Table Tennis (Ping Pong) Equipment
Ping Pong Ball
40 mm, 44 mm, and 54 mm celluloid Table Tennis balls
The international rules specify that the game is played with a light 2.7 gram, 40 mm (formerly 38 mm) diameter ball. Generally, it is the most-used ball. The rules say that the ball shall bounce up 23cm when dropped from a height of 30cm thereby having a coefficient of restitution of 0.88. The 40 mm ball was introduced after the 2000 Olympic Games. However, this created some controversy as the Chinese National Team argued that this was merely to give non-Chinese players a better chance of winning. A 40 mm table tennis ball is slower and spins less than a 38 mm one. The ball is made of a high-bouncing gas-filled celluloid ball, colored white or orange, with a matte finish. The choice of ball color is made according to the table color and its surroundings. For example, a white ball is easier to see on a green or blue table than it is on a grey table. A star on the ball indicates the quality of the ball. 3 stars indicates that it is of the highest quality.
Ping Pong Table
Diagram of a table tennis table showing the official dimensions
The table is 2.74 m (9 ft) long, 1.525 m (5 ft) wide, and 76 cm (30 inch) high with a Masonite (a type of hardboard) or similarly manufactured timber, layered with a smooth, low-friction coating. The table or playing surface is divided into two halves by a 15.25 cm (6 inch) high net.
Ping Pong Racket
Players are equipped with a wooden blade covered with rubber on one or two sides depending on the grip of the player. This is called either a paddle, racket or bat depending on where in the world the game is being played. In the USA the term “paddle” is common, in Europe the term is “bat,” and the official ITTF term is “racket.” This section will use the ITTF term.
Table tennis regulations allow different surfaces on each side of the racket. The different types of surfaces provide various levels of spin or speed, or in some cases, nullify spin. For example, a player may have a rubber that provides much spin on one side of his racket, and no spin on the other side of the racket. By flipping the racket in play, different types of returns are possible. To help a player distinguish between different types of rubber used by his opposing player, international rules specify that one side must be red while the other side must be black. The player has the right to inspect his opponent’s racket before a match to see the type of rubber used and what color it is. Despite high speed play and rapid exchanges, a player can see clearly what side of the racket was used to hit the ball.
Recent years have seen an advancement in technology of table tennis blades. Materials of different properties may be combined with the wood in the blade to enhance its playing performance. Many blades today feature one or more carbon layers within them to enhance their ‘sweet spot’, and to give the player a greater margin of error when playing powerful shots. Materials incorporated into table tennis blades today include titanium, acrylate, aramids, fiberglass, and aluminium.
The rubber coating may be of pimpled rubber, with the pimples outward, or it may be a rubber that is composed of two materials, a sponge layer, covered by a pimpled rubber, with the pimples pointed inwards or outwards. Some rackets are not covered with rubber at all, because a “naked” racket is believed to be more resistant to a spin. However, it is illegal to use these types of racket in competition as they are not approved by the ITTF. Some types of rubbers are also not approved. Approved rubbers have the ITTF emblem on the base of the rubber.
Players have many choices and variations in rubber sheets on their racket. Although a racket may be purchased with rubber by the manufacturer, most serious tournament players will create a customized racket. A player selects a blank blade (i.e. a racket without rubber), based on his playing style. The type of wood and synthetic layers used to make up the blade will provide a slower or faster blade. The player can choose from different types of rubber sheets which will provide a certain level of spin, speed and specific playing characteristics.
Normally, a sheet of rubber is glued to a blade using rubber cement and not removed until the rubber wears out or becomes damaged. In the 1980s, a new technique was developed where the player would use a special glue called speed glue to apply the rubber every time he played. The glue would help provide more spin and speed by providing a “catapult” effect. This technique is known as “regluing” and has become a standard technique for top players.
The surface of a racket will develop a smooth glossy patina with use. The rubber surface needs to be regularly cleaned to ensure it retains a high friction surface to impart spin to the ball. Players use a commercial cleaner, or just water and detergent as cleaning agents.
Racket construction and new rubber technology (skilled elite players typically select and attach the rubber to their own rackets and glue them before every match) contribute significantly to the amount of deviation from the expected ball flight path. The fairly recent development of speed glue speeds up the departure of the ball from the rubber considerably, though at the cost of some ball control on touch shots where little or no spin is put on the ball.
Best Table Tennis Table Reviews 2015—–http://www.besttennistable.com/