USATT Committees

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Larry Hodges
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Here is the updated list of USATT Committees and Chairs, and Board Members. What do you think are the most important committees, and what should they be doing? I'm biased, but I consider the Coaching Committee most important, along with the Junior Committee and the League Committee.

I'd like to see the Coaching and Junior Committees work together to recruit and train coaches to be professional coaches and to set up and run junior programs. Currently the Coaching Committee is doing a great job integerating the ITTF Coaching program. The Junior Committee seems mostly focused on elite juniors; I'd like to see more grassroots development, which leads to both more juniors and more elite juniors.

I'd like the League Committee to study how hugely successful leagues in Europe were created and grew (Germany 700,000 members, England 500,000 members), and then to design and create a national USATT League. (We tried once before a few years ago, but the USATT at that time wouldn't get behind it, and it ended up with one person trying to be the USATT Editor and Webmaster, part-time coach, and in his free time - hah! - set up and run a nationwide league. That person was me. Sigh. But even now the USATT Singles League has almost as many matches processed each month as the tournament system, plus it brought in $15,000 in revenue that USATT pocketed for other "priorities." Alas.)

How about you?

(By the way, I'm on the Editorial Board Committee.)

Tabletennis1
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Re: USATT Committees

I think there should be seminars on league and Tournament organization. This may be easy for some of the old timers, but I am sure that there are some people out there that feel uncomfortable running tournaments and leagues, and would definitely benefit from the instruction. I am one of them

Larry Hodges
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Re: USATT Committees

I agree about the seminars, especially on leagues, which is where table tennis and other sports in the U.S. and around the world get large memberships. USATT doesn't even have a league manual or a prototype model of a league that prospective league directors can use - they all have to either invent the wheel from scratch or find others who have run leagues to learn how to set up and run one. I pushed this strongly at the 2009 Strategic Meeting, but USATT has other priorities, such as new logos, slogans, and bylaw rewriting. 

Mauricio_vergara
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Re: USATT Committees

Hi,

I agreed with your comments, excepting that we don't need a committee to create a new model of league for US.   The model is currently working successfully in New York.   The new york league is a club league, with regulations, ten clubs , and a lot of players over 2300.  The key of the success in any league is having national finals each year.     

I wish I was invited to meet with Adam from LA league, and Bruce from Bay Area League that are also running successful leagues, and create national model.

 

Mauricio

Larry Hodges
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Re: USATT Committees

Hi Mauricio,

At the USATT Strategic Meeting in September 2009, I made the same argument over and over, saying we should get the directors of successful leagues in the U.S. together, as well as doing a study of how the big European leagues developed, and then lock the directors in a room and tell them they can't come out until they have developed a model for the U.S.! However, USATT has too many bureaucrats who simply don't believe in going to those who have actually done this type of thing in the U.S. and overseas, and the consensus at the time, believe it or not, was we couldn't learn from the overseas leagues or from leagues in the U.S., and the idea of a national league system was put on hold.

Recently USATT has put together a League Committee, but they are dominated by the very ones who don't believe we can learn from other countries and so far haven't shown any interest in going to the successful leagues in the U.S.  Recently they sent out an email to leagues around the country to gather info, but this is like going to average tournament players for coaching advice rather than going to the top coaches and players who have already shown their expertise. They should be going to those who have done these things successfully, both in the U.S. and overseas, and learn from their example. Alas, that's not happening so far. 

Tabletennis1
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Re: USATT Committees

Hello CTTC

I have been to your club and I see the benefits of organized league play on a consistant basis. Your league play does develop a competitive spirit and esprit decor. Unfortunately, I am 1.5 hours away on good day. I would love to join CTTC every session. Unfortunately, it's impossible. I am fighting a constant battle trying to build and promote interest in the Columbia area. There is a distinct difference between the success of Columbia and Charlotte.

1. You have more of a diverse atmosphere and a wealth of interested players to join

2. Demographics are totally different

3. There is a nexus between Table Tennis and your recreational officials, political and governing bodies. This is apparent by your hosting of the Nationals in 2006. Someone had to have something more than tunnel vision

4. You have club members that are willing to put their heart and soul into something they love and understand the true meaning of a "CLUB"

In Europe, the Federation is organized and league play is equally divided into level of playing ability, regions, towns and clubs. Tournaments are organized based on this structure.

Willis
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Re: USATT Committees

Our club (Charlotte TTC) has rated USATT league play Thursday nights (usually 5 or 6 divisions) and Saturday afternoons for beginners and lower intermediates (2 divisions). Because of this our members have done well in tournaments because of the extra competitive experience. At the recent Cary Cup two of our members took 1st and 4th in the C Division (Heiko Plankenhorn and Van Vu). Playing in a round-robin for rating points is much closer to tournament conditions than just normal practice matches where there is no sense of urgency.

My question is how does this league system differ from Europe or from what you are talking about? Does your plan involve inter-club league play?

 

 

Larry Hodges
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Re: USATT Committees

My question is how does this league system differ from Europe or from what you are talking about? Does your plan involve inter-club league play?

I haven't actually played in the European Leagues, but I've been told about them for years and Years and YEARS! They are mostly club vs. club competitions. What I've recommended to USATT (at the Strategic Meeting in Sept. 2009) was to set up a task force that would study the European Leagues and come up with a USA model. The first step would have been to talk to the Germans, English, Swedes, and other countries with successful leagues, not about how their leagues run now, but about how they began and grew. (We can actually meet with them at the World Championships each year, or of course via email.)

The next step would be to take that info to those that run successful leagues in the U.S., and (these are my exact words) lock them in a room and don't let them out until they design a U.S. model. The model itself wouldn't be something we'd force on current clubs; it would be something we'd promote, as the Europeans do, where the huge bulk of the growth wouldn't be from the few current clubs but from new clubs, which in Europe are created as a result of the leagues. They didn't get successful by waiting around for good things to happen; they made it happen by heavily promoting their leagues, which led to increased participation, more clubs and huge memberships. Germany has about 700,000 members and 11,000 clubs, England about 500,000 members, compared to USA's 8000 members and 350 or so clubs. When you figure how much larger our population is, the comparision looks even more bleak. Are we learning from this? No.

As I commented at the end of the Strategic Meeting, I must be the world's least convincing person because I was not able to convince USATT officials to look into how these countries got such huge memberships, even though these officials said huge membership gains were the goal. It seems beyond obvious to me, but it wasn't to others. At the moment, we're still sitting around hoping good things will happen. As we have for 78 years. Alas.

Tabletennis1
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Re: USATT Committees

Larry

I agree with the European league concept. Everything seems to run more smoothly. Tournaments in every small town weekly and it's consistant. It's a shame the USATT has not adapted this concept. It seems to work fine abroad. Even in underpriviledged and economically improverished 3rd world countries, there appears to be more organization and marketing without a huge budget. 

Yes, the USATT has done fine integrating the ITTF coaching system. But it appears that it is of no avail to the sport of Table Tennis. Too much focus is on the Elite junior, while there are hundreds if not thousands of juniors out there that would develop if provided the opportunity. It's very difficult to market a product when there is no backing from the main organizational body. I think the USATT needs to do more by interacting with state and local recreation officials in order for a grassroot effort to be effective. Maybe a few perks  should be offered by the USOC as incentives if there is an affiliation with the sport. ie. sponsorship packages for hosting major tournaments. For some reason, the word only filters to a selected few. Some type of informational package disseminated to key movers and shackers would help. 

If there are to be more junior athletes, there has to be more emphasis, education, and interest generated from organizational components. It does no good to have a ITTF coaching program integrated in the US if it serves no purpose but on paper.

 

Larry Hodges
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Re: USATT Committees

Hi TableTennis1,

Here's my short response: I concur.

Here's my more elaborate response: I concur completely. :)

I was at the USATT's Strategic Meeting in September 2009 where I argued similar issues. When I tried to make setting up a nationwide league system similar to the ones in Europe, with a task force initially set up to study their systems and come up with a U.S. model, I was told that just because it works in Europe doesn't mean it'll work in the U.S., and instead they set up a "Grow Membership Through Added Value" task force which hasn't implemented anything yet.  When I argued that we needed to focus on recruiting and training of coaches to set up junior programs, I was told there's no guarantee there'd be interest, and instead set up a general "Junior Task Force" which decided it needed something like $100,000 for their programs, and so nothing was implemented. (We can recruit and train coaches for a fraction of that.)  I could write volumes on this. Alas. I recently was appointed to the USATT's Coaching and Club Committees, but I just don't think USATT is currently ready to move forward on these issues.

Tabletennis1
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Re: USATT Committees

Larry

My sentiments exactly. We can train coaches for a fraction of the cost. 100,000? Do you realize what type of marketing and grassroot campaign could be set up for this amount? If USATT's vision and mission is to expand Table Tennis in the US, they are going to have to get with the program. I thought the main reason for intergrating the ITTF coaching carriculum was for this purpose. What purpose does this serve unless it is being utilized. If I make a significant investment in something, I want a return. In this case long term investment pays off(Junior recruitment). I do not understand the USATT's concept. The few interested coaches that were trained are going to become discouraged. The "Value Added Task Force" is not what the sport needs to expand. An organized grassroot effort with full support from the organizational body(s) I think, is what is needed.