What better time than Halloween to discuss the horror that infiltrates the table tennis world? No mask can protect you, and you can’t hide from it. Though I am a member of the coven, I feel it is my duty to out the members of this ghastly horde. Sure, they all look innocent enough, but their intent is to destroy and humiliate. Hiding in plain sight, they stroll through table tennis venues in search of innocent victims. Beyond the emotional damage they inflict, these villains steal medals mercilessly. Although they rarely are winners in the top tiers of table tennis, their goal is to slowly ravage the B, C, and D divisions until they can reach their ultimate goal of world domination. Meanwhile, they bide their time feasting on the brains of novice players, and enticing fledglings into their web of deceit. Like all shadowy cults, they thrive on curiosity as a recruiting tool. The promise of easy victories purchased for $10 from a secret Chinese website draws the weak minded into a web of death.
Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little bit. What I am not exaggerating is that there is growing interest in pips-out rubber. Rumors of more and more local players experimenting with junk racket coverings have reached me in my secret ping pong bunker. My most popular blog posts all have to do with various pips-out issues. There are some good reasons why many players are considering going over to the darkside. Some have decided that if you can’t beat’em, join’em. There are also a great number of players who are no longer young enough, or athletic enough to play a high speed game. Long pimpled rubber can slow the game down significantly, and in some ways make it more interesting. Adding pips to either one side or both sides of your racket, allows for unique and creative styles. Players who tend to hit flat are good candidates for short pips. Some players have had success chopping or blocking with long pips on the backhand, and attacking with a short pips forehand. Medium length pips typically create a ball with minimal spin that can cause problems for some opponents. There literally are some pips out racket coverings that can be purchased for less than $10. Some can cost as much as $50. The price has very little relevance to the effectiveness of any particular pips. The key is to find some that you are comfortable with and complement your playing style. It’s usually a bad idea to try to adjust your game significantly to equipment. Better to design your paddle to complement your game. There are some good reasons for trying pips-out and anti-spin rubbers. There are just as many bad reasons. But, it’s not surprising that many players are considering turning to the darkside. It’s okay. Don’t be intimidated by the looping crowd that would prefer you be just like them. Pips aren’t for everybody, but they’re nothing to be afraid of.