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Would you like the "Loser Serves" rule put in place?
Yes 8%  8%  [ 2 ]
No 81%  81%  [ 21 ]
Unsure 12%  12%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 26
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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2011, 10:26 
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From all the comments I read, I can't see anyone giving a real good reason for the change.

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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2011, 10:37 
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haggisv wrote:
From all the comments I read, I can't see anyone giving a real good reason for the change.


The more ITTF tries to mess with existing rules "to improve its popularity" the more divisive they become.

There are so many things ITTF and national associations can do to increase its popularity that do NOT involve rule changes, but hardly anyone is doing them in places that would matter. Instead, ITTF is going down a completely wrong path trying to achieve this goal.


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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2011, 10:42 
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Why is it right for a player to be penalized for being in the lead? Players should get the serving advantage 50/50.

The ITTF is ruining the game for existing players with their misguided goals of making TT a spectator sport by bastardizing the rules. Their efforts over the last ten years have produced nearly empty arenas at many tour stops.

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PostPosted: 30 Sep 2011, 11:48 
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haggisv wrote:
From all the comments I read, I can't see anyone giving a real good reason for the change.

I agree. Very few of the responses indicate any positives out of the trial. The two comments that make some small sense are:
"It is more difficult to play and win", and
"The play becomes more equal for players".

If "loser serves" then it does place more emphasis on the ability to win points off the opponent's serve, which does make it more difficult to dominate a game on the strength of serve alone. And that may, in some instances, make the game more "equal". But I don't find these comments to constitute a particularly compelling argument.

Having said that, some of the comments against the rule change are pretty feeble:
"If there are umpires, then, yes, but if there aren't then it is a bit confusing"
"it's to difficult to concentrate on game, can't fight for every piont"
"No possible to play against lower level player"

I don't see how any of these comments adds weight to the against case. It is interesting to note that nearly all of the "maybe" responses are saying the same thing: "Too soon to tell". From a research perspective, the sample size is way, way too small - only 34 responses from a one off trial. If the ITTF were at all serious about considering the change, they would need to have thousands more responses over a longer period of time (to eliminate the "it is a bit confusing" factor).

At this stage, I'm still thinking, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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PostPosted: 01 Oct 2011, 05:03 
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Tassie52 wrote:
There are a couple of points here which seem to be either illogical or irrelevant.

Why comment on the presence of a "pip hater"? For a start, how do you know? Secondly, what difference does it make? Up to this point I'm not aware of pips players mounting any argument that this rule discriminates against them (or favours them, either). Even if there is a "pips hater" among the respondants, does that automatically invalidate their point of view? That would be as illogical as for a "pips hater" to suggest that a pips player's point of view was invalid.

The other thing which I completely fail to understand is the comment that "it makes the service useless". How? At what point is the effectiveness of the serve removed? If I'm winning points and not serving, then why is it an issue? If I win the game 11-0 and never get to serve, why should I complain? If I lose a point, then I get to serve with all of the advantages that go with it. I can still set up a third ball attack; I can still serve to my opponent's weakness; I can still call upon my arsenal of service techniques. Why is my serve suddenly useless?


Wow Tassie, am I still alive? :o <feeling my pulse> Yes, I am... Whoow! :lol:

I'll rephrase my comment into what I meant to say: "Oh yes, and there is at least one pip hater among the players..." => "Oh yes, and there is at least one pip hater among the players... :lol:"

Concerning the uselessness of a serve, imagine a player who has a great serve almost no one can receive properly, so (1) the opponent misses the serve or (2) a successful third ball attack follows (let's call him A). Also imagine A gets one point on average when receiving. A will always win the set and his opponent (let's call him B) will make 3 points if A starts to serve and 4 points if A starts receiving. With the new system, if A starts to serve, B will make 6 or 7 points, depending on the model. If A starts receiving, B will make 7 points.

This a perfect model (let's call it x) and nothing in reality corresponds to it. Let us add 2 reality variables: the imperfection of good servers (which raises the won points by B in the old system and in the new system - let's call it y) and the psychological and other effect when playing a set (e.g. getting desperate when the gap between you and the good server becomes more wide or getting more focused when closing the gap between you and the good server - which raises the won points by A in the old system, but raises the won points by B in the new system - let's call it z). If you now compare the old and new system, it appears that in the old system y and z cancel each other out (if they are equal - which is a assumption) and only x survives, making that B's won points=(3 or 4). Let us say there's a margin of error of 1, making the won points by B 2 to 5. In the new system y and z complement each other and are added to x, so B's won points are (6 or 7) + 1 [i.e. y] + 1 [i.e. z]=(8 or 9). It isn't hard to imagine y+z=3 , so x+y+z=max 10 and now the server needs to play at least to 12. Also not unimaginable is that y+z=4, so x+y+z=max 11 and the server needs to play to 13 or even if he's the better server, he can lose the game. It's this final scenario I was talking about. But I might have better formulated my conclusion in this way: "it makes the service useless" => "it makes the service a lot less useful".

Oh yes, I'm not a mathematician, so if there's a mathematician on this forum, please don't hesitate to recalculate my findings.

Tassie52 wrote:
Having said that, some of the comments against the rule change are pretty feeble:
"If there are umpires, then, yes, but if there aren't then it is a bit confusing"
"it's to difficult to concentrate on game, can't fight for every piont"
"No possible to play against lower level player"


IMO the responses Tassie quotes here aren't feeble. You can place them in z. Off course you cannot capture these effects with empirical scrutiny and well-defined mathematical numbers or formulas. You always need interpretation and margins of error to capture these effects. But they aren't feeble: they might even be more important than the pure mathematical effects of the new system (i.e. x).

I agree with the sample size being to small, but that's quite indicative for qualitive research. It's the first step.

I also agree with Tassie's conclusion: if it ain't broken, don't fix it. But the ITTF wil say it is broken, will not say the truth why it is broken and they will fix it (i.e. break it even more).


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PostPosted: 01 Oct 2011, 11:04 
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Lorre wrote:
Wow Tassie, am I still alive? :o <feeling my pulse> Yes, I am... Whoow! :lol:

I'll rephrase my comment into what I meant to say: "Oh yes, and there is at least one pip hater among the players..." => "Oh yes, and there is at least one pip hater among the players... :lol:"

This is neither respectful or helpful. I'm only interested in discussing the "loser serves" trial. Your "am I still alive?" has nothing to do with the discussion and is plain rude.

Also, the presence or otherwise of a "pip hater" is irrelevant. By including it in this discussion you are making a comment which risks turning this into yet another session about how the ITTF hates pips players. If the presence of a "pip hater" has any relevance to the results of the trial, please tell us. Otherwise IMO we would be better off without it.

Lorre wrote:
Concerning the uselessness of a serve, imagine a player who has a great serve almost no one can receive properly...

This argument is flawed from the initial premise. The vast majority of matches are played between players of reasonably equal skill. I have yet to see anyone, including the extraordinary Ma Lin, whose serve is so superior to the abilities of his opponent that they win 90% of the points when they serve. The variables introduced to make the scenario more realistic don't help, simply because the initial proposition is too unrealistic.

If "A" has such an advantage with his serve over "B", then the chances are that A also has a better service return, better push, better tactical skill, and so on. That's what happens when I (a very mediocre player) play against a good player. Not only does my opponent win with their serve but everything else as well. Under the current (not "old") system, I lose something like 10-2. Under the proposed (not "new") system, I lose something like 10-2.

Lorre wrote:
I might have better formulated my conclusion in this way: "it makes the service useless" => "it makes the service a lot less useful".

There is as huge amount of difference between "useless" and "less useful". "Useless" means of no use whatsoever, which is hardly the case because whenever a player has the serve it is of some use. I'm happy to agree with "less useful", because it is possible for a player who is much better than their opponent to go through a match serving very little. It is even conceivable that they could win 11-0 and never have to serve. But in that scenario it is their return of serve which is their strength.

Lorre wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
Having said that, some of the comments against the rule change are pretty feeble:
"If there are umpires, then, yes, but if there aren't then it is a bit confusing"
"it's to difficult to concentrate on game, can't fight for every piont"
"No possible to play against lower level player"


IMO the responses Tassie quotes here aren't feeble. You can place them in z...

Your variable "z" is about "psychological effects".

To suggest that the "loser serves" is "a bit confusing" would only carry any weight for the first few times the game is played that way. I can't imagine anyone of average intellect being long term confused about whose turn it is to serve. Therefore, not "z".

"it's to difficult to concentrate on game, can't fight for every piont"??? How does "loser serves" have anything to do with this? The player who loses the point takes the ball and concentrates on serving. The player who wins the point concentrates on receiving. Not "z".

"No possible to play against lower level player". If we agree that "y+z=4, so x+y+z=max 11 and the server needs to play to 13 or even if he's the better server, he can lose the game", a higher level player will always beat a "lower level player". If they don't beat them then they are not a higher level player after all. There may be an argument about a "better server" but a better server is not necessarily a better player. Surely the aim of the game is to find the better player rather than the better server.

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PostPosted: 02 Oct 2011, 00:02 
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I don't like this because it seems like change for the sake of change without any real reason for it. If it's meant to "level the playing field", I don't think that's a good reason. Sport is a competition, it's not meant to be "evened out". You're supposed to raise the strength of your game in all aspects, just because someone can't return serve well doesn't mean they should be artificially helped out.

I also think we'd lose some of the good tactics of setting up different serves during a match. You get two serves, and might use a specific one on the first serve to set up a serve that might trick your opponent on the second. That would be lost. Also, right now if you get a game to 8-10 and you have the serve you have a chance to get the game to deuce a lot easier. In this way, it really favors the player that can get out front early in a game. Once you get up by 2-3 points, if you have a dominant serve you can just alternate points and win the match without having to face two straight serves at the end of the game from your opponent.

I just think there are too many small drawbacks without a large benefit, not to mention the flow and rhythm of a game is broken up.

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PostPosted: 02 Oct 2011, 00:09 
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I agree, "Change for the sake of change".

Before this "loser serves" thing was brought up, I never heard anyone complain about two serves. And yes, I do use one serve to setup the next.


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PostPosted: 02 Oct 2011, 00:24 
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Tassie52 wrote:
This is neither respectful or helpful. I'm only interested in discussing the "loser serves" trial. Your "am I still alive?" has nothing to do with the discussion and is plain rude.

Also, the presence or otherwise of a "pip hater" is irrelevant. By including it in this discussion you are making a comment which risks turning this into yet another session about how the ITTF hates pips players. If the presence of a "pip hater" has any relevance to the results of the trial, please tell us. Otherwise IMO we would be better off without it.


I love to tease people with a little bit of humour. I know not everybody appreciates that, but that will not prevent me from using it. It makes the world less serious looking for me and if more people should have such a characteristic, the world would be more enjoyable. IMO if I'd say you're a frustrated *** who just wants to win an argument for the argument's sake, then I agree with you that that would be plain rude. But I'm not going to apologize for the teasing words/sentences I drop once and a while, simply because I don't use them to offend someone. If you felt offended by some of my words, then please consider my intentions.

Tassie52 wrote:
This argument is flawed from the initial premise. The vast majority of matches are played between players of reasonably equal skill. I have yet to see anyone, including the extraordinary Ma Lin, whose serve is so superior to the abilities of his opponent that they win 90% of the points when they serve. The variables introduced to make the scenario more realistic don't help, simply because the initial proposition is too unrealistic.

If "A" has such an advantage with his serve over "B", then the chances are that A also has a better service return, better push, better tactical skill, and so on. That's what happens when I (a very mediocre player) play against a good player. Not only does my opponent win with their serve but everything else as well. Under the current (not "old") system, I lose something like 10-2. Under the proposed (not "new") system, I lose something like 10-2.


I'm not going to repeat myself about what I mentioned about my x-model. I refer you back to my initial post for that. If you do like challenges, I challenge you to make a equally detailed model with your assumptions, mindset,...

Tassie52 wrote:
There is as huge amount of difference between "useless" and "less useful". "Useless" means of no use whatsoever, which is hardly the case because whenever a player has the serve it is of some use. I'm happy to agree with "less useful", because it is possible for a player who is much better than their opponent to go through a match serving very little. It is even conceivable that they could win 11-0 and never have to serve. But in that scenario it is their return of serve which is their strength.


That is why I corrected my words in my more detailed explanation. In my first post I just rougly outlined what I extracted from the qualitative data. BTW, it's a lot less useful, Tassie. If you quote, you need to do it correctly. ;)

Tassie52 wrote:
To suggest that the "loser serves" is "a bit confusing" would only carry any weight for the first few times the game is played that way. I can't imagine anyone of average intellect being long term confused about whose turn it is to serve. Therefore, not "z".

"it's to difficult to concentrate on game, can't fight for every piont"??? How does "loser serves" have anything to do with this? The player who loses the point takes the ball and concentrates on serving. The player who wins the point concentrates on receiving. Not "z".


"A bit confusing" is z, even it is only temporary.

The person who writes "it's to difficult to concentrate on the game, can't fight for every point" can be mentally "disabled" in one or the other way. Now follow me a bit, Tassie: there are persons who can remember faces like no other, yet they seem to have real difficulties with remembering their name. There are people who cannot remember street names. The plasticity of our brain in the earlier years of our lifes enables us to be good at something we do regularly, but bad at things we don't regularly or not at all. In our later lifes we have problems if we need to do those things we didn't do regularly or didn't do at all, because our brains don't show such great plasticity anymore in comparison with the plasticity of our earlier years of our lifes. Due to this phenomenon, the guy who writes this sentence can have problems with the new system because he's imprinted the local table tennis rule 'he who wins the point, gets to serve" all of his life and this contradicts with the new system, not the old one. Just imagine having to call "left" "right" and vice versa. Some people will never get used to it, others will eventually, but still it will be z for a certain amount of time. What I wanted to make you clear, Tassie, is not only that his statement is z, but also that you're the observer and you have to be objective towards someone's words. It's not because you cannot conceive his difficulties that those difficulties don't exist.

Tassie52 wrote:
"No possible to play against lower level player". If we agree that "y+z=4, so x+y+z=max 11 and the server needs to play to 13 or even if he's the better server, he can lose the game", a higher level player will always beat a "lower level player". If they don't beat them then they are not a higher level player after all. There may be an argument about a "better server" but a better server is not necessarily a better player. Surely the aim of the game is to find the better player rather than the better server.


In the new system the better player (i.e. he who does not have the advantage of his serve in the old system) can win the set, but that's after the new system has been implemented and has made the serve a lot less useful. In the old system, where the service has a greater value, the better player (i.e. he who does have the advantage of his serve in the old system) will always be the winner of the set. That's what I wanted to 'prove'.

Tassie, using a consequence of a model that you reject as a defense of your opinion about a written sentence is not possible. Either you reject the model and his consequence and find another argument, or you accept the model and his consequence and use it as an argument.

I find your final sentence really interesting. For me he who wins (only) with his serve is always the better player, because serving is a technique you need to master, not something you're able to do after doing it one time. What I understand in your final sentence is that serving is less important in your eyes than playing rallies, which is according to me equally important.

For me the better player in table tennis is C, because "C's ability to serve + C's ability to play rallies + C's ability to cope with psychological stress + C's will power + ... > D's ability to serve + D's ability to play rallies + D's ability to cope with psychological stress + D's will power + ..." You're free to use your own equation.


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PostPosted: 02 Oct 2011, 00:52 
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haggisv wrote:
From all the comments I read, I can't see anyone giving a real good reason for the change.


Because it is a comment, not a reason haha :lol:

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PostPosted: 02 Oct 2011, 21:26 
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Lorre wrote:
I love to tease people with a little bit of humor... If you felt offended by some of my words, then please consider my intentions.

From time to time, I've been known to say, "Sorry, I didn't intend to offend you."

Lorre wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
There is as huge amount of difference between "useless" and "less useful".

That is why I corrected my words in my more detailed explanation. In my first post I just rougly outlined what I extracted from the qualitative data. BTW, it's a lot less useful, Tassie. If you quote, you need to do it correctly. ;)

I didn't quote "a lot less useful" because I don't agree with the "a lot" part. In the survey there were a number of responses which basically add up to "this doesn't make a lot of difference". It would be negligent not to take those responses into account as well. Your proposition is an extreme one. I disagree.

Lorre wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
a higher level player will always beat a "lower level player". If they don't beat them then they are not a higher level player after all. There may be an argument about a "better server" but a better server is not necessarily a better player. Surely the aim of the game is to find the better player rather than the better server.

I find your final sentence really interesting. For me he who wins (only) with his serve is always the better player, because serving is a technique you need to master, not something you're able to do after doing it one time. What I understand in your final sentence is that serving is less important in your eyes than playing rallies, which is according to me equally important.

For me the better player in table tennis is C, because "C's ability to serve + C's ability to play rallies + C's ability to cope with psychological stress + C's will power + ... > D's ability to serve + D's ability to play rallies + D's ability to cope with psychological stress + D's will power + ..." You're free to use your own equation.

In fact we agree. C is a better player, not because C has a fantastic serve but because their all-round game is superior. It is not technically possible under the current system to win using only one's serve, but you can get very close. Far less likely under the proposed system.

And you might note that there is a "current" system and a "proposed" one. The only "old" system was 5 consecutive serves each, and the current system is the "new" one. ;)

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PostPosted: 02 Oct 2011, 23:20 
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Ok, let's use the words "current" and "proposed" then if it gives some people some peace of mind. :lol:

You say you're happy to agree with "less useful", but then we don't agree, because I find it "a lot less useful".

What I propose (i.e. x) is extreme and isn't realistic (something I already stated), but it is in this extreme case that it is very obvious that the serve becomes a lot less useful. I tried to make it more realistic by adding more variables, but it became even more obvious that the serve would be a lot less useful when adding these variables. IMO you agree with this conclusion when you say: "It is not technically possible under the current system to win using only one's serve, but you can get very close. Far less likely under the proposed system." You agree with the conclusion of the model (do you?), but you reject the whole model. That's perfectly legitimate, but then please present your own model on which you base your (same) conclusion on.

I'm glad we agree C is the better player because their all-round game is superior. Only in the current system I see "the weight of C's ability to serve=the weight of C's ability to play rallies". In the proposed system I see "the weight of C's ability to to serve<the weight of C's ability to play rallies". How do you see it?


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PostPosted: 03 Oct 2011, 14:08 
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Take this "proposed rule change" to the extreme and we will get "lower ranked player serves (all the time)".
Now, ITTF would really call this "evening out the competition".

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PostPosted: 03 Oct 2011, 14:19 
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A even more radical change.
Why don't we follow tennis service rule.
Each player will get to serve the entire game, then alternate service in the decider/rubber game.
This way, most matches will go the full distance unless the weaker player can't even win on his own service game.
THIS will "really" make table tennis interesting (according to ITTF) as most matches will go to the decider.

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PostPosted: 03 Oct 2011, 15:05 
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wlhk wrote:
A even more radical change.
Why don't we follow tennis service rule.
Each player will get to serve the entire game, then alternate service in the decider/rubber game.
This way, most matches will go the full distance unless the weaker player can't even win on his own service game.
THIS will "really" make table tennis interesting (according to ITTF) as most matches will go to the decider.


Just skip all the games and go to the decider directly, I would say... ;)


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