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What to take into account when buying a paddle tennis racket: rubber and foam

Side Spin analyzes the aspects to take into account when buying a paddle tennis racket, in this case the inner rubber.

Choosing a paddle tennis racket is not easy. Beyond aesthetics (which is often the main criterion, especially in beginner players) many other aspects must be considered. The convenience or good sensations with one or another racket depends on the construction of the racket and the materials used in it. Today we will talk about how the type of rubber or foam used affects, since not all players need the same thing.

Main aspect: The type of rubber or foam

The type of rubber used in the construction of the racket is decisive in its behavior. The rubber is the material found in the central part of the blade or core. Its name comes from the initials of its composition Ethylene-Vinyl-Acetate.

The rubbers, also known as EVA rubbers , are a light and elastic material. To give you an idea, it is the same rubber that is used in the manufacture of beach flip-flops.

The beginning of EVA foam

In case you didn't know, from its beginnings until reaching the 90s, paddle tennis rackets were made of wood . Similar to the shovels to play on the beach. Due to their hardness, they were difficult to control and also caused elbow and shoulder injuries since they dissipated vibrations very little and were also difficult to control. The first prototypes of rubber shovels were made using flip-flop rubber, as reported in this interview by Emilio Forcher, owner of the Side Spin brand , with his friend and collaborator Carlos Daniel Pérez , the inventor of the rubber shovel that all brands use today. EVA rubbers are classified according to their density. The higher the density, the lower the elasticity and the higher the hardness . The density of a rubber is measured by applying weight on the rubber and measuring the degree of deformation and recovery of the same. Thus, the density is classified by the weight of the rubber in KG per cubic meter. In paddle tennis, rubbers from 15 to 45 kg per cubic meter are used. The lower the value, the lower the hardness. In the current paddle tennis rackets, the thickness of the rubber cannot exceed the official measurements, which are 38mm. At Side Spin we usually call the rubbers with our own nomenclatures such as EVA ULTRA SOFT, SOFT , MEDIUM , HARD . There are also the so-called BLACK EVA , rubbers simply treated with a black dye that does not define the hardness of the rubber itself.

Foam in the paddle blades

Another type of material used in the construction of paddle tennis rackets is foam . It is a polyurethane foam. It differs from EVA rubber due to its greater porosity . Paddles made with foam are lighter in the core and softer than any EVA rubber. Its use is not so widespread because it does not admit the application of high temperatures, so in the manufacture of blades , the firing process (used to amalgamate and harden the layers of materials and resins) is lengthened since lower temperatures are used.

The behavior of the rubber in the game according to its hardness.

The response of the rubber to the impact of the ball influences its usability . At the bottom of the track, a soft rubber offers us a greater rebound with less force applied since the rubber itself bounces the ball more since it sinks more into the blade. On the contrary, hard rubber requires more accompanying the blow. In volleys and smashes , the soft rubber is less reactive, so the feeling is less powerful since it is necessary to apply more force for a quick reaction. On the other hand, the hard rubber fires the ball faster. The soft rubber is more comfortable to play, giving a greater sense of control and, in addition, it better dissipates the vibrations of the racket, making it less aggressive with the joints and avoiding epicondylitis. In Side Spin, we bet more on rackets with low hardness or average in most of our models since the hardest blades require more technique and mastery of the game. We reserve the hardest rubbers for power rackets and for more advanced level players. Our recommendation is to start in this sport with blades with rubber that is as soft as possible and increase its hardness as we acquire greater technique, power and dexterity. However, it is not uncommon to see professional players playing with medium hard or even soft blades since they prefer to have control over their shots and given their physical aptitudes, they are able to give power to the ball, regardless of whether the rubber is not hard . . The hardness of the rubber is therefore, in our opinion, the main aspect when choosing a racket since it defines 90% of its behavior. But it is not the only one, as we will see in the following articles on the shape of the racket and the sweet spot , the balance of the racket, the weight of the racket, the materials used and our type of game. Stop by our store and take a look at our offer. If you have questions, contact us and we will advise you.


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