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2020 USA Olympic Selection

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jfolsen View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01/08/2019 at 1:10pm
2020 USA Olympic Selection Procedures.
Larry Hodges blogged about it today: http://www.tabletenniscoaching.com/node/3029
Interesting reading, I personally prefer more trials and less committee selection.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfolsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 12:03pm
So from the lack of responses people are Ok with a committee picking 2 out of the 3 members of the Olympic Team?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Simon_plays Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 12:32pm
I like Larry's arguments against trials, namely that they might favour an underdog player who's hot on the day and who does better against naional players that he is familiar with. 

I personally think that so long as there is a way to qualify through a trial for one of the spots it is OK that the coaching staff select the players they think will best benefit from the experience/ have the best chance of some progression. 

Also, Larry's third option of having a pre-determined criteria, such as national and world ranking determine 2 of the spots is in my view less favourable as we have all seen how at times not the best players can be ahead in rankings. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ndotson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 1:07pm
Originally posted by Simon_plays Simon_plays wrote:

I like Larry's arguments against trials, namely that they might favour an underdog player who's hot on the day and who does better against naional players that he is familiar with. 

I personally think that so long as there is a way to qualify through a trial for one of the spots it is OK that the coaching staff select the players they think will best benefit from the experience/ have the best chance of some progression. 

Also, Larry's third option of having a pre-determined criteria, such as national and world ranking determine 2 of the spots is in my view less favourable as we have all seen how at times not the best players can be ahead in rankings. 


I don't think Larry was personally arguing against trials, but rather pointing out the arguments that have been made by the High Performance Committee in favor of selection. I'm glad Larry didn't present a straw-man argument against selection.

It seems complicated on both sides of the argument between selection and trials, but I tend to lean toward trials. I like the idea and story of an underdog being able to rise up. When the process is more about subjectivity (selection), then there will inevitably be more controversy and accusations of unfairness. Let the players decide, through trials. If you have a bad day...well, that's what competition is all about. Who's to say that the "underdog" who won by a "fluke" won't go on to perform better at the Olympics if given the chance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kyle90 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 1:10pm
This is a move in the wrong direction. Look at the current three top eligible women in the USA (Liu Juan, Wu Yue, Lily Zhang). Out of these three which two would the committee choose? Lily and Jennifer have more international results to show for, yet anytime Liu Juan has played against the other US women she seems to win rather comfortably. I think at most one committee selected qualifier per gender would be appropriate. Keep in mind we aren’t even technically guaranteed all six spots.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Simon_plays Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 1:27pm
Originally posted by ndotson ndotson wrote:

Originally posted by Simon_plays Simon_plays wrote:

I like Larry's arguments against trials, namely that they might favour an underdog player who's hot on the day and who does better against naional players that he is familiar with. 

[...]


I don't think Larry was personally arguing against trials, but rather pointing out the arguments that have been made by the High Performance Committee in favor of selection. I'm glad Larry didn't present a straw-man argument against selection.

[...]

Yeah, I thought he was presenting those arguments altough they weren't completely alligned with his opinions. 

My phrasing of saying I like 'Larry's' arguments was perhaps a bit ambiguous. Should have said that I acutally agree with the points he makes, albeit he only makes them to present that side of the discussion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 6:51pm
Why not one spot for highest ranked player, one by trial and one wild card selection?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoFootwork Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 8:45pm
Frankly unfortunately no US male or female player has a chance to make the main draw of the Olympics singles event let alone have a chance to medal.

I don't like committee selections as there can be favoritism or at least charges of favoritism by players (or parents/coaches of players) who feel they should have made the team but not selected.

My opinion is 1 spot goes to the male and female with the highest ITTF ranking.  This is achieved thru playing in ITTF sanctioned tournaments where you play against international players, same as what will happen in the Olympics.  Have the person who has participated and done the best against that field as evidenced by the highest ITTF ranking qualify automatically.

Then hold 2 separate trials, one month apart.  Winner of trial 1 gets the second spot and does not compete in the 2nd trial.

Winner of trial 2 gets the 3rd spot.

Make the trials a month apart in case some one is injured and that gives the player a chance to recover.  Sports can be cruel in this regard, but it is what it is.

I don't agree with the thought that a trial is unfair to a good player having a bad day.  You either perform or you don't on the day (or days) you are expected to perform.  That is what competition is about.  That is what being an athlete is about, its what they should be training for.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 9:29pm
I guess one drawback of using 'highest ranked by ITTF' as a selection criteria, is that current ITTF ranking algorithm rewards participation (I could be mistaken). One could argue then that it allows someone with 'financial means' to attain higher ranking compared to what playing ability would.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoFootwork Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2019 at 10:42pm
Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

I guess one drawback of using 'highest ranked by ITTF' as a selection criteria, is that current ITTF ranking algorithm rewards participation (I could be mistaken). One could argue then that it allows someone with 'financial means' to attain higher ranking compared to what playing ability would.
 
Could possibly happen, but you still need to win matches in the ITTF events to get a decent ranking.  Kanak currently #51 in ITTF Jan ranking.  

Look at Wally Green who attended multiple ITTF Pro Tour events but did not win a single match and did not get any ranking if I remember correctly.  Previously, I think you had to win at least 2 matches in order to get a ranking.  I'm not sure if that criteria is still in force in the new ranking calculations.  Even if it isn't, how many qualifying matches do you need to play to get higher than #51 since none of our guys are good enough to make it into the main draw.  I don't see this as a realistic scenario. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Purett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2019 at 3:23pm
Originally posted by NoFootwork NoFootwork wrote:

Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

I guess one drawback of using 'highest ranked by ITTF' as a selection criteria, is that current ITTF ranking algorithm rewards participation (I could be mistaken). One could argue then that it allows someone with 'financial means' to attain higher ranking compared to what playing ability would.
 
Could possibly happen, but you still need to win matches in the ITTF events to get a decent ranking.  Kanak currently #51 in ITTF Jan ranking.  

Look at Wally Green who attended multiple ITTF Pro Tour events but did not win a single match and did not get any ranking if I remember correctly.  Previously, I think you had to win at least 2 matches in order to get a ranking.  I'm not sure if that criteria is still in force in the new ranking calculations.  Even if it isn't, how many qualifying matches do you need to play to get higher than #51 since none of our guys are good enough to make it into the main draw.  I don't see this as a realistic scenario. 
wally never won a game 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DonnOlsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2019 at 7:08pm
Originally posted by Purett Purett wrote:

Originally posted by NoFootwork NoFootwork wrote:

Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

I guess one drawback of using 'highest ranked by ITTF' as a selection criteria, is that current ITTF ranking algorithm rewards participation (I could be mistaken). One could argue then that it allows someone with 'financial means' to attain higher ranking compared to what playing ability would.
 
Could possibly happen, but you still need to win matches in the ITTF events to get a decent ranking.  Kanak currently #51 in ITTF Jan ranking.  

Look at Wally Green who attended multiple ITTF Pro Tour events but did not win a single match and did not get any ranking if I remember correctly.  Previously, I think you had to win at least 2 matches in order to get a ranking.  I'm not sure if that criteria is still in force in the new ranking calculations.  Even if it isn't, how many qualifying matches do you need to play to get higher than #51 since none of our guys are good enough to make it into the main draw.  I don't see this as a realistic scenario. 
wally never won a game 

Wally is a fine player that definitely could win games and matches if he would just stop playing the German Open and pick a much less Monster tournament.

Thanks, 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Purett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/14/2019 at 9:16am
Originally posted by DonnOlsen DonnOlsen wrote:

Originally posted by Purett Purett wrote:

Originally posted by NoFootwork NoFootwork wrote:

Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

I guess one drawback of using 'highest ranked by ITTF' as a selection criteria, is that current ITTF ranking algorithm rewards participation (I could be mistaken). One could argue then that it allows someone with 'financial means' to attain higher ranking compared to what playing ability would.
 
Could possibly happen, but you still need to win matches in the ITTF events to get a decent ranking.  Kanak currently #51 in ITTF Jan ranking.  

Look at Wally Green who attended multiple ITTF Pro Tour events but did not win a single match and did not get any ranking if I remember correctly.  Previously, I think you had to win at least 2 matches in order to get a ranking.  I'm not sure if that criteria is still in force in the new ranking calculations.  Even if it isn't, how many qualifying matches do you need to play to get higher than #51 since none of our guys are good enough to make it into the main draw.  I don't see this as a realistic scenario. 
wally never won a game 

Wally is a fine player that definitely could win games and matches if he would just stop playing the German Open and pick a much less Monster tournament.

Thanks, 
i don't agree he's a 2200 player at most
practices like crazy and stumping he's feet in the same spot for years
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lightspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/14/2019 at 12:32pm
The USATT is a very political organization with various factions fighting for their own interests.  I think selecting 4 of the 6 positions is going to leave many people very unhappy.  It will also be somewhat unfair to the unpopular players.  I think the fairest thing to do is have 1-3 competitions where the results determine who is on the team. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/14/2019 at 1:13pm
Originally posted by Lightspin Lightspin wrote:

The USATT is a very political organization with various factions fighting for their own interests.  I think selecting 4 of the 6 positions is going to leave many people very unhappy.  It will also be somewhat unfair to the unpopular players.  I think the fairest thing to do is have 1-3 competitions where the results determine who is on the team.  
I could not agree more. I do not know what to think about the special cases where, for example, the absolute best player would be injured for the trials and then in top form a couple weeks before the competition: what do we do there? I believe the committee choosing a player may answer those special cases but there is no warranty the feature will be used fairly...

I have no clue, ANY system will fail and be unfair if we keep throwing special cases at it.

The only thing that makes me think a lot in that topic is the 2016 euro soccer competition: I was in vacation in France and in a cab on my way back to my hotel to watch the semi final v. Germany. I benefited from the driver's super high level of wisdom,; trying to justify that some great players like Karim Benzema were not part of the French team (the dude is one of the absolute best striker in the world), he said something fantastic: "the coach was successful building a group of people who enjoy playing together." We made it to the final and lost a strong Portugal. Following the same logic, Benzema did not make the world cup team 2 years later and we won the trophy without him. That kind of success could feed the argument of a committee chosen player in USATT team competitions. I do recognize the comparison is not fully valid since we can't evaluate 2 soccer players by themselves, there is no way to test them one on one and decide who's the best while it's possible in tt. I just wanted to underline that a committee may have a greater picture to help a team win by making sure they feel strong and happy together and so letting them choose a player is maybe a good idea.
For individual competitions, I do not see a reason to let a committee choose any player, that's a door open to abuse. Only in the case of an injury during a trial we could think about helping the best player to get in but that's also wrong IMO: it is the player's responsibility to be ready when it matters! and that includes trials.


Edited by fatt - 01/14/2019 at 1:15pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Pimple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/14/2019 at 4:02pm
Originally posted by Purett Purett wrote:

i don't agree he's a 2200 player at most
practices like crazy and stumping he's feet in the same spot for years

His current ratings is 2321.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote konnichwakid1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2019 at 3:44pm
It will be awful if they select Olympians by committee. The beauty of table tennis is that anyone can win. I know people in smaller towns that don't have access to many tournaments that have low rankings, because of one bad tournament. They work to crack 2500 and then have one bad tournament and now they drop. They don't have the financials to fly back to CA or NY every other week to bolster their ranking. It's already an absolute tragedy that they seeded people into a top 12 for the 2012 Olympics and then made some 80 people fight it out for the remaining 4 spots. Those 12 players bolster their ratings based on the number of tournaments in their location and likely easy pickings from high rated foreigners that are happy to give their friends some points. Foreign coaches throwing matches to their students to give them the higher rank is common sense. The Olympics should be a round robin tournament. Throw people in groups and let the top half come out to the next group, and so on until you're down to a final group of a dozen guys. This doesn't take long and it eliminates the field fast. And if "someone gets hot" then they deserve to go to the Olympics! If they can beat you on the day that it matters most, then they're the better player! This is crazy if they nominate players! I guess I don't need to watch table tennis anymore. I will just look at the average ratings and give that guy the win. I will never let my kid take this sport to the next level if I know some jerks on a committee are going to vote for his fate. They shouldn't select anything. Not a single thing. They shouldn't select for anyone to get even something as little as a bye for one round!!! If they do this, then you can just watch the sport fall apart since we know it will be a pure money pit. They will reward players who put in the most money and the rest of us will be throwing our investments away. Ridiculous!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote konnichwakid1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2019 at 3:49pm
Lightspin andFATT, you are right on!




Edited by konnichwakid1 - 01/28/2019 at 3:51pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wilkinru Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2019 at 3:56pm
I think I'm okay with the doubles partner being picked by a committee.

I'd be MORE OK with individual players being picked by matches. However I think it needs to be more than 1 tourney that you win over 3 days.

I'd like to see a series of matches over 2 years prior to the Olympics. US Open, US Nationals, some closed tourneys.

You get points for results, top points gets the selection picks. I think 2 years from the Olympics should count less than 1 year prior and even have a selection tourney close to the Olympics which ends up being the most points. That way players who are strong close to the Olympics will get an advantage but at the same time if a top player is sick/recovering from injury then it isn't out of possibility for them to make it.

Definitely problems with my idea above, but it solves the issue of your top players being sick and not able to get a selection spot. It also allows for selection by competition. Point values, when the tourneys take place and the possibility of a player who has really improved just before the Olympics could miss out. If anything we could all agree the points winner earned the spot, even if they are not the best player at that moment. I can't imagine getting worse than the top 5  representing the USA in the Olympics with a point system.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kyle90 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2019 at 4:20pm
For the elite level players this must be a difficult situation to deal with. Those that speak up about the selection process would risk a bias against them for future national team selections. Looking at the men’s side I don’t see how anyone other than Kanak that would warrant a “free ride” through the trial process. On the women’s side I can see them picking Lily and Jennifer over a clearly superior Liu Juan. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hookumsnivy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2019 at 5:22pm
For singles it should be completely based on trials - though I would do multiple trials spread out over a few months.
The way I see it, it eliminates a few problems:
1. 1 bad day doesn't ruin your chances
2. Gives you time if you're recovering from an injury
3. Completely merit based (the most important aspect)

I think doubles is a little different as then it's a team sport and you need to right partner
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