide

As per the bottom video 6:50 - 10:40 minutes, serve long to his normal rubber which is normally on his forehand. Then keep on attacking. Your opponent is kept away from the table thus negating his short funny pushes which require quick response from you. Push if necessary any huge underspin balls. Note this is usually not for beginners because the video shows world champion Zhang Jike with flawless technique of looping against underspin balls. But you've got to learn one day, so why not practise it now. In a game, try this tactic sometimes to be less predictable than constantly doing the push/topspin routine.

Tip 3. Topsin almost All the Balls

The rest of the bottom video shows you how to topspin all the balls. The disadvantage of Tip no. 1 is that you need to concentrate a lot, actually you must know exactly what spin YOU put on so that you'll successfully predict the spin coming back from the pimpled surface. I'll quote from the video: "Long pips is a joke! So don't be afraid of long pips. Keep it simple! Serve to the forehand side, and attack first! Always keep the ball deep! And topspin all the balls! Push only if necessary!" I think this advice is also for highly skilled players who have a consistent loop against backspin balls and also know how to play against choppers.

"If you change the spin often, you change the pace or rhythm of the game which falls into the hands of your opponent. No! please remember to Keep It Simple Spin."

Never push long balls which will go high for your opponent to attack. No side spins. Only do exceedingly side spin under/top short serves as variety. If he steps around to attack your long ball serve to his (backhand) pimples, serve a no spin short ball to his forehand. If he attacks your long serves to his (normal rubber) forehand, serve varying amounts of underspin to that spot. Like the video coach said, this player is a joke, a worthless simpleton whom you should not tolerate!

If you spend the time to understand this article and view the attached video numerous times until the concepts are embedded in your brain, you will beat the average pips player easily. Your main problem is finding a long pips player to practise against. Unfortunately, unless you have ready access to those players, it might take you a few years tuning your tactics and beat them if you meet them only in competition. But please keep trying and never ever again say that pimples should be banned!



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