The Re-Impact Backspin Control
Weighing around 60 grams and being about 10 mm thick, the Backspin Control is a combination blade with forehand and backhand sides that possess moderately different characteristics. The forehand provides high control and spin, and fairly high speed. The backhand provides very moderate speed, high control, and high spin-reversal. The blade is relatively stiff and low-throw, producing a flat ball-trajectory, but its throw is slightly higher on soft contact and lower on hard contact.
Suitability for styles:
The Backspin Control is purposely designed for aggressive, close to the table backhand blocking and pushing with a long pimples-out rubber, and forehand attack with an inverted or short pips-out rubber. It will also support backhand chopping combined with forehand loop-attack.
Suitability for rubbers:
The Backspin Control’s forehand combines well with inverted rubbers and short or medium pips-out rubbers. Because of the thickness of the blade and the effects of the balsa, the sponge used should be medium hard to hard and 1.8 mm thick or less. As the forehand plies offer qualities consistent with high-speed attack, pips-out rubbers should have relatively thin sponge (1.5 to 1.8 mm); classic pips-out effects will be supported by the blade’s forehand.
The Backspin Control’s slower and well-reversing backhand combines ideally with long pips-out rubbers without sponge.
Almost all Re-Impact blades, having been designed for specific purposes, have special properties which are beneficial to the desired style of play, but in some situations may pose unexpected problems.
The balsa in the Backspin Control will, on its backhand, absorb speed on soft to medium hard contact with the ball, but if contact is harder (incoming fast loops or smashes) the backhand will suddenly become much faster and hence less controlled. If the player does not have the technique required for soft-blocking fast incoming balls, it is more effective to counter-block them: with the blade slightly closed and going upward, pressing the ball firmly but without much force forward over the net. As the incoming spin will be reversed on these active blocks, they must not generate too much speed, or else the ball will float and overshoot the table.
Slow loops having a lot of spin, which are difficult to handle with most set-ups using OX LPs, may be hard to deal with the Backspin Control, too. The ball, being slow and thus contacting the blade rather softly, will lose even more of its speed because of the braking effect of the balsa; added to its high spin, this will result in much higher friction (for a long pimple) if a passive block is attempted, and as a result the ball will tend to be returned too high.
A better choice is to play a soft topspin-block (or “roll”), closing the blade a bit and using the wrist for a quick loop-like motion. This will take off enough of the spin to make the return a controlled one. Even so, there will still be backspin on the ball (if the rubber is of the well-reversing type), so forward speed must be low to medium or the ball will float long.
As an alternative, these balls can be safely chopped or chop-blocked aggressively, moving one step away from the table.
The blade is sealed and so extra sealing is not really required, it won’t do any harm to add some extra protection on the blade face, just don’t add to much (2 thin layers is plenty) or it harden the feel of the blade. Balsa is very vulnerable and since it’s exposed on the edges, it makes sense to protect the edge of the blade. A coating will help some, but better still is thick (or foamed) edge-tape.
Protection of the grip using sealing or tape is not advisable, as the blade’s KSLS-system should be in optimal contact with the hand.
Backspin Control Pictures:
Below are some pictures of this blade. Click on the image to see the full size version.