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Long Pips Strategies

How I Use Long Pimples To Beat The Best Table Tennis Players

Do any of these scenarios feel familiar to you?

  • You’re new to using long pips rubbers.
  • You’re thinking about swapping your inverted rubber for a long pimple one.
  • You’ve been using long pimple rubbers for a while now but want to win more matches.

Well, this page is just for you. 

I’m sharing my journey of learning to use long pimple rubbers, going from a total beginner to an advanced player playing top divisions in China and Spain.

I’m hoping my experiences will give you some solid advice and help you feel more confident as you get used to playing with long pips. If you’re looking for equipment, check out my article on the best blades for long pimples.

The Effects of Long Pimples

If we take a close look at the appearance and structure of long pips rubber, there’s a clear difference to normal inverted rubbers as the pimples face outward. They’re not covered by a flat sheet of rubber. 

The primary factor that sets long pips rubbers apart from other types of rubbers is the way they interact with the ball. The long, flexible, outward-faced pimples bend and flex upon contact with the ball, leading to a range of unique effects:

  • Spin Reversal: When the ball hits a long pips rubber, the incoming spin is absorbed and returned with a reversed spin. For example, if the ball comes in with topspin, it will be returned with backspin, and vice versa. This spin reversal is a key element of the long pips playing style and is responsible for the disruptive effect on opponents’ rhythm. It’s the primary feature that long pimple players should take advantage of.
  • Reduced Speed: The flexible pimples also absorb some of the ball’s energy upon contact, leading to a reduction in speed. This can make it difficult for opponents to generate continuous powerful attacking shots and can force them to adapt their tactics. In many cases, offensive players may miss the ball when exerting a loop shot as the ball suddenly slows down and drops quickly.
  • Variable Spin and Trajectory: The flexibility and varying characteristics of long pimples can create unpredictable spin and ball trajectories. This unpredictability can be both an advantage and a challenge, as it requires players to develop a deep understanding of their rubber’s behavior to control and exploit these effects. I find that some beginners even themselves don’t have a clear idea what spin their shots have. As long pimple players, we must develop a more profound understanding of our shots than our opponents.

Learning to Play With Long Pimples

I’d like to share with you my experience of learning different techniques for playing with long pips when I was a child. 

I’m sure you’ve read countless tutorial blogs or watched numerous table tennis videos on YouTube about long pips shots. However, if you don’t have a professional long pips coach, you may not have a clear idea of how to learn these techniques systematically. 

Let me introduce you to several common techniques and provide guidance on the correct order in which to learn them, gradually building your skills.

Blocking with Long Pimples 

Blocking is the first technique that I learned after changing the inverted rubber into long pips. It is the most basic skill that we defensive players have to master as we have to block strong topspin from our opponents. 

The technique of blocking with long pips is slightly different from other traditional types of rubbers.

To execute a block with long pips, it’s important to keep your racket angle open and make contact with the ball using a vertical stroke. Focus on maintaining a fluid movement and a consistent racket face to achieve better control over the ball.

Interestingly, I found blocking with long pips to be very easy when I was a child. I could easily block back attacking shots without any difficulty. However, as I grew older, I began to find it gradually more difficult to deal with powerful topspin shots. 

This is because, as we age, most players become stronger and are able to generate topspin with greater speed and power. As a result, it’s become quite challenging for long pips users to defend against such opponents.

Here are my top 2 tips based on my experience to help improve your use of long pips in table tennis when blocking:

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1) Think about your timing

Timing is crucial when blocking with long pips.

The optimal time to block using this rubber is when the ball first hits the table and players should hit the ball just after the bounce. This technique is similar to executing a chop block with inverted rubber. 

The motion should be fast enough in order to avoid being impacted by strong spin. Otherwise, the ball may easily fly off the table.

2) Raise your heels

My favorite piece of advice is to raise your heels slightly and lift the racket a bit higher to hit the ball from top to bottom. 

This detail of raising your heels is essential as it helps to cushion and absorb the strong impact and power from the incoming ball. There’s no need to use too much force when contacting the ball yourself or it may easily go out of bounds.

Simply tap the ball lightly from top to bottom, similar to painting a wall.

Pushing with Long Pimples

Pushing is a fundamental skill in table tennis when using long pips rubber, particularly when playing near the table. While similar to pushing with traditional inverted rubbers, there are slight differences to consider.

Firstly, it’s important to note that when pushing with long pips, the backspin generated is typically reduced, often resulting in a dead ball without spin. This is a crucial point to remember, as opponents may make use of it by serving with backspin and preparing for their next attacking shot.

Therefore, it’s essential to learn another type of push. 

By opening the racket angle and making it more vertical, you can execute a harder push. Personally, I prefer using this technique to return serves, as it enables a faster ball with a slight topspin. 

The spin variation can confuse opponents and lead them to make mistakes. This shot is more aggressive and can even be used for attacking.

Sidespin Attack with Long Pimples

After mastering the two fundamental defensive shots using long pips near the table, some players develop the desire to incorporate attacking shots into their game. However, attacking with long pips rubber can prove to be a challenging task, both for the player attempting the shot and for their opponents. 

Playing attacking shots is difficult because the ball tends to float and descend rapidly, adding an element of risk to the shot. Despite this, it is worth attempting due to its potential effectiveness at forcing your opponent out of their rhythm.

The sidespin attack is not a conventional stroke, especially as it does not have a counterpart in the techniques used with inverted rubbers. 

To execute this shot, players need to laterally brush the ball with their racket. As the opponent’s shot approaches, the racket should be positioned to the side of the ball, ensuring that the pips make contact with the ball at an angled position.

This particular shot can be especially valuable when the opponent serves a short shot on the forehand side. In such instances, I usually step forward, slightly shift towards the right, and employ a backhand stroke to hit the ball. My contact will brush the sides of the ball with an upward motion.

The ball will then return to the opponent’s forehand side, with a relatively fast speed and low trajectory. Consequently, this puts the opponent in a highly uncomfortable position, leaving them with limited time to react.

In addition, long pimples players have the option to execute a sidespin attack from their backhand side. Performing long and forceful attacks can significantly unsettle your opponent, so it is a shot worth practicing.

Chopping with Long Pimples

Chopping is considered a relatively advanced technique that not all long pips players choose to learn or master. 

Many players are unwilling to engage in a game style that requires them to play far away from the table, as it demands significant movement and can be quite exhausting. Additionally, mastering the art of chopping requires a substantial amount of practice time.

In my opinion, if one desires to become a proficient chopper or utilize it as a primary weapon in their games, it is advantageous to begin learning it at a young age. 

Unfortunately, this means that many individuals miss the optimal learning period. It is relatively easier to master blocking or pushing shots with long pips rubber, which may only take several weeks or months of practice. However, chopping needs years of dedicated training and application in real game situations. It is indeed a challenging endeavor.

Nevertheless, once mastered, chopping can greatly disrupt and harm opponents. It generates a significant amount of strong backspin, making it exceedingly difficult for opponents to return the ball effectively. Sometimes, even attempting a push can result in the ball failing to clear the net.

The majority of long pips players employ chopping techniques with their backhand. The motion itself is not overly complicated. Simply raise the racket over the shoulder and fully cut through the ball as it approaches. The challenging aspect lies in handling powerful and fast loops from opponents, which requires extensive practice to effectively deal with.

Serving with Long Pips

Serving with long pips is often neglected by many players. In fact, in most local leagues, opponents are likely to have no clue how to effectively return a serve with long pips. 

Interestingly, using a mix of serves using long pips and inverted rubbers can bewilder opponents and lead to winning points directly.

It is worth noting that serves with long pips typically result in a dead ball (without any spin), with a slight tendency to float along and drop quickly towards the end of the trajectory. However, if your opponent is an advanced player with ample experience against long pips, these serves may not pose much of a threat to them. 

In fact, advanced players will likely launch direct attacking shots in response. 

Therefore, my advice is to initially attempt one or two serves in order to tell the skill level of your opponents at the start of the game. Against advanced players, you want to keep your serves short so that the ball would always bounce twice on your opponent’s side.

Winning Match Strategies with Long Pimples

Once you have mastered the various fundamental shots with long pips, the next crucial step is to apply them strategically during matches. 

Here are three tips that I frequently employ in games, which have proven to be effective and have even helped me secure victories against formidable offensive players.

Start From Serves

One important aspect of utilizing long pips is to focus on serving. This includes both serving the ball and returning the opponent’s serves. 

As mentioned previously, players can incorporate a combination of serves using long pips and inverted rubbers, utilizing backspin, topspin, and dead balls. 

If the opponent lacks experience, they can easily become confused and make mistakes. In fact, during my early table tennis lessons, my coach emphasized that there is nothing simpler than scoring a point directly from a well-executed serve.

Another crucial aspect is diversifying the ways in which we return serves. Initially, I used to rely solely on pushing the ball with my long pips, even when the ball was directed towards my forehand side. 

This approach was convenient as I didn’t have to read the spin, but it had its drawbacks. My opponents became aware of the spin and could fully prepare for their shots in advance. Consequently, upon heeding my coach’s advice, I began returning serves in various ways, including chopping, blocking, pushing, and occasionally using inverted rubber. 

This mixed return approach rendered my opponents extremely uncomfortable and created ample opportunities for me to control points during the game.

Twiddling the Paddle

“Twiddling the paddle” refers to the technique of changing the side of the racket used during a rally in table tennis. 

Initially, when my coach introduced me to this technique, I was reluctant to use it. I considered it troublesome and time-consuming. However, as I observed many advanced long pips players employing this technique in league matches, I realized its effectiveness.

When trying it myself in match scenarios, I discovered the value of twiddling. 

For instance, after executing an exhausting chop from the backcourt and my opponent returns the ball with a backspin push, twiddling the paddle becomes crucial. By switching to the inverted rubber, I can effectively push the ball back with spin and prevent it from becoming a dead ball, making it harder for my opponent to launch a direct attack. I had lost numerous points in this scenario before mastering the twiddling technique.

Furthermore, in situations where the ball is high and falls in my backhand area, and I don’t have sufficient time to move and execute a forehand shot, and smashing with long pips also seems complicated, twiddling the paddle allows me to perform a backhand smash with the inverted rubber.

Twiddling the paddle has provided me with increased versatility and adaptability during matches. But one tip I want to say is that when buying the paddle, try to choose one with a straight handle so that you can switch more smoothly.

Attacking Short Balls

When the ball is received short during a table tennis rally, attacking with long pips can be an effective strategy. A fast, floated return using long pips creates huge difficulties for opponents to return it.

I often employ this tactic during games, capitalizing on the advantage provided by long pips rubber. 

One approach I enjoy using is to play a sidespin attack with long pips, imparting a unique spin and trajectory that can catch opponents off guard.

Now, what should we do when the ball is longer? The answer is to continue attacking! If you possess strong looping skills with inverted rubbers, simply lift the ball up. However, if you are a defensive player like myself, I recommend employing chopping techniques or twiddling the paddle to push the ball back with inverted rubber. Remember, a chop isn’t only a defensive shot.

This is particularly effective against advanced players, as it minimizes their opportunities for direct attacks.

By adopting these strategies, you can make the most of short balls during a rally, disrupting your opponent’s game plan and gaining an advantage in the match

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The Controller

Xinyu started playing table tennis when he was 8 years old in China and he's also the owner of popular table tennis blog ppongsuper . He has trained with the Chinese provincial team and now plays competitively in the Spanish national league. He's constantly striving to improve his skills and tactical abilities, as well as deepen his understanding of table tennis. He joined the Racket Insight team to share his passion and promote table tennis to more people!

Blade: Nexy Joo Sae Hyuk | Forehand:Butterfly Sriver FX | Backhand: Dawei 338d-1
Playstyle: The Defender

11 thoughts on “How I Use Long Pimples To Beat The Best Table Tennis Players”

  1. Great material. thanks
    Could you please compare short pips and long pips strokes
    EXAMPLE: specifically compare:
    1. backhand stroke with LONG pips against back spin and top spin

    2. backhand stroke with SHORT pips against back spin and top spin
    ETC;ETC
    Rle Nichols

    1. Álvaro Munno

      Hello RLE,

      Backhand stroke with long pips against topspin is either a chop, a block, or a pushblock. Against backspin, you can hit the ball.

      With short pips, you can hit, topspin or block against topspin, and you can push or open up against backspin.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

  2. No mention weather ox’s is used or what thickness is a preferred when using long pips.
    IS THEIR AN ADVANTAGE PLAYING WITH DIFFERENT THICKNESSES.

    I would like some help on this matter please.

    1. Álvaro Munno

      Paul,

      ox pips are better for close to the table play as they have more reversal. If you use little sponge, such as 0.5, you will have great control but less reversal. If you use a thick sponge such as 1.2 or 1.5, you will have less control but you will be able to add lots of spin to your chops.

      If you want to play a disruptive game close to the table, ox is the way to go, if you want to chop from far away, using sponge is better. Use little sponge if you’re a beginner or an early intermediate to have more control, and you can use more sponge down the line to add spin to the chops if you don’t need the extra control.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

  3. No mention weather ox’s is used or what is the best thickness is a preferred when using long pips.
    Which brand of long pips is the best to use with effect.

    I would like some help on this matter please.

    1. Álvaro Munno

      Hello Paul,

      I have already answered your other question, so as for brands, the best pips are the Tibhar Grass d.Tecs, the TSP Curl P1R and the Butterfly Feint Long, depending on what style you want to play, you can go for those. The Yinhe Neptune are also a great option for very cheap.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

    1. I love reading articles from racket insight . They explain every possible situation and as everyone they have been through the experience of table tennis. I am 15 and rn im playing in Serbia in a ETTU series . I have a blowfish andro with 2.0 spong on fh and dermaterijalist power pipes(medium pipes ) 1.5 sponge on bh.I am playing with a danish person in like 15 min and i have trouble with third and fourth ball on bh because i cant return a single block because they are too powerful . How do i return the powerful topspins more easily

      1. Hello Andrej!

        Hope you won your match! My top tip for returning fast shots is to hold your racket as if you were holding something really delicate, like an egg or a young kitten hehe

        This makes you have your wrists very loose, helping with impact absorption.

        If you’re tense at the moment of impact, your racket is going to act like a trampoline, whereas if you’re loose at the moment of impact, your racket will act as a cushion to the ball, and it will slow it down a lot more. Try for yourself and you’ll be very surprised!

        Cheers,
        Álvaro

        1. Hi 👋, me again . Thank you for the tip . Over the course of these months i have increased my level a lot more than i thought . I can block a lot more shots in game and i have defeated a played that had insanely powerful shots with fh. But i am having trouble with blowing up my leads . Anyone i play against i start leading like 6 : 2 or like 4 : 0 and i end up missing easy shots and losing focus and it feels like i am always giving the sets which altogether makes me lose my matches . How can i move on from this problem and start leveling up my mentality ? . Cheers and thanks in advance 🙂

          1. Hello Andrej!

            We have written an article which explains how to be a “clutch” table tennis player, that is, how to perform well under pressure. Here’s the link, I think it’ll help you a lot:

            https://racketinsight.com/table-tennis/how-to-be-a-clutch-table-tennis-player/

            We have written another one on how to improve the mental side of the sport, here’s the link to that one as well:

            https://racketinsight.com/table-tennis/psychological-mental-tips/

            It’s key that the moment you feel that you’re starting to miss easy shots or losing focus, that point, you take a lot of time before playing the next one to refocus fully again and play out your normal plays and strategies that you always do and feel comfortable doing.

            If you’re missing easy shots, it means that you’re either tense or not fully focused. To be less tense I recommend competing more often and incorporating competitions into your training sessions and to be more focused you have to focus on the ball like you’re obsessed with it and nothing else exists but the ball and your opponent. You have to put 100% concentration on the task and nothing else. This also takes practice but you will improve over time if you get accostumed to doing it over and over again.

            Hope this helps. If I were you I’d write this down and work on it these next few months 🙂

            Cheers,
            Álvaro

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