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How often you should change your table tennis rubbers

How Often Should I Change Table Tennis Rubbers | MHTT Blog

This is a very common question for players of all levels once they have entered the world of using custom table tennis rackets. How often should a player change their table tennis rubber?

A Useful General Guide

Well there are a few things to think about, up to a certain point there is a useful rule of thumb that you can follow which may make sense as a general guide. This can be particularly useful for players who are going from using a recreational ping pong racket, to a more professional table tennis racket.

A handy method is to divide the year by the average number of hours you play in a week. In this sense a player who is playing 6-8 hours a week should at least change their rubber once every couple of months. A player who has a full time training schedule and trains 4 hours a day, 5 times a week should change their rubber once every couple of weeks. Similarly a player who is only playing 1-2 hours a week should change their rubber once or twice a year.

Play Hours per Week Estimated Rubber
1-2 6 months
3-6 3 months
6-12 1-2 months
15-20 3-4 weeks
20+ 2 weeks

Rough Estimation Guide, may not be accurate for all player preferences.

That’s a handy ballpark rule that a player could follow to help them know how often to change their table tennis rubber, or at least act as a starting point to understanding. It’s worth noting that the players who are likely to play 20+ hours per week at the high level are more particular about changing their rubber more frequently, hence the estimated rubber lifespan of only a couple of weeks. A player who plays 3-6 hours a week on a very casual recreational basis may also decide it’s ok to change their rubber less than every 3 months also.

The Intensity of Play

Another factor to consider is the intensity of play. If you are engaging in high level training you can expect the rubber wear to occur at a faster rate, as the frequency of balls hit is much higher than at the recreational level.

Where a social player might play a couple of hours a week and change their rubber a couple of times a year, a player who is busy with work or study who does 2 hour multiball sessions at a higher level per week may need to change rubber more than 3-4 times a year. While the above guide can provide a good starting point, it is up to each player to determine how their environment and intensity of play impact that. A prime example is a dedicated social player who may play matches for 20+ hours a week, of course in this scenario they may not need to change rubber each 2 weeks, perhaps they could do so every 2-3 months. It all depends on which point a player would determine that the life of the rubber is beyond use – social players tend to have a greater tolerance.

Upcoming Tournaments

A lot of competitive table tennis players will think about changing their rubber before upcoming important table tennis tournaments, so that they have fresh and high performing equipment before major events. It’s also important to remember that tournaments can have a significant impact on the wear of your rubber, if you are playing a heavy tournament schedule you may need to change rubber more frequently.

This is commonly performed 2-3 training sessions before the event, however this works with your schedule. This helps wear the rubber in a little. For higher level players they may want it totally new for the event so they may change and choose not to play with it before the tournament.

Is the Rubber Impacting Your Level of Play?

This is the single most important thing to understand in the long run. You should be able to feel when the speed and spin of the rubber is beginning to degrade to a point where your level of performance is negatively impacted too much. Obviously, all rubbers undergo depreciation as they are used, but often it will get to a point usually when the grip on the rubber surface has deteriorated too much and a player is not able to produce the quality they desire. Once you feel like the rubber has taken you as far as it can then it’s time to replace it. This is something you gain more experience with over time and will be able to tell when the time is right to switch to a fresh sheet of rubber.

Maintain the Rubber Well

It is important also to ensure you are keeping dust or dirt off your table tennis rubber surface to help extend its lifespan. This helps ensure the rubber surface keeps its grip quality for longer. Some players use condensation from their breath to wipe off dust, others use professional rubber cleaners and accessories. For recreational players often this can double the potential lifespan of their table tennis rubbers as proper care can be a bigger factor rather than high intensity wear and tear.

It is also highly recommended to keep your racket in a proper table tennis racket case, as this can protect it from environmental factors like heat or cold, as well as excess dust or dirt buildup.

So as you can see there are a number of other factors to consider, but hopefully this rough guide will give you a general idea with some extra thoughts for consideration - on how often you should change your table tennis rubber.


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