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Table Tennis: Sometimes It Takes Two Balls

Beginning in July of 2014, the ITTF has a new regulation in place regarding table tennis balls.

Only ITTF events must use non-celluloid plastic balls, ordinarily called Poly-Balls or P-Balls. The celluloid balls are still allowed for the sport of table tennis and the ITTF continues to approve their usage.
The only tournaments affected by the ITTF resolution on Poly-Balls are:

  • World Championship
  • ITTF World Tour
  • ITTF Junior Circuit
  • Other ITTF events.

All others championships or events do not require the use of P-Balls. Here is the main reason why the balls are changing:

All celluloid balls are highly flammable and need to be imported / transported inside a special fire proof container. It was expensive and complicated for manufacturers to deal with the requirement of importing these balls. The new Poly-balls are made with plastic which reduce the potential fire hazard and thus will be much easier and less costly to transport.

Concerning the size of the ball, the new ones are called “40+” because there is a 2mm tolerance besides the 40mm regulation. This clearly impacts the bounce as all of the balls will have a different size.

Indeed, there is a debate! Table tennis players do not agree on these balls. Some of them think that the spin and speed are very comparable to Celluloid balls and others say that the new Poly-Balls are slower and harder to play offensively. Most of them agree that the new balls make an unusual and strange sound. This newly approved material is safer for the environment, however does the new balls do not yet match the cost, quality, consistency, or durability of celluloid balls.

Besides, these balls are expensive for the moment (about $1.50 per ball) and are not as durable as the Celluloid.

Ball manufacturers continue to manufacture celluloid balls.   We hope that the cost, quality, and durability of poly balls will improve in the near future.

5 Table Tennis Tips to Advance Your Game

Ping Pong Tips

So you’ve mastered the basics of ping pong and are ready to move up to the advanced level. Before you start signing up for the big regional and national tournaments, you should master some of the most common advanced table tennis techniques. With these table tennis tips, you will easily and quickly improve your game and advance through the roster of players in your next competition.

1. Focus on Your Serve

Most games are determined within the first two movements: the serve and the serve return. In order to excel at tablet tennis, you have to have a strong serve every time and know how to respond to one in turn. Watch videos of table tennis serving tips to get an idea for the most common serves. Then, set yourself up with a bucket of balls and start serving against a wall.

2. Pay Attention to the Basics

Even if you can execute some of the more advanced table tennis techniques like looping and spinning, you should still pay attention to the basics. Often, intermediate players will get caught up in the fancy stuff but will neglect the basics. If you let your form slip on forehand serves or lose your grip on backhand returns, your more advanced moves will likewise suffer. Slow down and pay attention the basics to make sure you have a strong foundation before anything else.

3. Master Your Grip

One of the best table tennis tips is to get a grip. While a lot of players think a strong or firm grip in alternating positions will work best for different moves, a more neutral grip can serve you better in nearly every move you make. You won’t need to adjust quite so much and the moves will feel more natural if you grip correctly.

4. Read Your Opponent

You should also learn how to read any opponent you come up against. Everyone will have his or her own unique techniques and ways of responding to what you throw at them. By learning early on to respond to different kinds of people instead of practicing with the same people over and over again, you will better prepare yourself for competitions down the road.

5. Bring in Outside Help

When all else fails, bring in a professional. Coaches are available in nearly every community, and an outside perspective can help you find things you’re missing in your own game. Coaches aren’t terribly expensive, and the benefit they can bring to your game will be more than worth the price. Ask your local rec center for recommended coaches and see if there are any classes you can take to improve your skills.

Ping-Pong Aerobics – A Great Workout that Doesn’t Feel Like a Workout

Ping pong aerobics

Though some people would dismiss ping pong as nothing more than a social past time with little actual athleticism required, those who actually play the sport know better. Table tennis requires endurance, stamina, strength, balance, and fancy footwork. Whether you are playing just for fun or competing at a high level of play, ping pong is a great way to get a great workout that doesn’t feel like a workout.

Objective Measures

So, objectively, is ping pong good exercise? Consider the evidence. In just an hour of playing recreationally, a 150 pound person can burn 272 calories. That’s equivalent to half an hour of endurance swimming or running a 5k in 30 minutes. If you step up your aerobic table tennis exertion, you could burn even more calories. In addition, ping pong helps you develop and refine your dexterity, reaction times, balance, and even strength. Some nursing homes will prescribe ping pong exercise to help elderly patients keep up their overall physical reactions, lower cholesterol, and even reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It even helps stave off some of the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by keeping the brain engaged. Of course, ping pong exercise is good for the young and healthy as well. Regular aerobic table tennis exercise can lower the risk of obesity and weight-related diseases such as diabetes.

Further Training

If you’re already in good shape, further training and exercise attuned to your table tennis game can actually improve your abilities at the table. Professional players regularly jump rope and run to increase their stamina, do push-ups and lift weights for better strength, and use rapid training drills to improve their footwork and returns. If you want to use ping pong as a way to get more fit, grab a partner and develop some skill drills. Use multiple balls to improve your reaction times as well as burn more calories in a shorter period of time. Finally, as with any form of exercise, don’t forget to warm up, stretch, and cool down with every game. Table tennis can be an exciting game, and if you fail to exercise properly, you may hyper extend your joints or overwork your arm muscles. Take the time to treat your game like a real sport, and then enjoy all the great benefits of ping pong exercise.

Mixed Doubles – The Ping-Pong Nightclub Trend



No longer confined to personal rec rooms and community centers, ping pong has made it into the posh world of urban nightlife. With Ping pong clubs and bars popping up in hot downtown areas from New York to LA, table tennis is fast becoming a hot new way to enjoy social sportsmanship. With ping pong bars started up by celebrities and some pool halls swapping out their billiard tables for ping pong tables, you’re sure to brush up on your table tennis mixed doubles at a hot new night spot near you.


The most prominent name in American ping pong clubs is Spin. With locations in New York, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles, players from coast to coast can enjoy competitive games while they drink premium cocktails and snack on gourmet food offerings. Co-founded by Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, these clubs were among the first to popularize trendy table tennis as an option for nightlife. Though critics were initially skeptical as to the potential success of a club devoted to a family friendly sport, Spin has been immensely successful, expanding from its first location in New York to more and more cities. They even have locations in Toronto and Dubai and are regularly featured at special events including the Sundance and Cannes film festivals.

International Clubs

With clubs like SLAM and Chalk in South Florida, Comet Ping Pong in D.C., and Ace Eat Serve in Denver, there are plenty of options for American fans of table tennis. Still, ping pong bars have even more appeal on the international stage. For European fans, there’s Dr. Pong in Berlin, Chmury in Warsaw, and Ping, Bounce, and The Book Club all in London. Of course the best place to find international ping pong clubs is in Asia. The Tasmania Ballroom in Hong Kong, the Yongxing Bowling House in Chengde, and the J.J. Club in Kyoto all offer table tennis fans the chance to socialize, enjoy the nightlife, and brush up on their backspin.

Getting Ping Pong Clubs Started Near You

If you aren’t lucky enough to have existing ping pong bars in your area, it’s easy to get them started near you. Any bar that has billiard tables can easily accommodate ping pong tables. Ask the owners if they would consider switching over to ping pong tables. Let them know the popularity of the sport and consider taking on some of the promotional duties if they’ll dedicate a night or two to table tennis. Then you just have to local ping pong groups know about this new fun nightlife event. In no time you and your doubles partner can enjoy your favorite game with your favorite people in your brand new ping pong bar.


Maximizing Your High-Tension Rubber Sheet Table Tennis Tricks



Tension rubbers for table tennis rackets are rubbers where the topsheet is stretched before being glued to the sponge during manufacturing. This essentially means that the rubbers have tension built into the sponge and top-sheet. This helps reduce the amount of energy lost at the point of impact to produce extreme spin. In essence, high-tension rubbers help turn the speed of your opponent’s shot into additional power for your returning shot for fast speed.

High-tension rubber sheets will wear and need to be replaced as they become used, but it can often be a difficult and costly task. That’s why it’s important to learn table tennis tips that can help maximize the life of your high-tension rubber.

The way the table tennis game is played today, many competitive and touring players and professionals maximizing the use of their high-tension rubber sheets by exploding through the hitting zone with ever increasing racquet speed for a catapult like effect. With perfect ball contact, these athletes are able to generate incredible topspins and are in essence expanding the size of the opposite side of the table tennis table for themselves. In a sport where every millimeter counts, this can become a game changing advantage.

For many beginner and intermediate players however, the emphasis on hitting with power on every shot is often the primary tactic used in order to increase ball speed and spin. However, various table tennis tricks suggest the use of soft hands, reduced grip tension, and increased racket speed in order to achieve optimal ball contact that wears the rubbers while still producing incredible speed and spin.

They key is not hitting the ball but brushing it. For example, if trying to produce topspin, try closing the racket angle contacting the top of the ball in an upward motion. This allows you to still make excellent contact with the ball for speed and topspin while gaining the most out of your high-tension rubber sheet.

Working with an instructor and regular training with this table tennis style can add weeks of life to your rubber. Furthermore, it can greatly improve your table tennis game by improving and accelerating ball contact through the hitting zone.


Looking Forward to the 2013 US Open

Las VegasNext week, from July 2-6, is the annual US Open tournament, with prizes awarded for Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles in a range of age and ability divisions. Last year’s Singles winners – Eugene Zhen Wang and Liu Juan– set a truly high standard for their challengers, and we’re all excited to see new heights of athleticism and technique on display this week.

The US Open has been a focus for change and development in the sport since its inception. This year will feature hard bat competition, a trend which recalls the early days of the sport and may forecast its future. It was also a lightning rod for calls for increased professionalism in table tennis competition as early as 1976, when the sport was well underway to its current refinement.

Whether it’s evolving technique, scientific refinement, or sheer athleticism, there is always something exciting on display for table tennis fans at the US Open. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Why Red Shirts Win

Here are two interesting scientific items which may help to improve your rankings: red shirts and bright lights measurably increase performance:

Ever noticed how the Chinese team’s primary playing shirt colour is red? Well, perhaps they have accidentally (or purposefully) chosen a colour that actually makes them more likely to win.

British anthropologists Russell Hill and Robert Barton of the University of Durham in England studied the outcomes of one-on-one combat sports such as boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman-wresting, and freestyle-wrestling matches at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

In those sports, Olympic staff randomly assign either red or blue clothing to competitors. When otherwise equally matched by their opponent, athletes wearing red were more likely to win.

On the subject of lighting, the author cites a German study of the influence of light levels on athletic task performance. Humans exposed to higher light levels – such as the regulation 1,000 lux at the US Open – perform noticeably better on athletic and endurance tasks.

Tim Boggan on the 1976 US Open

Love him or hate him, Tim Boggan’s life and career has mirrored the development of Table Tennis as a professional sport – even extending to when we played Ping Pong, instead. Here, he recounts the contentious 1976 US Open, which was picketed by several players:

At the 1976 U.S. Open, I was at the forefront of a group of players who picketed the Philadelphia venue because we all felt the prize money was grossly inadequate. Back then, and for some time after, I was quite outspoken about what I felt or thought. I remember one player passing me as I was on the picket line who hissed, “You’re disgusting.” But our boycott of this tournament was heard. Thanks to Neil Smyth and Bill Hodge the first U.S. Closed was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, with 10 times the prize money that had been offered at the Open.

While Boggan’s opinions and play were often controversial, his work chronicling the history of the sport is invaluable.

Return of the Hard Bat?

Professional table tennis is played with sponge paddles, which allow increased control at the cost of power and accessibility. This year’s US Open features a hard bat division, calling back to the days of power strokes and sandpaper paddles. Is this part of a wider movement within the sport?

“For once in my life, I looked backward rather than forward in history, and I found out that current table tennis had no television appeal,” Hearn said. “The rallies are too short. It lacks athleticism. It’s just not big enough.”

Hearn filled Alexandra Palace with booming rock music for the competition, and he made sure the beer stands were always pouring. He wooed top players with a $100,000 prize purse—10 times greater than Table Tennis’s U.S. Open pays its winner. The two-day tournament attracted several thousand spectators and a million television viewers on Sky Sports.

“Guys would make these amazing shots from 15 feet past the table and just smash it into the corner,” Hearn said. “The rallies went on and on. The crowd would go crazy.”

While we applaud the technical wizardry of sponge play, with its layers of spin and deception, we would love to see a return to the packed halls and excitement of the sport’s early days. Is encouraging hard bat play a key part of that revival?

Will Liu Juan Defend Her Title?

While entries for the 2013 US Open are still being processed, it looks like Coach Liu Juan of the New York Table Tennis Club is not (at the time of writing) on the list of confirmed entries for this year’s Women’s Singles Championship.

Last year came down to an incredible match between her and HuiJing Wang, showcasing Liu Juan’s trademark blend of power and spin control:


Who’s your pick for Women’s Singles champion this year?