I have been playing table tennis for years now and I know one thing for sure, athlete or not, everybody wants to be the best in what they do. In table tennis, being “The Best” starts from practicing and becoming better. But then why do some player still fail? Do they practice wrong? Or do they practice with the wrong equipment? The answer is the latter.
I am sure you have listened someone says things like “equipment doesn’t matter” but that’s not entirely true. Equipment matters to a great extent. I don’t mean to discourage you by this but it's a reality that you can’t turn your back to and it's wise to not compromise your performance just on ball’s quality.
Since table tennis is mostly about judgement and calculation and then making it a habit to become better and faster, poor quality balls can affect those calculations and measurements and bring you down in competitive tournaments. They quickly lose their bounce break and can affect your muscle memory. So here are some valuable tips on choosing the perfect table tennis ball.
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First, you need to know the latest rules regarding table tennis balls.
Now the diameter is changed from 38mm to 40mm by ITTF to slow down gameplay a little because balls with bigger diameter experience more air resistance and hence slow down in air. So will check the label on your box for 40mm. However, it is important for you to keep in mind that modern plastic balls (poly balls) have a label “40+” so the ball is 40mm and is made of plastic. Simple “40” would mean that it's made of celluloid.
International standard balls weigh exactly 2.7 grams, and a slight variation in this number can negatively affect your judgement. You can comprise the build quality to some extent but not on weight. A slight increase in weight can speed up the shot and an insignificant amount of force will case ball to rebound too far. So be sure to check for the weight of the ball.
Now table tennis comes in two types of materials, celluloid and plastic. Before 2011, only celluloid was used, but they considered the raw material hazardous to health, so ITTF allowed use of similar plastic balls. Celluloid balls are still legal and can still be used, so it's up to you to decide which ball you want to play with but since ITTF discourage the use of celluloid balls, it's better to practice and improve with plastic balls because who knows when the celluloid balls will completely be banned and that can affect your performance.
There have been several changes made to color of table tennis balls over the time but the current color is either white or orange and but the color shouldn’t be too reflective. The surface should be dull for a ball to be seen better in strong and intense light during tournaments.
Now even after knowing these rules, you might still face problems while buying the right ball because some balls are softer than the others and we see a use of original materials and all have varied hardness.
Now this has nothing to do with international rules. It's merely because of quality difference, and that means you must also be familiar with the quality standards. Now table tennis balls are rated with stars from 1 star being the lowest to 3 stars being the best quality. The rating Is labeled on the box but we need to know about the rating of balls so we can decide the best ball for ourselves.
1-star balls are usually suitable for schools and youth table tennis clubs. They are an excellent start for beginners because they have mostly have 40mm diameter and weigh 2.7 grams but their setback is that they are soft and can easily break when hit hard
Star balls are good for players looking to improve their game and taking it to next level. They can use these balls in day to day or multi-ball practice. They aren’t the tournament standard balls because they cannot meet standards of a 3-star ball, but they still are far better than 1 star or other training balls
Now come the best quality balls which are allowed by International Table Tennis Federation and meet all the standards. If you are semi- professional of professional table tennis player, this is what you need to get your hands on. This is the best ball to be used in all the good table tennis clubs and tournaments because it has even bounce and better quality, which makes it more durable and can be used for a long time without compromising bounce or rebound. You will also experience a more reliable spin with a 3 star ball.
Now you need to look for the perfect ball for yourself. You need to think about your budget, your game level, and your use. If you are an amateur, then you can begin with cheap 1 star balls because spending too much money on top quality balls for just practice is a mistake.
You will break a lot of balls in the beginning and 3-star balls get too costly. Just ensure that the ball meets a legal standard of 40mm diameter and 2.7 grams and you are good to start but if you are a professional player than you shouldn’t compromise quality because that can hold you back from being the best.
Master the tournament standard 3-star ball. I wish this article will help you find your perfect ball and good luck with your practice.
Is there a difference in ping-pong balls?
Ping pong balls come in various types in quality.
What's the difference between 1 star and 3 star ping-pong balls?
A ball that is rated three stars is of high caliber. Then again, a ball that is 1 star rated then implies that is of inferior quality. An impressive deal of tennis table players have favored for the ping-pong balls that are 3 stars rated to play substantial rounds of table tennis.
Ping-pong balls that are 1/2 stars rated; typically they are used for practice sessions. Other balls that are not rated at all can still be utilized to practice. Balls that are rated 1 star are excessively delicate and never firm as well. They are convenient for levels of children or players that are a beginner.
Do 5 star ping-pong balls exist?
There are a few manufacturers emerge with 4-star and 5-star balls, however they are not in fact rated over 3-star. Since as per ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation), 3-star is the highest and most reliable quality.
If you require more information, please check these references
A notational analysis of shot characteristics in top-level table tennis players , article, "www.tandfonline.com", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020
Does an Eye-Hand Coordination Test Have Added Value as Part of Talent Identification in Table Tennis? A Validity and Reproducibility Study , article, "journals.plos.org", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020
Timing an attacking forehand drive in table tennis. , article, "psycnet.apa.org", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020
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