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Tournaments: Are they important?

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tommyzai View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09/02/2019 at 12:16pm
Of course tournaments are vital for professionals and world events, but what about the rest of us? 

  • Why play in a tournament? 
  • What are the pros and cons? 

I realize the benefits of playing matches . . . just wondering about tournaments . . . 

Note: In my case, due to my physical struggles, I play strong the 1st match, pretty strong the 2nd match, struggle in the 3rd, and can barely lift my arm for the 4th. So, for me, winning one of those all-day or weekend long events would be quite the miracle!! And, I don't have room for any trophies. ;-)


Edited by tommyzai - 09/02/2019 at 12:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mts388 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 12:19pm
I use tournaments as a way to measure my improvement.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 12:29pm
Originally posted by tommyzai tommyzai wrote:

Of course tournaments are vital for professionals and world events, but what about the rest of us? 

  • Why play in a tournament? 
  • What are the pros and cons? 

I realize the benefits of playing matches . . . just wondering about tournaments . . . 

Note: In my case, due to my physical struggles, I play strong the 1st match, pretty strong the 2nd match, struggle in the 3rd, and can barely lift my arm for the 4th. So, for me, winning one of those all-day or weekend long events would be quite the miracle!! And, I don't have room for any trophies. ;-)

It goes back to what are you using the tournament to do.  There has to be some degree of acceptance when it comes to tournament play.  Many players who play tournaments play frequently and train hard enough that they come in sharp.  You need to be realistic about your limitations when competing against such players.

For testing technique or quality of play under stressful conditions, sure.  Stamina may be tested, and most of the time, people want to win.  You get to see what matchups may or may not work for you.  

Some people think that the tournament should validate what they think their playing level is and this is a different thing.  

Once you aren't a pro, do what you enjoy doing.  Leagues can be as good for some people, maybe better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote obesechopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 12:43pm
tournaments are generally when everyone bring their a game and shows up wanting to win. There aren't any excuses about practicing this or that! Its assumed that all the players will be trying their hardest. That's why no one cares if ma long got beaten 9/10 times in practice by some teammate, so long as he wins on the day it counts. 

Same thing with boxers and mma etc. You get the one day to show your stuff, even if you could win 9/10 but lose on the day... you will be remembered as the loser!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 7:38pm
Tournaments are not "important" so much as they allow one to have a rating (though League ratings occur as well). To me the fun part of tournaments is playing new and different players and meeting new people. We are in a small club. I play the same 5 people almost every week.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfolsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 9:01pm
I would say either tournaments or leagues are important. Something so you aren't playing the same players over and over.

This presumes you are trying to improve, and not just using table tennis for exercise and some social interaction. There is plenty of that at my club also.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fulanodetal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 10:17pm
Frankly my answer is no. 
I'm not a pro, and I'm not seeking approval of any kind, including here on this blog, if you don't agree with me I frankly don't give to bits about it.
For pros, the answer would be yes, of course.
Nevertheless I might enter a tournament if I feel like it. Yes, it is definitely an opportunity to play new players. 
One thing I find profoundly problematic at tournaments, and I've experienced this in every tournament I played on, is the problem of sand bagging. When say a 1200 player is participating on a much lower event. This happens when such player does not have an official rating thus they can play lower rated events. This really sucks. And so this is one reason I simply don't care to participate more often. But I guess people get over this.

I take lessons to get better and to be able to beat the other players at the club. That's it. The health benefits are also important. I sit at the computer all day during work. I need to be active and sweat and shit. I still enjoy the thrill of hitting a ball past my opponent. That's what's important.

Screw the ratings. The look on the opponents face as those balls go past them is priceless!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote obesechopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 10:22pm
Originally posted by Fulanodetal Fulanodetal wrote:

Frankly my answer is no. 
I'm not a pro, and I'm not seeking approval of any kind, including here on this blog, if you don't agree with me I frankly don't give to bits about it.
For pros, the answer would be yes, of course.
Nevertheless I might enter a tournament if I feel like it. Yes, it is definitely an opportunity to play new players. 
One thing I find profoundly problematic at tournaments, and I've experienced this in every tournament I played on, is the problem of sand bagging. When say a 1200 player is participating on a much lower event. This happens when such player does not have an official rating thus they can play lower rated events. This really sucks. And so this is one reason I simply don't care to participate more often. But I guess people get over this.

I take lessons to get better and to be able to beat the other players at the club. That's it. The health benefits are also important. I sit at the computer all day during work. I need to be active and sweat and shit. I still enjoy the thrill of hitting a ball past my opponent. That's what's important.

Screw the ratings. The look on the opponents face as those balls go past them is priceless!

FdT

They can really only do that one time... unless they pay money to enter more tournaments and intentionally lose to deflate the rating hundreds of points over the course of several tournaments. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 10:42pm
For me I already have a lot of players better than me to keep me busy at the club, no need for tournaments (especially those which I have to pay quite a bit to enter). I do enter some corporate ones for fun (since they're free and I get to eat/drink for free too)... Maybe I'm a cheapskate lol...but really for me I have a more zen approach to TT. I'm happy as long as I'm improving and learning new things, getting stimulated. What can I say, I like cooperation rather than competition!

I really like helping friends prepare for competition though...Maybe if there was like a team based event it would be a lot more fun for me personally to participate!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slowhand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/02/2019 at 11:23pm
Two equal players train an equal amount with the same coach and practice partners, except one frequently plays tournaments while the other substitutes an equal number of matches against familiar opponents in a league. My guess is that for the first few months the tournament player would have no advantage or even be at a disadvantage. But after a year or two he'd be much stronger because of exposure to a greater variety of opponents, environments and the kind of pressure that involves moderate but meaningful emotional risks and rewards as in a tournament.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/03/2019 at 12:19pm
I sound like Captain Obvious but it really comes down to this:

Do you have fun playing tournaments, or at least after the tournament, you have some sense of satisfaction at least some of the time?

Or is it just a major stress and expense you could do without and you would rather just go play with friends at a club?

If you play a lot of tournaments you will probably improve more and faster (the comment just above this one lays it out very well I think) but do you really care?  Only you can answer.  And you should not care what anybody else thinks.


Edited by Baal - 09/03/2019 at 12:20pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mentortt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/03/2019 at 12:58pm
For adults, tournament can give you roughly estimate of your playing level. But most of adults I see have no progress in years. USATT rating is pretty accurate if joined several tournaments in the past. 

For rising juniors, their progress can be measured in month. Even they know they have little chance to win, their parent wants them to join a lot of tournaments. It is very possible that some rating increases will happen at some tournaments.

You don't need to ask other opinions about that. Everyone is different. There are a lot of good senior players who never want to join tournament.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chongqinghotpot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/03/2019 at 1:00pm
tourney is very important to improve your games because that’s where you play against different players and styles. And it’s fun and exciting too. I used to enjoy so much to drive or fly to play tournaments until this era of plastic balls. Since very tourney now has a different ball and I don’t have enough time to get used to so many of them, My interest for tourney has gradually faded away. But I still attend the state championships very year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ndotson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/03/2019 at 1:06pm
Another perspective worth mentioning is to consider the type of tournament and the impact your participation makes at the local level. If you attend a local club and they are hosting a tournament, then it may be in your best interest to participate for several reasons. 
- Some local clubs host tournaments in order to draw in new players that could potentially become regular club members. Your participation could be extremely helpful especially if you make a connection with a new player as an ambassador for the club and the sport in general.
 
- Some clubs are hoping to create revenue through tournaments. Local clubs are sometimes just hoping to break even. Your participation can have an impact.
 
- Your participation can create a ripple effect. When tournament registrations are visible to the public (i.e. online registration, Omnipong.com, etc.), some players tend to assess the participation level before deciding to play. I can certainly understand this especially if the deciding player is travelling from out of town. They don't want to waste their time and money for a tournament that may not be worth their while. However, if you're a local player, then you should sign up...and do it early so others know you're intending to play. Your participation could make an impact on other's decisions. The ripple effect goes both ways in this context.
 
If you desire the success of your local club, then helping them have successful tournaments would seem to be in your best personal interest. That being said, I also agree with NextLevel's comment about doing what you enjoy. If tournaments are not something you enjoy, there are certainly other ways to support your local club and enjoy the game.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2019 at 3:47am
The answer depends on how much you value a tourney and what it means to you.

Some are not interested at all and use local results of matches, games, points, shot situations and the like to judge improvement or relative ranking.

Some use tourney performance as the ultimate measure of where you stand over time one snapshot at a time in between one's improvement efforts.

I believe there is a HUGE difference between tourneys and leagues or club matches. There is an entirely different level of mental toughness and prep/execution required to consistently succeed in a tourney, both in spots and over time.

I have been decently successful in tourneys over what I thought I would be, both sanctioned and unsanctioned, even if I am not winning I gain insight on adjustments I need to make or training direction.

Count me in the camp that tourneys are the measure of your performance... it is a different performance that I hold more valuable over club or league.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TT newbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2019 at 12:21pm
For me, the biggest fun during tournaments is meeting old friends and play against them.
And of course winning a medal is a great joy.
The worst part is leaving home around 7 a.m. to be back only at night, when the tournament take place in another city.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2019 at 1:36pm
If you play in a tournament you can find problems in your game that you might not normally be able to discover.  Then you can work on them in practice.  You also can learn what serves are effective and more importantly practice returning a variety of serves. 

The negatives?  There are a lot of them unfortunately.

1) Playing against dumpers.  In the past I knew three separate solid 2300 players who decided to dump down to 2100 or so to win local prize money.  I knew a few other 2200-2300 guys who would drop down to 1900 so they could gamble and take the lower rated players money.  In the US there are lots of people who say that your level is exactly your current rating and the dumpers love this mentality.  "yea, sure 2 weeks ago I was 2375 but now I am 1930.  Look it up.  You are 2010? Wow that's really high, you should give me 2 points to 11 and we can play for $100.  You are higher rated so you should win." 

2) Being at an event all day and night.  In one event I entered, the semi-finals were held at 1:30 in the morning.  I had to go home and get ready for work at 7am.  Needless to say I didn't try terribly hard to win that event as I wanted to get home ASAP.  I heard the finals were held at 3am but I didn't stick around to watch.

3) Playing against people who change the score or do purposeful things to cause trouble.  At the Joola teams one player hit a ball from the middle of the table.  The ball hit the edge and should have obviously been that player's point.  The opponent was 2500+ and argued it hit the side when this was physically impossible.  I point out the rating because they should have known better.  This kind of classless "gamesmanship" is fun and entertaining for some people as they follow the "if you aren't cheating you aren't trying hard enough" model of sports.  I just find it annoying.  At the same event I saw another 2400+ player grab the ball after a point, crush it and say it was broken then demanded a let.  This happened twice in the same match.  There was no referee and this caused a bit of an uproar.  Divine justice prevailed as the crusher lost. 

4) Finally dealing with junior parents can be fun.  One adult student at our club played their first event ever at Westchester.  While playing a junior, the kids parents would call lets for serves and during the points.  This is ridiculous and illegal, but the adult student didn't know what to do.  It is annoying enough to listen to "DWAY! OOO! CHO LE! WHO HA HO HE HAR HAR!" after every point.  Dealing with pyscho parents makes tournaments all the more fun. 

Unless you are a professional and contractually obligated to play tournaments, you don't have to.  I would say only a small percentage of regular club players enter official events, so just do what makes you happy. 

Sorry, one more negative.

5) The cost.  The entry fees can be crazy.  Then there are the travel costs.  Is it better to spend $130 for 2 events at a tournament or hitting 2 hours with a coach? That is not an easy decision. 


Edited by Lightspin - 09/07/2019 at 1:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2019 at 9:36pm
There are a number of us in my local area that travel (carpool) together up to 6 times a year to do tourneys.

It is way more than just doing a tourney, there are many other positive aspects of moving together in groups of buddies for "missions" to a tourney.

Usually, you get to see a lot higher level players play... you also get to play in official tourneys players you might never face in your local area.

Of course their is the together dinner feasts, some times they are better than the tourneys.
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