Table Tennis Accessories

Reviews of all the other things we need to play table tennis but which are hand to find reviews of - shoes, balls, bags, glue, clothes

Nov 2014: ITTF approved plastic balls tried and tested - Joola Super-P 40+ plastic ball compared to Joola Super 40 celluloid ball

In July 2014 the ITTF sanctioned the use of plastic table tennis balls for ITTF competitions signalling the death knoll of celluloid balls. However, to meet their deadline the ITTF were forced to introduce temporary amendments to ITTF Technical T3 which documents the tests any ball has to pass if it's to be ITTF approved. At the time, because of the lack of information about how the balls played we decided to carry out our own independent tests. The results are below.

The first 2 videos set the scene and raise a number of questions about how you identify who makes which ball and whether aball is the final finished product or still under development.

The next 6 videos conduct various tests based on those undertaken in Technical Leaflet T3 to determine if the quality of the plastic balls being sold to us is up to standard (in our case Joola Super-P 40+ - and bear in mind there are only 5 manufacturers of balls who then sell the those to other companies like Joola and Butterfly who brand them as their own even though they could be the same source ball so be wary of marketing hype).

The last 3 videos are the really interesting ones for people who just want to buy a ball and who aren't bothered about the "testing" stuff. They're our own league members experiences of using the Joola Super-P 40+ ball in a variety of situations.

Torsten Kueneth, the ITTF Equipment Committee member in charge of ball approval was consulted throughout the making of this video series and said:

 "... this is great work you have done; and although I will not be able to look at all the videos shortly, I am sure that they all offer fair comments"

Thanks go to all those involved in the making of this video series and in raising the profile of our league around the world.

Pt.1 Random Sample Testing: Plastic Ball vs Celluloid Ball – Introduction

How similar, or identical does the plastic table tennis ball play compared to the celluloid ball?
- About us and our motives
- Selecting a random sample
- What we tested for
- How we tested
- Format of our videos

Pt.2 Plastic Ball Tested: ITTF Techical Leaflet T3, Quality, Packaging and Appearance

1. ITTF Technical Leaflet T3 and what the ITTF test balls for
2. Temporary amendments to T3
3. Will any ball approved under the temporary specifications cease to be approved come 1st January 2016
4. How do you know if a ball has been tested under the original or temporary T3 specifications
5. How to tell the date a branded ball was approved by the ITTF
6. How to tell the date a ball was manufactured
7. How do you know when a ball has been improved
8. Possible quality control issues
9. Where are ITTF approved balls made
10. Who makes ITTF approved balls
11. How to identify an ITTF approved plastic ball
12. Differences in packaging
13. Our conclusions

Pt.3 Plastic Ball Tested: Seam / Surface of the Ball / Hardness

1. Seam
- What the ITTF test for
- Our observations
2. Surface of the ball
- What the ITTF test for
- Our observations
- Spin Test
3. Hardness / Sound
- What the ITTF test for
- How our tests were done
- Our results
4. Conclusions

Pt.4 Plastic Ball Tested: Luminance and Colour

1. What the ITTF test for

2. How our tests were done
3. Our results
- luminance / brightness
- whiteness
- the importance of the direction of light
- the importance of cameras
4. Conclusions

Pt.5 Plastic Ball Tested: Bounce and Conformity

1. What the ITTF test for

2. How our tests were done
3. Our results
- consistency
- comparative bounce heights
4. Conclusions
- the need to adapt

Pt.6 Plastic Ball Tested: Veer (Roundness)

1. What the ITTF test for

2. How our tests were done
3. Our results
4. Conclusions

Pt.7 Plastic Ball Tested: Size and Roundness

1. What the ITTF test for

- size conformity and regularity
- sphericity conformity and regularity
2. How our tests were done
3. Our results
- size conformity and regularity
- sphericity conformity and regularity
4. Conclusions

Pt.8 Plastic Ball Tested: Weight Conformity and Regularity

1. What the ITTF test for

- weight conformity
- weight regularity
2. How our tests were done
3. Our results
- weight conformity
- weight regularity
4. Conclusions

Part 9: Player opinions after match play

1.How our tests were done
2. Our results
- Did the players notice a difference between the Joola plastic and celluloid balls
- Will you change your equipment because of the plastic ball
- Which ball did you prefer
- Which style do you think it suits
- Does it surprise you and are you happy with it
3. Conclusions

Part 10: The Placebo Effect

1. How our tests were done
2. Would the players notice I’d switched balls on them
3. Impressions of Dr Evil OX and Tibhar 1QXD
4. How would the players react when I told them I’d switched the balls are the warm up
5. Would the players change their equipment now they’d played with the plastic ball
6. Conclusions

Pt.11 Plastic Ball Tested: How may it affect you

Part 11: Possible changes you’ll make to your technique
1. How our tests were done 01:15
2. Our results
- Speed 02:23
- Ball trajectory and bounce 03:56
- Backswing and follow through 06:32
3. Conclusions 10:07

Dec 2012:  BALLS - prototype plastic ball tested and compared with 40mm and 38mm celluloid balls:

In 2014 the International Table Tennis Federation will use a new plastic "poly" ball.  Players involved in ITTF event will no longer be able to use the current 40mm celluloid ball.  National Associations invariably follow the ITTF's lead so there is a very good chance, you too will be playing with a plastic ball in the not to distance future.  But changing to a plastic ball is not with out difficulty and the playing characteristics are being affected.

This is the first in a three part video series comparing the playing characteristics of one of the new plastic prototype balls (kindly given to me by William Henzell) with a current 40mm celluloid ball and an old 38mm ball.

Part 1 - Why the change and a comparision of their physical appearance
Part 2 - High speed filming of tests to compare relative rebound speed, bounce and spin
Part 3 - Players from our Premier Division who have different styles of play and use different types of equipment try out the three balls and give their opinions on them

Thankfully, this was a prototype ball. Unfortunatley, very soon we're going to have celluloid balls, plastic one piece balls and plastic two piece balls (the later two being slightly bigger than the celluloid ball) all authorised by the ITTF at the same time. Get ready for a new wave of "new improved rubbers designed for use with the new plastic balls" everyone.

Reviewers include, Tony Rigby, Billy Russell, Keiron Beswick and Adam Linton.


Shoes are a very personal choice and table tennis shoes are different to normal trainers or badminton and squash shoes. They tend to be flatter with less support for your feet and less cushioning, partly to assist with lateral movement and avoid turning ankles. They also tend to be quite light. Don't make the mistake of just buying a comfy pair of trainers that feel good in the shop on a carpet floor. Think about what type of surface you'll be using them on and how much you need to move in a game. Think also about what your physical requirement are. Everyone is different and so is each type of shoe.

Asics Gel-Hunter

Part 1 provides background information as to what type of shoes I've warn in the past and why  I chose the Asics Gel-Hunter 2's.  Hopefully this video will provide you with a reference point so you'll be able to identify with what  I describe and show in part's 2 and 3.

Part 2 looks at the Asics Gel Hunter 2's build quality, lacing system, upper, midsole and sole, relative sizing and weight.  

Part 3 uses high speed footage of standing jump, lunge, rocking, grip and lateral movement along with my personal experience compares what the Asic Gel Hunter 2's are like to wear both out of the box and crucially after 30hrs of use over a period of six weeks.  They do change over time.

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