Table tennis rubbers have different degrees of hardness. This is mainly dependent on the hardness and pimple structure of the top sheet, as well as the hardness of the sponge. There are players who rely on so-called soft rubbers, i.e. very soft rubbers, others like rubbers more in the medium range and still others prefer hard rubbers up to extremely hard china rubbers. But the question is, what are the advantages of choosing a hard rubber over a soft rubber and vice versa?
In favor of soft rubbers we can argue with the “control” or better said the forgiving effect at the moment of ball impact. Even if the stroke is executed properly, it can still be played safely over the net. Due to the deeper penetration of the ball when hitting it, you have a better feel at a moderate pace.
Another point is that it is much easier to generate spin with soft rubbers. The ball can be guided “longer”. Especially with slow movement strokes, a soft rubber has clear advantages over harder rubbers. The strong catapult effect provides sufficient speed without much effort. Another advantage, that should not be underestimated, is the lower weight compared to hard rubbers.
Hard rubbers have a much more direct impact when hitting the ball. Cleanly executed strokes can be played more precisely and with more speed. The ball can be accelerated perfectly in short, fast movements. The spin potential is much greater than with softer rubbers, especially on fast strokes and when hitting winners.
Hard rubbers have less inherent catapult. This means that the ball-speed can be controlled more precisely by the player’s own abilities. Hard rubbers are heavier, but have a much higher power and dynamics.
The general differences can be compensated or strengthened by the choice of blade. More about this in the article “Choosing the right racket”.
A good compromise is a medium rubber. However, the versatility means that neither the strengths of a soft rubber nor the strengths of a hard rubber really come into their own.
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