February 7, 2018

How to Change USATT Policy or Ask Questions
People regularly contact me about various USATT policies with their suggestions on what they think we should do. There's nothing wrong with this, as long as they approach it with an open mind - often there are things going on or info that they don't know about. But there's also this mistaken notion that I can single-handedly change things, or even that the USATT Board of Directors (of which I'm a member) would be the ones to make some of these changes. So let's look at how things actually do get done in USATT.

You have to separate the day-to-day operations and policy issues. Day-to-day operations are done by the paid full-time USATT Staff, mostly at USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO. Policy issues are done by the USATT Board of Directors and by USATT Committees. (These latter two groups are unpaid volunteers.) Deciding which is which is key to getting things done, but if you aren't sure, contact the ones you think most likely and ask. There is a large overlap between these issues, and it often evolves. Often the CEO makes policy decisions on issues that involve staff, day-to-day operations, or issues that the Board has given him authority - ultimately, he makes far more decisions than the Board or anyone else. (There is also the USATT Media Team if you have news to report, though most of that would go through Matt Hetherington, USATT Media and Communications Director, who is listed both here and as a Staff person.)

Much of the duties of the various groups is covered in the USATT Bylaws. Article VII and VIII are all about the Board of Directors. Article IX is all about Committees. Article XIV is all about the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and by extension, the USATT Staff (which reports to him).

So how do you go about making changes, or just getting info on a topic? If you have questions, for example, about the U.S. Open or Nationals, or Ratings, or the Web Page, you'd go to the USATT Staff. If you have questions on Rules, or Coaching, or Tournaments (outside U.S. Open and Nationals), you'd go to the appropriate committee. It's not all black and white; while the Coaching Committee (which I chair) sets policy for Coaching Certification, the process itself is run by USATT Headquarters (specifically by Director of Operations, Andy Horn).

These committees are the "experts" on their topic. If you want a rule change, you don't go to the USATT Board of Directors; they are not the experts on rules. You'd go to the Rules Committee, and if they agree, they'd give their recommendation to the Board of Directors. And so on.

Sometimes there are parallel "experts." If you want to recommend a change in how USATT selects players for the National Team, you could go to either the High Performance Committee (HPC), or the High Performance Director (HPD, a USATT staff person), or both. While technically the HPC sets policy in this area, it is often based on recommendations by the HPD, the hired full-time expert on the topic. However, both are instrumental in setting these policies. If I, for example, wanted to make a recommendation, I'd likely discuss it with the HPD, and then go to the HPC.

Many still go to USATT Board members as their first step. That's fine, as long as they understand that they will likely be directed to the appropriate committee or staff person, though of course the board member may also discuss the situation with you. But in general, going to board is last resort. You can also go straight to the CEO, who will either deal with the problem, or send it to the appropriate person.

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Here's the new podcast (25:35) from PingSkills. Also covered: Joke of the week; On This Week; Deng Yaping's Birthday; Tournament Wrap; World Junior Circuits Final; European Top 16; Drill of the Week; Mental Preparation for Tournaments; Smashing Effectively; and Time to Throw Out Old Bat.

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Here's the article from Inside the Games. "Dimitrij Ovtcharov’s quest for a fourth consecutive title at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-Europe Top 16 Cup at the Salle Omnisports du Pierrier in Montreux in Switzerland was frustrated by his 36-year-old German team-mate Timo Boll."

Reality Bites for Table Tennis Star Zhang
Here's the article from ECNS.com in China (in English). "Champion's career in question as TV time replaces table time … It's been too long since Chinese table tennis megastar Zhang Jike stood on the highest medal podium."

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Here's the ITTF article. "Nils-Erik Sandberg, who started Ångby Table Tennis Club in the western suburbs of Stockholm in 1956, was courtside guiding two young players born 50 years after the venerable Swede founded the celebrated club; Isak Edwardsson and Elias Sjörgen, both born in 2006, were proudly wearing the yellow shirt."

ITTF Looking for Media Intern for the Upcoming World Championships in Halmstad
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Here's the ITTF article.

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Here's the video (4:57).

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Here's the video (2:09)

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Here's the video (15 sec) from EmRatThich.

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Here's the video (19 sec), against Kang Wi Hun of North Korea.

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Here's the video (4:36).

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Here's the video (1:25) with Zhang Jike.

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Here's the video (1:26) as Samson Dubina leads a group in munchkin pong.

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