Why are Ping Pong Paddles Different Colors?

In best ping pong paddle or table tennis, the game is played at an extremely fast pace, with many different shots hit with a specially designed paddle. It may seem strange why table tennis rackets have red on one side and black on the other. Why are the two sides different in color? Is there any reason not to use another color?  

The International Table Tennis Federation specifies that table tennis bats should always be dull on one side and bright on the other side. The black side must be on the outside, and the red side must be on the inside. 

You may also wonder why these ping pong rackets feel so different when playing. When you hit the ball with the black rubber side, you might notice a bit of a jump. On the other hand, the red side makes the ping pong ball go faster.

Ping Pong Paddles

Why only these 2 Colors on Ping Pong Paddles?

During the game, the rubber used by an opponent should be distinguishable. Many tennis players used rubber of the same color with varying performances before 1983. 

Some players used long pimple rubber on one end and inverted rubber on the other. However, they are both either red or black. In the game, they alternated between using long pimple rubbers or inverted rubbers on the racket. It was a deceptive shot, and opponents were uncertain what would happen next. Many players felt they had been cheated and frustrated.

Accordingly, the ITTF stipulated in 1983 that the racket must have one side red and one side black. When the rule is implemented, the opponent will judge the ball’s characteristics and increase fairness and appreciation of the game using an inverted rubber for the black color and a long pimple for the red color.

You may also love to watch – Rotherham vs Accrington Stanley Full Match Highlights

What is the Reason for Using Red and Black Ping Pong Paddles?

In 1986, the ITTF mandated the difference in the color of a table tennis paddle. The purpose of the rule is to ensure fairness during the game. Before this rule was adopted, players used various rubbers on their rackets. With these, players can deliver different shots and spins. 

For example, some players adopted long pips on one side and inverted rubbers on the other side. 

During the game, they freely use both sides of the rackets when hitting the balls. Conversely, their paddles often had the same color rubber on both sides. Due to this, the players are unable to tell which side of their opponent’s racket is used. Because of this, they can’t predict the shot their opponents will deliver and the ball’s reaction to the rubber. Ultimately, they felt cheated and frustrated. 

In an effort to avoid more disagreements in the game, the ITTF formally required the use of rubber paddles on both sides. Both sides may possess the same properties. But nowadays, different rubber is used on each side. 

Due to color differences, players can now determine the type of rubber used by their opponent in a match. In the end, it promotes fair play and appreciation for the sport.

Other Consideration with Color 

When you serve and play with your paddle close to your body, it is beneficial to wear a shirt that matches the rubber you use. If you make contact with the ball before your opponent can see you, it will be more difficult for them to see you.

However, in competition, you cannot wear a shirt that matches your paddle. Your opponent must see every contact you make with the ball for it to be legal.

One more visual trick is based on the color of the ball. When you face a red side, orange and white balls are more difficult to see; when you face a black side, white balls are very obvious.

Why is Black Prefered on the Forehand?

Compared to the red rubber, the black rubber has more tackiness, which makes it last longer. Consequently, the tackiness is essential to increasing the spin of your service from its soft side. Experts prefer black rubber for their forehands. Additionally, black colors have the ability to allow for long shots, which is possible when forehand loops are used.


There is a wide range of table tennis rackets to choose from. As a trainee, you are not likely to choose red and black rubber. It is important to recognize the difference if you intend to become a professional ping pong player. For more information about the effects of colors on ping pong, consult professionals. 

Not only is it is useful for officials, players, and judges to know which side of the paddle the ball is on. A slight difference in texture also gives the paddles different characteristics, causing the ball to act differently on each side. When the red side is used, the ball will go faster, and when the black side is used, it adds extra spin to the ball.


Every day we create distinctive, world-class content which inform, educate and entertain millions of people across the globe.

Related Articles

Back to top button