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What is the effect of sponge thickness? Is it the same for anti/long pips rubber as for offensive rubber?
Regarding table tennis paddles, thicker sponge gives more of a trampoline effect producing more speed and spin on the ping-pong® ball. Most offensive table tennis players use sponge that is at least 2.0mm. Thinner sponge gives more control and feels harder because the ball sinks to the wood. Many defensive table tennis players use sponge that is 1.0-2.0mm.
Another factor to consider is the weight. For senior citizens, kids, and all beginners, I recommend a light racket. Having 1.0-2.0mm sponge will help keep the racket light.
Anti/long pips rubbers are not grippy and therefore give spin reversal. By having sponge, the anti/long pips will grip the ball more and give less reversal. For the nastiest block with spin reversal, I suggest to use no sponge or very thin sponge. For the mid to long distance chopper, I suggest to use 1.5mm sponge to give more speed to the ball. From fifteen feet away from the ping-pong® table, the racket must have some speed to carry the ball back to the table. Although it will have less reversal, it will be able to produce more spin on its own and will be more consistent from that distance.