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Table Tennis - Should You Use Long Pimples?

Welcome to the dark side...


If you are reading this article, you are either:
  • using long pimples already and hoping to improve your game; or
  • thinking about using long pimples in the future.
If you are a conventional rubber player looking for the secrets of how to play against long pimples, back slowly and carefully away from this page, and try the above link instead.

In Brief - Which Table Tennis Players Should Be Using Long Pimples?

I'll go into more detail later, but if you answer 'Yes' to any of the following questions, you should give long pimples serious consideration.
  • Have you got a natural affinity for chopping, and want to maximize your chances of winning?

  • Are you naturally a retriever of the ball, who likes to take whatever his opponent can throw at him and keep putting the ball back on the table?

  • Are you finding that age or injury is preventing you from getting around the court like you used to, and opponents are taking advantage of this?

  • Are your reflexes slowing down as you get older, but you want to stay competitive?

  • Have you been watching Joo Se Hyuk and find yourself wishing you could play like that?

  • Are you someone who enjoys the battle of wits with your opponent as you fight for each point?

  • Are you a natural showman, and like nothing better than having the crowd watching your game and cheering you on?

In Brief - Which Table Tennis Players Should Not Be Using Long Pimples?

Again, I'll expand on this later, but if your reason for using long pimples is listed below, you are probably using them for the wrong reason.
  • Are you too unfit to move around the court?

  • Have you got a flaw in your technique that you are hoping to hide?

  • Are you poor at reading spin, and hoping to cover it up?

  • Are you hoping to win easy points because your opponents won't be able to play against your long pimples?

In Depth - Why Should You Use Long Pimples?

Now let's take a more extensive look at the reasons you might decide that long pimples are for you.

Natural Ability

Just as there are natural born loopers out there, you may be a natural chopper or defender. If you find yourself with an aptitude for backspinning the ball, then you may wish to take advantage of this and use the best materials for your style. Due to the power and spin given by the speed glued bats of today's attackers, most choppers use a medium to long pimples (mainly on the backhand) to help them control the ball when defending, and to generate heavy backspin to help set up their own counterattacks. Choppers using normal rubbers on both sides are few and far between, for reasons we'll look at in later articles.


Some players simply enjoy the process of wearing an opponent down by taking the best he has to offer and continually putting the ball back on the table. These 'brick wall' type players will benefit from the improved control a long pimpled rubber will give them, and the extra variation it provides.

Movement Impaired

Players who are restricted in their movement due to age or permanent injury can help compensate for this by intelligent use of a long pimpled rubber. It can be used to slow the speed of the game down, thus allowing them more time to move to the ball. Long pimples can also allow the player to maintain a position closer to the table, by providing a racket surface capable of absorbing the power and spin of the modern game at short range.

Slowing/Slow Reflexes

Players with slower reflexes than normal, or players whose reflexes are slowing down due to age, can compensate for this deficiency by using the long pimples to slow down the pace of the game, thus giving them more time to react to the opponent's strokes.


Those of you who have watched the likes of Joo or Matsushita and wish to emulate their feats at whatever level you can, might also put a sheet of long pimples on your bat and copy your heroes. Be prepared for a long, hard struggle (it's fun too though!), but who knows, maybe in 10 years time young players will want to be the next you!

Tactical Players

If you like the "table tennis as athletic chess" aspect of the game, then you may want to play with long pimples as well. Having the two different rubbers on your bat opens up whole new strategies and tactics to experiment with and master. Finding the particular crack in an attackers game, then applying the pressure until his game goes to pieces can be an immensely satisfying experience. Just be aware that they'll be trying to do the same thing to you!

The Showman

If the roar of the crowd spurs you on when you play, then long-range defending and counterattacking may be the style for you. A good battle between an evenly matched attacker and long-range defender gets the crowd going like nothing else. People will be packed around the court cheering your returns from off your shoetops, the barriers, and the next court. And being the defender you are naturally considered the underdog and will have the crowd on your side!

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