© ITTF Equipment Committee
Rufford Harrison (USA) and Odd Gustavsen (Norway)
THE CONTROL OF RACKET COVERINGS
As everybody must know by now, there is concern about the lack of attractiveness of our sport. When most rallies last only two or three strokes, there is very little opportunity for the spectator to see what is happening, to understand the tactics employed by each player, even to know why a player lost a particular point. A possible reason for this situation is that the ball is so fast that virtually every return is a stroke in desperation; the player just has time to reach the ball, but very little time in which to think about making a good return. Even if he does get the ball back, his opponent will have exactly the same problem, so that the probability of the ball going of or of winning the point is probably higher than that it will be returned. This is not a good situation and it has resulted, of course, from the development of spinny, speedy racket coverings. The obvious solution is to control those racket coverings so as to reduce the speed and spin slightly, but not too much; we do not want to change the character of the sport entirely. <....>
With that in mind, the ITTF Council (*) at its last meeting instructed the Equipment Committee to develop control methods for limiting the properties of the racket coverings. But that is all that the Council said, and it is our job to determine how best to do it.