Sunday, May 27, 2007

Speed glue ban

The President of the ITTF released another statement regarding the ban of speed glues containing VOCs, shown below, after a player suffered serious health issue and this was blamed on the use of speedglue.

This seems another dubious decision made by the ITTF, and is the timing really helpful for the players? I'm not arguing with the decision to ban the glues, but they should be decisive about it. The decision to ban starting Sept 08 at least gave us a firm date, giving everyone time to adjust. How can you expect to adjust by an announcement that's made overnight? How many of us are in the middle of a season, and have been training for some upcoming event? What are we supposed to do now?

Firstly as far as I know ITTF approval for glues is meaningless, as any glue is perfectly legal to use as long as it does not contain illegal substances (which are listed on the ITTF website somewhere (the new website design will probably make it impossible to find!). ITTF approval merely means the ITTF has test it and has given it the thumbs up. So crossing them off the list means nothing!

Secondly how silly is it to say that the glues are now illegal, but will not be tested till Sept 08. Is this just a way of covering their backsides, so that if another incident happens, they can't be sued, because they have stated that gluing was illegal? I simply can't see how an overnight decision can possible be to the benefit of players... after all gluing has been going on for a few decades already!

These people on the board of the ITTF seem way out of touch with reality, and certainly with the players at club levels such as most of us. I get the feeling that politics and money are at work here, with the interest of players coming second...

The improved scoring system (up to 11 instead of 21) was an earlier decision I did not agree with, and I know many see if my way. Was this done for the benifit of players? Has it really mad a difference to the game... I think not!
The new laws regarding friction levels of long pimple rubber seems to be another one where decisions are made without players having much of a say, but I won't go into this here.

Unfortunately there seems to be very little players can do to make any changes at the top level... These people seem to be able to make decision overnight on any issue, without being accountable to the many players out there... If you know of a way of changing this, I would love to hear about... before these clowns completely destroy our sport!

By: Adham Sharara, ITTF President


Based on a majority decision taken by the Board of Directors of the ITTF, Glues containing harmful volatile compounds are no longer approved by the ITTF effective immediately. Although it is felt by the Board of Directors that the current levels of volatile compounds in Glues used to affix rubber coverings to the table tennis blade are in very small quantities and if applied correctly in a ventilated area provide no serious health risk to the players, it is felt, however, that long term use of such glues may have negative health effects.

Therefore, as of immediate effect the ITTF informs all players to cease using glues containing volatile compounds (VCs).

It is, therefore, the responsibility of each player, or his/her parents in case of minors, to cease using glues containing VCs. Any player using such glues will be doing so at his/her own risk and the ITTF will not be held responsible of any consequences or ill effects resulting from the use of such glues.

All existing ITTF approvals of glues are WITHDRAWN effective immediately. This withdrawal applies to ALL glues currently on the market. The ITTF will cease to approve any type of glue effective immediately. However, the ITTF’s current “racket testing” programme and protocols will continue, which controls the amount of VCs in a racket in order to protect the health of the players.

The ITTF will publish and circulate widely a list of available glues that are free of volatile compounds. This list will be updated regularly on the ITTF’s website.

As of 1 January 2008 for ITTF Junior events, and as of 1 September 2008 for all other ITTF events, the ITTF will implement a new zero tolerance racket testing programme and protocol, using the “e-nez” and RAE instruments to ensure that all rackets used by players are VC free.

In addition, as of today, in the case that a proven severe health incident occurs and is confirmed by the medical authority recognized by the ITTF, then the ITTF would implement the new testing programme immediately (VC free) at that date (confirmation of the incident) and sanctions would be applied for failed tests. An exact legal announcement of this procedure will be made shortly by the ITTF.

The ITTF urges all parties involved, players, national associations, continental associations, manufacturers, and parents to act accordingly.

Adham Sharara

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kokutaku 868 Blutenkirsche German 40-43deg sponge 2.2mm

I finally had a good session with one of these rubbers. These are probably the highest quality Chinese made rubbers I've seen to date, with good performance to match! I was quite impressed... This is probably why the Japanese Kokutaku let them make their rubbers for them...

Although the sheets are a little tacky, they still have good speed and are very spinny. They are not all that fast in the short game (which is good), but have a the benefits of tacky rubbers for that part of the game.

When you dig the ball into the rubber a little further, the German sponge really starts to shine, giving good spin and speed. This is where you get a bit of a kick, where presumably the explosion III technology starts (whatever that means?). In general it a very nice rubber for most parts of the game, particularly for looping.

When I glued up this rubber, I got a huge dome even from a single layer of my Tibhar long lasting glue. The effects were very obvious, a further significant boost in performance! Particularly for hitting and powerlooping this rubber was fast, and loud (glue sound)!

I would expect the Kokutaku 007 (with German sponge) to have similar performance, but probably a little faster. Although both use German sponges, the sponges on these rubbers are different types, so they may excel in different areas...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

TSP Curl P1-R vs Galaxy 955 Long pimples rubbers

I've finally got an opportunity to try this famous rubber, thanks to my friend LawOCG!

Well this is another remarkable rubber from TSP, I've been impressed with ALL the ones I've tried! The word out there is that this is one of the hardest rubbers to control but also among the most dangerous. Well the sponge must make quite a difference. I suspect that the word out there refers to the thicker sponge version, because I found the control on the 0.5mm very good!

On my Energy wood blade, I actually found this rubber relatively slow with very good control. It was a fair bit slower than the 955, even compared to OX!

It's most remarkable property that I found was blocking against fast loops... I got so many more on, and the sink was very good! It does require a positive and forward stroke, and simply putting the bat there made it really grip, and fly over the end of the table... But with a slow forward and upwards stroke, the ball landed on the table even against fast loops, with a real nice sink effect... they did not come back....

Attacking against backspin was not quite a easy as with the 955, but still pretty good. Since the pimples seems more grippy the further the dig the ball in, you can't afford to let it dig in too much or you'll give up spin reversal.

In general it was good in the short game, producing more LP effect than the 955... some good wobble balls too. I wasn't to sure why the ball was doing what it was doing on a few occasions...

Chopping against backspin can be done effectively, but you need to compensate for the incoming spin...

Away from the table it perform very well too, good ability to manipulate spin. The control in general was almost as good as the 955. I found it easier to keep the ball shorter, mainly bacause it felt slower... Against loops I still preferred the 955, but I need more time to find out why...

I think I'll need a few more sessions to draw conclusions on whether it's better for my game, but it's the best I've found so far since the 955.

There are a few more details on the forum that seems to have turned into a long pimple forum
It's another nice long pimple rubber from TSP.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Testing out long pimple rubber strokes

I decided to test some of my long pimple strokes against the ball machine, to get a better idea of exactly what and how much spin was being returned off a backspin ball using my Galaxy 955 OX(close to the table).

Although I sort of know what it did, i never looked this closely... I set the machine on heavy backspin;

  • Chopping hard produced a moderate amount of backspin, not enough to stop it from reaching the end of the table, but enough to slow it down. You need to adjust the bat angle since heavy backspin does bite in a little...
  • Chopping lightly seemed to produce a dead ball. The ball grip just a little, giving very good control of where to put the ball.
  • Swiping / Chopping the ball with a sideways motion puts a fair amount of sidespin on the ball combines with a little topspin. The curve on the ball was quite obvious, and directing to an opponent so that it curves into the body can be quite effective.
  • Scooping the ball lightly produces a light amount of topspin, once again with very good control over placement.
  • Hitting the ball (fast scooping action) seemed to produce the most spin reversal. This is to be expected since the reduced dwell time give the rubber less time to grab the ball. It is quite easy to attack backspin this way, and this rubber is particularly good at this. Although it's probably not fast enough to hit is past people, it is very effective since most players intuitively don't expect a 'fast' hit against a heavy backspin. A deep and heavy push to someone backhand to try and draw a weak return is a common strategy, so if you can attack this, it's a real asset.

I will have another go with this, but this time against topspin. i will also try it against no-spin to get a better idea of what spin I can produce with this rubber...