By Thierry Verviers
Head Coach at Montreal Prestige Table Tennis Club
As an experienced coach (almost 43 years this year), I still make accidental discoveries. Here is the story of one of them.
For some time now, I have been setting a goal to practice seriously 4-6 hours a week to give my junior players more challenges. Indeed, I will soon be 60 years old, and let’s just say that my level of play is not as easily maintained as it was in my younger years. Both the body and the brain are aging simultaneously. On the other hand, regular practice helps give both a certain rejuvenation, which I have witnessed over the past few weeks. Table tennis is certainly a beautiful and very good sport to slow down aging.
That said, when I don’t practice seriously and regularly, I don’t worry much about my equipment. I have played so much with different blades and rubber sheets in my coaching career that I can adapt very quickly to anything. This is an advantage in being able to offer different styles of play to our players.
However, when it comes to performing better, that’s another story. We always come back to our favorite equipment.
So I decided to put my favorite long pimple back on my backhand. I use an andro Rasant Chaos, a long pimple that allows me to do everything and has very good control on cut defense. However, even in the 1mm version, it is very light and that brought me to a problem I didn’t expect. Using a Donic Allround + blade and not a defensive blade, my racket became too light, lacking inertia and my forehand started to be totally ineffective because of this lightness. And yet, I was using a Max rubber.
So I started looking for a rubber that was heavy enough and faster. In my research, I came across the characteristics of the andro Rasanter R53, heavy enough to compensate for the weight loss of my racket and fast enough. So I decided to test a R53 Max to make sure I had enough weight. I was worried though. Maybe the rubber would be too hard, maybe it would be too fast, maybe I would lack control in my defense trajectories.
I told myself, we’ll see. So I went to PPD and Marc gave me the long-awaited R53. I glued it on and tried it out. I’m quite enthusiastic, but decide to wait until the next day for the glue to dry completely before conducting a real test.
The next day comes and it’s the moment of truth. I say to myself “be patient”, it’s going to take a few weeks to control this monster. And then, to my complete surprise, Simon Gauzy’s rubber behaves quite differently than I had anticipated.
It’s certainly very fast, but I don’t have the feeling of a 53 when I top spin the ball. I can feel the ball very well and it feels like it stays in my racket. But it goes very fast.
Another surprise is that the ball trajectories are easy to produce and easy to anticipate and imagine, whether it’s top spin, side spin or even cut defense.
Another surprise, it’s very easy to counter-attack from afar, both in counter topspin and counter attack.
My long serves remain effective and my short game too.
My starting top spins are easier.
The only downside is that I have a little more difficulty controlling the height of my blocks. However, this is largely compensated by the ease of counter-attacking.
Finally, against all odds, this rubber suits my defensive and counter-attacking game very well and is much easier to control than I expected.
But what I like most about this rubber is the pleasure I get from playing with it. I just have to let my shots out and it does the job most of the time, except when I really have too much imagination 😉
I recommend the andro Rasanter R53.