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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 12:33 
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Ehimle wrote:
Urgent question.

The tournament director contacted me saying that since I was unranked that I could go past the round robin format into the bracket/playoff section. Is this normal? Seems like I paid my money I should be able to go as far as I physically able.

Is this a bylaw for usatt?


You mean they will NOT let you play past the round robin? Yeah, that's understandable. You might've entered the U-800 or U-1000 event and might actually be about a 1200 player. Not fair to the real U-800 players. I don't think the USATT (or ITTF) concerns itself with such matters :lol: , it's the tournament organizer's prerogative.

What they often do is test you beforehand.. they'll get you to play two players and note whether you win or lose and by how many points, and then they'll give you a provisional rating. If you're too good they'll move you out of one event and into another. My first tournament was in Dayton, OH, I remember I beat the first player, and lost to the second one. They figured I was rated around 1110 so they didn't allow me into the U-1000 (a couple of my club mates were in that) but did allow me into the U-1200 and Unrated events. I also entered the U-1400 and U-1600 (got creamed pretty quickly there). As I recall these were elimination events, not round robins.

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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 13:34 
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Yeah, I understand that. I entered the u 1400. I guess that is understandable. But I was also told that about the open too?!? I doubt I will get past the round robin in the open but it seemed really odd to say that about the open. Cause isn't open mean anyone?

She asked if I had a coach or had played a rated player, which I haven't. But, I could send a video. So I guess I'm making a video tomorrow at work.

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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 14:52 
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Whether they end up getting it right or wrong, I think its great that they are making the effort to find out your approximate rating. Too many times I see the finalists of the lower divisions in the tournaments that I play, are the people who don't have a rating. If in doubt, put them higher rather than lower, otherwise its unfair to the regular player who has been toiling around for years to never have had a win, to only have someone come along in their first tournament, enter a low division and run out the winner.

Don't forget to post your video here. ;) :clap:

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PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 23:21 
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Ehimle wrote:
Yeah, I understand that. I entered the u 1400. I guess that is understandable. But I was also told that about the open too?!? I doubt I will get past the round robin in the open but it seemed really odd to say that about the open. Cause isn't open mean anyone?

She asked if I had a coach or had played a rated player, which I haven't. But, I could send a video. So I guess I'm making a video tomorrow at work.


Open bit is strange - it defeats the whole purpose of the 'Open' idea.

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PostPosted: 22 Apr 2017, 05:21 
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In the Open it's pretty normal to allow any players, even unrated, out of their round robin groups. That's why it's "open", anybody can play in it, rating or no. They generally like to try to estimate your rating level so if you are, say, about 2500 they will seed you towards the top of a RR group, but if you are about 1400 will seed you towards the bottom.

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PostPosted: 22 Apr 2017, 07:43 
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A couple thoughts.
You can think of "tournament play" as a skill in itself, in the same way a forehand or backhand stroke is a skill. And it is not the same skill as playing matches in a club. Often tournament events have an aspects of a marathon, meaning you need physical and mental endurance to play well and to be able to concentrate in the finals, not just the first couple rounds. Thus the need for food and hydration, making an effort to warm up throughout the day and not just sit, etc.
It's good to not expect a great deal at first since naturally it takes time and repetitions to develop your "tournament" skills.

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PostPosted: 22 Apr 2017, 10:57 
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Extra clean shirt and pair of socks, sports drink of choice, bananas, etc.

Watch your opponents serves in the RR and see how others return them (poorly or well)-many times I will read a serve as dead or top and see the opponent return into the net-so I know it may be underspin that is does not look like it.


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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 09:16 
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Have a look at when your next tournament will be, that way you can go into this with no expectations and simply soak it up ready for having a real crack at the second one which is not far away.

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 09:29 
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Ask people where they play. The OP says you only play with some coworkers. Tournaments are a great way to meet more players so you have some variety.


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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 11:30 
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Okay today was the tournament. I will have to give a report later.

But want to address some mistakes.

First. I sat down and a kid, whose mom was a volunteer sat next to me. I asked his rating and he said 1600 something. I asked if he was in the u 1800. He said no, he didn't want to risk losing to a lower ranked player. At that point I realized that when watching tournaments on YouTube to try and gauge my rating was a BAD idea. Most people in tournaments are 200 - 400 points lower than the "under" classification. So I thought initially that I was 1400-1600, really about 1000 - 1200.

Second mistake- I have been playing for 7 years but only seriously for 4. I have played with the same two to three people. Bad mistake. I feel very comfortable with what shoots these guys have and the most effective counters for their shots. Even shots I normally would hit with ease were riddled with self doubt and in effect a fraction of a second too late. That made a huge difference.

Third mistake - related to the second. I should've made time to make it out to the center beforehand. I've made a million excuses over the years not to go. I finally felt good enough not to embarrass myself (which I did anyways). Well, I didn't feel comfortable in the strange place, which compounded the nerves.

Fourth mistake - nerves were killing me. I didn't realize it would be so bad. I played very stiff and frankly bad. Over thought every hit and never was able to implement any of my typical game plan. I was too busy reacting rather than trying to set up another shot. I didn't even realize this until an hour after. No tactics no strategy. It was like a guy swimming in a pool and then getting dumped in the ocean. Instead of swimming I ended up flailing.

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 11:41 
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Ehimle wrote:
Okay today was the tournament. I will have to give a report later.

But want to address some mistakes.

First. I sat down and a kid, whose mom was a volunteer sat next to me. I asked his rating and he said 1600 something. I asked if he was in the u 1800. He said no, he didn't want to risk losing to a lower ranked player. At that point I realized that when watching tournaments on YouTube to try and gauge my rating was a BAD idea. Most people in tournaments are 200 - 400 points lower than the "under" classification. So I thought initially that I was 1400-1600, really about 1000 - 1200.

Second mistake- I have been playing for 7 years but only seriously for 4. I have played with the same two to three people. Bad mistake. I feel very comfortable with what shoots these guys have and the most effective counters for their shots. Even shots I normally would hit with ease were riddled with self doubt and in effect a fraction of a second too late. That made a huge difference.

Third mistake - related to the second. I should've made time to make it out to the center beforehand. I've made a million excuses over the years not to go. I finally felt good enough not to embarrass myself (which I did anyways). Well, I didn't feel comfortable in the strange place, which compounded the nerves.

Fourth mistake - nerves were killing me. I didn't realize it would be so bad. I played very stiff and frankly bad. Over thought every hit and never was able to implement any of my typical game plan. I was too busy reacting rather than trying to set up another shot. I didn't even realize this until an hour after. No tactics no strategy. It was like a guy swimming in a pool and then getting dumped in the ocean. Instead of swimming I ended up flailing.


Congrats on your first tournament - and judging by your description it was a perfectly normal experience. I can relate on pretty much all points - trust me, it gets better.

You need to play more competitive matches to improve your tournament performance: dealing with nerves, unfamiliar conditions, opponents etc. It is a skill, and you will only get it from participation.

Don't get discouraged by this (and most likely a relatively low rating you'll end up with) - pick a next tournament and start practicing. I'm sure you learned what you need to work on.

:clap:

Edit: Don't be like that kid you've met who is afraid to lose precious rating points. You always should play YOUR event, the minimum one you qualify for and the one you have highest chances of winning. You'll be surprised how hard it is to win an event - and doing so really builds 'tournament skills', especially mental aspects.

Playing someone who is 300+ points above you is a piece of cake in comparison - no pressure whatsoever.

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 12:42 
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Well done Ehimle, sounds pretty normal to me. I've only played in a few tournament but for me its rare to come away thinking I played well and did my best. You just need to go with no expectations and play and enjoy the day playing matches, regardless of results.

Nerves are normal, it will get easier though will never go away completely.

Keep it up, and I look forward to that report.

By the way, I think that kid has the wrong attitude and for me is not normal.

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 14:45 
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I echo pgpg's comments and advice. Go for it !!

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 14:54 
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Kids are in bed now, so I can write more.

Pgpg & cobalt, (der etche too) thank you so much for the kind words I'm sure it was pretty normal. I also think I will end up with really bad ratings. Haha. Everyone needs a butt kicking every once in a while.

I only played three matches today. I figured there would be more, but whatever.

First up was the open. (Forward: I like the advice of watching opponents before hand, but never had the chance).
My first opponent was a kid, probably 15, rated 2200+. I knew a butt kicking was coming.
The first rally in warm ups, I promptly hit the ball into the net. The tournament was using np40+, which I had procured a bit ago and have struggled with (made a post) and what confidence I had had in the gains I had made sunk to zero after hitting the next three into the net. I eventually got a couple over. And he was ready to go. Needless to say, between nerves and and all, I was ready to experience a 2000+ player and pull that band aid off. The first thing I noticed was the speed. I wasn't expecting that as much as the spin. Although the spin was good from him, the speed killed me. I was caught unaware. I had no reaction time. I think this is where all my tactics and strategy fell out the window, I was just trying to put something back.
Negatives. He ate just about everything up, just looped through everything. I need to practice against more and heavier loopers.
Positives. I got two point off him in each all three games. A couple of my pips in rallies, but the rest of serves. Also positive, the kid went to the open final. I don't think he won. I left after game two and his mom was ripping him a good one. So h was probably runner up. Still, I'll count this as a good experience.
My second opponent was 1600+, almost 1700. Probably close to 1800 now.
He had a wicked serve and a powerful forehand and backhand loop. Once I figure the serve out I was in for a ride, still just trying to keep the ball on the table. It did get me a few pips points through the match because he had a tendency to be more emotional and look for the kill shots. The first game I scored 4 points a couple from pips and a couple from serves. The second game I played my best and
I did get two great forehand hits in that he wasn't expecting. At 8-6 he got tired and really amped up his serves and I lost 11-6. The third game he got out to a good lead and then I got a few point and he didn't want to let me back into the game, and just shut me down.
Negatives. Once again facing a true looper hurt me. The people I play with mostly Drive,block, counter, and smash. I need more practice. His loop broke to my left and I would often hit were it was, not where it was going. His speed was good but not as much a factor.
Positives. Considering his wicked serve, I thought I did the best this game. He went on to place third or fourth in the u1800. I didn't catch which. In retrospect, I feel pretty good. Also he complemented my service and said I need to focus on a third ball attack more.

At that point, the adrenaline was going and the nerves were dead. Unfortunately, by the time my wait was over for the u1400, they were back in full force.

The last person in my u1400 group didn't show up. i wonder how things might've turned out.
Anyways, my last game was a guy 1100. I felt I would have had a fair shot, but with the guy not showing up I knew I just needed to win this one. Unfortunately, that was another mental blunder. This is where I played my worst for the day. The first two games I only got 2 points, couldn't figure his serve out (pushes too long and pips push into the net) and I faulted four (I think) of my own serves and sent two or three long. I hardly ever misserve, unless it's the occasional one served long. I missed the ball about 7 times today from nerves. I was a mess. Third game I figured his serve mostly out and jumped to an 8-2 lead. I was feeling good but really nervous. He started mounting a comeback and I closed it out 11-7.
The last game I started out 4-2 or so, and then slipped when trying to smash a ball let home back in and broke my concentration a bit. It was around 6-6 I slammed another's winner but I left it too close the the middle of the table and blocked it back immediately, quicker than I could pull my arm around. It was the straw that broke the camels back. Before I knew it it was 10-6. I Was done for. I did gather myself for another point and lost 11-7.
Negatives. I was a pure rock the first two games and couldn't get my nerves down. They were worse off than when I played the other two guys in the open. If I had just been looser, relaxed. Even in the last two games I was really tense. I should've been able to put him away. Outside of his serve it wasn't anything special (not bad,but...) I swear I had some of the toughest servers there! Though with my nerves I don't know if it would've mattered.
Positives. Not sure yet. I need to deal with the mental aspect of the game to get as good as I think I can be. Otherwise I'm gonna stink for a long time.

Some notes, I'll sadly try and post a video of the last match. I, in my nervous state forgot to record the open games. And all I have is the one I am probably most embarrassed about. I'll try and get one at my work where I feel more comfortable. And post as comparison so I don't feel too awful. I should've been able to really get that guy. But he was really friendly afterwards we had a good conversation.

Also next, all three players served to my body or fore hand. Is this normal? None anywhere near my backhand. The guys I play with mainly serve to the backhand. So this was interesting for me.

Edit: sorry about any misspellings and grammar. It's hard to type on a phone.

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2017, 17:57 
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Ehimle wrote:
Okay today was the tournament. I will have to give a report later.

But want to address some mistakes.

First. I sat down and a kid, whose mom was a volunteer sat next to me. I asked his rating and he said 1600 something. I asked if he was in the u 1800. He said no, he didn't want to risk losing to a lower ranked player. At that point I realized that when watching tournaments on YouTube to try and gauge my rating was a BAD idea. Most people in tournaments are 200 - 400 points lower than the "under" classification. So I thought initially that I was 1400-1600, really about 1000 - 1200.

Second mistake- I have been playing for 7 years but only seriously for 4. I have played with the same two to three people. Bad mistake. I feel very comfortable with what shoots these guys have and the most effective counters for their shots. Even shots I normally would hit with ease were riddled with self doubt and in effect a fraction of a second too late. That made a huge difference.

Third mistake - related to the second. I should've made time to make it out to the center beforehand. I've made a million excuses over the years not to go. I finally felt good enough not to embarrass myself (which I did anyways). Well, I didn't feel comfortable in the strange place, which compounded the nerves.

Fourth mistake - nerves were killing me. I didn't realize it would be so bad. I played very stiff and frankly bad. Over thought every hit and never was able to implement any of my typical game plan. I was too busy reacting rather than trying to set up another shot. I didn't even realize this until an hour after. No tactics no strategy. It was like a guy swimming in a pool and then getting dumped in the ocean. Instead of swimming I ended up flailing.


Most of what is involved in these "mistakes" are covered in what Fleetwood wrote here:

fleetwood999 wrote:
A couple thoughts.
You can think of "tournament play" as a skill in itself, in the same way a forehand or backhand stroke is a skill. And it is not the same skill as playing matches in a club. Often tournament events have an aspects of a marathon, meaning you need physical and mental endurance to play well and to be able to concentrate in the finals, not just the first couple rounds. Thus the need for food and hydration, making an effort to warm up throughout the day and not just sit, etc.
It's good to not expect a great deal at first since naturally it takes time and repetitions to develop your "tournament" skills.


Sounds like you had a learning experience, which was all your first tournament was ever going to be (and probably the next 3, 4,or 5 will be too). The fact that you picked a few positives out of the day along with the negatives mean you at least managed to not completely fall apart. Nice report, especially considering you wrote it off the phone. Good luck in your next tournament, and don't leave it too long - that will allow you to consolidate your learning more quickly.

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