Ping pong is a game that originated in Britain in the 1800s, but the ping pong paddle as we know it today took a little longer to come into existence. Early depictions of ping pong paddles show upper-class people hitting golf balls with books. Later, paddles were made from the lids of cigar boxes and champagne corks were used as balls. As the game evolved, popularity grew, and manufacturers began to sell ping pong equipment commercially. These first commercially made paddles were made by stretching parchment over a frame.
Today, a ping pong paddle is made out of wood and has at least one rubber side. A solid sheet of rubber is glued to the paddle with rubber cement. The rubber will stay there until it is damaged or worn out. At that point, you must purchase a new paddle. The main part of the paddle is made out of several different layers of wood, cork, aluminum fiber, carbon fiber, glass fiber, or Kevlar. Different manufacturers use different materials, depending on how you want the paddle to perform. One side of a ping pong paddle must be red, and the other side must be black, but each of those sides can be made of any materiel the player wants. Typically, one side will make the ball spin, and the other side will stop a spin from happening. Rubber sheets for ping pong paddles come in a variety of types. Below are a few ping pong paddle design varieties.
The most popular rubber type is non-Chinese inverted rubber, with the pimpled side facing inwards. This setup provides you with the ability to generate high speed and high spin. When the ball sinks into the sheet, a greater surface area of the ball comes into contact with the sponge, generating a better spin action.
The topsheet is typically stickier on rubber sheets made in China, which generates spin. This rubber is great for a short game, counter play, and potential offensive capabilities.
Anti-spin rubber looks similar to inverted rubber sheets, but it has a frictionless and very slick surface. This rubber is very soft and sponge-like, which cushions the impact of the ball. It does not generate much spin and is not very susceptible to the other player’s oncoming spin. Anti-spin rubber is not used very much in competitions.
Also known as short pips, this rubber is best for hitters that stand close to the table. It generates a good amount of speed, does not generate a lot of spin, and makes you less susceptible to the other player’s spin.
Long pips feed off of the other player’s spin because it cannot produce spin on its own. This rubber is great for confusing the other player and disrupting his rhythm. Players that tend to stand close to the table to block and choppers will do well with long pip rubber. This type of rubber is mostly seen on the backhand side of the paddle, because it doesn’t help very much with attacking moves.