Soft/Hard rubber

1 reply [Last post]
mts288
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2011

Sometimes I see descriptions of rubber using soft or hard as part of the description.  What's the difference between the two?  I also see it described in degrees.  What does that mean?  I also hear players talk about throw angles when descriping their rubber.  What is a throw angle?

Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Soft/Hard rubber

Sometimes I see descriptions of rubber using soft or hard as part of the description.  What's the difference between the two? 

A softer sponge is easier to loop with, but generally has less power. With a harder sponge, you have to swing harder to get the ball to sink deeper into the sponge - but if you do swing harder, you generally get more total power than with the same swing with a softer sponge. A harder sponge also gives more control on flatter shots such as hitting, smashing, and blocking. 

I use a softer sponge since I no longer have the powerful swing to sink the ball deep into a harder sponge. The softer sponge allows me to loop consistently with good topspin against even a hard-hit ball, and since I have good control of my flatter shots I don't need a harder sponge. Many power players at the higher levels use a harder sponge, but not all. 

I also see it described in degrees.  What does that mean?  I also hear players talk about throw angles when descriping their rubber.  What is a throw angle?

The degrees you see listed is the throw angle. The throw angle is how the ball tends to jump off the sponge when you topspin. A sponge with a high throw angle essentially lofts the ball back. It's great for all-out looping, but gives less control on flatter shots like hitting, smashing, and blocking. Softer sponges generally have higher throw angles than harder sponges.