Tuesday, July 29, 2008

water glue: the switch -steph

The days of speed glue are over. Starting in September, after the Olympics, everybody will be required to switch to water-based glue (except for cadets and juniors, who had to make the switch in January 2008). For anyone who has not tried out water glue and for anyone who plans on waiting until they absolutely need to switch, I just have one thing to say: the change is huge, and you should not take it lightly. I first tried out water glue in the spring just to see how it would feel, and it was an... experience. Now of course, everyone will react differently, but the change is going to affect everyone.

With water glue, the first thing you'll notice is that everything gets slowed down; no matter how hard you rip the ball, your shot is not going to be anywhere near as fast, spinny, or powerful as with your old glue. While this may seem distressing, think of it this way: 1) everyone will be in the same boat, 2) with slower shots, it will be easier to keep up with better players, rallies will be longer, and what all of that means is that the playing field is somewhat leveled.

Also, glue becomes an almost obsolete. There is an upside and a downside to this: the upside is, I kid you not, you only need to glue once per rubber. No lie, you glue once, and three weeks later, your rubber feels exactly the same. Sure, you could reglue if you want to, but it would make absolutely no difference at all. The downside, which may not apply to everyone, is that glue will no longer give your shots an edge; with speed glue, the more you used, the more cork your rubber would have, and the faster and stronger your shots would be, but with water glue, you could pile it on if you really wanted to, but it wouldn't make a difference. Before, people could rely on their glue and their rubber to make good shots, but now, you actually need to make good shots, and this means making full strokes-not cheating on them.

Everyone is or will start trying to get a feel for the equipment of the future (with new glue inevitably comes new rubber and other accessories), including myself. This will be an on-going process until companies come out with working products, and everyone should get started on trying things out sooner rather than later.


Tsoi Dug said...

Yay, will be healthier for the kids!

Alex said...

Although I agree with your comments, I don't think it's fair to compare a speed glue with a glue that is only designed to attach a rubber to the blade.

There have been VOC-free boosters and tuners developed already, which offer very similar performace to speed glue, and you need water based glue to attach the rubbers to your blade. These are much safer too, so they pose little heath risk.