Twiddling in table tennis is the act of flipping your paddle so that the ball is played with the rubber on the other side to gain a competitive advantage. Relatively speaking, not that many players are doing this on a regular basis. For the offensive minded player, it normally isn’t done for two reasons. If fast inverted rubber is on both sides of the paddle, there is no point in twiddling and it is difficult to twiddle effectively in the heat of a fast rally. But some players do play aggressively and twiddle, sometimes using an anti-spin rubber on one side with a faster inverted rubber on the other.
There are some players for whom learning to twiddle could greatly improve their game. Here are some FAQs about twiddling.
Who might this help? Twiddling is more often done by defensive oriented players who have very different types of rubber on either side of the paddle.
When should I twiddle? The best advice I ever got on this subject was that twiddling is normally best used in limited patterns and special situations. There are players who seem to constantly be switching their racket back and forth, but for most players this will probably create more problems than it solves.
What are those situations and patterns? A good place to start is with serves. Changing sides of the paddle immediately after serving is an easy way to get in the habit of twiddling. Simply receiving a serve with the opposite side and then flipping back to your normal sides can create confusion for your opponents and keep them off balance. Even at intermediate levels of play, players are often paying so much attention to their serves that they fail to observe which side of the racket their opponent used. Twiddling against pushes can be very effective and is something that can easily be practiced while training.
Should I try to disguise what side of the racket I am using? Hiding your paddle under the table, multiple or fake twiddles, or twiddling during the toss for your serve are all ways of fooling your opponent. They also can cause you to lose focus on actually playing out the point, so they may be of limited effectiveness except for style points.
Are there times when I should avoid twiddling? Against your tougher opponents it is usually best to be more conservative with switching. Don’t abandon twiddling, but realize that more experienced players are not going to be fooled simply by changes in speed or spin. The more that twiddling becomes a natural part of your game, the less it will be a distraction to your focus.
For the combination racket player, a little well-timed twiddling can be the difference in winning and losing. Once you feel like you can smoothly flip your paddle, begin working twiddling into your game and seeing in what situations it works best. It will add a dimension to your game that once you have it, you will wonder how you ever played without it.