Working on the assumption that Manchester Table Tennis League are going recommend the use of the new poly ball for next season, I contacted Steve at Custom Table Tennis to have a chat about the pros and cons of this new piece of equipment.
I explained I’d bought 3 Tibhar seamed balls a while back but not really tried them out since they weren’t being used for the 2014/15 season and also I was more intrigued with the seamless innovation. What did he have in stock?
He told me that Xiom were in the process of coming out with their own, which I’d have been happy to try as I have a Xiom bat, but for now he had two different ones in stock – Xushoufa from Xushoufa Sports and Kingnik from Shanghai Minkow Co Ltd, both Chinese and ITTF approved and both with good quality control.
6 of each arrived the next day and first glance showed both were perfectly round and startlingly white.
Dropping the balls from a similar height had the Kingnik bouncing higher but the noise of both was noticeably different from celluloid.
So after the technical stuff (?) I packed them into my bag for a Sunday practise session.
I picked a good day because most of the players arrived so I had quite a few guinea pigs to work with.
I gave each table a Xushoufa and a Kingnik and asked them to try them out for 10 or 15 minutes each to see if they could spot any differences between them.
First impressions were that the Kingnik ball felt heavier but that both were taking less spin than the old celluloid balls.
The second impression was spotted by the flat hitters – the Xushoufa ball seemed to move about the in the air after a smack, a bit like a free kick from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Kingnik had a truer path in the air with every kind of spin or power.
Both balls stood up to quite lot of punishment that day, especially from the harder hitters who can go through 2 or 3 per session sometimes, and I’ve used the same Kingnik a couple of times afterwards and there’s still been no damage done.
Reviewed by Andrea Kennedy.
Poly v Seamless balls
We'll see how they perform over the next few weeks but for now most people were definitely happier with Kingnik for weight and flight of the ball.