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This is the debut of USATT’s new YouTube Equipment Review series which will be running weekly to provide you with information and insights into different types of table tennis equipment. We would like to thank our partners at JOOLA USA, Butterfly North America, Paddle Palace and Zeropong for joining us in this project.
Blade: JOOLA Aruna OFF
Rubber: JOOLA MaXXX 450
Hardness: 45 degrees
Sponge Hardness: Medium
The dynamic 45° Medium Geo Sponge in combination with the new upper rubber surface provides the optimum mixxx of power, spin and ball response. The MaXXX 450 passes on the full power of the Geo-Force technology, however, leaves room for spin and speed changes. Ideal for spin-oriented attackers, also playing from half distance, who emphasize ball feeling.
I headed to my club and tested the rubber out with many time US National Team member Judy Hugh. My initial thoughts on the rubber were that it was a very lively rubber, I felt like it had a great rebound effect and generated a lot of spin and acceleration even in situations where I didn’t transfer as much body weight as perhaps I normally would. It felt good and had a great spring to it. I thought early on that it would definitely be better suited for forehand than backhand due to the high amount of spin that can be generated and power potential.
Block: I found I could control the ball very well when blocking and even add additional acceleration to the ball with good margins for error. The ball sometimes bounced a little short but I was able to play a little through the contact to add depth. I was very impressed with the low trajectory of the blocking ball and the ease of absorbing the incoming shots.
Backhand Drive: Again great control. Needs some additional wrist in order to generate more acceleration and spin, otherwise is great for consistent basic execution.
Backhand Loop: I was able to play some great backhand loops against both underspin and topspin. Spin is truly the strength of this rubber and it seems very easy to use. Maintains very good control even when you add more wrist to your strokes to generate even more spin.
Forehand Loop Against Backspin: Very easy to spin the first ball in and get good table depth and a heavy amount of topspin. I found it particularly useful for picking up the half long ball and generating good spin whilst keeping the ball low to the net. It has a great ability to alter trajectories with changes in stroke without ruining consistency levels.
Forehand Against Topspin: Close table I was able to handle countering situations with a great amount of speed as long as I was able to control the kick off the rubber. For lower level players the reactive nature of the rubber can be harder to control and I did find when I backed off and played counterloop sometimes I was playing over the end. In saying that the rubber is primarily geared for a half-distance player with a spin oriented game and when I stood my ground and didn’t back too far away it was very effective, even if I wasn’t balanced or in position.
I was able to play reasonable quality shots close to my body or further out of my reach by making necessary adjustments with my hands. The rubber has great feeling and would be well suited to players who like to generate spin with their wrists or play a lot of hand-based variations and shots.
Serve and Receive:
I was able to keep the ball short with good control when returning serve and also generate good spin with my backhand banana flip and forehand flip strokes. I felt like on serve return this rubber had good touch and while it lacks tackiness, which could help it add some extra bite to serve and return, it still handles the ball very well.
Serve could also be improved with some tackiness in the topsheet to help generate an even greater amount of spin but I was able to execute decent serves which were low to the net and helped me to setup for a variety of different strategies.
Strengths in Play and Recommendation:
I definitely felt like the strength of this rubber lies in 5th ball attack. It is capable of generating a heavy spin opening ball against backspin and then against a topspin ball it expands its range to enable quite powerful shots and also combinations of power and direction change. I was able to make some strong third ball attacks but I definitely felt 5th ball was where the strength of the MaXXX 450 lies.
It is best suited to a medium distance player who likes to play a more topspin oriented game and can make good hand adjustments to allow for the catapult and increased spin and acceleration from the rubber. Some players are better at making these kinds of adjustments defensively or passively and so for those players it would be better suited as a backhand rubber. For offensive players and those who like to attack with heavy spin it is definitely more suited on the forehand. I certainly preferred it on my forehand during the time I was playing with it.
I also liked the combination of the rubber with the JOOLA Aruna OFF blade which really complemented the characteristics of the rubber.
You can find the JOOLA MaXXX 450 in the JOOLA USA Store