Table tennis rules changes sometimes make our life and game more difficult. You surely remember when the glue ban came up in 2010-11. We suffered from the companies development through years. Now in 2015 most of the rubbers are high quality and usable. Surely our blades are made to substitute speed glue effect that was a big success at that era.
The latest change in table tennis rules is around the material of the balls. This part of the table tennis equipment is made of celluloid. That material might be harmful for our environment during production so it is not that green as the latest requirements want. As a result in 2012-13 we could met a new type of balls and a new type of material.
At early 2014 finally ITTF approved the new material: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This plastic substantial is known of our everyday life eg. isolation of cables or plastic bottles are able to made of PVC but it is absolutely new to our sport. The main confusion is about the hardness that is not easy to imagine how can it work as a ball.
Fortunately polyvinyl chloride comes in two basic forms: rigid and flexible so making table tennis balls of it is not an impossible mission. Manufacturers started to go on two ways:
- Regular melted balls. The balls are made of two half balls and then melted together.
- Seamless balls. The balls are made as one part with a special process.
The early balls were terrible. We got the one of the first poly ball made by DHS. The hardness was not enough and the sound was like a 60mm fun ball. When we tested it in this video at our club the players around us asked if our ball was broken. At that hour our table were the most popular but not because of the game just the sound we made.
Test video of an early DHS poly ball
Now in 2015 we can say development is on the right track as it happened with rubbers. Seamless balls are more spread – I guess due to the less expense of changing production gears and the seamless one is a bit more flexy.
The stamina is the weak point, the poly balls easily be broken and you need 2-3-4 times more balls for the same time of play. Also the roundness is a regular point of failure. There are more balls coming with not exactly round shape that results strange flying trajectory.
In this video we made a test with the latest 2015 Joola Super P *** poly ball and the behaviour tested to be very similar. Professionals say it is easy to get used to it. The problem usually turns up when it is not announced which ball is used and you can face a celluloid ball match after a week of PVC ball training.
Test video of the 2015 Joola Super P *** poly ball