Debunking Myths Surrounding Tacky Chinese Rubber

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Premise:

Up until today, I had only used European/Japanese style rubbers (i.e., mechanically grippy, some type of springy/"tensioned" sponge, etc). I steered clear of anything considered a classic/typical tacky Chinese rubber (i.e., hard sponge, tacky surface, etc) for over 10 years because there are an overwhelming proportion of absolutist opinions on the internet about how limited they are. I'm not talking about the provincial/national versions - just un-boosted, regular/commercial versions (i.e., DHS Hurricane 3). Here were some of the common cautionary statements I heard about those types of rubbers:

1. They are unrealistically slow and lack power in today's game
2. They take a long time for someone who has only used European/Japanese to get used to or require a specific/different form
3. They are poor for flat-hits, blocks, lobs
4. They are good on forehand, not so great on backhand

Actual Experience:

I put 2 sheets of 2.15mm, 39 degree hardness DHS Hurricane 3 (regular, commercial - NOT boosted or Neo) on a homemade Koto-Lutz Spruce-Kiri (3.9mm core) blade. Here are my thoughts on the above claims:

1. The overall, maximum speed and power I can put on the ball is comparable to my Limba-ALC-Lutz Spruce-Kiri blade with Nittaku Fastarc G-1 on both sides (H3 is only marginally slower, not this big gap between them I was led to expect). The power is incredibly linear, so low-speed hits are "duller" and "weaker" than any hit I've felt with tensor rubbers - this isn't a bad thing, as it really widens the range of speeds and touch properties. When I put power into my loops and drives, the ball speed was in the same general speed category as many of the newer tensor rubbers I've tried. I think many people describe the rubbers as under-powered because it does require you to put effort in. There is something really rewarding about playing this way with the H3 rubbers, perhaps because I felt like more of an active participant. Switching back to G-1 just to verify I wasn't crazy, I noticed that I had to do so much less work to get balls in the mid-range of speed, but I did feel disconnected like my body movements had less of an impact on the power of the shots. In summary, I thought the power of commercial H3 was more than sufficient and also very rewarding to "extract".

2. Like I mentioned above, this was literally my very first time hitting with tacky rubber. I found I did not need an adjustment period to play with H3, nor was there any truth (for me) in this supposed requirement of hitting with a "Chinese style loop". The caveat is perhaps, if there is any truth to a different technique required to use Chinese rubbers effectively, that I already embody that style? Many posts suggested that there is a lower throw angle and European/Japanese rubber users would need a lengthy adjustment period or they'll continuously put balls into the net or off the end of the table - I found I had even more control than expected and put the same amount of balls on the table as with any other rubber I've used. Unlike the magical/mythical form difference that many internet posts speak of, I think the only actual requirement is good form.

3. There are many posts talking about not using Chinese rubbers for flat-hitting, many of these posts giving the impression that a person somehow wouldn't be able to control the hits and keep them on the table. These posts often reference Chinese players twiddling the blade for smashes. For an athlete who needs to extract the maximum our of their equipment (i.e., professionals), this makes sense. In my personal experience, I found H3 to be just fine for flat-hitting. Perhaps my "classic drive shot" has too much top-spin, but I found I was able to drive the balls at high speeds with the same low error-rate as any tensor rubber. Blocks were great too, but I can see why some people might comment on them being less than ideal - either you have to put energy into the hit to engage the sponge on low speed balls from an opponent, or open the racket-face to compensate for the duller response at low speeds. When blocking high-speed shots from my opponent, the rubber was able to maintain that speed and return the ball at a high speed. With the hardness of my blade and the hardness of the H3 rubber/sponge, I found deep/high lobs to work quite well with good feeling and spin.

4. I read many posts advocating that people who did want to use commercial H3, should do so on their forehand if they have decent technique. Few posts seemed to advocate for players putting a hard, tacky Chinese rubber on a backhand (I realize this gets into the hornet's nest that is discussing "backhand versus forehand" rubbers, of which there is no substance to). Admittedly (shamelessly, I might add), I have a great backhand - lots of wrist and power in my stroke. I found H3 commercial to be an absolutely joy on my backhand. The feeling of the grip and tackiness of the rubber was haptically rewarding, and game-wise it manifested as great control with a ton of spin.

Summary:

In summary, and perhaps related to the dozen+ weekly posts concerning "what rubber/blade is best for me?", I think these rubbers (H3) are 95% as capable as any other decent rubber out there. With practice and familiarity, even a "cheap", "old" rubber like H3 commercial would work fine for the vast-majority of non-professional players. My take-away message for other players, in general, is: Don't buy into the hype about what something is or isn't good for - do your best to get unbiased information and then take the time to discover it for yourself.
 
I will wait until you have played against a good player ir play in a tournament where you will feel you would need more power especially that your h3 is unboosted. The experience of people with h3 hold weight over the years. You trying it for a short time does not debunk most of the things you have mentioned. i am a Hurricane 3 user for 15 years now and a lot of the things you have stated will change the longer you have used the H3. By the way, the H3 does not only need a good form, it needs a good feel and brushing technique against the ball. I will also wait after you have tried to in a matchplay wherein you go head to head, backhand to backhand rallies against a player who uses a non Chinese rubber until you will realize that you have to do some effort doing brushes on the ball while your opponent has lesser effort doing his punchblocks.
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I will wait until you have played against a good player ir play in a tournament where you will feel you would need more power especially that your h3 is unboosted. The experience of people with hold weight over the years. You trying it for a short time does not debunk most of the things you have mentioned. i am a Hurricane 3 user for 15 years now and a lot of the things you have stated will change the longer you have used the H3. By the way, the H3 does not only need a good form, it needs a good feel and brushing technique against the ball. I will also wait after you have tried to in a matchplay wherein you go head to head, backhand to backhand rallies against a player who uses a non Chinese rubber until you will realize that you have to do some effort doing brushes on the ball while your opponent has lesser effort doing his punchblocks.
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I realize the limitation of having a single data point (one opportunity to play with H3 so far), but the main premise is still true - unboosted H3 isn't nearly as worthless as people claim it to be. That's all I'm claiming from my experience thus far.

Of course many of the newer rubbers are going to be faster overall and require less technical perfection to extract the same speeds. Of course that will make a difference when every millisecond of timing counts. I'm not debating that - I agree with you.

The dilemma is the seemingly innate human drive to continually desire something better. I can't tell anyone how they should buy equipment - should people use "slower" gear to develop the proper technique? Should people just buy the best and learn to use it? Who knows! All I can say is that my technique is to the point where I can say I'm able to extract more value from equipment that people seem to denounce using vague, inaccurate generalities.
 
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Good that you like it!

I think everyone should try like you do so they can make their own judgement!

I think you are correct about 1 and 2, but i do not know about 3 and 4.
It will proably be easier to flathit with a softer sponge, like the tensor rubbers. Like you said, the chinese twiddle.
I also think it will be harder to get speed on the backhand with a china rubber since it is harder to use to body while doing backhand shots. But the spin is proably good.

But i think it really depends on how hard the sponge is. A friend of mine play with a Hurricane with pretty soft sponge and smash and play backhand sucessfully with it.

Regarding the equipment dilemma, i think players that want to suceed in the long run should use slower gear to be able to develop the proper technique.
 
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as somone who has for the past 5 years used tacky chinese fh for 3.5 of them and bh for 2 of them most of these points are right.
1.) depends, at a lower level speed matters very little then you get upper intermediate and then you cannot just put things away with a meek shot from a tacky rubber. Then you go above again and then the difference becomes less because the skill level allows them to still hit fast enough with a good loop drive. I find drives and loops are fine even on H3 neo unboosted but loopdrives are hard because engaging the sponge is hard.
2.) the stroke for brushy opening loops is very similar, if you can win all games on this 1 shot (which i tried to for the past two years) then you'll be square open, but once you get to sponge engagement it changes again as you need that much more force to properly compress the sponge, mostly imo because of hardness as H3-50 is much more similar to euro rubbers in that effect. the tack just means angle adjustments.
3.) I actually changed to MX-P because i was struggling with my smashes and flat hits. I now have improved in that department by miles. Although the spin no longer makes my smashes arc all deadly.
4.) I feel you here, I think you can get away with a hard bh rubber if you mostly push because they're great here. or a soft chinese rubber if you mostly use a very active stroke. For me i changed because i'm lazy and my forearm didnt take that well).

i think the general point are sensible with the exception of flat hits, if you are very good in the hand at feeling and reading spin it might not be a big issue, but if like me you struggle with hitting into spin there is a notable difference. of course you can compensate at any level with individual styles but pro as you could get some very very good sandpaper players who would smoke most of us without rubber. Most reccomendations and genralisations assume a player who tries to play in a "proper" style. Which is somthing we often forget.
I have many players at my club who are playing divisions with unusual styles that look odd but it works for them so their equipment does completely different things with their unique strokes.
 
The tackiness of the rubber is the major culprit why flat hitting needs extra effort. Tackiness results to energy loss. Also you need to apply some brushing technique when smashing. Though in blocking it is easier to control despite being spin sensitive. What i love about H3 is the control wherein i can do all full swings on my fh without worry too much with control unlike euro rubbers.
 
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I love tacky rubber for FH. It let me understand the topspin so much better. Every time I miss I FEEL why I missed. There is never a feeling that "it should have land on table" that I had while playing with non-tacky rubbers. I guess It suits my playing style.
I'm not worried that smashes are a little slower as I'm strong physically and hitting something flat was never an Issue no matter if it's tacky rubber or cheap pre-made bat.

What I'm not really enjoying is the backhand with tacky rubber. However it might be related to the rubber itself (729 bloom spin). It's less tacky and feels weird. Because of being less tacky is also a little bouncier. That would be good but there is no proper feedback to the hand while blocking - I never know how strong will be the rebound based on the feedback to the hand (that never happens on forehand).
 
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Reason nobody really uses hard tacky rubbers on the backhand is that the backhand motion is already as spinny as you could possibly need it to be, given that it's mostly wrist, so what you lack is the easy power and speed that the body normally generates for the forehand motion.

It feels more controlled on backhand but that's only because it's very slow. If that feels better then it's more probably that a regular slower rubber would feel much better for the backhand, like MarkV.
 
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I agree however I wanted to keep using it until backhand clicks for me as forehand did. Not happening so far but as I said maybe the rubber that I use on backhand currently is too weird for me. Will try once more (I have spare red bloom power) and if the story repeats itself I'm going to put tibhar el-p on backhand.
In my case it's not just the matter of being slow - I liked ak47 blue on backhand which is far faster than what I use now.
 
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A shame the OP never got the chance to play with the old, original version of Hurricane 3, not to mention the duct-tape-strong Friendship 729 or Globe 999 topsheet w/ the vintage hard AF Yunhai sponge.

The stereotype of Chinese rubbers originated from that era. A lot has changed since then, especially after 2008, but the general mindset kind of lived on.
 
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