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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2013, 07:45 
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haggisv wrote:
Do you think the old hardbat equipment and style could still be competitive against the modern style and equipment?

I keep a list of current fulltime hardbatters in the US and their ratings against sponge opposition:
http://www.hardbat.com/hbusatt.html
So it depends on what you mean by "competitive". If you mean in average tournaments, it might even be an advantage.

On the world stage? Scott Johnson of the Isle of Man was ITTF ranked at about 1000th in the world, about 3 years ago, using a hardbat. I think he had some decent wins in the Commonwealth Games and embarrassed a few opponents who took him lightly. I think he was about 18 years old. Franz Huermann was still playing pretty high up in the Bundesliga about 10 years ago with a hardbat.

But the truth is, we are unlikely to ever know how high a hardbat player could get against modern sponge players, because there is absolutely no incentive to train at such a level from a young age with a hardbat. (yet)

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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2013, 08:26 
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scottgordon wrote:

On the world stage? Scott Johnson of the Isle of Man was ITTF ranked at about 1000th in the world, about 3 years ago, using a hardbat. I think he had some decent wins in the Commonwealth Games and embarrassed a few opponents who took him lightly. I think he was about 18 years old. Franz Huermann was still playing pretty high up in the Bundesliga about 10 years ago with a hardbat.

(yet)


So what you do you think Scott Johnson's actual USATT rating against sponge would be? I'd say 1000th in the world is roughly 2200-2300... Our club has two world-ranked male players: Rudy Miranda and Guillermo Morales. Rudy has always been around 2250-2300, played in six WTTCs and Guillermo is around 2100-2200, played in three WTTCs. My former Argentina national team teammate Luis Semenas was similarly world-ranked and he got a 2237 USATT rating.


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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2013, 08:47 
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I know the lower World rankings are a bit dodgy (due to so many strong players not being included because they don't play international events) but I would think 1000 in the world should be considerably higher than 2200-2300. Apparently in the UK US2300 is around the 100 in their rankings and the UK aren't that strong these days. Mix in Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, Korea etc (not to mention China!)...I know there are probably 2200-2300 players ranked in the top 1000 but that is a result of an anomaly in the system rather than an accurate measure of the true strength at that level. :)


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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2013, 08:58 
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carbonman wrote:
I know the lower World rankings are a bit dodgy (due to so many strong players not being included because they don't play international events) but I would think 1000 in the world should be considerably higher than 2200-2300. Apparently in the UK US2300 is around the 100 in their rankings and the UK aren't that strong these days. Mix in Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, Korea etc (not to mention China!)...I know there are probably 2200-2300 players ranked in the top 1000 but that is a result of an anomaly in the system rather than an accurate measure of the true strength at that level. :)


Most lower division plays found at WTTCs are actually pretty low level, a fact I confirmed many times with Rudy and Guillermo. At every WTTC there are 40-50 3rd-world national teams with perhaps ONE strong player and the rest a lot weaker than their captain. Nevertheless, they get to played each other year after year in the same divisions, and as long as they get two wins they received a world ranking. So a top 1000th ranking is what it is, not a reflection of a true world top-1000 level. I suspect China alone has at least 500 of the world's top 1000 players if they played at every WTTC and pro tours.


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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2013, 09:52 
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roundrobin wrote:
So what you do you think Scott Johnson's actual USATT rating against sponge would be? I'd say 1000th in the world is roughly 2200-2300...

I met and played against Scott Johnson in 2001 when he was 13 years old, and I'd say his level then was about 2100. Beautiful classic chopper. I haven't seen him play since, but have kept in touch with his father, who told me that in the subsequent 5 years he became considerably stronger. My guess would be 2300-2400 today against sponge players - maybe higher against other hardbatters because that is his strength.

You're right that it is really tough to estimate a level from a world ranking below about 500, because in some cases a small country sends someone to the worlds who is about 1800 level, and the player gets a world ranking that way. In Scott's case, I don't think he ever played in a world championship, since I doubt that the Isle of Man has a player qualify very often (ever?). He played in the Commonwealth Games, so I think he had to get some decent wins to end up with a world ranking based only on that.

I still think he should have been invited to the WCPP based on his unusual world status, and his results in some of the early UK hardbat events, which were quite good. And because his style is very attractive to watch.

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PostPosted: 13 Jan 2013, 19:56 
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I think a modern hardbatter would have an excellent chance in today's sponge world. I don't know if one could become world champion, but certainly break into the top 100. However I don't think there is a coach in the planet, or parents for that matter, who is willing to take a gamble on training some children to be professional hardbatters and train them several hours per day. Hardbat has just gotten a bad reputation that it cannot compete against a modern heavy spin game. This has come about from amateurs with hardbats getting slaughtered by professionals.

If a player using sponge short pips who is around 50 years old can be in the top 75 in the world (and also a former world champion when he was in China's National Team) why not a hardbatter. It would be a matter of adjusting technique for a slower paddle with more control and also using the different weapons available to the hardbatter (short chop-blocks, smashes of loops, blocks to corners, etc.). There was a professional player a few years ago, who was also in the top 100 in the world, who played sponge short pips FH and BH. He is now retired but watching him he gave fits to inverted rubber players. Both short-pip-sponge players I mentioned above were products of full-time Chinese TT training.

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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2013, 21:35 
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A young Pinkewich can be seen in this clip (4.19-4.50 and 5.12-5.26) with a hard bat (a Barna I think). His technique looks pretty much the same as it is today.

&feature=youtube


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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2013, 22:47 
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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 11:21 
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scottgordon wrote:
haggisv wrote:
Do you think the old hardbat equipment and style could still be competitive against the modern style and equipment?

I keep a list of current fulltime hardbatters in the US and their ratings against sponge opposition:
http://www.hardbat.com/hbusatt.html
So it depends on what you mean by "competitive". If you mean in average tournaments, it might even be an advantage.

On the world stage? Scott Johnson of the Isle of Man was ITTF ranked at about 1000th in the world, about 3 years ago, using a hardbat. I think he had some decent wins in the Commonwealth Games and embarrassed a few opponents who took him lightly. I think he was about 18 years old. Franz Huermann was still playing pretty high up in the Bundesliga about 10 years ago with a hardbat.

But the truth is, we are unlikely to ever know how high a hardbat player could get against modern sponge players, because there is absolutely no incentive to train at such a level from a young age with a hardbat. (yet)


In the late 20th century and the early 21st century, the two highest ranked hardbat players of which I'm aware were Steve Berger and John Tannehill. Berger reached a ranking of slightly over 2300 against sponge players and was the 2000 National Hardbat Singles Champion. Tannehill's highest ranking against sponge players was about 2280. John Tannehill won the Ohio State Championship at the age of 48 in 2000, the last player to do so using a hardbat. Tannehill also defeated Lee McCool, an excellent left handed two winged looper in the under 2300 division and the Elite division at the 2001 Buckeye (Ohio) Open. He lost to McCool in the Open event.

Scott is right; as of 2015 there still isn't an incentive to train from a very young age with a hardbat. We (and the late Johnny Leach) can only hope that someday soon there will be.


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