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Long pips have always been controversial rubbers. This are some of the points made by players that complain on long pips, and my comments on each point:
- They allow EASY control of spiny balls:
True, but note that EASY control is not BETTER control. Doing high quality shots is much more difficult than with inverted. Inverted players have a wide range of rubbers from where to choose, and they can select one among them that gives all the control they need too. Choosing a rubber that makes you control the ball is not cheating. It is a good idea.
- They are hard to play against if you don't know HOW they work:
True, but this is YOUR fault only. Imagine how would you complain on inverted if it didn't exist, and you (a hardbat player, which never faced anything other than hardbat) faced a new player from another planet using heavy reglued Mark V rubbers with MAX sponge. If you were facing this player once per year, you would NEVER learn to play against inverted, since you need much more practice to get used to it. If you were AVOIDING this player all the time, the few (unavoidable) times you played against him, your performance would be even poor. That's what happen with long pips.
- There's great variation on how long pips play, so LEARNING to play against them is not easy:
True. Long pips have a lot of parameters (such as pip's height, width, hardness, density ...) which can be adjusted to get specific (and very distinct) performances to suit different styles. Playing against JOOLA Badman (a hitting rubber) has NOTHING to do with playing against Double Happiness C7 (a chopping rubber). Also, some long pips are spiny while other are dead, some are deceptive while some are not, some can do spin reversal while some eat all spin, and all this types can be combined among them. But what gives more problems to players is that they return spin depending on the incoming ball's spin AND the stroke the long pips player plays. Note that inverted can somehow have great variation too, but when it comes close to some extreme behavior, they call it ANTISPIN.
- Lots of players use long pips to COVER some weakness:
True. On the other side, lots of players serve & go for 3rd ball kill with ultra-fast equipment that they can't really control. In the first case, it's called CHEATING, and in the late case, it's called EVOLUTION OF THE GAME, but both groups choose equipment with the same purpose: to boost its performance. Both groups are likely to have problems to improve his game. Long pips suit very few players, same as very fast equipment. Those are not the wisest options, but neither can't be called cheating.
- There are some truly DECEPTIVE rubbers:
True. There are some rubbers that have its parameters adjusted so tricky and extremely that can RANDOMIZE the spin they impart on the ball. This rubbers allow to push a no spin ball and get ANY spin (backspin, topspin, sidespin, even corkscrew). Every push comes different. It's a nightmare when they hit with this rubbers and you are at the other side. BUT this is not the purpose of this rubbers: a (highly) skilled played can play those deceptive long pips in a completely predictable manner. They choose this equipment since it has incredible capabilities (i. e.: instead of reversing spin, they can change spin's direction at his will). There are few legal and deceptive rubbers since the aspect ratio rule.
- Long pips players take PROFIT of opponents' inability to play against long pips ON PURPOSE:
True. Lots of players use long pips as it's stated in (1), and take profit of (2), (3), (4) and (5) to boost their performance, specially at the lower levels, and SOME do this with the intention of take profit of opponent's weakness against long pips. This is cheating at the same level as doing a certain serve that you know your opponent is weak against (the common accepted 'way to go' by ALL the players). Some players complain that the difference is that serves have to be learned, and long pips just can be purchased. Well using long pips without leaving exposed his inherent weaknesses is very difficult to learn (and it is a must to play a SUCCESSFUL long pips game).
- You have to THINK when facing long pips players:
Not true.You are not FORCED to think. You can play chess without thinking too. You can play your mindless looping style as usual and still win, but that will be unlikely if your opponent forces you to rally. Lots of players complain 'I don't like to think when I'm playing': That's fine, but they are playing with one important weapon less than a thinking player, and that could make the difference.
- Inverted can be used to play successful chopping TOO:
True. But long pips are a MUCH better option since they provide better variation, much heavy backspin, and better handling and ball control to play defense. You can loop with 0.5 mm sponge too if you want (no, wait, that would be cheating because it's unusual).
- Real ATHLETES don't play long pips / defense:
Not true. Some real athletes DO play long pips / defense. Look at the world ranking and you will see some (yes, there are few) real athletes playing long pips /defense.
- Inverted is SUPERIOR to long pips:
True. That's just accurate. This has NOTHING to do with the fact that long pips are or are not cheating.
- Returning the ball without taking CHANCES is very easy with long pips:
Not true. Returning the ball can be easy, but it is EXTREMELY difficult doing it in such a manner that your opponent can't attack (don't letting your opponent attack (or at least don't letting him to attack hard) is the ONLY way of play without taking chances). At top level, choppers play the riskiest possible game.
- Long pips players do NOTHING but wait for opponent's error:
Not true. They have AT LEAST to return ALL the shots. Winning the point by opponent's error (whatever you think it means) is 100% legal, thus is no cheating.
- Defensive styles at lower levels are much more EFFECTIVE:
True. At lower levels there are lots of unforced errors, so just keeping the ball in play, even poorly, and playing for safety will make you a tough opponent. This has nothing to do with cheating.
- There are little or no chopper TOP players:
True. This is because they are at a HUGE disadvantage when facing loopers due to 40mm balls, glues, low aspect ratios, max sponges, carbon blades, etc... Still, there are a few players that choose this style and can be competitive. Imagine taking part in an F1 race with a 'street' sports car... and winning: You wouldn't be called cheater: you would be called HERO.
2001, Boris, The Tactical Table Tennis Website