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How to Choose Forehand Rubber

How to choose the right rubber for your forehand side? It’s not the same as the backhand rubber because you need to hit harder with your forehand topspin.

So the right forehand rubber should be a hard sponge rubber (harder than 47 ESN degrees), and a low throw angle. I also give you the list of the top 10 best forehand rubbers.

There are 2 parts. This article is part 1:



Chinese rubbers or Japanese rubbers?

Forehand rubber is the most important table tennis equipment. Because the forehand attack is one of the most fundamental skills.

Some players will prefer using the Chinese hard, and tacky rubber on the forehand side.

DHS Hurricane 3 national blue sponge has the tacky topsheet which is effectively enhance the spin of the new plastic 40+ ball
DHS Hurricane 3 national blue sponge has a tacky topsheet which effectively enhances the spin of the new plastic 40+ ball

There are also some newly released modern European (ESN) and Japanese (Butterfly) rubbers that suit very well the modern style of table tennis (harder sponge to favor counter-attack style).

They all have some disadvantages and advantages for each style. I will explain below.



Choose The Best Rubber For Forehand

I have explained how to choose the table tennis rubber in general. Here, I will talk more about the forehand rubber.

Many players asked me what is the best forehand rubber in table tennis. Is choosing the forehand rubber the same as backhand rubber.

Some coaches proposed new and intermediate players to buy the same rubbers for both sides.



Wrong! Because the mechanism of the forehand and the backhand stroke are not the same.

Ding Ning personal racket at QOROS 2015 World Table Tennis Championships
Ding Ning personal racket at QOROS 2015 World Table Tennis Championships

So today, I will show you what are the characteristics of a good rubber for the forehand side? Why Chinese rubbers are good for the forehand side? and finally, I will list the top 10 most popular forehand rubbers which fit very well with the modern table tennis trend.

 

Watch this video: How to choose the best forehand rubber (part 1)

How to choose forehand rubber
Watch this video: How to choose forehand rubber


How to choose the best forehand rubber?

Which type of rubber do you need for your forehand side?

A forehand attack is not the same as a backhand attack. For your forehand loop, you rotate your body, use the power from the ground, and hit the ball with a larger amplitude stroke. While you hit the backhand topspin in front of your body, with a much compact stroke.

So choosing the forehand rubber is totally different than choosing the backhand rubber.

Watch this video: The truth about Chinese rubbers

the truth about Chinese rubber
Watch this video: the truth about Chinese rubber

Harder Forehand Rubber

You hit the forehand topspin with a larger stroke, so, therefore, you can impact the stronger force. That’s why the forehand smash and the forehand loop kill is the most powerful stroke in table tennis.

That’s why you need to choose a harder sponge for your forehand side than the backhand side. The rule of thumb is the sponge hardness of your forehand side must be +2 or +3 hardness degrees harder than your backhand side.

Fan Zhendong Stiga Custom made racket with National Hurricane 3 Bluesponge
Fan Zhendong Stiga custom-made racket with National Hurricane 3 Bluesponge

 

If you choose a too-soft forehand rubber, you can not transfer 100% of your forehand power to the ball. Hence, the speed and the spin will be lost due to the “bottom out” effect.


Always choose Max thickness

Even at the new level, don’t choose too thin rubber. I’ve explained the “secret of the sponge thickness” here. Because too thin rubber will “bottom out” the ball even with a medium force forehand stroke. And due to the ITTF regulation, the overall thickness can’t exceed 4 mm, so always choose the thickest rubber as you can.

Guide to choose the right table tennis forehand rubber hardness for the beginner
Guide to choosing the right table tennis forehand rubber hardness for the beginner

Many coaches advise their players to choose 1.9mm to gain control. I don’t agree with this approach. The control comes from the blade. If you rely on the rubber for control, you will make a very bad habit of “moving up the elbow” while playing the forehand topspin to compensate with the “bottom out”. I’ve seen many many new players have this bad habit. And it’s painful and difficult to correct your bad habits.

Zhu Yuling personal racket in Women's Single 2015 World Table Tennis Championships
Zhu Yuling personal racket in Women’s Single 2015 World Table Tennis Championships

The only exception is when using the Chinese rubbers as your forehand side, you should choose 2.15mm instead of 2.20mm. Because Chinese rubbers perform the best with a booster. The booster will expand the sponge, and soften the sponge hardness to 1.5 to 2 degrees. If you choose MAX thickness, the sponge can pass the thickness limit allowed by ITTF, and boosting the too-thick sponge will also reduce the consistency (due to the absorption and evaporation of the oil during the time).


Denser sponge

The density of the sponge is proportional to the weight of the rubber. You should choose a denser and heavy rubber on your forehand side. The density can relate to the hardness too, but not (always true. Some Chinese rubber is light and hard. And some bad, and cheap rubber which is heavy but not dynamic, not hard enough.

Sponge and pimple structure of the Tenergy 05. Pimple has 1.7mm size.
Sponge and pimple structure of the Tenergy 05. The pimple has 1.7mm in size.

I always recommend my players choose dense sponges. If you love playing with a “spring sponge” (a specific structure of the air bubbles inside the sponge), you should choose a smaller bubble sponge. Because a smaller size bubble will enhance the elasticity of the sponge. The air compartments contract on impact and then expand again, imparting additional power on the ball.

DHS Hurricane 3 blue sponge
DHS Hurricane 3 blue sponge

Chinese rubbers are in general have a very dense sponge. That’s why Chinese rubbers are very good as forehand rubber. Some players said, “but Chinese rubbers are so heavy“.

DHS Hurricane 3 national blue sponge has the tacky topsheet which is effectively enhance the spin of the new plastic 40+ ball
DHS Hurricane 3 national blue sponge has a tacky topsheet which effectively enhances the spin of the new plastic 40+ ball

Wrong! the cheap and normally fake sponge is heavy. But the real, in the domestic sponge of Chinese rubbers (especially of DHS rubbers), is not so heavy. The sponge is rather light but uniform and hard in structure. I’ve explained also the main difference between Orange Sponge, and Blue Sponge.

Fake Blue Sponge
Fake Blue Sponge

Due to the new plastic ball, it’s mandatory to play with a harder sponge, but a lighter sponge, that’s the main reason, top Chinese players all switch to Blue Sponge.


Low to Medium Low Throw Angle

Unlike a backhand stroke, you need a low throw angle on the forehand side. Please note that the “throw angle” is a complicated subject. Because it depends also on your blade (your combination rubber/blade), mostly due to the outer layer of your blade. I will explain it later.

Ma Long low throw angle on his forehand side
Ma Long low throw angle on his forehand side

 

But in general, for the backhand shot, you mostly close the racket more and hit in front of your body, so you need a rather medium-to-high throw angle rubber. That’s why a good backhand rubber is often bouncy, high throw angle, spinny and fast. While the forehand rubber is different, you need to transfer the force and reduce the energy lost, so bouncy is not really necessary.

too thin rubber - bottom out effect with a very low throw angle
too thin rubber – bottom out effect with a very low throw angle

But the low angle is necessary. Because when you use a too high angle, it’s harder to use to develop the full stroke in your forehand loop. The power of the forehand comes mostly from the rotation of your hip, the lower the throw angle, the faster the ball will land on the opponent’s side.

You should watch this video, to understand this. The lower throw angle also increases the “the kick effect” of your forehand. At the professional level, the “kick effect” is very very important!

What is the best combination (racket + rubber) in table tennis? Best paddle for a beginner? Today, coach EmRatThich will explain 3 types of setup in table tennis. You will understand more about the table tennis equipment, and why Chinese players love using a very hard rubber on a flexible blade.

Watch this video: How to Choose Best Setup in Table Tennis

How to Choose Best Setup in Table Tennis
Watch this video: How to Choose Best Setup in Table Tennis


Top 10 Best Forehand Rubbers

Here is the list of the top 10 best forehand table tennis rubbers.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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