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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 23:05 
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Torsten - sorry to repeat my question, but it is vitally important to the future planning at my club.

Where are the orange plastic balls?

If no orange balls appear on the market in the next few months, my club will probably have to invest in our playing facilities in some way.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 23:43 
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Yes, sorry - browsing through the posts I recognized that I forgot to reply to this question of you.

As said in the Q&A, ITTF did not make any restriction for the colours, so from our side the manufacturers can bring in orange plastic balls for approval tomorrow.
The reason why they do not do so yet is probably still the same: They need to finalize the research on material composition for the white balls; if they double the colour now, they very likely double their expenses. So, we assume, they focus on the white balls until these are optimized. As ITTF allowed for released tolerances only from May 2014 - December 2015, this process must be finished until then. This means, it is reasonable to expect orange balls in 2015.


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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014, 00:06 
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Thanks Torsten! We might need to think about the colour of our walls then! I'll pass your comments on to my club chairman.


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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014, 06:35 
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I am not Torsten, nor do I play him on daytime TV, but even I can see that until the manufacturer's specs for making a "legal" plastic ball are nailed down, changing the formula to make an orange ball is one more issue to deal with.

It is well known that there are slight differences between the black and the red editions of the same type of rubber, so I can see why a manufacturer would want to concentrate on a single colour ball.

I play at a white walled venue, so I too am interested in when the orange plastic ball will be available.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014, 17:30 
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We have a white walled venue and use white balls and sometimes people wear white tshirts. I'd hang off drastic changes for now, you'll be right.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014, 19:39 
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Thank you Torsten :up:

Retriever wrote:
I am not Torsten, nor do I play him on daytime TV, but even I can see that until the manufacturer's specs for making a "legal" plastic ball are nailed down, changing the formula to make an orange ball is one more issue to deal with.
It is well known that there are slight differences between the black and the red editions of the same type of rubber, so I can see why a manufacturer would want to concentrate on a single colour ball.

Yes I agree. In addition I think the manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand for the white plastic balls, so there is little incentive to bring out orange ones well, which would put even more pressure on their production.
On the other hand it might be a great opportunity for some of the smaller manufacturers to bring out some orange ones, because people will buy them if they're the only ones available! :up:

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014, 21:59 
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I'm quite surprised that there seems to be a relaxed attitude to white walls/shirts/balls. My league has always been very definite on the requirements - no matching shirts or walls (no white with white balls, for example). So we are not allowed to play with white balls in our venue (quite rightly in my opinion), which leaves us with a problem when it comes to ball selection next season. It's not insurmountable, but we have to plan ahead if we are going to invest money in our venue. It also seems like a total waste of money to do the work simply to compensate for the lack of orange balls on the market, only for them to appear a few months down the line. The lack of a timetable is incredibly frustrating.

I'm all for adopting the plastic ball, but we simply would not be allowed to use it as things stand.

I'm also a touch confused as to the position of the manufacturers. First up, I'd be shocked if the colour of the plastic was a massive technical hurdle (although sometimes things seem far simpler in principle than practice). Secondly, DHS has already used two-colour plastic balls for a major event, so they at least have orange as an option in some form already.


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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014, 22:24 
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AndySmith wrote:
I'm quite surprised that there seems to be a relaxed attitude to white walls/shirts/balls.

I don't think there is a relaxed attitude, it's just that all the clubs I know off ensure the walls are the right colours so that it does not clash with either ball. Of course I can only speak for the clubs that I visit, which are mostly dedicated for TT, so it's easy to ensire the colour is right.

AndySmith wrote:
I'm also a touch confused as to the position of the manufacturers. First up, I'd be shocked if the colour of the plastic was a massive technical hurdle (although sometimes things seem far simpler in principle than practice). Secondly, DHS has already used two-colour plastic balls for a major event, so they at least have orange as an option in some form already.

I think the 2-colour ball was just a small test run to see how it would work.
I'm sure you're right, in that it's not hard to make the orange balls, but as I mentioned that if they're already struggling with production for the white ball (white being the current official colour for official events), I doubt they have the resources to work on the orange ones until the time they have the white sorted.

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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 00:01 
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Thank you, haggisv. Yes, I think that meets it.

I did not intent to say that the cost per ball is much higher for orange balls compared to white. Although it is a little bit for sure. But bringing in the orange now would mean you "double" the amount of balls which are still under optimization. In addition, orange means a second approval which also causes some expenses (charges, admin workload). All that said from the assumed manufacturer's perspective.

Therefore they probably still all focus on white, although ITTF would say nothing against orange and would indeed support any time a smaller manufacturer which is planning to bring own orange balls as a competitional advantage.

The two-coloured balls indeed were a small test field yet, no huge amounts, no admin expenses etc.


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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 06:42 
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Thanks again, Torsten. Sorry for showing my cynicism so openly about the plastic balls. You are doing a good job explaining what you have explained.

Do you have any personal views on the matter?

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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 07:16 
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Two-toned plastic balls were used for the Chinese Super League finals months ago, which should be clear evidence orange halves are not materially different.

The interesting question then is whether Torsten knew this and what that implies either way.


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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 09:45 
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@ Retriever: Thank you, I appreciate that the small piece I can contribute makes some sense. I did not see you cynical at all. Perhaps that is precisely due to my (general) personal opinion on the p-ball issue: It is a phase of change, as such it comes with natural uncertainties, and everyone has the right of having his/her own opinion about the grade of uncertainty. Me as player, I do not bother at all; me as an umpire and racket tester, I have some additional work in responding to players needs. So it even differs with your role.
In such times the interest in how a sports federation is running its everyday business is growing, and part of the outcome is totally wrong, which is nobodys fault. As an example, there seem to be people who are thinking I "work" for ITTF, I get paid for what I am doing. That is not at all the case, I have not reduced my paid job far outside ITTF by one single hour - but it is probably hard to know this, because I do not recall it is written down anywhere. So overall: It is simply a challenging time which I don't doubt will end with lessons learned and steps made forward.

@Agenthex: Yes, I know about the two-coloured balls in the super league. That was part of what I called a test field with small amounts. But it ends with "knowing" - there were no decisions to make by the Equipment Committee, because we deal with approvals and such an approval for two-coloured balls is still somewhere in the future.


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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 11:32 
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Maybe it's not obvious enough that the two-tone ball includes an orange half necessarily identical to its counterpart, and this long since "twice the development" done deal was relevant to the orange ball questions.


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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 11:34 
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agenthex said:

Quote:
Two-toned plastic balls were used for the Chinese Super League finals months ago, which should be clear evidence orange halves are not materially different.

The interesting question then is whether Torsten knew this and what that implies either way.


As the Chinese Super League is not an ITTF run tournament, I would imagine that the Equipment Committee in general, and Torsten in particular, would merely know as much or as little as you or I know about it, which of course depend on level of interest.

As he pretty much states, as there are no T3 specifications for a two toned ball of either celluloid or plastic and indeed it has not been submitted for approval, both of which would be necessary to come to the Equipment Committee's attention.

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PostPosted: 10 Dec 2014, 20:05 
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haggisv wrote:
AndySmith wrote:
I'm quite surprised that there seems to be a relaxed attitude to white walls/shirts/balls.

I don't think there is a relaxed attitude, it's just that all the clubs I know off ensure the walls are the right colours so that it does not clash with either ball. Of course I can only speak for the clubs that I visit, which are mostly dedicated for TT, so it's easy to ensire the colour is right.

AndySmith wrote:
I'm also a touch confused as to the position of the manufacturers. First up, I'd be shocked if the colour of the plastic was a massive technical hurdle (although sometimes things seem far simpler in principle than practice). Secondly, DHS has already used two-colour plastic balls for a major event, so they at least have orange as an option in some form already.

I think the 2-colour ball was just a small test run to see how it would work.
I'm sure you're right, in that it's not hard to make the orange balls, but as I mentioned that if they're already struggling with production for the white ball (white being the current official colour for official events), I doubt they have the resources to work on the orange ones until the time they have the white sorted.


I don't know what the global TT situation is with venues, but I can tell you that locally it's very difficult to find purpose-built or suitably decorated venues. The sport is in decline in my area. We lose venues and players every year, and our average player age is very high. Many venues are shared with other activities and hobby groups so we often don't get to dictate on things like wall colour. We are happy just to have venues in the first place.

When the plastic ball was first discussed, I couldn't have ever imagined that the situation would arise that orange balls wouldn't be available from a very early stage. They have been an essential part of the sport for many clubs for decades. When I discuss this with our club chairman and representatives from other clubs they don't actually believe me that there are no orange plastic balls available. They think I've made a mistake - that's how crazy it sounds to them. Some expected that the ITTF would require the production of both colours as a rule, rather than leave it to market forces. But there we have it - the manufacturers are the ones who currently dictate the future of several local venues in my league. I'm sure they can be trusted to do the right thing.

Torsten - don't get me wrong here, I understand that this is outside of your control as things stand. But I hope that you can see the dilemma we face here, and how this situation is just adding another issue into the chaos that is plastic ball adoption. We have several clubs here who are keen to use the plastic ball but simply can't without changes to their venues. It's all incredibly frustrating.

agenthex wrote:
Maybe they're still researching how to join orange halves to orange halves.


Actual LOLz have occurred.


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