August 30, 2011

What are your table tennis goals?

And before you say them, remember this. There are two voices that will constantly ridicule your goals if they are too high. One is from some other players, who may not have the same lofty goals for you that you may have for yourself. Ignore them, and go for your goals. (Though it is helpful to have reasonable goals - just don't limit yourself.) The other is that little voice inside your head that says, "You can't!" Ignore that voice. In the words of Albert Einstein, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." So drop the mediocre voice from your mind and let the great spirit soar.

Illegal hidden serves one more time (until next time)

<Begin Rant>

Dear umpires, coaches, and players, let's go over this one more time.

Rule 2.6.6: "It is the responsibility of the player to serve so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can be satisfied that he or she complies with the requirements of the Laws."

Read that over once or ten times, and it'll still say the same thing. If you aren't sure if the server is hiding contact with his serve, then you aren't sure he isn't, and the server is not serving "...so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can be satisfied that he or she complies with the requirements of the Laws." You can give a warning the first time, but thereafter you must call a fault. If you do not, you are not umpiring; you are allowing one player to cheat, and making sure more players will do so since they see umpires are not enforcing the rules. You know, the rules, the ones umpires are supposed to enforce?

Do we really want a sport where cheaters prosper and those who do not cheat are chumps who can't compete because of the umpires? As a coach, I often feel like a chump at tournaments since I haven't taught illegal hidden serves to my players, while more and more opponents are using them. It's pretty much rampant at the higher levels.

To those who say it's okay to go to the limit of hidden serves as long as you don't actually hide them - if you do that, then sometimes you will inadvertently go over the line and actually hide them. That's the nature of going to the limit on something. More importantly, if you go to the limit, the umpire from his vantage point can't tell for sure if the serve is hidden or not, and therefore he is legally obligated to call the serve illegal. See the rule quoted above. So you cannot go "to the limit" on hidden serves. If you can't serve so the umpire can see that contact was clearly visible, it's an illegal serve.

Yes, this is a picky subject for me because I don't teach illegal hidden serves at my club, and neither do the other coaches there. But other coaches from other clubs do, and we have to face these players and their illegal serves in tournaments. Since we don't teach illegal hidden serves, our players do not have illegal hidden serves, and since we also haven't taught their practice partners to do illegal hidden serves, they are not experienced at returning illegal hidden serves, and so often lose to those who use illegal hidden serves because the umpires are allowing opponents to use illegal hidden serves.

Didn't Major League Baseball have a little problem when they wouldn't enforce the rules on steroids, thereby creating an entire generation of cheaters? Hmmmm....

</End Rant>

Another table tennis blog

You'll find a number of interviews of top players and coaches and other table tennis items at Matt Hetherington's blog. (He's based in New Zealand, but seems to know everyone.) For those of you who just can't get enough table tennis. That means you. And you. And yes, you too.

The Bryan Brothers

Yes, they play table tennis too - see article and picture. (In their free time, they're the world's best tennis doubles team.)

All about table tennis tournaments

So you're about to play your first table tennis tournament, or one of your first. You're probably scared to death. You should be - some of the initiation rites they do to new players is absolutely . . . oh, never mind, you'll find out. But first, why not read my article Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your First Tournament - But Didn't Know Where to Ask! (Much of this would be useful even if you've played in a few.) Here's a list of questions answered in the article:

GENERAL TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

  • I’m thinking of entering my first tournament. What do I need to know?
  • How can I find out when and where tournaments are being held?
  • What are the fees and requirements to play in a tournament?
  • What types of events are held at tournaments? Are there events where I would be competitive?
  • What is the format for the various events?
  • What is a “Round Robin”?
  • What are rating doubles events?
  • Are there prizes for winning an event?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Are there rules on what equipment I may use?
  • What’s the difference between the tournament director, the referee, and an umpire?
  • When I arrive at the tournament, what do I do?

TOURNAMENT RATINGS

  • How does the Tournament rating system work?
  • Will I be able to play in rating events in my first tournament, since I’m unrated?
  • After I play in my first tournament, when will I be rated?
  • Who runs the USATT ratings?

TOURNAMENT ETIQUETTE

  • Warming up
  • Before the match
  • During the match
  • After the match
  • Spectating
  • Photography & Videos
  • Videotaping

HOW TO PLAY YOUR BEST

And since we're on the subject of tournaments...

...here's my article Ten-Point Plan to Tournament Success! And here's a link to the USA Table Tennis Tournament Schedule.

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Re: August 30, 2011

If your racket slips out of your hand and the oncoming ball hits what was your playing hand and goes over to land on the opponent's side, is that allowed?

If your racket 'slips' out of your hand and hits your opponent in the head as your hand hits the ball into their court, is there any rule for that situation?

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: August 30, 2011

 

If your racket slips out of your hand and the oncoming ball hits what was your playing hand and goes over to land on the opponent's side, is that allowed?

Nope - the rules state that the racket hand is the hand holding the racket, and that a player strikes the ball if he or she touches it in play with his or her racket, held in the hand, or with his or her racket hand below the wrist, and that the ball shall be struck so that it passes over or around the net assembly (etc.). As soon as you drop your racket, you have no playing hand to strike the ball. 

If your racket 'slips' out of your hand and hits your opponent in the head as your hand hits the ball into their court, is there any rule for that situation?

That would be both a let and a disciplinary situation. It's a let because of USATT rule 2.9.2.4: "The rally shall be a let because the conditions of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally." The umpire would probably yellow card the player whose racket hit his opponent. It does seem unfair - next time I'm down 9-10 match point and pop the ball up, I'm throwing my racket at my opponent! Actually, that won't work, as the umpire would report what happened to the referee, and the referee would default me. So I'd have to fake it was an accident! smiley

 

Re: August 30, 2011

Regarding rules:

  1. Can the opponent stop receiving the serve and tell the umpire that he/she was not able to see the point of contact?
  2. this came up at work y'day. my colleagues wanted to know if it was legal to switch hands during a rally. (they also had this "new" idea of attack: throw the racket towards the opponent and hit the ball with the hand over the net for a sure point ! )
Larry Hodges's picture

Re: August 30, 2011

 

Can the opponent stop receiving the serve and tell the umpire that he/she was not able to see the point of contact?

Definitely. But if the opponent disagrees, and the umpire doesn't call it - which is what commonly happens - then the opponent gets to continue serving illegally. The problem is that most umpires say that from their vantage point, they can't tell if the serve is hidden. While that may be true, that means the server is not serving so that "...the umpire or the assistant umpire can be satisfied that he or she complies with the requirements of the Laws." And by claiming that they are only taking the serve to the limit, they actually succeed in hiding their serve, whether intentionally or not. Some servers probably don't mean to hide their serve except up to the split second of contact - but when they mistime it and hide contact, the one penalyzed is the opponent.

this came up at work y'day. my colleagues wanted to know if it was legal to switch hands during a rally. (they also had this "new" idea of attack: throw the racket towards the opponent and hit the ball with the hand over the net for a sure point ! )

This has come up before, and you can switch hands. I've done it before in tournaments. What you cannot do is have two rackets since it has been ruled that you must have a free hand.