HOW DOES LONG PIPS WORK ?
That's a tricky question. They have no 'general' performance, since their
characteristics have the wider parameter combination and variation
range among all the rubbers. That's why most players never know for
sure how to play against long pips players, because all those
rubbers definitely don't play the same.
general, long and thin (high aspect ratio), flexible long pips are
the best for chopping. Extremely flexible,thin or long pips can be
unpredictable. Wide spreaded pips (low pip density) will make the
rubber more unpredictable. Rough top sheet (dead) will make it
unable to produce spin, While smooth top sheet is spiny. Wide and/or
shorter pips with thick sponge are best suited for an aggressive
blocking & hit style.
All long pips work in one of the 3 following ways:
They remove any spin from the ball: Same as anti, returning no spin
balls. Anti is much better for a no-spin game as it has a lot of
extra control. The 40mm has affected little the performance of
this rubbers. If you stroke the ball in order to continue its
spin (typical chopping an incoming topspin) some spin can be
returned, but not as much as a chopping rubber.
randomize spin: Pips kink randomly (instead of bending all into
the same direction) when contacting the ball, randomizing ball's
spin. Even the player who is using this rubber don't know how is
the ball spinning. A skilled player can use this rubbers in a
predictable way, doing things like changing the ball spin
(instead of reversing its spin). This rubbers can be very
return spin: This are much more effective than anti for a
spin-returning game. This are the rubbers of choice of choppers,
since they can chop against topspin, and send heavy backspin.
The 40mm and aspect ratio rule have get rid of the best and more
effective chopping rubbers, but some rubbers can still chop with
some degree of success.
Some additional considerations:
Most chopping rubbers are often completely predictable, being this a
weakness since most loopers will control-loop the rally, waiting
for the chance to his big shot. You have to counterattack to get
pip rubbers of the type (2) can be somehow used as rubbers of
type (1) or type (3) by a skilled player. A very good player can
use unpredictable long pips in a predictable manner if he
wishes. They come close to effectivity as rubbers of the type
(3) if used properly for chopping, but personally I don't like
to play with it.
long pips can produce spin by themselves, being of any kind of
the above mentioned. Also some long pips can't produce any spin
at all, being of any kind of the above mentioned. This is
another reason why players can't easily understand long pips.
aspect ratio rule intended to get rid of long pip rubbers that
randomize spin (kind 2). They failed. There are still lots of
unpredictable legal rubbers. As a side effect, they banned most
of the best chopping rubbers (type 3) that where completely
long pips rubbers have better control when facing spiny balls
than when facing no spin balls.
long pips rubber returns all (100%) of the incoming spin. Anti
returns even much less spin than chopping long pips.
amount of spin returned by long pips can be augmented or
diminished depending on the stroke the long pips player plays:
If the stroke is spin continuing, helping pips to bend (chopping
an incoming topspin), then the amount of spin returned is
maximum: you should get heavy backspin. If the stroke is the
opposite (re-looping an incoming topspin which is VERY difficult
with chopping long pips), you return a lot less spin: you get no
spin to slight backspin. If the player using long pips chooses
to block, some spin is returned. Slight modifications when
blocking can modify the amount of spin returned to some extent.
Also note that if long pips can produce spin, you can re-loop against
topspin and get some topspin. Long pips cannot be very spiny anyway.
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