I recently realized that non of the top defenders swapped from short pips to long pips or the other way around. Why is this? I am sure attackers try different rubbers from time to time to see whether this makes a difference to their game or not. I guess the reason is the very tight time table for top players: They have so many league and tournament matches that they can’t really afford to have a “break” to work out whether they would do better with different material. I am not talking about differences between long pips but only between the two general types: Long pips versus short pips (I skip the medium ones). Who from the top players should try to change in my view to improve? No one that plays long pips should go to short pips in my view. Only the other way around. Let’s have a look who plays well with short pips: Hou Yingchao, Ma Te. There a players like Irene Ivacan, Wu Yang, Polina Mikhailova, Wang Yang, Yuto Muramatsu and Han Ying who would do better in my regard changing to long pips. Why is this?
Against top players they hardly have the occasions to use the advantages of the long pips as to block or smash the ball. Better players play fast and loaded topspins so that the ball often comes back to high with short pips. Skilled players like Yuto Muramatsu twiddle and use the pimples in rubber on the backhand to block, smash and topspin thus not really having the need for short pips.
They would also win if they take the habit of defending with long pips on forehand when confronted with loaded slow topspins.
But when do they have a long break to try this out and see whether they would do better? This is a question for their trainers, teams and ITTF.