Starting October 1st, 2021, new ITTF regulations are in effect regarding colors allowed for rubber on table tennis paddles. One side of the table tennis paddle must have black rubber, and the other side must be a contrasting color. New allowed colors for the non-black side are blue, green, pink, and violet. The ITTF has left the door open for possible sanctioning of more colors in the future.
Since 1986 the previous ITTF requirement has been black on one side and red on the other. Before 1986 there were several colors that were legal. In the 1970’s and early 80’s, most players played with the same color on both sides, either both sides red or both sides black, but it was not unusual to see ITTF approved gold, green, and other colors.
There was a very good reason to change to the red and black rule. Players using two vastly different types of rubbers on their paddle, such as long pips on one side and smooth inverted rubber on the other, would usually maximize deception by playing with both sides black. Combination players became very adept at disguising which side they used when hitting the ball. Not knowing what type of rubber struck the ball made it much harder to know what spin was on the ball, and this was hurting the sport for both players and spectators.
Why add colors? — Why not? Since one side must be black and the other side a contrasting color, it is still easy for players and spectators to see which rubber has been used to strike the ball. If you like the traditional red and black, stay with that. But now players are also able to color up their life, starting with their rubber! As of November, 2021, Paddle Palace has in stock these rubbers in new colors: Donic Bluestorm Z1, Bluestorm Z1 Turbo, Bluestorm Z2, and Bluestorm Z3 rubbers in BLUE, andro Rasanter R48, Hexer Power Grip, and Hexer Grip rubbers in GREEN, and Tibhar Grass D.TecS long pips rubber in GREEN. Stay tuned to PaddlePalace.com as more colors become available.