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Questions About The New 40+ Balls

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 10:48am
1.  People who really hate the seamed 40+ balls but who are ok with playing with seamless or Nittaku Premium 40+ balls (on purely playing criteria) are not resistant to change.  They are resistant to balls that have made playing a lot less fun.  I am not alone in that group.  In fact, I exclusively use the new balls, but I avoid Chinese seamed balls when it is practical. 

2.  The new balls cost 2-3 fold more than celluloid.  That is a rational basis for a complaint about a ball with significant durability issues.

3.  Speaking for myself, the outcomes against people I play are the same with any of these balls.  So it's not a matter of feeling like they are some big disadvantage. 

This is all pretty obvious, and I don't even know why there is a discussion about this, since it is painfully clear and has been from the start that playing with Chinese seamed balls is different in key ways to playing with celluloid, seamless or the good (but expensive and hard to find) Nittakus.

It was certainly clear enough to the guy who started this thread, and everybody but one person who has commented on it.



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Even if the new balls cost 2-3 times what they should... if the bounce is true, we can cope with it well enough, even if we don't care for hte extra mm in size and less spin/pace.
 
Baal nailed it, there is NO JOY in playing a TT match using the current crop of seamed Poly Balls. The irregular bounce and strange behavior of the balls does NOTHING but tick you off, obviously no joy in that.
 
That is the biggest and most important thing. Balls breaking about every match could tick you off too, but the bounce of the seamed Poly ball is rediculous. These balls are obviously NOT fit for competition. They should be decertified for competition and used as training balls at players' risk.
 
I can live with the reduced spin, pace, and possible increased breakage. (Heck, you could break a cell ball too by hitting hard), but the BOUNCE of these seamed Poly Balls has GOT TO GO, like ASAP. Enough of us players are NOT DEMANDING an acceptably performing ball.
 
Many clubs feel like they are in a hard place. They get free SEAMED Poly Balls or a sweethart deal on balls for tourneys, but the performance of these things... I wouldn't want to play even if I GOT PAID to play using these seamed Poly Balls in a tourney. Whatever Big-Time 4 Star tourneys and our premiere events are "Locked In" by a sponsorship or contractual obligation and that situation is a pity. (Pity that a ball that is more unpredictable than a ONE STAR Training ball is the official ball) Good on the tourneys that selected Nittaku Premium 40+, a true bouncing ball. I don't blame a club or a director of a huge tourney for making a deal to get free balls for th etourney or club, that is looking out for best interests, but the choice of the ball is very unfortunate.
 
It just isn't Table Tennis IMO playing a match with these seamed Poly balls with the lousy bounce. It isn't just me, there are lots of players and forum members who feel this way. I am just the one making an exclaimation point about it.
 
We as Table Tennis enthusiasts should DEMAND BETTER than the performance of these seamed Poly balls. Market forces will influence the market if enough of the market refuses to play with these seamed Poly Balls.
 
I mean you wouldn't play a serious basketball game with a basketball that has an erratic bounce causing dribbling errors and unforced turnovers... and would break 1-2 times during the game, would you play basketball with such a ball? Would it be serious competitive basketball playing the sport with such a ball? Would our stars of that sport keep a straight face while marketing that kind of ball? Players would demand a better ball and refuse to play with such a ball.
 
Why is Table tennis any different?


Edited by BH-Man - 03/08/2015 at 12:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lineup32 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:02pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

1.  People who really hate the seamed 40+ balls but who are ok with playing with seamless or Nittaku Premium 40+ balls (on purely playing criteria) are not resistant to change.  They are resistant to balls that have made playing a lot less fun.  I am not alone in that group.  In fact, I exclusively use the new balls, but I avoid Chinese seamed balls when it is practical. 

2.  The new balls cost 2-3 fold more than celluloid.  That is a rational basis for a complaint about a ball with significant durability issues.

3.  Speaking for myself, the outcomes against people I play are the same with any of these balls.  So it's not a matter of feeling like they are some big disadvantage. 

This is all pretty obvious, and I don't even know why there is a discussion about this, since it is painfully clear and has been from the start that playing with Chinese seamed balls is different in key ways to playing with celluloid, seamless or the good (but expensive and hard to find) Nittakus.

It was certainly clear enough to the guy who started this thread, and everybody but one person who has commented on it.


The top players in the world don't seem to be complaining or demanding different balls the biggest dissatisfaction seems to be coming from early adoptee recreation players in spite of ITTF only mandating DHS40+ balls for high level international competition.  Many players decided not to be an early adoptee of the poly balls and based on the endless complaining about various balls from clubs and players on this site that has turned out to be a good decision certainly less expensive.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:03pm
Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:

>
"Never been stated"
http://www.ittf.com/stories/pictures/T3_Ball_forBoD2014_final.pdf

If anyone could be bothered to read the actual doc the "minimal standard" <2016 bounce spec lower bound is only 3mm out of 240mm less than 2016, or ~1%. The plastic ball (the worst possible DHS tested) also had much more consistent bounce than celluloid.


When we play a match, we don't have a constant rotation of balls as in the drop tests.  We play with but one - unless is is a seamed 40+ Chinese ball - then it might take two or more.

Nonetheless, for a simple drop test, the bounce consistencies are fairly similar.  Celluloid is not categorically worse.  The drop device used by our friend at the Preston Table Tennis club was/is flawed. Celluloid balls actually "released" at a lower point sometimes.  They did not always drop cleanly through the hole.  This is clearly visible in the videos he posted. 

I performed drop tests using a modified mousetrap as a "trap door" to drop the balls.  I also dropped the balls onto a surface that was closer to the ITTF spec - being solid steel more than one half inch thick.   Note that with something close to spec that all balls bounce to height averages within the ITTF spec.

Sometimes my device release system would cause a small bounce upwards of 1-2mm or the ball might touch my contraption at some point in the bounce.  I counted only drops that were perfectly clean.


DHS 3 star Celluloid (5 balls in rotation)            Bounce Height cm
Average Height 25.45
High Bounce 25.80
Low Bounce 25.05
Bounce Spread 0.75


Xushaoufu 3 Star Seamless 40+ (5 balls in rotation)
Average Height 25.96
High Bounce 26.20
Low Bounce 25.65
Bounce Spread 0.55


Nittaku Premium 40+ (6 balls in rotation)
Average Height 25.43
High Bounce 25.75
Low Bounce 25.00
Bounce Spread 0.75


Gambler 3 Star Platinum Celluloid (6 balls in rotation)
Average Height 25.21
High Bounce 25.40
Low Bounce 24.95
Bounce Spread 0.45


DHS 3 star 40+ (6 balls in rotation)
Average Height 24.45
High Bounce 24.75
Low Bounce 24.10
Bounce Spread 0.65
 






Edited by wturber - 03/08/2015 at 2:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:05pm
Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:

Originally posted by LOG1C1AN LOG1C1AN wrote:

Sorry, but no one can "get used to" a ball that is not round and therefore does not bounce consistently.


They're round and bounce consistently as empirically tested by a user on OOAK. The "inconsistency" is most likely a matter of mistaken judgment by players who can't own up to their errors.


An experienced player I know who played at the North American Teams event this last Thanksgiving observed that the balls would frequently start out round but would go out of round during match play.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:08pm
Originally posted by pnachtwey pnachtwey wrote:

I don't understand how the balls can be out of round.  The balls are molded in a mold.  What can be in doubt is how even the plastic is distributed on the inside.  The technique is called roto molding.



I suspect some reports of being "out of round" could be mis-reported cases of being out of balance.  The typical test uses some form of spinning the ball and observing the wobble.  Uneven weight distribution can cause such a wobble.  Also, I suspect bad bounces can be caused by an uneven wall thickness as well as in flight wobbling of a ball.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:26pm
Originally posted by pnachtwey pnachtwey wrote:

@wturber,  are the new plastic balls affecting your hard bat game much? 



I haven't used the 40+ ball much with the exception of playing in the 2014 Nationals with the NP40+ ball.  It took me about two hours to begin to feel comfortable with the tournament conditions, but that is not only the ball, but the venue.  That seemed a bit longer than usual. 

My subjective impression of the np40+ ball is that its bounce is not "dynamic".  I really have to work harder with it to generate faster shots.  I felt like I caught up to it easier when chopping against inverted loopers.  If it becomes the new standard, I may actually consider changing rubber to something slightly faster to get back to where I am with celluloid.  My results at the Nationals were very uneven.  But I don't think that had anything to do with the np40+ ball.  It was just me, my getting ill, and also playing with that 38mm celluloid ball in a sandpaper event.

Beyond the Nationals, my experience is limited since we are still using celluloid for the most part at our club.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:37pm
Originally posted by wturber wturber wrote:



I suspect some reports of being "out of round" could be mis-reported cases of being out of balance.  The typical test uses some form of spinning the ball and observing the wobble.  Uneven weight distribution can cause such a wobble.  Also, I suspect bad bounces can be caused by an uneven wall thickness as well as in flight wobbling of a ball.


Yes, I think this is mostly what is happening for reasons PN mentioned.  In fact, when I say "not round" what I mean is they wobble in spin tests and also in the air a bit.  I suppose I should be more precise.

With that said, when Debater measured a bunch with calipers, there was a slightly greater absolute difference between maximum and minimum diameters with Joola 40+ compared to Joola celluloid.  I doubt it would be enough to account for the more or less ridiculous wobble you sometimes see in seamed plastic balls out of the box.  Seamed 40+ balls may also change their shape a bit after very hard shots and then go out of round, whereas seamless tend to shatter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:41pm
Originally posted by lineup32 lineup32 wrote:

ITTF has gone in the proper direction by being very specific as to what ball will be used at there sanctioned international tournaments for open and juniors.  As a result there is no confusion among international players as to what ball to use in training for any of these  important tournaments.


Proper direction?  That's mandated by ITTF rule.  BTW, it wasn't properly followed in at least one ITTF sanctioned tournament that used Nittaku balls.

Originally posted by lineup32 lineup32 wrote:

The DHS40+ is the  standard for open play at ITTF sanctioned international tournaments listed below but the USATT has recommended a ball that plays differently, the Nittaku Premium 40+, its very expensive, difficult to buy in any volume, has no lower priced training  balls available and offers the elite players no real time training/experience for international ITTF tournaments that will be using the DHS+40. So exactly how does this help the US elite player in international competition? none.

Yes.  The USATT had sponsorship deals already in place.  And yes, the NP40+ ball plays differently from the DHS 40+.  So yes, I agree that the USATT decision is highly questionable. 

But keep in mind that both balls are authorized by the ITTF.  The ITTF has unleashed the 40+ ball on the table tennis world well before that group of balls has fairly consistent play between brands as we see with celluloid balls.  This has been and is disruptive precisely because there are many different existing financial relationships and sponsorship deals and this will cause many players to have to adjust to a wider range of playing differences and will further have a trickle down affect on the non-international player as National associations mandate the use of some 40+ ball regardless of whether or not it is crap.

Originally posted by lineup32 lineup32 wrote:

One another issue, ITTF has made it clear that the 40C will be used as long as suppliers want to make it,  they are not making it illegal.  Those players and clubs that wish to continue playing with the 40C can and will do so without fear of it being declared illegal by the ITTF. 

http://www.ittf.com/stories/pictures/plastic_ball_12_08_14.pdf

The ITTF does not and never has had the ability to make laws/rules for national organizations.  But their actions are highly influential.  They should not act as though this is not true.  Heck,  the USATT is enforcing VOC testing of rackets even though they have no such rule on the books. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:41pm
Another version of the bounce test is to drop two balls from the same height and then see how long it takes before the balls stop oscillating up and down.  The seamless balls will bounce longer than seamed balls 100% of the time.

I wouldn't mind the USATT decision to mandate the Nittaku Premium if we could buy the damned things, since it is a much better ball to play with.  But you can't buy the damned things!!!!!!!!!

(Also, price and durability not great).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:46pm
Originally posted by wturber wturber wrote:


I haven't used the 40+ ball much with the exception of playing in the 2014 Nationals with the NP40+ ball. 
My subjective impression of the np40+ ball is that its bounce is not "dynamic".  I really have to work harder with it to generate faster shots.


They are bigger.  I would bet you anything if you had a 40+ celluloid ball you would feel the same thing.  (Of course that ball does not exist).

In terms of bounce during free play, the np40+ is closest to celluloid.  I base that on many many many hours of accumulated experience with these balls.  But of course, it does not play exactly like celluloid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:49pm
Originally posted by lineup32 lineup32 wrote:

Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

1.  People who really hate the seamed 40+ balls but who are ok with playing with seamless or Nittaku Premium 40+ balls (on purely playing criteria) are not resistant to change.  They are resistant to balls that have made playing a lot less fun.  I am not alone in that group.  In fact, I exclusively use the new balls, but I avoid Chinese seamed balls when it is practical. 

2.  The new balls cost 2-3 fold more than celluloid.  That is a rational basis for a complaint about a ball with significant durability issues.

3.  Speaking for myself, the outcomes against people I play are the same with any of these balls.  So it's not a matter of feeling like they are some big disadvantage. 

This is all pretty obvious, and I don't even know why there is a discussion about this, since it is painfully clear and has been from the start that playing with Chinese seamed balls is different in key ways to playing with celluloid, seamless or the good (but expensive and hard to find) Nittakus.

It was certainly clear enough to the guy who started this thread, and everybody but one person who has commented on it.


The top players in the world don't seem to be complaining or demanding different balls the biggest dissatisfaction seems to be coming from early adoptee recreation players in spite of ITTF only mandating DHS40+ balls for high level international competition.  Many players decided not to be an early adoptee of the poly balls and based on the endless complaining about various balls from clubs and players on this site that has turned out to be a good decision certainly less expensive.  


Not quite true.  The top players did complain a lot but they also know they have to adjust.  Since it is a done deal, since ITTF has a contract with DHS, they have no influence.  So they concern themselves with other things.  They know that ITTF has never really listened to their opinions.

Since the material has changed, the sound of the ball also changed." Ma Long said. Aside from that, Ma Long and Zhang Jike both agreed on the difference on how the ball travels. Zhang Jike said that when he tries to hit the ball, it always touches the sides or bottom part of his racket, admitting some instabilities. (from interview in October 2014).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:53pm
Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:


I'm speaking to diff under ordinary conditions. I suppose if a ball is broken/defective the distinction would be greater, but I haven't heard of going out of round after playing, just something to check for beforehand.

Isn't tournament play "ordinary?"  I and others have mentioned the DHS (and its re-branded variants) going out of round before.

The player I spoke of does a nifty little trick where he spins the ball off his racket so that it drops onto his fingernails and continues to spin.  You can hear and see out of round (or out of balance as the case may be) balls skitter/chatter on his nails.  He asserts that the Joola balls used would sometimes go out of round in the middle of a match.  I'm inclined to believe him.

Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:


Frankly the most disappointing aspect for me is that the ratio of whinging to problem solving is so high. Many folks perhaps reasonably complain that they play different, but instead of figuring out why and doing what is possible we end up with mountains of lament about something no one here is a position to revert anyway. 


What I find disappointing the the degree to which some people are willing to apologize for the way the ITTF has mishandled this such that players, clubs and associations now must do some "problem solving."

Baal has given many good solutions.

1) Pick the better ball - first choice Xushaufu, second NP40+.  But the problems is that these aren't what the ITTF is using in most international events.  So that's an incomplete solution.

2) If you must use a DHS or Double Hapiness ball, pre-select/test the balls for roundness.  That helps.  But the problem remains that these balls are about twice as likely to break.  Given that the balls are already premium priced and more likely to break, tossing brand new balls out as unusable is a tough pill to swallow. There appears to be no solution to the higher price.

3) Unfortunately, nobody has come up with a good solution to the lack of low cost 40+ training balls.

Personally, I'm not whining about any of it.  I do complain on the forums and I am simply avoiding the mess in my club and personal play by continuing to use celluloid.  But as a tournament director it is a problem that I must struggle with and I don't like how the USATT and the ITTF have messed this up. 
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Originally posted by wturber wturber wrote:



I haven't used the 40+ ball much with the exception of playing in the 2014 Nationals with the NP40+ ball.  It took me about two hours to begin to feel comfortable with the tournament conditions, but that is not only the ball, but the venue.  That seemed a bit longer than usual. 

My subjective impression of the np40+ ball is that its bounce is not "dynamic".  I really have to work harder with it to generate faster shots.  I felt like I caught up to it easier when chopping against inverted loopers.  If it becomes the new standard, I may actually consider changing rubber to something slightly faster to get back to where I am with celluloid.  My results at the Nationals were very uneven.  But I don't think that had anything to do with the np40+ ball.  It was just me, my getting ill, and also playing with that 38mm celluloid ball in a sandpaper event.

Beyond the Nationals, my experience is limited since we are still using celluloid for the most part at our club.




I played my second sanctioned tournament with the NP40+ ball a few days ago (won the Over 40 Singles and lost to Grace Yang in the Open in the 5th.)  The slower speed of NP40+ was really apparent under tough tournament conditions.  So much so, that now I've finally decided to change my setups completely... I am now using Tenergy max on my fh (instead of short pips) and added a thin sponge on my long pips.  Also I've changed my blade to a very oversized one to facilitate longer chopping strokes.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 1:58pm
"Before the change of the ball, Ovtcharov's level was comparable with Boll's. But now after the change, it seems that Boll has exceeded his teammate in a considerable amount." Liu Guoliang started. "In contrast, I believe that the effect of the new ball on Dimitrij Ovtcharov is bigger. I read a report before that such change will benefit a player like Ovtcharov. I felt that it was just a speculation. Actually, I saw quite a lot of unforced errors from Ovtcharov in the competition. Before, he has big movements, he has strength. But after the change, there has been problems in his adjustments on those aspects." Liu Guoliang concluded.

This is from an interview in late October.  Since then, these top players have only been training and playing with the balls they use in competition.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote roundrobin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 2:01pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

"Before the change of the ball, Ovtcharov's level was comparable with Boll's. But now after the change, it seems that Boll has exceeded his teammate in a considerable amount." Liu Guoliang started. "In contrast, I believe that the effect of the new ball on Dimitrij Ovtcharov is bigger. I read a report before that such change will benefit a player like Ovtcharov. I felt that it was just a speculation. Actually, I saw quite a lot of unforced errors from Ovtcharov in the competition. Before, he has big movements, he has strength. But after the change, there has been problems in his adjustments on those aspects." Liu Guoliang concluded.

This is from an interview in late October.  Since then, these top players have only been training and playing with the balls they use in competition.




Ovtcharov has said at the LA Open in 2013 that he felt the new plastic ball made playing against lower rated players more difficult for him when he tried it.  I guess it still affects him today...




Edited by roundrobin - 03/08/2015 at 2:03pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 2:01pm
From December 2014

"I didn’t feel that comfortable today; I’ve practiced with the plastic ball but it’s only my third tournament where we have used that ball", said Chuang Chih-Yuan. "I played in the Men’s World Cup and in the Euro-Asia Tournament with the new ball but I still need time to adjust."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 2:04pm
Originally posted by lineup32 lineup32 wrote:

The top players in the world don't seem to be complaining or demanding different balls the biggest dissatisfaction seems to be coming from early adoptee recreation players in spite of ITTF only mandating DHS40+ balls for high level international competition.  Many players decided not to be an early adoptee of the poly balls and based on the endless complaining about various balls from clubs and players on this site that has turned out to be a good decision certainly less expensive.  


Right.  Most top players are sponsored, beholden to their national association, and/or otherwise influence by the politics of the situation.  Further, they seldom have to buy balls themselves.  And I also strongly suspect that they get to play with preselected balls most of the time.

So, in summary, top players almost surely experience fewer issues as a practical matter and have less incentive to complain and perhaps even disincentives to complain.  We should not be surprised if they complain less often or not at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 2:13pm
Originally posted by roundrobin roundrobin wrote:



Ovtcharov has said at the LA Open in 2013 that he felt the new plastic ball made playing against lower rated players more difficult for him when he tried it.  I guess it still affects him today...




Injecting randomness into the game makes "upset" victories more likely.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 2:31pm
FWIW, these are the results of testing single balls.  I'm not including the spread between bounces because it is not directly comparable to the testing of a series of balls.  These are all tests from multiple bounces of a single ball.

Nittaku SHA 40+ One Ball New

Average Height 24.56


Joola 40+ One Ball New

Average Height 24.39


DHS 3 Star Celluloid One Ball - well used

Average Height 25.38


Nittaku Premium 40+ One Ball – sounded cracked
Average Height 25.00


Nittaku Premium 40+ One Ball – well used

Average Height 25.48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AgentHEX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 4:08pm
Originally posted by wturber wturber wrote:

Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:


I'm speaking to diff under ordinary conditions. I suppose if a ball is broken/defective the distinction would be greater, but I haven't heard of going out of round after playing, just something to check for beforehand.

Isn't tournament play "ordinary?"  I and others have mentioned the DHS (and its re-branded variants) going out of round before.

The player I spoke of does a nifty little trick where he spins the ball off his racket so that it drops onto his fingernails and continues to spin.  You can hear and see out of round (or out of balance as the case may be) balls skitter/chatter on his nails.  He asserts that the Joola balls used would sometimes go out of round in the middle of a match.  I'm inclined to believe him.



Ordinary conditions here means not comparing an out-of-round/broken ball to a round/sound one.

Also note that of all the complaining this is the one person claiming they deform in play, so by Baal's logic it's automatic invalid sans any reality check. Or I guess not since it conveniently supports the plastic-ball-is-worse-than-hitler position.

Quote

Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:


Frankly the most disappointing aspect for me is that the ratio of whinging to problem solving is so high. Many folks perhaps reasonably complain that they play different, but instead of figuring out why and doing what is possible we end up with mountains of lament about something no one here is a position to revert anyway. 


What I find disappointing the the degree to which some people are willing to apologize for the way the ITTF has mishandled this such that players, clubs and associations now must do some "problem solving."

Baal has given many good solutions.

1) Pick the better ball - first choice Xushaufu, second NP40+.  But the problems is that these aren't what the ITTF is using in most international events.  So that's an incomplete solution.

2) If you must use a DHS or Double Hapiness ball, pre-select/test the balls for roundness.  That helps.  But the problem remains that these balls are about twice as likely to break.  Given that the balls are already premium priced and more likely to break, tossing brand new balls out as unusable is a tough pill to swallow. There appears to be no solution to the higher price.

3) Unfortunately, nobody has come up with a good solution to the lack of low cost 40+ training balls.

Personally, I'm not whining about any of it.  I do complain on the forums and I am simply avoiding the mess in my club and personal play by continuing to use celluloid.  But as a tournament director it is a problem that I must struggle with and I don't like how the USATT and the ITTF have messed this up. 


I've never had much of anything nice to say about the ITTF, but there's a certain situation that nobody present here is going to change other than by figuring out how to adjust their own play. Which reminds me, there's a couple threads going with everyone piling on an old man's supposed inability to accept present reality. I'll take these issues more seriously when/if it evolves beyond a popularity contest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 5:41pm
Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:


Ordinary conditions here means not comparing an out-of-round/broken ball to a round/sound one.


Most players do not test the balls for out-of-round.  It simply wasn't as big of an issue with celluloid.  It is unlikely to happen in tournaments either - except perhaps for the most elite events in the later rounds.

Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:


Also note that of all the complaining this is the one person claiming they deform in play, so by Baal's logic it's automatic invalid sans any reality check. Or I guess not since it conveniently supports the plastic-ball-is-worse-than-hitler position.


Firstly, that isn't Baal's logic.  Second, I've seen that report online from others and I've heard it offline from others.  It is not a unique report.

Originally posted by AgentHEX AgentHEX wrote:



I've never had much of anything nice to say about the ITTF, but there's a certain situation that nobody present here is going to change other than by figuring out how to adjust their own play. Which reminds me, there's a couple threads going with everyone piling on an old man's supposed inability to accept present reality. I'll take these issues more seriously when/if it evolves beyond a popularity contest.


Well, I just pointed out to you that solutions have been offered.  That was hardly a complete list.  some of us have been promoting the use of the seamless balls since they are generally superior.  I've even written to Nittaku explaining how their SHA ball doesn't deserve the respect that the Nittaku brand confers - and have posted about it.

Your characterization of those complaining is flat out wrong.  Many of us are offering and doing what little we reasonably can to make dealing with the mess easier.  But that doesn't change the fact that it is a mess and that some of the balls are "junk" compared to the quality of balls that we are used to, that the ITTF bungled things, or make it somehow to not legitimate to complain about the situation.

This has nothing to do with being a popularity contest.  For instance, I know Berndt (the old man you referred too.)  I like Berndt.  I don't mind his posts on hardbat even though I don't agree with a lot of what he says or his approach.  But I can understand why others (some of whom I like much less than I like Berndt) can find his posts annoying, distracting, and off-topic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 6:35pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

Originally posted by lineup32 lineup32 wrote:

Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

1.  People who really hate the seamed 40+ balls but who are ok with playing with seamless or Nittaku Premium 40+ balls (on purely playing criteria) are not resistant to change.  They are resistant to balls that have made playing a lot less fun.  I am not alone in that group.  In fact, I exclusively use the new balls, but I avoid Chinese seamed balls when it is practical. 

2.  The new balls cost 2-3 fold more than celluloid.  That is a rational basis for a complaint about a ball with significant durability issues.

3.  Speaking for myself, the outcomes against people I play are the same with any of these balls.  So it's not a matter of feeling like they are some big disadvantage. 

This is all pretty obvious, and I don't even know why there is a discussion about this, since it is painfully clear and has been from the start that playing with Chinese seamed balls is different in key ways to playing with celluloid, seamless or the good (but expensive and hard to find) Nittakus.

It was certainly clear enough to the guy who started this thread, and everybody but one person who has commented on it.




The top players in the world don't seem to be complaining or demanding different balls the biggest dissatisfaction seems to be coming from early adoptee recreation players in spite of ITTF only mandating DHS40+ balls for high level international competition.  Many players decided not to be an early adoptee of the poly balls and based on the endless complaining about various balls from clubs and players on this site that has turned out to be a good decision certainly less expensive.  


Not quite true.  The top players did complain a lot but they also know they have to adjust.  Since it is a done deal, since ITTF has a contract with DHS, they have no influence.  So they concern themselves with other things.  They know that ITTF has never really listened to their opinions.

Since the material has changed, the sound of the ball also changed."
Ma Long said. Aside from that, Ma Long and Zhang Jike both agreed on
the difference on how the ball travels. Zhang Jike said that when he
tries to hit the ball, it always touches the sides or bottom part of his
racket, admitting some instabilities.
(from interview in October 2014).




Some of the best pro complaints were produced by Mastermind/Smartguy from Dima's original review on durability to Keinath to even the breakage when the NP40+ was introduced at the European Team Championship. Like Baal said, that results have not been largely affected by the ball leads everyone to accept the level playing field. But listen to Jim Butler comment during the NA Tour Finals. He voices precisely the same sentiments expressed here because he is in the same group of circlejerks as Baal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 6:46pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

"Before the change of the ball, Ovtcharov's level was comparable with Boll's. But now after the change, it seems that Boll has exceeded his teammate in a considerable amount." Liu Guoliang started. "In contrast, I believe that the effect of the new ball on Dimitrij Ovtcharov is bigger. I read a report before that such change will benefit a player like Ovtcharov. I felt that it was just a speculation. Actually, I saw quite a lot of unforced errors from Ovtcharov in the competition. Before, he has big movements, he has strength. But after the change, there has been problems in his adjustments on those aspects." Liu Guoliang concluded.

This is from an interview in late October.  Since then, these top players have only been training and playing with the balls they use in competition.


A couple month or so ago, I saw Dimo n a live stream, forget where, (Grand finals???) he had one heck of a time judging the bounce on some light deep underspin balls. I never saw him miss so many balls in one game, the same number he would miss for an entire toruney. He also had a very bad cough, yet he fought it out and won after being down in sets. I am also convinced the seamed poly ball affects him negatively. They also replaced the ball in the match at least once. Could have also replaced between games too, but I'll never know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ttTurkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 7:07pm
I can only relate my little "experiment", which I know is not scientific.

I played a few games with each of three different balls with someone that I have played against/trained with often. We are a similar level and usually have pretty good rallies (i.e. our styles don't "cancel out").

First we played a some games with a celluloid ball and we had our usual kind of match.

Then we switched to a NP40+ ball and it hardly affected our games. Perhaps there was a fraction less spin and speed but it wasn't enough of a difference to require any significant conscious adjustment.

Finally, we switched to a seamed 3* plastic ball (Donic) and it was like we had shared a bottle of bourbon! We both started making elementary mistakes and did not trust the bounce of the ball. The ball broke after 2 or 3 games and the replacement was just as bad. This ball spun a lot less than the celluloid ball and the NP40+; we both felt it "floated" on slow heavy topspin shots instead of dipping.

I guess it's possible that the Donic ball had a consistent low bounce that we did not adapt to, but I'd like to think that there was more to it than that. We both felt that the bounce was inconsistent and untrustworthy, which drained the confidence from our play. We did not perform the spin test for roundness on either ball. If we continued playing with this ball, I'm sure we would adjust and improve but that the final level of play would be lower than with celluloid or the NP40+ ball.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 8:13pm
A bit of my own personal history.

When the announcement of the need for plastic balls came out, justified by an "impending world-wide ban on celluloid production", I was skeptical and said so in many threads (and I still have strong suspicions about this decision). 

Then the first seamless polyball prototypes circulated -- a very very unfortunate misstep by someone -- and we got one in Houston, and it was really bad.  My skepticism was then grounded in some reality. (If you want to see what they are like, order some 1-star seamless).  I figured that the entire seamless approach was doomed.  I was not alone (which is a big reason why even now seamless balls have had to overcome a gigantic mountain of negative expectations before they could be adopted, even by casual recreational players).

Then there were reports that big companies were working on seamed polyballs and many of us rejoiced.  We figured that was bound to be better.  Threads abounded.

So, my expectations going into this were (1) I would probably like the balls with seams and (2) would almost certainly dislike the seamless balls.

The reality is that I now very much prefer ITTF approved seamless balls to pretty much everything else, at this point including celluloid.  I no longer play with celluloid at all.  Therefore I am absolutely not resistant to change.  And my very extensive experience with seamed balls leads me to state unreservedly that they are terrible, even though every expectation I had was that I would probably like them.  So all of those accusations of my mindset, logic, or motivations from AgentHEX are just wrong.

Is it a popularity contest?  If the "plurality" of criticism of the seamed plastic balls is a circle jerk, it is one hell of a big circle at this point.  Do only people here think they play differently?  If you don't believe me, look at the quotes I posted above from interviews with Liu Guoliang.  He may know more about ping pong than AgentHEX. 

I would be very glad that USATT adopted NP40+ balls if they were generally available.  They certainly picked one of the best balls from a purely playing point of view.  But since they aren't generally available, why not adopt seamless balls?  Maybe Larry could do something about this.

Finally, I have noticed that outcomes at pretty much all levels of play don't really change a whole lot when players have both been training with the ball, even if there seem to be a lot of inexplicable errors.  People do speculate that top players were doing better or worse because of the new ball 5-6 months ago.  It is hard to imagine that continues to be an issue for them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bobloiy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 10:43pm
Ok. Here's some feedback.

I've been playing with DHS 40+ lately, but a tournament today was using Joola 40+. DHS seemed to be harder, Joola a bit softer/lighter? I don't know if they're from the same factory or not. I found it easier to adjust to the Joola 40+ than the DHS one, for whatever reason.

The weirdest thing about the two balls however, was not the bounce, lack of spin, speed, etc. I found that the balls just died sometimes such as when I pushed the ball over. However, it was the strangest when I blocked the ball sometimes. Instead of the ball (having speed + topspin) bounce off the bat into the air, it just died off of my rubbers into the table, even though the angle of my bat was very open. What??? I don't understand how this could happen... It happened with other people too, even in the finals of the open tournament (2650 vs 2300 rated player).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patrickhrdlicka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/08/2015 at 11:43pm
My two cents - Our club has recently switched to from celluloid to XSF/YinHe 40+ *** (the XSF are indistinguishable from the YinHe ones in our opinion). 

Slower, less spin, and more physical game. The new ball favors players who previously had difficulties with serve returns (and vice versa: players who utilized a lot of spin in their game are at a disadvantage). Excellent consistency and durability. At ~$2/ball less expensive than the old Nitakku Premiums celluloid balls. 

The game is definitively more FUN with the 40+ as rallies are longer (e.g., fewer errors on serve returns). It's been a while since I have been playing with such a grin on my face. I would be perfectly content if the XSF/YinHe seemless 40+ became the new 'standard' ball. Highly recommended.     

I am yet to play with the abominations they call 'balls' (seamed chinese 40+ balls) - hopefully ITTF/USATT will come to their senses....


Edited by patrickhrdlicka - 03/08/2015 at 11:45pm
Feedback: http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=69419&title=feedback-patrickhrdlicka

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/09/2015 at 12:18am
Originally posted by patrickhrdlicka patrickhrdlicka wrote:

My two cents - Our club has recently switched to from celluloid to XSF/YinHe 40+ *** (the XSF are indistinguishable from the YinHe ones in our opinion). 

Slower, less spin, and more physical game. The new ball favors players who previously had difficulties with serve returns (and vice versa: players who utilized a lot of spin in their game are at a disadvantage). Excellent consistency and durability. At ~$2/ball less expensive than the old Nitakku Premiums celluloid balls. 

The game is definitively more FUN with the 40+ as rallies are longer (e.g., fewer errors on serve returns). It's been a while since I have been playing with such a grin on my face. I would be perfectly content if the XSF/YinHe seemless 40+ became the new 'standard' ball. Highly recommended.     

I am yet to play with the abominations they call 'balls' (seamed chinese 40+ balls) - hopefully ITTF/USATT will come to their senses....

With practice, that evaluation changes pretty quickly.  Lazy spinning is not rewarded, but heavy topspin is rewarded with higher consistency than anything I remember with the old ball, as well as some crazy sidespin on hook and fades.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LOG1C1AN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/09/2015 at 3:12am
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by patrickhrdlicka patrickhrdlicka wrote:

My two cents - Our club has recently switched to from celluloid to XSF/YinHe 40+ *** (the XSF are indistinguishable from the YinHe ones in our opinion). 

Slower, less spin, and more physical game. The new ball favors players who previously had difficulties with serve returns (and vice versa: players who utilized a lot of spin in their game are at a disadvantage). Excellent consistency and durability. At ~$2/ball less expensive than the old Nitakku Premiums celluloid balls. 

The game is definitively more FUN with the 40+ as rallies are longer (e.g., fewer errors on serve returns). It's been a while since I have been playing with such a grin on my face. I would be perfectly content if the XSF/YinHe seemless 40+ became the new 'standard' ball. Highly recommended.     

I am yet to play with the abominations they call 'balls' (seamed chinese 40+ balls) - hopefully ITTF/USATT will come to their senses....

With practice, that evaluation changes pretty quickly.  Lazy spinning is not rewarded, but heavy topspin is rewarded with higher consistency than anything I remember with the old ball, as well as some crazy sidespin on hook and fades.


That has been my own experience. I'm getting more spin using the XSF / Yinhe / Nexy 40+. Especially side spin. My only explanation is that it may be because the ball is a bit slower, I may be seeing it better, and have a fraction of a second more to execute a better stroke.
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