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learning curve + equipment

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    Posted: 02/20/2024 at 6:12pm
Is there another sport that has such a steep learning curve, plus a wide variety of equipment.

I can see why garage/basement players quit after the first club visit.
I've always done well in sports and took up ping pong at the age of 52 (1996).  I was easily able to beat all my garage friends.  I saw an ad for a local table tennis club and decided to visit the club.  There were 5 or 6 players in the club with most over 70 years of age and rated around 1400.  I had my pink and green hardbat and was soundly beaten by all the players.  Most garage players would have been frustrated and never returned to the club.  I took my beatings and set a goal of beating one player in a year.  It took me a full year to win a match.  Clubmates told me to go inverted to improve.  I was also told that if I had a good forehand loop l would be rated about 1200.  Add a backhand loop and I'd be 1400.  I did it.  Now 9 year old's can loop from both sides and are rated 2000.

Is there another sport that has such a wide variety of equipment.  It would help the sport if there were only one or two types of paddles.  It would make it easier for new players to fit in.  EJ's and equipment companies would hate the change.  It sure would save us a lot of money.
Just my thoughts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2024 at 7:21pm
Your thoughts are not uncommon and are well intentioned.   What that means in thr face of the status quo and the direction the sport has currently evolved is hard to say.  My best guess is that one should try to form a inverted table tennis with regulations and limits based on a standard setup.  It just might catch on and beat hard bat.  But spin makes the sport hard for most but I think a standard setup for everyone will put some guard rails around that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfolsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2024 at 7:24pm
I don't know of one. I think it was Dick Miles who said no other sport has as big a difference between the amateur and the professional. The spin is just ridiculous. Which also makes it a poor spectator sport, unless you play it the shots are hard to understand.

Edit: Just the sheer amount of spin from inverted will stop most first time visitors to a club. Then there is all the interaction from pips, long pips and anti spin. It used to be worse, I played before the two color rule. Black on both sides, twiddle the racket and foot stomp on the serve to disguise the sound. Turn the match into a guessing game.


Edited by jfolsen - 02/20/2024 at 7:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2024 at 11:35pm
I think something should be done to standardize the equipment.  The sport is already too difficult for most people to attempt let alone watch. 

The bottom line in table tennis is that a player must instantaneous correctly react to the speed, location and spin of the ball, make a judgement then correctly provide a response.  If you start playing at 2, nice fast neural pathways will develop and you have a lot of time to react correctly and do the correct thing.  If you start at 12, these pathways won't be as good as those who started earlier and you will have less time and probably never be able to compete with the people who started at 2.  If you start at 16, well a national team coach in China I knew put it this way "Waldner was the most naturally talented player ever, even if he started playing at 16 with every advantage possible, he would probably only make a province team in China, if that." 


Edited by Lightspin - 02/20/2024 at 11:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aerial Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/21/2024 at 9:39am
I think TTX was the proposed answer to learning curve/equipment issue, from what I remember, basically just hardbat table tennis but never seemed to catch on.

IF there existed yet another sub-group within our sport... will there be any possibilities for growth? (Sponge players/Hardbat players already seem to hate each other...) Just saying it's like we are a party divided that doesn't want to help the other's cause when in reality we're all in the same boat and it's essentially all the same sport.

Also, if this sub-group was created, not sure how many players out there would be willing to play with the same racket and rubber. Only all-wood with Sriver/MarkV allowed ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/21/2024 at 10:40am
The thought of a standardized setup is like the idea of making everybody pay the same %age of their revenue in taxes. We start again from a clean slate and next thing we know, there is an exception here, an exemption there and in no time it's the same mess all over again.

LP, MP, SP, Anti make the game richer and harder to understand, it should be seen as an asset. Hard bat and standardized [smooth rubber/sponge] only bats are 2 ways to simplify things and they should be explored and enforced but in the end, I'd rather see an evolution where our general rating would be a reflection of our strength in all 3 disciplines: all open, hardbat only and smooth/sponge only. Going there, we will still see people specializing in any of the 3 and not caring about the other 2 and that's okay. 

What's needed is a leadership imposing hardbat and smooth only events in rated tournaments. If the tournament director wants their event to be USATT rated, they will make sure to have the relevant mandatory hardbat only and smooth/sponge only events along with the traditional ones. It would be an inexpensive way to force local communities to promote simpler games while the traditional mayhem where spin gets crazy complicated still lives on strong, the latter being very important to manufacturers without the approval of whom nothing will happen.

Such a decision does not ask any substantial investment in terms of money and it will create 2 more clear entry points to the game, we'll see local hardbat leagues flourishing because there will be hardbats events in all rated tournaments, same for all smooth with sponge.




Edited by stiltt - 02/21/2024 at 10:45am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TwiddleDee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/21/2024 at 10:43am
I recall when rubber options totaled to about 20, and paddle options were about the same, in the early Paddle Palace catalog, one sheet of paper. Then along came speed glue, treated long pips, carbon paddles, etc. The number of clubs began to increase as did training camps. Anyone who was playing in their basement back then, who decided to emerge and play at a club, were soundly beaten. Those players usually returned to their basements. A determined few struggled to catch up with the curve. Some did, others waited too long to do so. Then, speed glue was banned, the ball changed, and the options for rubbers and blades number in the 100's. Without proper coaching, this sport is very difficult to learn and adapt to.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote b3nhold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/23/2024 at 11:10am
It's an interesting idea. You'd have to make the rubbers open-source so anyone could replicate it with a particular rubber formula and pip geometry. Then swap at each set like in ping-pong. Hardbat is definitely the purest form of table tennis though and definitely closest to how the sport was intended. There should be more hardbat tournaments!
My style of powerloop JPen is probably as far from hardbat as you could get. My guess is that hardbat favours harder woods. Anyhow, I'm open to hardbat suggestions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mykonos96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/28/2024 at 8:09pm
Originally posted by Lightspin Lightspin wrote:

I think something should be done to standardize the equipment.  The sport is already too difficult for most people to attempt let alone watch. 

The bottom line in table tennis is that a player must instantaneous correctly react to the speed, location and spin of the ball, make a judgement then correctly provide a response.  If you start playing at 2, nice fast neural pathways will develop and you have a lot of time to react correctly and do the correct thing.  If you start at 12, these pathways won't be as good as those who started earlier and you will have less time and probably never be able to compete with the people who started at 2.  If you start at 16, well a national team coach in China I knew put it this way "Waldner was the most naturally talented player ever, even if he started playing at 16 with every advantage possible, he would probably only make a province team in China, if that." 

What coach said that?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/29/2024 at 7:34am
idk, can't we have one thing that's difficult?  

Sure, more people will be attracted to a game that is easier to master, see pickleball for the obvious example.  What does that do for those of us who love table tennis?  

Do you want to play indoor pickleball on a smaller scale?  Picktable?  

Sounds horrible to me.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/29/2024 at 9:40am
Every one of the complaints of table tennis listed above, complexity, variation of equipment, difficult learning curve are in my opinion POSTIVE FEATURES. I love all of them. They are WHY I play the game and keep playing the game. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mts388 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/29/2024 at 1:31pm
I'm with Vanjr on this one.  I've played sports all my life and table tennis is the sport I've had the most trouble trying to play the game well.  Friends ask my why I stick with a sport that is so difficult for me to play. My answer is always "I refuse to let the sport beat me"  I will keep playing until I feel I have beaten the sport.  Unfortunately I'm a long way from my goal.  
I also love playing in tournaments and with friends.


Edited by mts388 - 03/29/2024 at 1:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfolsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/29/2024 at 10:20pm
I also love the game, complexity and spin. But I have no delusion that it will ever be anything but a very minor spectator sport, and all the rules changes to make it more "television friendly" should stop. It's not going to happen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote king_pong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/30/2024 at 4:45pm
Something like - "Retro-days tournaments" - where only 5-ply or 7-ply blades <5.9mm are permitted, and then covered only with Sriver, Coppa or Mark V inverted rubber.   Is that what we are going for here?  I'm with it Thumbs Up


Edited by king_pong - 03/30/2024 at 4:50pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Fulanodetal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/04/2024 at 2:39am
Am I the only one who thinks the variety of rubber surfaces and playing styles actually makes this sport more interesting? Imagine if all we had were the hard bats with the short pimples (first rackets I ever used)

I remember the first time I used a paddle with inverted rubbers. It was like a life changing revelation.
The challenge of playing (and figuring) against pimples makes things interesting. It helps you to learn to adapt and think about tactics. This is a sport where not only your skills count but also your intelligence.

FdT



Edited by Fulanodetal - 04/04/2024 at 2:40am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/04/2024 at 5:14am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/04/2024 at 5:21am
Originally posted by BRS BRS wrote:

idk, can't we have one thing that's difficult?  

Sure, more people will be attracted to a game that is easier to master, see pickleball for the obvious example.  What does that do for those of us who love table tennis?  

Do you want to play indoor pickleball on a smaller scale?  Picktable?  

Sounds horrible to me.  

Nah. It sounds like fun. Surely, you have played tt using only a piece of wood or blades without rubbers. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Twiddler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/04/2024 at 3:55pm
What's needed is a leadership imposing hardbat and smooth only events in rated tournaments. If the tournament director wants their event to be USATT rated, they will make sure to have the relevant mandatory hardbat only and smooth/sponge only events along with the traditional ones. It would be an inexpensive way to force local communities to promote simpler games while the traditional mayhem where spin gets crazy complicated still lives on strong, the latter being very important to manufacturers without the approval of whom nothing will happen.

Such a decision does not ask any substantial investment in terms of money and it will create 2 more clear entry points to the game, we'll see local hardbat leagues flourishing because there will be hardbats events in all rated tournaments, same for all smooth with sponge.
Stiltt wrote.
This is a very good idea. The player off the street who wants to compete can start one event HB. They can then see the sponge side of the sport. Also say a 2000 event smooth only would be very popular. Long pips has sent too many people away from the sport.
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