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Why Table Tennis Rackets Are Red and Black in Color?


Some people may have such a question about table tennis rackets of why are table tennis bats having red color on one side and black color on another side. Why it is different in color on both sides? Why can’t they be other colors?

Regarding this issue, the ITTF has clearly stipulated in the racket rules of the table tennis competition that the table tennis bats must be dull and bright on both sides. One side must be black and the other side must be red.

black and red table tennis racket

Why Only These 2 Colors On a Ping Pong Paddle?

Why implemented such a rule? The main purpose is to distinguish the rubber used by the opponent during the game.

Before 1983, there were a lot of players who used rubbers that were of different performances but with the same color.

For example, some players use inverted rubber on one side and the long pimple rubber on the other side. And both sides of the rubbers also is of red color or black color.

During the rally, they can shift the racket to either use inverted rubber or long pimple rubber, this can be very deceptive and the shot was rather unpredictable by the opponent. This made a lot of players feel quite frustrated and think this is rather unfair for them to play in the game with such a trick.

Therefore, in 1983, the ITTF has then stipulated that the two sides of the racket must be one side red and one side black.

With the rule implemented, so if a player is using an inverted rubber for the black color and long pimple for the red color, then the opponent will be able to judge the characteristics of the ball and increase the fairness and appreciation of the game.

The Functionality of Black and Red Rubber

As mentioned before, the function of the red and black rubber is different. You can have one side with an inverted rubber and the other side with a long pimple, which is represented by red and black respectively.

If you try to play with a racket with these types of rubbers, you will understand that the inverted rubber has a fast killing speed, while the long pimple can increase the friction and it is easy to spin the ball. Of course, it is easy to catch the ball with the long pimple.

What Make ITTF Ultimately Stipulated Such Rule?

It is all because of Cai Zhenhua!

If we want to know why, then we need to go back to the time when Cai Zhenhua, who was a male former table tennis player from China at that time.

In fact, when Cai Zhenhua was a table tennis player, he was very good at playing the game. And he was the expert in switching his racket from one side to another side very fast.

At that time, every opponent who plays with him will feel very embarrassed. Cai Zhenhua was held a racket of the same color for two sides. One side of the inverted rubber, the other side of long pimple.

When he was playing with the ball, he loves to hold the handle of the racket and keep turning, He likes to turn until the opponent did not know which side of the racket he was used to making the shot.

Sometime when the opponent thought it was a spinning ball, but actually it was a fast ball when they received the shot which caused them to misjudge and make mistake in returning the shot. All their deployment tactics were all destroyed by Cai Zhenhua.

The opponent tends to lose the game to him because they can’t predict what kind of shot he made. He was so good until the ITTF need to stipulate the racket need to be black and red because of him.

More “Transparency” To Play The Game

In order to ensure the fairness of the game, a table tennis racket needs to be black and red. So that the opponent and the audience can know what glue you are playing to ensure the “transparency” of the game.

Besides, the different colors of the racket can also increase the viewing of the game where it can improve the attention of the audiences.

Having the red and black color on two sides of the racket can be more conspicuous, and they are opposite to the color of the light. Otherwise, if the racket rubber is with white color, it will reflect the light which will make the eyes of the opponent and audiences to be very uncomfortable.

The ITTF technical manual has stipulated that the thickness of the rubber sheet must not exceed 4.0mm. And the color of the rubber can only be red and black.

And it is stipulated that if one side of the racket is red, the other side must be black. As for the rubber on the forehand and the backhand, there is no difference. You can choose it yourself.

You can apply a similar type of rubber on both sides (for example, all anti-adhesive), or apply different rubber on both sides!

Extended Information

In the beginning, the ITTF did not impose strict restrictions on the color of the rubber, so that the use of table tennis racket was very confusing during the competition. Like former China’s table tennis player Chai Zhenhua as I mentioned earlier took this in full advantage to win most of the major international tournaments.

This kind of trick seems to have lost the “fair competition” purpose, so the ITTF has stipulated that all table tennis bats must be red and black on each side. This is to make the table tennis players be able to judge the rubber type by color, so as to judge the shot make by the opponent.

Besides, the gloss of the rubber surface needs to be within a specified range that is approved by ITTF to prevent affecting the vision of the opponent during the game.

Overall, most of the changes for the ITTF and related rules are adjusted to make the ping-pong competition to be fairer and more competitive.

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