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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: 03 Oct 2011, 15:06 
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i think serve and return serve both are important..When some player got a good serve he can dominate his opponent and when he has a good return serve skill,he also can dominated his opponent too..same victory but from different angle ;)

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PostPosted: 04 Oct 2011, 04:43 
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dwruck wrote:
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.


+100 :) If you can't return someones serve, improve your game.

I also enjoy serviing, I enjoy practicing serving, I enjoy the deception involved in serving. It's a kick to use a topspin serve which an opponent reads as backspin and pushes it only to see their return fly high and long. Table tennis is meant to be about tactics and mental aspects of the game learning to serve and returning serve are big factors here. But it seems more and more that rather than take time to explain to an audience spin it's effect and how it's created and dealt with the audience is assumed to want to see close games with less skill. Sorry the ITTF and I seem to have a different interpretation of what exciting means as both a player and viewer. I wish the ITTF would stop trying to remove the skill and spin aspect and disguise in table tennis. Penalisising the ability to disguise a serve sounds pretty similar to banning certain equipment because it can make others look bad because of the deception / disguise involved.

As for the reasons given by the players

Lorre wrote:
From what I've read...Those who are in favor, think that (1) it is easier to umpire, (2) it is more exciting for the crowd and (3) it makes all players more equal...

Point 2 - it's only more exciting possibly if you get longer rallies and closer games. Players should increase your skill and this should happen.
Point 3 - not even worth bothering responding to. This is a lazy argument. Work harder, train harder.

Perhaps next tournament they should reintroduce serving 5 times in a row and play to 21, then you get more practice at trying to figure out how to return a players serve rather than the 2 at a time wow is the game already over 11 up system.

Or perhaps the ITTF should handicap players. If you're in the top 10 you give players 3 points start a game, top 20, 2 points a game etc then if the handicap has been done correctly and assuming no ones fiddled their handicap all the games should be won by no more than 2 cleaer points and there'd be lots of setting and excitment.

Finally, can we stop thinking about the audience and start thinking about the vast majority of us who aren't members of the ITTF or compete in their competitions. Let the ITTF have on set of rules for the pro's and the rest of us play by another set. If you cross over between the two then you should be good enough to be able to cope with two sets of rules and it's your choice to do so.

I wish the ITTF would also publish any results from "customer satisfaction" surveys they might have carried out as to what both players at international and local level want and what the viewing public want. I've yet to see any research done by the ITTF in these fields only a bllind assumption that National Associations know best and can raise rule changes and because they are national associations they represent players and everybody else in their country - well they don't. Anyone in England ever been surveyed by the ETTA about your views on the service the ETTA provides, the rules, the develeopment of the game, how it can be improved, what's good or bad about wathcing tournements? Whilst it was good to see a tournement test out this idea I'd like to have seen what information was used/research to come up with the idea in the first place.

Sorry, rant over.


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PostPosted: 04 Oct 2011, 11:41 
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Thanks for the "rant", Debater. As always, your post is thought provoking. Much I agree with, but I do wonder about a number of points you and others raise.

Debater wrote:
dwruck wrote:
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".

This is both True and False. Sport is a competition, and we are constantly looking to find winners (better players) and losers (weaker players). But there is also a "level playing field" component (where else would the saying come from?). Some sports actively work to level the competition: for example, handicappers are essential in horse racing, weight divisions in boxing, weight lifting, separating men and women in the vast majority of sports (interestingly, at the local level and in some open comps, TT allows men and women to compete against one another). There are lots of examples of levelling the playing field.

At the same time, sport also introduces rules which make competition less even: for example, seeding players in a comp. makes it much harder for a weaker player to make it to the final stages. Better players are given an easier run - byes in the opening rounds, and not drawn against other top seeds until the end.

Debater wrote:
dwruck wrote:
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.

If you can't return someones serve, improve your game.

Exactly. And equally, just because someone can serve well "doesn't mean they should be artificially helped out". I think it's quite reasonable to ask the question, "Does the serve play an inflated role in the game?"

Debater wrote:
I wish the ITTF would stop trying to remove the skill and spin aspect and disguise in table tennis.

This is a gross misinterpretation of what the ITTF may or may not be trying to do. Whatever the ITTF's thinking, I can't imagine for one second that it's about "trying to remove the skill and spin aspect and disguise in table tennis." Feel free to send off an email to Adham and ask him, "Are you trying to kill off skill and spin and disguise?" and I can guarantee what his answer will be. "NO!"

At the same time, he may be interested in feedback on this subject, so an email wouldn't hurt. And perhaps that's what the questionnaire was about: feedback. And from the responses to the feedback, I'd say there's not much support for a rule change.

Debater wrote:
Penalisising the ability to disguise a serve sounds pretty similar to banning certain equipment because it can make others look bad because of the deception / disguise involved.

I do wish you hadn't gone here. This just opens up the whole "material" debate yet again. For my part, I do believe that once I step onto the court that it should be a "level playing field", at least in terms of the equipment used. The competition is to find the better player, not the most deceptive equipment. Long pips and anti players immediately object that it takes skill to play their game (which I do not dispute) but it doesn't stop them in their endless quest to find the rubber that is most difficult to play against.

I do want my serve to be deceptive, but I want that to be because I have practised it again and again and again, not because I've got some sticky/pippy/boosted/tuned/super rubber thing going on. And not because I'm hiding it behind my arm either.

Debater wrote:
As for the reasons given by the players
Lorre wrote:
From what I've read...Those who are in favor, think that (1) it is easier to umpire, (2) it is more exciting for the crowd and (3) it makes all players more equal...

Point 2 - it's only more exciting possibly if you get longer rallies and closer games. Players should increase your skill and this should happen.
Point 3 - not even worth bothering responding to. This is a lazy argument. Work harder, train harder.

I totally agree with you on point 3. 100%. But I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that you're wrong on point 2: increasing skill will not produce "longer rallies and closer games". The statistics show very clearly that points at the highest levels (therefore, greatest skill) last an average of 3.4 shots. That is: serve, return, 3rd ball attack, and sometimes a second return.

At the same time, I think it's reasonable to suggest that what both players and spectators appreciate are longer rallies. Watch any game good enough to be broadcast and it immediately becomes obvious that the longer points are the most engaging - and that is regardless of whether they are 2 loopers slugging it out or Joo Se Hyuk chopping for all he's worth. The crowd loves a long rally. The players love it too. When the Australian Open was played here, it was blindingly obvious that the greatest applause from watching players was for the long rallies.

I don't agree with changing the service rule at this point, but I do think it's reasonable to ask if the current setup contributes to the domination of short rallies.

Debater wrote:
Finally, can we stop thinking about the audience and start thinking about the vast majority of us who aren't members of the ITTF or compete in their competitions. Let the ITTF have one set of rules for the pro's and the rest of us play by another set. If you cross over between the two then you should be good enough to be able to cope with two sets of rules and it's your choice to do so.

This is never going to happen, is it?

When I step onto a football field to play ninth division veterans, I'm still going to be playing by the same rules as Brazil at the World Cup. When I go out in my white shorts to play "hit and giggle" tennis, I will still play by the same rules as Nadal and Federer. On the golf course, I still have to count my strokes the same way Ogleby does. When I play chess or tiddlywinks I play by the international rules.

I actually want to play by the same rules as the big boys.

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PostPosted: 04 Oct 2011, 11:49 
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I don't think that the serve holds too strong of a role in table tennis matches. I'd say the server has an advantage, as it allows them to set up (or attempt to set up) their third ball attack (in most cases). However, the advantage isn't overwhelming, especially at the higher levels where players know how to return serves well. Yes, there are instances of sports leveling the playing field. But there's a huge difference between allowing fighters of different weights/sizes fighting each other, and equalizing skill level. Someone cannot help for their size, so Manny Pacquiao should never have to fight the Klitschkos, for example. But that's a physical limitation that cannot be changed. What can be changed, and improved, is your skill level. A skill can be learned, and should be. It gives us something to strive for. If we attempt to level things out to get rid of that skill aspect, it makes the game too easy to master and removes skill from the competition, which is something that nobody wants to see happen.

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PostPosted: 04 Oct 2011, 12:26 
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Well said dwruck.

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PostPosted: 04 Oct 2011, 13:00 
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I think debater raises a really excellent point... what research has the ITTF and national bodies really carried out that stacks up with research ethics and statistical rigor? Most the decisions they make seem to be drawn from the idea of what is "the right path" drawn on from within. Perhaps they sometimes draw on opinion from the top player representation, but thats about as far as it seems to go. It certainly looks nothing like a democracy. Yet, we, the "customers" wear whatever it is they decide. Like it or lump it....or form your own governing body...but beware you will get fought tooth and nail if you try that! Seems like hypocrisy to me.

Tassie as for your argument about seeds swaying the competition...sorry but I don't think this stacks up. Seeds are there because of their past performance and the need to keep the playing field balanced. If you have the best players all fighting it out on the same side of a draw and all the weak players coasting on the other half, you'd end up with the best matches taking place early and the best players knocking each other out. And then you are left with the best of the best in a final against the best of the worst. The best player will still win, but the final will be very drab and dreary as the best player flattens a very distant opposition. Having seeding is the only way to overcome this, and if an unseeded player is good enough he will overcome everyone he has to to make it to the end anyway. But seeding and changing the serving rules are two very different ways of "levelling the playing field". Seeding approaches it at a macro level just to ensure efficient competition. A Loser serves rule approaches it at a micro level and attempts to sway the outcome of actual matches within the match. Even if this were done you would still need seeding....they are totally different issues used (or proposed) for totally different purposes.

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PostPosted: 04 Oct 2011, 13:34 
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Level playing field
Table tennis will never have a level playing field until all players use the same bat. A pro's $300+ Butterfly bat with boosted Tenergy on both sides is not on a level playing field with an amateur's $30 Zeropong special.

As far as serving, why should a player be penalized for being ahead? He or she should get the serving advantage equally.

ITTF removing disguise
In reality, the ITTF is trying to dumb the sport down and rid the game of deception because the audience doesn't understand it. The nuances of spin in the game are foreign to casual spectators who just think the players are missing easy shots. The ITTF is trying to push brute force topspinning on everyone.

Go ahead and ask Adham. His credibility is almost zero among defenders. Just recently he said the bigger, less spinny plastic ball is to help defenders. Yeah, sure Adham.

Amateurs and pros don't play the same rules or equipment
In golf, amateurs use different tees. Plus there are many "game improvement" clubs available that pros don't use.

In baseball, amateurs can use aluminum bats, big leaguers must use wood. All fields are different sizes. Tons of other rule differences too, for example at lower levels no lead-offs or no stolen bases until after the ball passes the hitter, etc.

NFL quarterbacks have headsets in their helmets, unlike high school players. Massive numbers of rule differences between pro and amateur, like pass interference penalty yardage, kick-off yard line, kicking tees for field goals, etc.

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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 01:29 
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Tassie52 wrote:
Feel free to send off an email to Adham and ask him, "Are you trying to kill off skill and spin and disguise?" and I can guarantee what his answer will be. "NO!"


Tassie52, asking someone, if he is doing anything bad, will generally produce a "no" answer. Of course, there are some exceptions, like criminals confessing their crimes etc. It is actually a common knowledge.


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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 10:46 
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Tassie52 wrote:
At the same time, sport also introduces rules which make competition less even: for example, seeding players in a comp. makes it much harder for a weaker player to make it to the final stages. Better players are given an easier run - byes in the opening rounds, and not drawn against other top seeds until the end.


This is, what you call "less even"? :o

Letting the two best players to play against each other in the first round, which can occur without seeding, should be OK? :|

It is not the seeding, that is "unjust", it is the knock-out system, but it is the only possibility, if there are too many players. The seeding is a sort of compensation, at least for the best players, and it is the right right, because the better players should be able to reach finals, rather than the weaker ones.


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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 10:55 
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Other that a round robin event, seeding is needed.
My partner and I went to a tourney 300 miles away. They knew we came togather. Guess who had to play first? My partner and I. He beat me in 5 games. Back then, it could have gone either way. He won the tourney eaisely.
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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 11:01 
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Tassie52 wrote:
The statistics show very clearly that points at the highest levels (therefore, greatest skill) last an average of 3.4 shots.


Could you, please, post a link to this statistics?

I am asking, because my personal impression from what I watch is different. I also analysed 1 match Wang Hao vs Ma Long from 2009, the average there was 4.91 shots per point (102 points, 501 shots).


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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 12:02 
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Tassie52 wrote:
At the same time, I think it's reasonable to suggest that what both players and spectators appreciate are longer rallies.


No, I do not agree. This is wrong both for players and spectators.

Players prefer to win a point with possibly less effort. Long rallies from distance are exhausting. No one engage in a long rally, if he can easily win the point with two or three strokes.

Spectators indeed appreciate longer rallies, but too many long rallies would be boring for spectators. For the last 5 decades TT has been generally a good mixture of short and long rallies. The only negative development was the hidden serve. Another problem is too many different kinds of rubbers and combinations of rubbers, but this is relevant mostly only on the amateur level and has little to do with spectators.

By the way, spectators are able to enjoy very short rallies, a good example is sumo.


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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 13:32 
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Smartguy wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
At the same time, sport also introduces rules which make competition less even: for example, seeding players in a comp. makes it much harder for a weaker player to make it to the final stages. Better players are given an easier run - byes in the opening rounds, and not drawn against other top seeds until the end.

This is, what you call "less even"? :o

Letting the two best players to play against each other in the first round, which can occur without seeding, should be OK? :|

It is not the seeding, that is "unjust", it is the knock-out system, but it is the only possibility, if there are too many players. The seeding is a sort of compensation, at least for the best players, and it is the right right, because the better players should be able to reach finals, rather than the weaker ones.

I find it interesting that a number of people have immediately read into my post that I think seeding is a bad thing. I didn't make a value judgment of any description, anymore than when I commented upon methods of "leveling the playing field". Neither of these things is intrinsically good or bad; it's how they are used that determines their value.

In most instances, I think that seeding in a knockout competition is a good thing. Keeping the two best seeds apart improves the chances of the best players meeting in the final, and should mean that the final is not a gross mismatch. But it's not a guarantee and that's also a good thing. However, seeding is not the only way to run a knockout, and I love the fact that the English FA run the FA Cup without seedings. I think it's rather special that a non-league side can host a Premier League team - and the system works.

But none of this denies my original assertion: seeding works against the notion of a "level playing field". Seeding automatically preferences some players, and disadvantages others. Being given a bye in the first round is an advantage; being put in a different part of the draw from your biggest adversary is an advantage. And neither of these opportunities are given to unseeded players. A level playing field would be all names going into a hat and drawn out randomly.

The bigger question is, "Do we want a level playing field?" And I think the answer to that depends upon personal interest: for example, classical defenders might argue that the current situation disadvantages them - because of a perceived preference given to attacking styles - and might argue for law changes which would "level the playing field" so that they could be more competitive. However, any suggestion of law changes to "level the playing field" for defenders would immediately provoke an outcry from attackers that such changes were disadvantaging them and favouring others.

People may argue for "fair rules", but the one thing I am reasonably confident of is that altruism flies out the window once someone picks up a bat. :rofl:

smartguy wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
The statistics show very clearly that points at the highest levels (therefore, greatest skill) last an average of 3.4 shots.

Could you, please, post a link to this statistics?

I am asking, because my personal impression from what I watch is different. I also analysed 1 match Wang Hao vs Ma Long from 2009, the average there was 4.91 shots per point (102 points, 501 shots).

I would love to post the link, if I had the time to trawl back through all of the posts on the forum. It has been quoted a number of times in different threads. If memory serves me correctly, it was a statistic released by the ITTF (yes, they do occasionally release such things and, yes, I see no reason to think they making them up) after a major comp - possibly the 2010 VW cup.

Your "personal impression" is about as valid as mine. I watch ITTV and YouTube clips, and my "personal impression" is that spectators cheer and applaud more at the end of a long rally than they do a short one. And analysing 1 match means very little; scientific research would require a much greater sample to determine the average length of a rally at international standard.

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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 23:00 
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Tassie52 wrote:
I would love to post the link, if I had the time to trawl back through all of the posts on the forum. It has been quoted a number of times in different threads. If memory serves me correctly, it was a statistic released by the ITTF (yes, they do occasionally release such things and, yes, I see no reason to think they making them up) after a major comp - possibly the 2010 VW cup.


You know, I had a bad feeling, that no link would come from you. I have never seen such a link in different threads on different forums either.

That the ITTF and especially its leadership do not make things up - give me a break.


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PostPosted: 05 Oct 2011, 23:03 
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Tassie52 wrote:
In most instances, I think that seeding in a knockout competition is a good thing.

...But none of this denies my original assertion: seeding works against the notion of a "level playing field".


Doesn't it look like double talk to you, Tassie52?


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