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38mm ball more entertaining despite ITTF reforms?

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    Posted: 12/05/2017 at 8:06am
I just saw the WTTC 1999 final between Liu Guoliang and Ma Lin, and it has to be one of the most entertaining matches I have ever seen. Many of the rules the ITTF have put in place over the years such as a higher net, bigger balls, larger table etc. seem to have been for the purpose of making the sport more entertaining to people new to the sport by making it slower, i.e. longer rallies. But it does seem that the sport has become less entertaining and interesting due to these "reforms". I'm curious to know the opinion of MYTT users on this matter.

The match is linked below for those who are curious:



Edited by VSDG - 12/05/2017 at 9:35am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote henningf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 8:22am
I would love to get the 38mm ball back
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 8:25am
Originally posted by VSDG VSDG wrote:

I just saw the WTTC 1999 final between Liu Guoliang and Ma Lin, and it has to be one of the most entertaining matches I have ever seen. Many of the rules the ITTF have put in place over the years such as a higher net, bigger balls, larger table etc. seem to have been for the purpose of making the sport more entertaining to people new to the sport by making it slower, i.e. longer rallies. But it does seem that the sport has become less entertaining and interesting due to these "reforms". I'm curious to know the opinion of MYTT users on this matter.

The match is linked below for those who are curious:


Can you remind me when did higher net and larger table rule change take place?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VSDG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 8:36am
I'm not sure exactly, or I might be misinformed, but this interview with Waldner (link below) seem to suggest that there was an increase in net height and table area at some point in time.

http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=33188


Edited by VSDG - 12/05/2017 at 8:49am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fabian1890 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 8:55am
You are misinformed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 9:07am
Before deciding that 38 mm balls were more entertaining to watch, you should watch quite a few more matches.  A lot of LGL matches in particular are not easy to watch (not because of the the ball so much, but an endless series of third-ball attacks is not that entertaining).  Then again, some matches were amazing. 

Like now.

Net and table dimensions have not ever changed. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 9:11am
Originally posted by VSDG VSDG wrote:

I just saw the WTTC 1999 final between Liu Guoliang and Ma Lin, and it has to be one of the most entertaining matches I have ever seen. Many of the rules the ITTF have put in place over the years such as a higher net, bigger balls, larger table etc. seem to have been for the purpose of making the sport more entertaining to people new to the sport by making it slower, i.e. longer rallies. But it does seem that the sport has become less entertaining and interesting due to these "reforms". I'm curious to know the opinion of MYTT users on this matter.

The match is linked below for those who are curious:



I don't have time to get the link but watch the Liu Guoliang vs Werner Schlager match from the same event (semi final) and you will get a different story.

Great matches like the one you saw are easier when the opponents are very familiar with each other.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote passifid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 9:12am
Part of the problem of these pre and very early 2000s matches is that only games we think are worth uploading get on the web, as such only important top matches or very entertaining matches get uploaded. The early matches will always be of a higher quality on average as we now have all games including awful ones uploaded every time by the wonderful youtube people.
I am glad we have these wonderful videos and also that we have acess to all matches now but remember most of the LGL waldner and crew matches on youtube are grand slam finals or semi finals, this match was great but was it so much better than zhang jike v wang hao? or ma long v fang bo 2015? not too much in it when factoring in that its finals or semis of important competitions
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VSDG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 9:26am
I see, thanks for the comments everyone, I didn't realize that these changes never happened. I do note that while some 38mm ball matches are really boring due to service errors, popped up pushes and a lot of one shot kills, but then again, many interesting styles are now less effective due to the larger ball, and there is now less emphasis on spin which makes table tennis unique from most racket sports. I do acknowledge that today, there are still many great matches that equal or even surpass the 1999 WTTC final, but I did want to know the opinion of MYTT members over this issue.

Edited by VSDG - 12/05/2017 at 9:34am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Basquests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 10:25am
Yeah, you need to compare apples with apples.

Before, you only got the best vs the best really. Now, you get anyone.

I think people just like bitching about things, and attribute things to things without much thought. 38mm balls do play a bit differently to 40+ plastic balls, but for 99% of players, the shape of your skill / rating graph is not gonna be wholly different. Doing a little bit more, losing 5kg or playing 8 times a month vs 6 x a month, or being a little smarter / learning to put more spin on a serve, would likely have a bigger impact.

With the depth and breadth of knowledge, machine learning and ability to iterate thus, the vast majority of fields in the world are rapidly improving. Athletes are fitter, faster, stronger in the vast majority of sports. In football, you could be drunk 40 or 50 years ago and still dominate if you were good enough, there are countless tales. Now, the majority barely have a drink in the off season...because at the pro level, yes, these changes can make enough of a difference. Because improving a lot is basically impossible for most professionals. FZD can get better, but he's not gonna become 30% better. The ball being as it is, say helps him 3-4% compared to 38mm, hypothetically, that may be the difference between #2 and #6. I do think he'd excel in either, but yeah, he might be worse than say XX for example [don't think he'd lose to anyone else, likely, as the gap between FZD and non CNT is quite large generally]


FZD's legs are absolutely huge. Players have learnt game theory / unexploitable strategies to an extent. 3rd / 5th ball attacks are so important at any decent level, and more so at the pro level. Yeah, some changes don't help defenders/choppers etc, but the fact is, people like Joo Se Hyuk etc. were never gonna be successful in this generation, unless the ball was changed blatantly to favour that style, because of the fact his style is simply a losing style against players these days, unless he can literally boast a talent level far in excess of his competition [i.e. be a way better defensive player talent wise, than the Ma Longs are at playing a largely attacking based game, and being way better than Ma Long, is not feasible].








Edited by Basquests - 12/05/2017 at 10:30am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote igorponger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 5:10pm
38mm looks like a tiny pea. 40mm ball was a good innovation by ITTF till they enforced the plastic.   

Great moments of the past. 40 mm celluloid.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChichoFicho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 5:15pm
The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bbkon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2017 at 11:35pm
Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:


The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.


a friend of mine brought 44 and 50mm balls frm japan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chicobo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 1:02am
The type of play that gets seen more nowadays is the type of play that attracted me to the game back in 2011. I'm not sold on whether the ball is the primary reason for the shift or if it was going to be the natural evolution of table tennis anyway, but if the ball change made the shift come quicker then I see that as a good thing personally.

Edited by Chicobo - 12/06/2017 at 1:03am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 2:39am
Not sure what the nostalgia was about, TT nowadays is a much more interesting game compared to the non-athletic serve and 3rd ball festival that was the 1990's game. A lot of guys here just prefer it because it hurt their styles, or just because they can't see the sport past their racially colored lenses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote icontek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 1:25pm
Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:

The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.

Correlation is not causation.

It's far more likely that the exponential increase in the number of hobbies and games (video, strategy, moba, rts) that would appeal to potential table tennis players ate away at the potential playerbase.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zeio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 1:48pm
Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:


The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.

38mm
Yoo Nam Kyu
Kim Ki Taek
Kim Taek Soo

40mm
Ryu Seung Min
Lee Jung Woo

40+


The end of the most athletic ball-busting style.

Silly indeed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 3:52pm
To be honest, I get bored watching counter looping back and forth, after a while.  I prefer watching match with lots of loop kills, and occasional back and forth rally that looks humanly impossible (you still see this type of games in women, or junior, playing close to the table).  I wonder what 38mm Plastic ball would play like.  Any guess?  It would probably hurt bad, when you get hit with it :).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 4:20pm
all in the distant past, the good ol days, speaking of good old days here comes........
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote icontek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 4:32pm
Originally posted by zeio zeio wrote:

Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:


The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.

38mm
Yoo Nam Kyu
Kim Ki Taek
Kim Taek Soo

40mm
Ryu Seung Min
Lee Jung Woo

40+


The end of the most athletic ball-busting style.

Silly indeed.


If you want to continue the "correlation is not causation" discussion, here's another reason why Korea's best competitors are not playing Table Tennis:



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZingyDNA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 4:45pm
Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:

Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:


The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.


Correlation is not causation.

It's far more likely that the exponential increase in the number of hobbies and games (video, strategy, moba, rts) that would appeal to potential table tennis players ate away at the potential playerbase.


The fact TT is competing against those video games says a lot about the sport. I bet tennis don't have that problem
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 5:05pm
Originally posted by ZingyDNA ZingyDNA wrote:

Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:

Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:


The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.


Correlation is not causation.

It's far more likely that the exponential increase in the number of hobbies and games (video, strategy, moba, rts) that would appeal to potential table tennis players ate away at the potential playerbase.


The fact TT is competing against those video games says a lot about the sport. I bet tennis don't have that problem


Of course tennis has that problem. Everything has the same problem -- the more choices there are, the fewer kids take up each one. Table tennis is growing in the US with more full-time clubs and professional coaches. And it seems to be doing okay in Europe. I'm in Portugal now and there are plenty of kids training at this club. Maybe in China it is shrinking, and I guess that could swamp any growth in the rest of the world. But they still seem to have a pretty good pipeline of talent coming up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2017 at 6:27pm
Originally posted by ZingyDNA ZingyDNA wrote:

Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:

Originally posted by ChichoFicho ChichoFicho wrote:


The bigger the balls, the sillier the game. No wonder less and less people are taking up the game nowadays.


Correlation is not causation.

It's far more likely that the exponential increase in the number of hobbies and games (video, strategy, moba, rts) that would appeal to potential table tennis players ate away at the potential playerbase.


The fact TT is competing against those video games says a lot about the sport. I bet tennis don't have that problem


In fact it does.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote king_pong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/07/2017 at 5:40am
I think the old 38mm ball matches looked fantastic, but I definitely feel like I'm seeing a slight speed drop off somewhere in the mid-90's.  The rallies just seemed so incredible from like 1986-1994. 
Did the ITTF eliminate the more noxious chemicals out of the speed-glue around this time?  I had read that there were a few incarnations of speed-glue.  Could this possibly be the reason? 

Check out the following matches.  Notwithstanding, this first match (where we see possibly the 2 best forehands of the age), the match rallies seem to get a bit faster/more ridiculous as we go backwards in chronology —

- Jean Philippe Gatien vs. Wang Liqin, French League, 1999:



- Jan Ove Waldner vs. Jean Michel Saive, 1994 Euros:


- Jörgen Persson vs. Leszek Kucharski, 1986 Euros:





Edited by king_pong - 12/12/2017 at 2:43am
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