tennis rubber Ratings:
Most rubbers consists of a ‘topsheet’ and a
'sponge', although in some cases (some pimple-out rubbers) only a topsheet is used. The topsheet is the outside of the rubber that actually makes contact with the ball, whereas the sponge is the bit between the topsheet and the
Both the sponge AND the topsheet determine the amount of spin generated by a particular stroke.
"Mechanical spin" means that the ball gets its spin from the underlying sponge and not so much from contact with the topsheet. This is typical of the European style rubbers.
Surface spin means it gets it's spin from the tacky surface of the topsheet. This is typical of the Chinese style rubbers.
Sponges come in a variety of colours, thicknesses and characteristics. The sponge colour is not really important. The thickness is something you can choose when you purchase a particular type of rubber, although sometimes there is only one choice. The only parameter of the characteristics of the sponge used is the 'sponge hardness level’, normally expresses in degrees. These hardness levels usually range from about 30 to 50, with 50 begin the hardest. In general harder sponges are better for hitting and give a little more control. Soft sponges are better for looping and producing high speed with little effort, can produce more spin, but have less control. They are also harder to hit/smash with. This is a general guide only, since in the end the amount of spin or speed you produce depend mostly on the style of game that you
The choice of blade will also affect how much spin or speed you produce. In general the rubbers with softer sponges are used with ‘hard’ blades, such as the carbon/glass fiber ones, whereas the rubbers with the hard sponges are used with the ‘softer’ wooden
blades. The rubber ratings of Speed, Spin and Control below, refer to the combination of both the rubber and sponge. Note that
you can't really compare the rubber ratings of 2 rubbers of different
manufacturers, since most manufacturers use their own ratings system. Note also that some manufacturers have changed their own ratings system in recent years, resulting in some of their old rubber being rated out, say 10, and newer rubbers rated out of 100!
The numerical speed rating shown is an important guideline but is subjective because of the vast diversity of shots played and the variability of each player’s style. They have to be considered as subjective and variable because many players could effectively produce different playing characteristics from exactly the same rubber. It is there to assist you when selecting rubber. A rubbers final ‘speed’ performance will be determined by the player’s ability, sponge thickness and the blade
The foremost effective ‘weapon’ in table tennis. Reverse rubber types generate the maximum levels of topspin, backspin and sidespin. Rubbers with softer sponges will assist in the generation of spin while providing more feel and control. The spin rating given is also a ‘variable’ guideline and is subjective due to the wide-ranging abilities of players. The final ‘spin’ performance of rubber will be determined by the player’s technique, sponge thickness and the blade
These ratings are again subjective and variable. A number of different factors such as rubber type, sponge thickness and blade used make a rubbers control factors difficult to precisely determine. Control is also related to a player’s experience, an aspect that can be improved and developed by
This will alter the speed, spin and control ability of each rubber sheet. It is important to read the overall rubber description to understand its capabilities. In general, thicker sponges give more speed and spin, but less control.