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Improving rating but never win competitions?

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Baal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/07/2021 at 5:01pm
Those last few comments are good points too.  Winning or losing a tournament is pretty meaningless unless it is the Open Singles.

Still, I get why some people are bugged by why they seem to do better in some kinds of competitions than others.  One thing to keep in mind is that nobody but you cares if you win or less.  After all, I doubt if anyone who posts here gets paid on the basis of whether they win or lose TT matches!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/07/2021 at 5:43pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by ghostzen ghostzen wrote:

Agreed there are always better players and stronger ones.

But if you are one of the strongest in your area or region it puts you in a bit better stead when you step up to the next level to win events.

It's also pretty easy to offer advice when the title cupboard is bare.... if that makes sense.


To me USATT is a weird af system. Rating events can be easily won if you game the system by sandbagging. League matches make a lot more sense and are more fun. Winning say a U1500 event is nothing to shout about, it just means that you happened to be the best player among the U1500 group, but that still leaves a huge amount of players who are better than you. I guess a lot of people here have huge egos to satisfy if they're so concerned about winning competitions as an amateur lmao. Just enjoy the process dude...

If a player needs Sandbagging they can't handle it with the better players at their level I think to be honest. . Why drop down to win... Surely you want to play the best players? Weird idea honestly unless serious  ££'s involved.... If you get a distance in a higher event you are pretty handy and pretty serious player, same if you win a county championship/national event or still a decent regional event etc. 

If you want a trophy at all costs I agree go play in the local youth club event or divsion 7 event in your little local players group... .... You'll likely never win anything otherwise. 

To step up and win at a higher level I think you need to have that work ethic and focus on winning which could be good or bad as it can take over a bit with training, travel etc. . That's also what make people work that hard and also players chase them to get to that level . Same with employment and jobs or vocational needs. The need to succeed. 

Pros take that to the next level with making a living out of it. 

Others players... love the game and love to play it and will for years to come hopefully.  I intend to play as long as I can stand up! 😊  And if I can't get me a beer and a chair!!  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lightspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/07/2021 at 6:59pm
There should be no money in table tennis unless it is in the men's and women's open.  It would help take a step to solve the nonsensical sandbagging. It would also help the professional players survive. 

Professional players in the USA barely can eek out an existence as it is.  Also if you are a professional player, the bottom line is how much money can you bring in.  There is a high level player on the east coast who no one has heard of because he can make more money coaching than entering tournaments.  If there was more prize money, more players could go to the tournament and participate.  For women it makes zero sense to play tournaments.  There is literally no money in it for them in the women's open (if there is one) and unless they can win the open, they are losing a lot of money playing. 

Right now a good coach can make 350-700 a day on the weekend.  If their students are happy, they can get extra lessons during the week.  By participating in a tournament, you are risking 350 or more in guaranteed income.  Plus you are angering your students by cancelling lessons.  After factoring in travel expenses, entry fees and hotel bills, does it currently make sense to play? Not really.  Taking all the money for the other events and putting it in the open would be a step in the right direction.  Why penalize the better players and incentivize dumping?        


Edited by Lightspin - 04/07/2021 at 7:00pm
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ghostzen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/07/2021 at 7:34pm
Good point definitely Lightspin. If everyone played in these events can you imagine the strength of the open finals. Also you would get people watching in normal times. Really make it an occasion instead of having a few hanging on and no atmosphere at the end of the day's play. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Basquests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/08/2021 at 1:44am
Originally posted by Lightspin Lightspin wrote:

There should be no money in table tennis unless it is in the men's and women's open.  It would help take a step to solve the nonsensical sandbagging. It would also help the professional players survive. 

Professional players in the USA barely can eek out an existence as it is.  Also if you are a professional player, the bottom line is how much money can you bring in.  There is a high level player on the east coast who no one has heard of because he can make more money coaching than entering tournaments.  If there was more prize money, more players could go to the tournament and participate.  For women it makes zero sense to play tournaments.  There is literally no money in it for them in the women's open (if there is one) and unless they can win the open, they are losing a lot of money playing. 

Right now a good coach can make 350-700 a day on the weekend.  If their students are happy, they can get extra lessons during the week.  By participating in a tournament, you are risking 350 or more in guaranteed income.  Plus you are angering your students by cancelling lessons.  After factoring in travel expenses, entry fees and hotel bills, does it currently make sense to play? Not really.  Taking all the money for the other events and putting it in the open would be a step in the right direction.  Why penalize the better players and incentivize dumping?        

In NZ, we had decent [but now dwindling to irrelevant] prize pools outside of Open events, but we have Open, A grade, B, C and D grade. Then you obviously have various age group events [many juniors, but also many many veterans events for different ages].

Very high level players just enter Open, most very good / good players enter Open and A, decent players enter A and B etc.

The rating threshold is kept very high for most events i.e. A's rating equivalent is probably say 2400 or 2450, B grade is say 2300. But the level of players that are winning or reaching the semi's of each grade, are probably around 2300 for A, 2150 for B etc. Because the guy who can win A, wants to contest Open for a challenge and contest A to see if they win on the day. 

However, that's with the prize money being quite low for most events - players sort themselves into a grade based on what's prestigious / where they belong, as you say, because the incentive is removed to play down.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/08/2021 at 2:03pm
I question if its possible to make a living only playing TT tournaments in the US (and I have been close friends with several former US national team members).  Some top players give lessons, which often results in a decline in their level.  But pro players that you can find in Europe, Asia, or even Brazil don't exist here.  It is financially untenable.   Putting all the prize money into the open events won't solve this but it's a step in the right direction and it would solve other problems. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote larrytt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/09/2021 at 1:32am
Originally posted by Lightspin Lightspin wrote:

There should be no money in table tennis unless it is in the men's and women's open.  It would help take a step to solve the nonsensical sandbagging. It would also help the professional players survive. 

If they made this a rule, then players would get used to it, and it might work. (And it would effectively end most sandbagging.) But from a tournament director's perspective, starting at around Under 2000 rating events on up (though this partly depends on the region), the added entries from adding prize money more than pays for the prize money. So if you decided to run, for example, Under 2200 with just trophies, you'll generally get fewer players and lose money relative to what would happen if you ran it with prize money. The prize money for the higher rating events come from the extra entries the prize money brings in, and is not taken from Men's/Women's/Open. (I've run over 200 USATT tournaments and experimented with this, as have other directors, and pretty much all of the ones I've spoken to have reached this same conclusion. That's the reason they put prize money in those events.) 
-Larry Hodges
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Basquests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/09/2021 at 10:29pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

@Basquests just wanted to say I love reading your very detailed posts, always get some good tips out of them!

Cheers mate, appreciate it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Simon_plays Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/10/2021 at 4:28am
Originally posted by larrytt larrytt wrote:

Originally posted by Lightspin Lightspin wrote:

There should be no money in table tennis unless it is in the men's and women's open.  It would help take a step to solve the nonsensical sandbagging. It would also help the professional players survive. 

If they made this a rule, then players would get used to it, and it might work. (And it would effectively end most sandbagging.) But from a tournament director's perspective, starting at around Under 2000 rating events on up (though this partly depends on the region), the added entries from adding prize money more than pays for the prize money. So if you decided to run, for example, Under 2200 with just trophies, you'll generally get fewer players and lose money relative to what would happen if you ran it with prize money. The prize money for the higher rating events come from the extra entries the prize money brings in, and is not taken from Men's/Women's/Open. (I've run over 200 USATT tournaments and experimented with this, as have other directors, and pretty much all of the ones I've spoken to have reached this same conclusion. That's the reason they put prize money in those events.) 
-Larry Hodges

Made me think of this wonderful little sketch by Pongfinity on the differences between what one might expect when winning a tournament and what actually happens (not that I'd know but I've seen friends win events): 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Simon_plays Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/10/2021 at 4:36am
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

I question if its possible to make a living only playing TT tournaments in the US (and I have been close friends with several former US national team members).  Some top players give lessons, which often results in a decline in their level.  But pro players that you can find in Europe, Asia, or even Brazil don't exist here.  It is financially untenable.   Putting all the prize money into the open events won't solve this but it's a step in the right direction and it would solve other problems. 

There's a big discussion in Germany at the moment in regards to how current changes in the ITTF's tournament structure won't allow players the time to represent their clubs and play enough tournaments to keep their ranking decent. However, as it is mainly from clubs that players make a living, especially once you look beyond the top 20, this is of course highly problematic. 

If other countries are hoping to build on their table tennis culture, an increased focus on club development and a professional league is the way to go. No matter how much prize money is increased, I doubt it will ever come close to providing a living for a sizeable part of a country's elite players.  

Now one just needs to figure out how to astroturf a sustainable club culture...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/20/2021 at 1:01pm
Professional table tennis in the USA can only happen if universities decide to take on the task of bringing up a  pool of players by giving them a scholarship. That can only happen if many universities and colleges decide to go for it on the long term and they will be successful only if parents know that it is a long term commitment with proof of multi-year budgeting; then families can plan ahead a strategy for their kids starting early at 10 years old. 

I do not see that happening unless a political decision is taken to see the USA starting some sort of Apollo program to defeat the Chinese at what they are best in sports: table tennis. 

Can you imagine? "By 2030, we will win a world singles championship or a gold medal in singles in the Olympics!" Bring it on!


Edited by stiltt - 04/20/2021 at 1:02pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Marcus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 11:47am
Originally posted by allencorn allencorn wrote:

I think Ratings Central includes a +/- around each person's rating based on their performances. Looking at that spread can give an indication of the stability of someone's rating.

Ratings Central (https://www.ratingscentral.com/) does include "+/-", but it has nothing to do with the "stability of someone's rating". I don't know why people sometimes think that is what it means.

The Ratings Central "+/-" is a measure of how accurately Ratings Central knows the player's playing strength.

The stability of a player's playing strength is a property of the player. How well Ratings Central knows a player's current playing strength is a property of Ratings Central.

It is the same as if I were to ask you how good a player is. You might say, "I think he is very good, but I've only seen him play one match, and the player he was playing was not very strong". Or, you might say, "I think he is very good. I see him every week at my club, and I've seen him play in many tournaments."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Marcus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 12:02pm
Originally posted by Lightspin Lightspin wrote:

There should be no money in table tennis unless it is in the men's and women's open.  It would help take a step to solve the nonsensical sandbagging.

Very true. Unfortunately, money in rating events is just too tempting for some players. If you want to distribute money to more players, give it in more rounds of open events. You can also give money in age or gender events.

Back when I was involved in running regional tournaments and the U.S. Open and Nationals, I think we may have done this. I know we talked about it, and we all felt we needed to reduce or eliminate money in rating events. I can't remember exactly what we did. Of course, then new people took over running the tournaments, and they went back to making the same old mistakes.

Even if you stop giving money in rating events, some people will still sandbag. Back in the 1980s, I ran a tournament at MIT in Cambridge MA. The week before, I had gone to a tournament in Westfield NJ. There, I watched a strong player do well. He was around 2100 (so would be a few hundred points higher using the current ratings). He showed up at my tournament at MIT and gave a different name. This other name had a rating of 1150 or so. He had entered every event in my tournament from the Under 1200 up to the Open. I was only giving trophies in the rating events! I don't know if he just wanted to play a lot or wanted a bunch of trophies. He actually had a third name he used that also had a rating.
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