For any table tennis player, it is important to know the quality of the ball. Table Tennis Manufacturers create various star balls depending on the quality. Every star balls is different from other and for various reason. Manufacturers such as Stiga, DHS, Joola, Donic etc create multiple star balls but usually from 1 star to 3 star balls. 4 star balls are not really created and even on ITTF website, you can see list of approved Table Tennis Balls. List of Balls approved by ITTF.
The better quality ball is more consistent
Usually the balls are available in yellow and white colours and the colour doesn’t make a difference in the ball quality. It is mostly preference of players, white color balls is generally used in tournaments these days. Related to quality, in the past, celluloid balls used to be standard for table tennis matches but now plastic balls are used and you can identify plastic balls with 40+ keyword written on the ball. The game has changed drastically after changing from celluloid to plastic balls and is now much more physical compared to before.
Let’s take a look at different star balls qualities and characteristics.
1 star balls are cheaper and 3 star balls are costly. Generally you will find the 3 star balls almost 4-5 times the price of a 1 star ball. That’s a very big difference in price.
3 star balls are having better durability than 1 star balls but the cost does compensate for less durability for 1 star balls.
The 1 star balls are mostly for recreational purpose and entertainment. The 3 star balls are mostly used for tournaments and professionals. Decent level players usually use 1 star balls for multi-ball but professionals prefer to use 3 star balls in their practice & multi-balls to adjust to bounce and feeling of such balls.
The material for 1 star and 3 star is usually the same. Most of the manufacturers discard the uneven balls to lower stars. However some manufacturers use a heavier quality plastic for 3 star balls. It is interesting that you can get a different quality of ball depending on which brand.
With a 1 star ball, you will see a slow and less spinny game. The bounce would be lower which would result in less rallies but with 3 star balls, you will see a high bounce and thus more rallies with lots of spin.
3 star balls are more consistent with the bounce and predictability, after all table tennis is a quick sport with lots of reflex action. Hence at professional level, 3 star balls are preferred.
Dragon Balls are 1 star to 7 stars balls but table tennis balls are from 1 star to 3 stars :)
If you are playing for recreational purpose, then just go with 1 star balls and have fun. It will be cost effective and an entertaining experience. However, if you are a professional, then you already know which star table tennis ball you need to use. ;)
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