How to Choose And Buy A Good Ping Pong Ball – Tips from a Pro

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October 5, 2023



As an ardent fan of table tennis, you’ve probably heard about the grand victory of Xu Xin, the Cloud Walker, in the ITTF Grand Finals 2019. While his speed and agility were a sight to behold, there was another silent partner in his victory – the ping pong ball he chose. Yes, you heard that right. Picking the right ping pong ball is not a random decision; it’s a science. As a seasoned table tennis coach, I’m here to guide you on that journey.

The Journey of Ping Pong Balls

Every sport has its tales, and for us, in the realm of table tennis, it’s the saga of the ping pong ball.

From Celluloid to Plastic: Why the Transition?

Celluloid balls were all the rage. But then came the concerns – their flammability and environmental footprint. The 2012 Olympics saw the wave of change with plastic balls taking the center stage. With champions like Ma Long embracing the change, it was evident that plastic was here to stay.

Material Description Advantages Challenges Sound
Celluloid Flammable, shiny, used for a century Traditional feel, unique sound Flammability, less durability Crisp “click”
ABS Plastic Newer, safer, more consistent Environmentally friendly, durable Different feel Slight “thud”

To put things in perspective, transitioning from celluloid to ABS wasn’t just a whim. It was a step forward for the sport. Just as Ma Long, one of the best table tennis players, adjusted to the new ball material, so can you. Embrace the change and keep the rallies going!

Basic Understanding of Table Tennis Balls vs. Ping Pong Balls

For the uninitiated, here’s a nugget of wisdom.

‘Table tennis’ balls are the pros’ choice, designed to ITTF standards.

‘Ping pong’ balls, on the other hand, are for those backyard battles.

It’s more than just semantics; it’s about the spirit of the game!

H2: Different Types of Ping Pong Balls | 乒乓球的不同类型

Ping pong balls might look similar, but there’s an entire science behind them. Ready to explore?

H3: Seamed vs. Seamless: Distinctions, Pros, and Cons | 无缝和有缝:区别,优缺点

In the world of table tennis, the details matter. One of the pivotal decisions a player must make revolves around ball type: seamed or seamless. But what are these, and what nuances do they bring to the game?


  • Seamed Ping Pong Balls:

Traditionally, these are the balls we see most frequently. Crafted by adhering two halves, these balls have a noticeable seam or joint. Due to the concentration of material at the seam, their center of gravity can shift slightly. This often results in a quicker descent in its arc and a faster decrease in its spin.

  • Seamless Ping Pong Balls:

Emerging as a recent invention, seamless balls differ significantly from their seamed counterparts. These balls are not formed by joining two halves but are crafted through a novel technique involving centrifugal spinning and cooling. The outcome is a ball devoid of any seam. This gives it a uniform quality, ensuring a consistent arc and spin due to its stable center of gravity.

  • Differences and Gameplay Impact:

For players accustomed to seamed balls, transitioning to a seamless one can be challenging. The ball can seem more unpredictable or “floaty,” making it hard to pinpoint the exact striking point. This difference is most noticeable in topspin and spinning shots. The legendary Zhang Jike mentioned adjusting his serve technique slightly when shifting between the two, emphasizing the importance of understanding these subtleties.

  • Usage in Competitions:

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) permits the use of both seamed and seamless balls in competitions, provided they meet the 40+ standard. However, considering players’ adaptability, patent issues with seamless balls, and general popularity, seamed balls remain the dominant choice in both professional and amateur matches.

In essence, while both types of balls have their merits, it’s crucial to choose one that aligns with your playstyle and comfort. The slight nuances between them can, and often do, dictate the rhythm and outcome of the game.

H3: Appropriate Situations for Each Type | 每种类型的适用情况

  • Seamed Balls: Ideal for competitive environments and official matches. If you remember, Timo Boll, one of the table tennis legends, often played with seamed balls, mastering their trajectory like no other!
  • Seamless Balls: Perfect for recreational games, practice sessions, or places where you expect the balls to undergo more wear and tear. Imagine a scenario where you and your buddies play on weekends; seamless is the way to go!

H2: The Color Factor | 颜色因素

You might think the color of a ping pong ball is just a matter of preference. But let’s dig a little deeper and understand the history and its impact.

H3: Origins of White and Orange Balls | 白球和橙球的起源

  • White Balls: Originally introduced when ping pong began as a parlor game. The white color was a default choice and worked well against the dark, wooden tables of the era.
  • Orange Balls: Introduced in the 1980s primarily for television broadcasts. The orange hue contrasted better against the green tables, making it easier for viewers to track the ball.

Did you know? The choice of ball color was never really about the players, but about the spectators! Television played a major role in this color shift.

H3: Color Influence on Performance: Myth vs. Reality | 颜色对性能的影响:神话与现实

  • Myth: The color of the ball affects its spin and speed.
  • Reality: While it’s true that players might perceive the ball differently based on its color, the actual performance remains unaffected. The color difference is mainly for visibility.

Here’s a fun fact:  while in training, the color never mattered. It was all about the spin, speed, and strategy.

H2: Official ITTF Standards for Ping Pong Balls | 国际乒联的乒乓球官方标准

Navigating the complex waters of official standards might seem daunting, but you, as a dedicated coach, know that every detail counts. It’s like understanding the very nuances of a spin or the perfect arc of a serve.

H3: Understanding the 40+ Standard vs. 40 Standard

Let’s break it down point by point:

  1. Diameter:
  • 40: Ranges between 39.50 to 40.50 mm
  • 40+: Lies between 40.00 to 40.60 mm
  1. Material:
  • 40: Made of nitrocellulose, also known as “Celluloid.”
  • 40+: Crafted from eco-friendly polymers, termed as the “New Plastic Ball.”
  1. Weight:
  • 40: Roughly 2.7g
  • 40+: Between 2.7g to 2.85g
  1. Spin & Speed:
  • 40+: Generates more spin than the 40mm ball, making speed and control more unpredictable. This also means that with the 40+ ball, more intricate and challenging spin techniques can be accomplished.
  1. Bounce Height:
  • 40+: It bounces lower than the 40mm ball, demanding players to rely more on their reflexes and skills.
  1. Durability:
  • 40+: Far more durable due to its plastic composition, tolerating repeated impacts better than the 40mm ball.

In essence: Even though both types of balls serve the same purpose in table tennis, they differ significantly in terms of material, diameter, weight, spin & speed, bounce height, and endurance. For someone like Timo Boll, a table tennis maestro, adapting to these differences is what keeps the game challenging and engaging!

H3: Implications and Acceptance of the 40+ Standard in International Play | 在国际比赛中的标准的意义和接受度

  • Safety & Environment: The transition to the 40+ standard underlined the ITTF’s commitment to safety, given the flammability of celluloid, and environmental responsibility.
  • Game Dynamics: The 40+ ball, due to its characteristics, subtly altered gameplay strategies. It became a medium for players to showcase a blend of power, spin, and precision.
  • Embracing Change: The initial apprehension was real, but as the famous saying goes, “Change is the only constant.” Legends like Ma Long embraced the 40+ standard, considering it a fresh challenge in their illustrious careers.

Remember, a game evolves not just through the prowess of its players but also through the equipment that shapes it!

H2: Ping Pong Ball Star Rating System | 乒乓球的评级系统

In the fascinating universe of table tennis, the humble ping pong ball holds prominence. But did you ever notice those stars on them? Let’s dive deep into the world of ping pong ball ratings.

H3: Understanding Star Ratings: From One-Star to Three-Star Balls | 星级评级系统的解释

Table: Star Ratings and Their Specifications


The above table outlines the different specifications for each star rating.

  • One-Star Balls: Perfect for amateur competitions or fun rallies at ping pong rooms and schools. Given their weight and sphericity error, they provide a decent balance for casual games and beginner’s practice.
  • Two-Star Balls: Stepping up, these balls are more precise. With less hardness value and a controlled weight, they’re utilized for major competitions and by national teams for rigorous training.
  • Three-Star Balls: The elites of the bunch! These are the cream of the crop, used for ITTF professional matches. With the most stringent standards for weight, sphericity, and hardness, it’s the choice of champions.

H3: Implications of Each Rating and Target Audience | 每个评级的含义以及目标受众

Each star rating caters to a unique level of gameplay:

  • One-Star Balls: If you’re playing for fun, fitness, or just starting your table tennis journey in school or at local clubs, these balls are your best bet. They provide good durability for everyday play and are affordable.
  • Two-Star Balls: Intermediate to advanced players, especially those representing their clubs or regions, will find the quality of two-star balls more to their liking. They offer better consistency, crucial for competitive play.
  • Three-Star Balls: For those competing at the highest levels, or those aiming for perfection in every shot, these balls are indispensable. Crafted for professionals, they meet the rigorous standards of international play and are utilized in top-tier tournaments.

In essence, understanding these ratings will help players choose the right ball, matching their skills and the demands of the game. Whether you’re a budding enthusiast or an established champ, there’s a ball out there with your name (or star) on it!

H2: Top Brands in the Market | 市场上的顶级品牌

H3:Leading Brands to Consider and Their Unique Features | 考虑的领先品牌及其独特特点

Table: Features of Leading Ping Pong Ball Brands


H3:How Brands Differ in Feel and Performance | 品牌在手感和性能上的区别

Differences among brands go beyond just their country of origin or reputation. It’s often in the feel of the ball on the paddle, the sound it makes upon impact, and the nuances in spin and speed it can generate. Some balls might feel heavier, offering more control, while others might prioritize speed and agility.

Nittaku, for instance, might be preferred by those who enjoy a heavier feel and precision in their play. At the same time, Butterfly could be the choice for those who prioritize spin dynamics. Stiga, with its tackiness, might appeal to those looking to master control.

It’s essential to understand that these differences aren’t about one brand being universally better than the other. It’s about finding the right fit for an individual’s playing style, the environment they play in, and what they prioritize in their game, be it speed, spin, control, or a balance of all.

In wrapping up, always remember that the ball is just one part of the equation. The synergy between the ball, racket, and the player’s technique will ultimately dictate the game’s outcome. So, it’s always recommended to test various brands and find the one that elevates your game to the next level.

Selecting and Maintaining Your Ping Pong Ball

Choosing the right table tennis ball will allow you to better utilize your skills. Taking good care of your table tennis ball will prolong the life of your game and make it more enjoyable to play.

H3: Guidelines for Picking the Right Ball | 选择合适乒乓球的指南

  • Purpose of Play: Whether you’re playing recreationally or professionally will influence your choice. Casual players might be content with one-star balls, while professionals should seek three-star balls for accuracy and precision.
  • Brand Reputation: Established brands like Nittaku, Butterfly, and DHS have a reputation for quality. Researching and reading reviews can offer insights.
  • Playing Environment: For outdoor play, consider balls that are more durable and resistant to environmental conditions.
  • Feedback from Peers: Other players, especially those in clubs, can be a good source of information on the best balls.

H3: Checking Ball Quality and Maintenance Tips | 如何检查乒乓球的质量及维护建议

    • Visual Inspection: A quality ball should be uniformly colored without any visible seams.
  • Bounce Test: Drop the ball from a height of 30cm; it should bounce up to 23cm.
  • Squeeze Test: A quality ball will regain its shape quickly when pressed lightly.
  • Storage: Store balls in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight to maintain their shape and functionality.
  • Cleaning: Use a mild soap solution and soft cloth to wipe off dirt.

H2: Conclusion | 结论

Navigating the intricate world of ping pong balls may seem overwhelming, but making an informed choice is paramount. The quality of the ball not only affects your gameplay but also represents your commitment to the sport. Whether you’re just starting out or aiming for the championships, understanding the intricacies of brands, quality, and ratings will always place you a cut above the rest. Remember, a conscious decision in the small aspects can profoundly impact the broader game. Let your choices reflect your passion, dedication, and aspirations in the world of table tennis. Always choose wisely, and let every game be your best game.


John Law


Hey there, folks! I’m John, the fearless captain steering Aloy’s web operations. For the past 6 years, I’ve been navigating the wild and wacky world of beauty machines, mastering the art of mechanical engineering, function, and design along the way. With a sprinkle of wit and a dash of charm, I’m here to make Aloy’s articles a delightful rollercoaster ride through the realm of beauty machines. Buckle up and join me on this hilarious adventure, where we’ll uncover the quirks, tricks, and oh-so-fascinating secrets of these marvelous contraptions. Get ready to laugh, learn, and embrace the beauty of it all!

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