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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 12:48 
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My last active table tennis period was back around 1997-2001 or so, right when all sorts of changes took place to the game. The 11 point match, the 40mm ball, the glue ban, for instance. If you think the uproar over the new "plastic" ball is loud, think again. There was absolutely no comparison with what happened before the 40mm ball was introduced. Noise over the 40mm ball pretty much drowned out everything for a few weeks. Back then the only real forum for table tennis online was on Usenet (with the about.com forum coming in towards the end of that period in time), and from what I remember, the 40mm ball generated pages and pages and pages of rants and dire predictions from many and sundry, with lots of speculation and pseudoscience thrown in. The 11 point match was almost a non-event in terms of online opposition, the glue ban attracted just moderate attention (mainly from one Canup).

So many years later - what has been the effect of the switch to my personal experience of the game?

1) The 40mm ball has made the game so much easier to play. I find I'm a great deal more consistent than I used to be. Third ball attacks are easier, so are blocks against loops and looping (especially against backspin). Why? I think because spin has become less effective. People have compensated by moving to max sponge (it used to be that 2.0 was the most people wanted to use - beginners were told to use 1.5mm sponge), but even so the ball is, in general, easier to control. One of the people I used to play with, a postdoc from Germany who was rated around 2200, said the 40mm ball gave him far more time to set up for a loop.

2) My serve has become much less effective. I used to have a real killer serve - I could give topspin OR backspin, and vary the amount of sidespin, and it all looked about the same. Even very good players would mis-return at least two or three during a game - I even scored a point off a Chinese national player who visited the University once, who was playing five point games with all takers. I still have the serve but it is now only really effective against players of the same level as me.

Bottom line - I like the 40mm ball. Yes, I have to work harder for points, but the game is much more enjoyable. It's still a pretty hard game to play, but I find it less random, with fewer balls off the table or into the net than there used to be.

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 13:48 
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I don't think the game has changed that much for me from the 38mm to the 40mm ball, but I really enjoy the greater spin and huge curves I could put on the 38mm ball...a real shame as that was one of the most spectecular aspects of our sport. ;(

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 14:25 
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I have met a few people who left the game and came back and didn't know the ball had changed (from 38 to 40)
I wouldn't worry so much about which ball to use as we will be going into the new 40+ in a few months (just hope they are ok)

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 15:04 
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I was playing in that same period, and do think I remember your name from rec.sports.tabletennis on yahoo groups.

I like the 40mm ball, I think it is still plenty fast with it, and think the 11 point games add an extra piece to the sport also.

The glue ban is something that was well deserved in this sport, and so much controversary over it back in the day you mention...I still have a small amount of german glue that was banned.

I've only done a single blade last Friday for a colleague using the new Butterfly Free Chalk non-VOC glue, and to be honest...I didn't like it very well...it seems runny to me and makes a mess...I mentioned that to my local TT shop where I bought my shoes and they said it requires patience to let it setup longer than the old glues.

I think the changes to the sport were for it's own good.

GN


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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 16:22 
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When I went back playing using 40mm ball, I could not tell the difference. 18 years of absence would make you forget :D .

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 18:20 
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I didn't realise they'd changed it at first when I came back after about the same time Red.

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 18:34 
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I did not even notice the change until the local old store sold me a nittaku 38 mm ball! I only made online research after purchasing my 1st set of equipment. I could have been guided better on my first purchase :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 02:22 
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rodderz wrote:
we will be going into the new 40+ in a few months (just hope they are ok)


Is the ball getting bigger again ?

GN


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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 07:41 
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New non-celluloid balls have been approved that are minimum 40mm, in a not completely transparent way that was not voted on in the usual way, but by varying the technical specifications only for the plastic balls.

Original justification was based on a supposed ban on the making of celluloid, the wife of someone who was on the ITTF equipment committee apparently holds patents on the process of making the plastic balls, and it has finally been stated that the real reason for the increase in size is to slow the game down.

There are 2 variants that have been approved: seamed (like the celluloid ball); and seamless, and it is thought that there may be differences between how they play.

They are being introduced in the second half of this year for most ITTF tournaments. For Australia, the consensus is that celluloid balls will still be used in local tournaments for around 3 years.

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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 12:04 
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haggisv wrote:
I don't think the game has changed that much for me from the 38mm to the 40mm ball, but I really enjoy the greater spin and huge curves I could put on the 38mm ball...a real shame as that was one of the most spectecular aspects of our sport. ;(


The problem was, even at the highest levels of the sport there was a greater level of errors - balls ending up in the net or missing the table - than there are today, by a long shot. To us, who play the game, we can see why these happened, but to an outsider it made the game truly mysterious - and boring. Even to us in the know, fewer mistakes make for longer rallies, which make watching a game far more interesting. The 40mm ball has, I think, also made it easier for modern choppers to reach the top levels of the sport. Joo Se Hyuk got his start around this same time period, if I recall correctly. To us, back then, he was "that Korean chopper".

GoldenNittakus wrote:
I was playing in that same period, and do think I remember your name from rec.sports.tabletennis on yahoo groups.


Peach ala Frog.. ;)

There are a lot of posters I miss, some I don't. Wonder where Alan Williams went - he used to post some really interesting analyses of blades and rubber. I think he invented "gears". And remember he-who-must-not-be-named? Apparently he's recently developed a fixation on hardbat, now speedglue is gone..

GoldenNittakus wrote:
I like the 40mm ball, I think it is still plenty fast with it, and think the 11 point games add an extra piece to the sport also.

The glue ban is something that was well deserved in this sport, and so much controversary over it back in the day you mention...I still have a small amount of german glue that was banned.

I've only done a single blade last Friday for a colleague using the new Butterfly Free Chalk non-VOC glue, and to be honest...I didn't like it very well...it seems runny to me and makes a mess...I mentioned that to my local TT shop where I bought my shoes and they said it requires patience to let it setup longer than the old glues.

I think the changes to the sport were for it's own good.

GN


My thoughts are along the same lines. The glue thing was getting out of hand, even 1200-level players like myself were using the stuff. I still have cans of ASTI booster lying around, too. But looking back at all the fuss and noise and dire predictions made during that period of time - it makes me shake my head and smile. None of it came to pass.

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 12:28 
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The thing about speed glue (and tuning to an extent) is that is allowed one to take a really inexpensive rubber and make it perform pretty much on par with the "Big Boy" expensive rubbers. Plus, it was almost a TT ritual to glue up for those who did.

I came into the sport at the very tail end of this stuff.

I still see how one would feel about wanting to make the cheep stuff more customizable into what they want for performance.

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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 13:12 
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I didn't play for 25 years and when I came back for a long time I didn't think the 40mm ball looked or played "right." Serves used to be a lot spinnier as I remember. I liked the 11 point scoring system, but not the fact that overall points needed to win a match went from 42 to 33. (2 x 21 vs. 3 x 11).

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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 14:56 
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Yeah, there definitely was a ritual to it. I was even going to buy a racket press, then I thought, maybe I can make one quite easily. And then I stopped playing for some years and didn't get around to making it.

I don't think it was so much that speed glue made cheap stuff play like expensive stuff - it was that most of the expensive stuff was begotten due to the dissapearance of speed glue. Back then people played with Sriver or Mark V or Mendo, these were moderately priced (about $20-25 a sheet IIRC). The most expensive Butterfly sheet out there was Bryce, I forgot what it cost but it wasn't more than $40 a sheet, I think. No one was actually taking really cheap rubber (Butterfly D13?) and gluing it. The Tensors and Tenergies and Rasants were created to regain the glue effect that you weren't getting from glue anymore. And prices for these are now whatever the market will bear, it seems. The glue wasn't cheap, either, and you needed a lot of it. Today there'd be HazMat shipping added on.

What didn't exist back then (in the US, anyway) was access to cheap, direct-from-China Chinese rubber. Chinese rubber was cheaper, but wasn't that much cheaper, and the hard sponge used wasn't deemed suitable for speed-gluing.

So prices HAVE gone way up due to the glue ban, but they've dropped drastically at the lower end, as well!

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2014, 15:12 
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Im not sure about how the 40+ ball will play but it won't be long before it's on the market
I do think the 40 ball we are using now has extended the playing life of more players

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PostPosted: 09 Apr 2014, 16:13 
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iskandar taib wrote:
There are a lot of posters I miss, some I don't. Wonder where Alan Williams went - he used to post some really interesting analyses of blades and rubber. I think he invented "gears". And remember he-who-must-not-be-named? Apparently he's recently developed a fixation on hardbat, now speedglue is gone..

I'm not sure what happened to him. I'm an Alan, but not a Williams. ;)

I remember Sean O'Neil going off to start about.com's table tennis, but it seems to be defunct now after another guy took over. One person I don't miss much is the Israeli kid, Tal, with the filthy mouth and called himself the Garbageman. I saw LarryH over on Alex Table Tennis.

iskandar taib wrote:
My thoughts are along the same lines. The glue thing was getting out of hand, even 1200-level players like myself were using the stuff. I still have cans of ASTI booster lying around, too. But looking back at all the fuss and noise and dire predictions made during that period of time - it makes me shake my head and smile. None of it came to pass.

I had an Asti Strad blade, that I sold to a colleague recently. I have a pair of Asti Attack rubber I had purchased from Walquidi, and put it on another blade...but it reminded me how I didn't like that rubber. I've only played a few games with it, but going to replace it.

GN


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