How to Play Against Antispin

Ban Junk Rubbers!

Anti-spin and long pimples, yuk! They should be banned! Everyone should have to use normal rubbers!

Sound familiar? I think we all have heard a fellow table tennis player say this at one time or another. I'm not going to get into why I think they should be allowed and even encouraged, that's a topic for another article. Suffice to say that anti-spin and long pimples don't look like disappearing soon, and although there may not be many players in the World's Top 100 Men using anti-spin or long pimples, I'm willing to bet that you, dear reader, are not in such elite company either or else you probably wouldn't be interested in hearing my views on how to play against these 'funny' or 'junk' rubbers. I'll start with anti-spin because it's a bit simpler to play against than long pimples.

(Note: Due to the length of the article, I've split it up into two smaller articles, this one dealing with anti-spin rubber, and another article dealing with long pimpled rubber.)

So take a deep breath, gird up your loins and read on...


If you are still with me after all that heavy going, congratulations! Now go back and read it again to make sure it all makes sense. Then go out and find an anti-spin player and try it out.

In a nutshell, there are 3 basic rules that you must remember:

1. What Did You Just Do to the Ball?

An anti-spin rubber will not affect the spin that you have put on the ball very much. So the most important thing to keep track of is what was the last stroke you played - chop or topspin? If you chopped the ball, your opponent will only be able to use his anti-spin to give you a return that ranges from float to heavy topspin, and the amount of spin will increase with the more spin you put on the ball in the first place. Similarly, if you loop the ball, your opponent can only use the anti-spin to give you a return that varies from float to heavy backspin, and the amount of spin will again be in proportion to the amount of spin you gave the ball first.

2. What Stroke Did Your Opponent Play?

This doesn't actually matter that much when the anti-spin rubber is used. The grippier the anti-spin, the thicker the sponge, and the softer the topsheet, the more this will have an effect. It won't be more important than Rule 1 though.

3. What Side of the Bat did he Use?

Remember, all of the above assumes that your opponent actually hit the ball with the anti-spin side. All bets are off if your opponent twiddles the bat and uses the conventional side when you are not looking!

When in Doubt, What Do I Do?

Sooner or later, it's going to happen. Your anti-spin using opponent hits the ball and you don't remember what spin you put on the ball, or you didn't notice what side your opponent used. What is your best course of action? The way I see it, you have two choices:

  1. My own personal recommendation is to hit the ball slowly but put as heavy a spin on the ball as possible, based on the theory that if you heavily spin the ball you will have a better chance of overriding whatever spin is on the ball already, and the slowness of the shot will give you a large area of table to land the ball on.
  2. Other players I know like to hit the ball as fast and flat as they can, working on the principle that if you pick a specific spot on the table and aim for it, hitting quickly and flat should help kill the spin on the ball and it will hopefully go in a straight line towards where you have aimed.

Which theory works best for you? - try it out and see!


0 #1 Nice explanationsUnKN 2013-10-11 13:25
Very nice detailed explanations. Would be helpful to explain also why the anti-spin player has to use different paddle angles depending on the speed/spin you play.(In order to block the ball if it is too fast, or push the ball if it doesn't have enough pace to go over the net).

Also when in doubt, as an inverted rubber player, i just push the ball over the net. Sometimes this confuses the anti-player so much that he will push a topspin ball and go long. Get the bugger at his own game, he he :).

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