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PostPosted: 15 Jul 2018, 03:27 
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Seeing that there is a surge in hardbat popularity, I wonder why there isn't at least one company that would produce some small batches of 3 star 38 mm balls (celluloid preferred)? I think that coupled having a net that could adjust to what was the old height (6.5 inches right?) would help the game be more classic than it seems now. I understand that technique evolves over time, but I think it would help some of the game not turn into "sponge-light" as some have described. 38 mm has a straighter trajectory so you would have to pick your shots more carefully, and the same goes with the increased net height. I think this would create more attack/defense exchanges, and lead to great chops that the attacker might have to push more often, which would cause a reversal of roles in the point. What are your guys' thoughts on this?



Also if you skip to about 21 seconds, there were definitely topspin to topspin rallies back in the day.


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PostPosted: 15 Jul 2018, 17:44 
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Cool video, I wonder if that stroke was called the 'hop n chop'. ;)

Does 38mm really have a straighter trajectory? That's not how I remember it (with sponged rubbers), though it was 20 years ago so I could be wrong.

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PostPosted: 15 Jul 2018, 23:12 
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No it definitely does not have a flatter trajectory. The opposite is true. In the last 2-3 decades of the 38mm ball (i.e. after 1952) topspin attack was almost completely dominant in the top ranks of the sport. Brushed slow loops were so spinny that it was almost impossible to return, a lot of players used anti for that reason. If you flub one and it ends up in the net it would sit there hissing and spinning for a couple seconds. Serves were a lot trickier to return, too (especially after hidden serves came into vogue). My top/backspin wristy pendulum serve lost most of its potency after the 40mm ball appeared. As you can imagine it was harder to control, too. Lots of errors, and very short rallies.

On the other hand, for hardbat, the increase in spin should be welcome. You should be able to hit the ball harder with the increased topspin. I think you can still get good quality 38mm balls - I got some from Minkow a couple years ago.

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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2018, 01:52 
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In my experience the plastic ball HELPS modern hardbat.

Early this year I changed my forehand to short pips OX after many years of inverted looping and short pips driving.

To my surprise my playing level actually went up a bit! The level of control with modern hardbat is amazing.

I'm not an expert player. I have a USATT rating of 1750 and at the WVC in Vegas I beat a German looper with TTR of 1650.


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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2018, 11:33 
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Actually the level of control even with the "non-modern" hardbat was always much higher than with sponge. Marty Reisman could reliably break cigarettes in half when set upright on the other side of the table. (He'd hustle people by playing games where he'd have to break cigarettes while the other guy could just score points the usual way. Don't know who paid for the cigarettes.. back then it was 21 points a game so that's more than a pack a game.. :lol: ) That's why the 38mm ball would be a better match for the hardbat game. With hardbat, control is inherently higher, spin is less. The 38mm ball means less control and more spin compared to the 40mm ball (and even more so compared to the plastic ball).

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PostPosted: 17 Jul 2018, 14:19 
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See I read a study done on the different ball size, and it seems that although the smaller ball has more spin capability, the larger surface area creates more drag which makes the trajectory more curved. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the data.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... gT3hjdoW8Q


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PostPosted: 17 Jul 2018, 15:33 
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grygrskls1 wrote:
See I read a study done on the different ball size, and it seems that although the smaller ball has more spin capability, the larger surface area creates more drag which makes the trajectory more curved. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the data.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... gT3hjdoW8Q


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that analysis appears to demonstrate primarily that a larger ball will lose velocity more quickly therefore falling shorter over the net. That seems feasible though the analysis doesn't consider the weight of each ball size which I would have thought would impact somewhat on the forces slowing it down.

In any case, it also does not extend beyond the point of the ball bounce. What happens after the ball bounces is critical and after contact with the table I would have thought that a lighter, spinnier ball (and travelling at a higher velocity if you believe the analysis) would bounce further and at a higher trajectory than a larger, heavier less spinny one (especially on topspin strokes). Which is what I recall happening with the 38mm ball vs the 40mm ball.

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PostPosted: 17 Jul 2018, 16:23 
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I suppose he has a point - the smaller ball travels faster, even if the rotation is also faster, so the 40mm ball might actually dip more because it slows down more. Looking at the paper (which, by the way, has NO information about the authors, or when or where it was published - I suspect it was a student project) it does take into consideration that the larger balls rotate slower (angular velocity is inversely proportional to diameter), but I can't figure out if ball mass is taken into consideration.

While the ball may dip less, the other effects are as noted - the 38mm ball reacts off the racket surface more, it has a greater kick when it hits the table and it's harder to control compared to a 40mm ball.

Incidentally, did you notice the paper said the 40mm ball wasn't big enough? The author thought the 44mm ball would the better!

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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 06:30 
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I think it was a physics project. I dont know if weight was taken into account because that would effect the thickness of the ball which I would think effects the table and racket reaction. 44mm would be absurd haha. Optimal for viewing pleasure and participant in pleasure seem inversely proportionate as well. On a side note, a company called uberpong still produces 38mm 3 star balls (with custom print available) for anyone interested.


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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 11:15 
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44mm balls exist, by the way. The Japanese have organized 44mm competition, and some years ago I heard it had started up in Europe. Only pips out with 1.5mm sponge allowed - if you look at Nittaku's catalog several 44mm rubbers are listed. The net height is also higher. Why this class? It's kinda like modern hardbat and sandpaper - yet another way to have competitive table tennis with less spin and more control for the same reasons. The 44mm balls make excellent ab-initio training balls - if they ever do that open table thing at the shopping mall again I'll bring some 44mm balls. The general public can NOT handle normal balls and sponge bats... even pitter-pat pushing is hard.

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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 11:59 
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I have some of the 44s for fun. It would be absurd for competitive play though. They don't go anywhere at all. I was thinking of getting the higher net and 38s for some true classic hardbat but then friends would need the same balls and net at their house which isn't easy to convince everyone to do.


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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 13:18 
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Actually, the higher net was NOT in use unless you want to go WAAAAY back to 1938 (which was when the net was lowered to the current 6 inches from 6 3/4 inches - and this was also the year they banned fingerspin serves). All the "classic" table tennis we think of during the hardbat era was played with the current net height. Apparently the high net caused a 2 hour long rally at the 1936 WC, and attacking was near impossible because the tables they used happened to be really slow.

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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 14:47 
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I was thinking the net height was changed MUCH later than that. Well glad that won't need to be tinkered with.


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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 14:56 
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grygrskls1 wrote:
I was thinking the net height was changed MUCH later than that. Well glad that won't need to be tinkered with.

ITTF was fairly recently considering raising the net again. That's not off the table.

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PostPosted: 19 Jul 2018, 17:34 
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True. But that's not for hardbat. Hope it doesn't pass, though I'm sure it'd benefit defensive players. The reason the net was lowered was because the high net made attacking a lot more difficult. And I hope to goodness they don't allow fingerspin serves back.. :lol:

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