Should You Speed Glue?
Greg's second speed gluing article
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
by Greg Letts - an Australian state coach, an International Umpire and one of the top ranked players in his country.
Edit: Please note that speed glue is no longer legal according to ITTF regulations.
Having talked about what speed glue in table tennis is all about, along with its advantages and disadvantages, it's now time to discuss whether you should be choosing to reglue your table tennis bat.
Opinion on this subject can be pretty divided, so I'll give you the benefit of my thoughts, and anyone wanting to put their own 2c in can email me and I'll add their comments to the page.
Should you speed glue?
Speed gluing gives a player some definite advantages and disadvantages, as we talked about previously. So the question really becomes how important are these advantages and disadvantages to you? Anyway, here's my take on the answer to this question.
Recreational (non-serious) players - SHOULD NOT speed glue
If you only play occasionally and you don't really care whether you win or lose, I don't think it's worth the bother or the expense. You can have a lot of fun with or without speed glue, and you probably won't play enough to really take advantage of the benefits properly. But if you like to glue up the bat and hit it really hard just for fun, be my guest.
Serious Juniors - SHOULD speed glue
I'm possibly in the minority on this, but I personally feel that if a junior has any intention at all of taking the sport seriously in the future, then they should speed glue. Speed glue is an accepted part of the equipment used by professionals today - so juniors should be exposed to it as soon as possible, and taught how to use it properly to get the most benefit for their own style. Speed glue allows players to get more speed and spin, with minimal disadvantages. I can't imagine tennis coaches arguing that their juniors shouldn't use modern rackets because they are too fast and powerful - in fact it would probably be the opposite - they'd want their kids using the best technology out there to help them.
I guess it can be expensive, and there may be health concerns (an argument for another time), but if your child is serious about the sport of table tennis, I'd think twice before stopping him or her from speed gluing. Speed glue makes a significant difference to what you can and can't do to the ball, and the tactics that can be used - do you really want your child to have to adjust his strokes and tactics when he or she does start to reglue? And what is the correct time to do so anyway? At a certain level of play? A certain standard of technique or tactics? Or a certain amount of physical strength? Why not just start them off with speed glue as soon as they can hit a few ball in a row, and then concentrate on teaching them how to use it for the maximum effect?
Serious Adults - SHOULD speed glue
I guess this mainly depends on your definition of serious. I'm defining serious as someone who plays in table tennis competitions regularly, and trains on a regular basis. If you are trying to win - you want every advantage you can have - especially if your opponents will be using speed glue against you! Don't you be the guy who brought a knife to a gunfight.
One important exception to this rule is for the defenders and some pips out players. As a defender myself who uses medium pimples on one side and normal rubber on the other, I know that I find it very difficult to chop the ball if I speed glue the normal side. I'd probably have to double the amount of training I do in order to have a chance of controlling the ball. That's not an option for me, so I'm using thin normal unglued rubber instead. But when I was attacking with normal rubbers on both sides, it simply made sense to speed glue since it helped my game so much. Also, if I was a junior again (oh, how I wish!), I'd be defending with the speed glue on my normal rubber in the hopes of being another Joo or Ding Song - without the glue you could forget about it.
OK - so that's my thoughts about who should be speed gluing. The advantages it gives are just too good to pass up for any player serious about the sport. If you are going to take the time and effort to train hard, why not give yourself every advantage you can - or at least keep the playing field level?
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