Doubling Down With Short Pips

That’s right. It’s another post about pips. Just when you thought I could have said everything that there is to be said, I realize that there’s one burning question on everyone’s mind. Or perhaps you have better things to think about. No matter. At some point, every player that ever slapped on a sheet of pips out rubber contemplated, “If pips are effective on one side of my racket, what if I tried it on both sides?” Generally speaking, it won’t work. It certainly is not advisable to double up with long pips. It probably won’t work with medium either. It is possible to throw short pips into the mix, even to the point of using short pimples on the forehand and backhand.  

Australian Open 2010 – Sharad Pandit vs David Powell – YouTube

You won’t find too many players playing this style, but it could be time to reconsider why it might work. As long as you stay fairly close to the table, are comfortable with blocking, and are looking to attack frequently, it could. I actually attempted this style about fifteen years ago, and had some success. My goal was to be the next Johnny Huang. It didn’t quite work out that way. 

Jan Ove Waldner-Jonny Huang Olympic 16/final 1996 part1 – YouTube

Besides the fact that I was attempting all this before I had reached 1500, there were other flaws in my plan. In the days of the 38mm ball and speed glue, it was easy to be overwhelmed by spin in a way that is less common now. I was using a racket that was too fast, and really didn’t know some of the most basic skills for the style I was attempting. Still, it could have worked, and I’m looking to try it again.

There are numerous reasons to think doubling down with short pips might go better this time. I think the 40mm ball might make things a little easier. My expectations are more realistic, and while I’m fifteen years older, I am fifteen years more knowledgeable. The main reason for going down this road is to put more pressure on my loopy opponents. Defensive table tennis is becoming less effective. Blocks with pips should be just as effective, and I can still chop occasionally with a paddle that isn’t as turbo charged as the one from my past. While my approach will be somewhat less unique than the funky style I have used, going to double short pips will allow me to fully utilize my forehand, for playing and coaching. Butterfly says Fedex will be delivering the perfect short pips for my purposes by the end of the week. That’s when I release the Kraken.   

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