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PostPosted: 07 Aug 2014, 20:21 
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Nice article by Matt, on how the focus on spectators may not be for the benefit of the sport!

http://www.mhtabletennis.com/2014/08/wh ... s-has.html

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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2014, 01:41 
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I think he misses quite a few things. I don't think table tennis EVER had the draw of, say, soccer, American football, basketball or even golf. It never did draw huge crowds. It's always been somewhat esoteric, the average guy on the street wouldn't know half of what goes on. It's just us players who know what's happening, find the games interesting, and would actually attend events.

The only international contest I ever attended was in Kuala Lumpur in the 80s - it was a World Cup, Klampar won. Sure, the stadium may have been full for the finals (I don't know, I watched it on TV), but it was a pretty small stadium. All the other sessions? You'd see greats like Guo Yuehua, Xie Saike, Klampar, Jonyer, a very young Appelgren.. and there'd be maybe 150-200 people max. Maybe even less. You could sit wherever you wanted, people would wander down to the barriers to get their bats autographed. I suspect it was the same everywhere, perhaps even in China. Compare that with the crowd you get for a Thomas Cup, for instance, let alone a Soccer World Cup or a Formula One race. You just don't have a pool of aficionados and fans beyond the few of us who play. Never did.

Empty stadiums at the Kuwait and Qatar Opens? Well, think about the fact that we actually HAVE Kuwait and Qatar opens that have appeared on TV outside of Qatar and Kuwait (and China). We certainly didn't have that in the 80s! I actually find the current game far more interesting to watch compared to the game in the 80s (I missed the 90s altogether). The 40mm ball has made for a lot less of what we saw back then - players who are world class who would inexplicably drop balls into the net or miss the table upon receiving the serve, and lots and lots of three stroke rallies. Heck, we even have choppers now in the upper echelons of the sport. I can't think of any in the 80s. You don't think the long rallies we have these days are spectacular? I do.

The two color ball? Sure, the spectators in the stadium might not see the ball rotate, but it sure would make great viewing in slow motion on TV.

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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2014, 09:23 
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There were some decent crowds for table tennis in the hardbat era, but since then the sport has increasingly struggled. The old style of table tennis and to a great extent the current form of easy serve/easy return liha in the Philippines is pretty appealing and understandable for spectators.

However, the brand of table tennis we play today is highly technical and highly strategic -- and if a person doesn't play it, they won't understand what's really going on. This isn't basement ping pong, which is most people's frame of reference.

The ITTF repeatedly dumbing down the game in increments won't help until we get all the way to liha level. All these many changes do is cheat us players out of our enjoyment of the game bit by bit.

By the way, the real reason for the frictionless ban was because the ITTF/E. Schoeler felt that style is visually unappealing.

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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2014, 19:47 
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Firstly what a great artical.... :rock: :rock: It is so painfully obvious that none of these crazy changes have worked yet we have the millions of TT players who when it comes to it just roll over & do what they are told. :@ :punch: :swear: Then we have heaps of players putting all sorts of substances on their rubbers to change them. :headbang: :headbang:

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 12:51 
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Even during the hardbat era I doubt they had the sort of crowds a college football game or a pro boxing match would have generated. And I don't see any indications that Liha attracts huge crowds, either (considering nobody ever heard of it outside the Phillipines until a few years ago).

Gollum wrote:
Firstly what a great artical.... :rock: :rock: It is so painfully obvious that none of these crazy changes have worked yet we have the millions of TT players who when it comes to it just roll over & do what they are told. :@ :punch: :swear: Then we have heaps of players putting all sorts of substances on their rubbers to change them. :headbang: :headbang:


The second statement (in red) contradicts the first statement in green... ;) Doubtlessly both are true, but which one would you think it "good"? Or if both are "bad", then you've got a paradox on your hands... ;)

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 14:04 
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iskandar taib wrote:
Even during the hardbat era I doubt they had the sort of crowds a college football game or a pro boxing match would have generated. And I don't see any indications that Liha attracts huge crowds, either (considering nobody ever heard of it outside the Phillipines until a few years ago).

If you read Tim Boggan's "History of U.S. Table Tennis" volumes, Marty Reisman's autobiography, etc., there are many references to crowds ranging from 3,500 to 10,000 back in the day.

To me, liha is the closest thing we have to the old 30s to 50s hardbat style of table tennis that attracted those crowds.

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 14:58 
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Contrary to this article, one way modern table tennis is not catering for the spectators is by virtue of where they sit.

What I consistently see in older footage and games played in below pro level is that the crowds can actually sit court side and SEE, in detail, what is happening in a match. When you're close to the action of a table tennis match you can see nuances of the sport, hear the loud contact of a ball hit hard, cheer and support, see the facial expressions, and feel the emotions.

Look at modern professional table tennis, the court size is huge and the crowds are sitting WAAAAY back. How can anyone see any detail or feel involved in the match sitting 30 metres away? Beyond me.

Is all that empty space around the court simply to reduce distraction for the players??? Prime seating going begging.

Place the punters courtside and let 'em make a whole bunch of noise. Allow excitement and involvement, then people will want to be there.

I've watched videos of some European matches where the crowd is banging on drums and playing trumpets. That's the ticket........


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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 15:02 
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Good point! I've seen numerous videos and pictures of huge venues with mostly empty seats, and the table right in the middle surrounded by heaps of space. Choosing a smaller venue would be cheaper and would improve things a lot for the spectators.

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 15:14 
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PS: 11 point game- no building of tension or struggle to overcome a deficit. No big come backs, no show-boating, less risk taking, no time to try different strategies. A best of five set match is often done and dusted in 15 minutes, that's not much of a meeting of games/styles, more a shoot-out.

At the top level, it has become more and more a game of minimal risk and percentage/set plays, with the odd surprise thown in for hope of an easy point.

A tennis match can go well over 4 hours. Viewers will happily watch an enthralling contest, and that's kinda the point.


I still love playing the game but........


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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 16:20 
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haggisv wrote:
Good point! I've seen numerous videos and pictures of huge venues with mostly empty seats, and the table right in the middle surrounded by heaps of space. Choosing a smaller venue would be cheaper and would improve things a lot for the spectators.

That's something I've been complaining about for years. They allegedly make all these changes for the benefit of the spectators, then they put the spectators hundreds of feet from a tiny 5x9 foot playing surface. And they put matches online with abysmal quality, I mean quite literally lower quality than 90% of the amateur videos on YouTube.

I can't believe what a moron Adham Sharara is to not see and correct these obvious, easy to fix mistakes. Taking the game forward my foot.

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 17:12 
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mynamenotbob wrote:
And they put matches online with abysmal quality, I mean quite literally lower quality than 90% of the amateur videos on YouTube.

Perhaps to entice people to pay for high quality content in future? Hope not, as I think that will backfire big time!

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 17:50 
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mynamenotbob wrote:
And they put matches online with abysmal quality, I mean quite literally lower quality than 90% of the amateur videos on YouTube.

This drives me crazy. Worst case scenario they could spend £300 on a 1080p camcorder and £200 on a sturdy tripod. Then again, I presume they DO have the right equipment... but for whatever reason choose not to upload at the best quality they can?

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 18:49 
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strongpong wrote:
Look at modern professional table tennis, the court size is huge and the crowds are sitting WAAAAY back. How can anyone see any detail or feel involved in the match sitting 30 metres away? Beyond me.

Is all that empty space around the court simply to reduce distraction for the players??? Prime seating going begging.

Place the punters courtside and let 'em make a whole bunch of noise. Allow excitement and involvement, then people will want to be there.


I've been to two pro table tennis events. One in the 1980s in Scotland, and one in about 2005 in Croydon, London. In both cases it was top class players playing competitive matches, but in a small venue. In both cases I had front row seats and could see everything. It was brilliant. I didn't even consider going to the olympics matches because I wouldn't have seen a thing. Sure they have big screens but I don't get to choose what I see.

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 18:52 
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strongpong wrote:
PS: 11 point game- no building of tension or struggle to overcome a deficit. No big come backs, no show-boating, less risk taking, no time to try different strategies. A best of five set match is often done and dusted in 15 minutes, that's not much of a meeting of games/styles, more a shoot-out.

At the top level, it has become more and more a game of minimal risk and percentage/set plays, with the odd surprise thown in for hope of an easy point.

A tennis match can go well over 4 hours. Viewers will happily watch an enthralling contest, and that's kinda the point.


I watched the game between Appelgren and Grubba that Dunc pointed me to:



1.5 hrs long. I loved every minute of it. Much more entertaining that the 11 point game, more tension, more chance to watch the quality of the players, no sense that 2-3 points and the set is over.

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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 19:10 
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dunc wrote:
mynamenotbob wrote:
And they put matches online with abysmal quality, I mean quite literally lower quality than 90% of the amateur videos on YouTube.

This drives me crazy. Worst case scenario they could spend £300 on a 1080p camcorder and £200 on a sturdy tripod. Then again, I presume they DO have the right equipment... but for whatever reason choose not to upload at the best quality they can?

I'm sure that is the case too.... either the wrong person is doing the uploads, or they're trying to save bandwidth. I suspect that since they offer live action, they'll probably be paying for viewing bandwidth, which may be a consideration...

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