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PostPosted: 16 Nov 2013, 20:47 
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I have to assume that the dumb post was just a joke gone poorly.

I have always said if you want to popularize table tennis in the US it must be done at the collegiate level. A lot more parents are looking for directions to steer their children athletically. If there's a scholarship possibility that's a big bonus but I have found alot of collegiate table tennis players just want an opportunity to represent their chosen alma mater. That being said table tennis is perfect for the collegiate student. Quick energy burn, the physics involved are fascinating, and there are more foreign populus on college campuses than just about anywhere. In the US we also have other stupid sports issues that also would be greatly benefitted by adopting table tennis particularly women's table tennis (title 9 crap!).

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PostPosted: 18 Nov 2013, 09:56 
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Reviving old thread skippy :) ? Anyway this is a good thread. There should be presence of table everywere available to the public. Regular tournaments sponsored by the city government, ranking system within a community upto national level for each country.
More clubs and competition..

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PostPosted: 22 Oct 2014, 04:18 
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It kills me that in the US the sandpaper league is televised and real table tennis cant even get on tennis channel or ESPN....

Ian

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PostPosted: 22 Oct 2014, 20:22 
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ian demagi wrote:
It kills me that in the US the sandpaper league is televised and real table tennis cant even get on tennis channel or ESPN....

Ian


The backstory to this is interesting because a lot of it comes from the tireless self-promotion of Marty Reisman. Reisman was the classic huckster by his own admission. Of course when he got out-hustled by Satoh (you know, the weakling who wasn't supposed to be any good) all he had were excuses of foul play, which only makes him a hypocrite. He remained bitter about being outdone once for the rest of his life regurgitate that tale of woe instead of improving level of play. The pips out fast-attackers from the east who won legit championships against powerful topspin not long after would've murdered the antiquated styles of his day, yet his western audience is perfectly willing to believe that the old way would've continued to reign if it only hadn't been for sponge.

So it's unfortunately that the whole hardbat/grassroots movement is based around his skill in spinning a good yarn. Perhaps it's useful for promotion consideration but not as the backbone for anything substantive. For example you only have to look at the short rallies when actual big-money low-spin tournaments (killerspin's, "world championship of ping pong", etc) are played to see how full of s*** the "sponge shortens the point" claims are. Sponsors put up good money for those events predicated on the promise of exciting long rallies and the points are still over in a few shots except with no spin so no athleticism. (to save yourself the regret of watching they look like glorified basement matches even, or especially, when good players play)


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PostPosted: 22 Oct 2014, 20:54 
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As to the OP, the key to growth is leveraging modern technology such as media casting. In places where TT is less popular most of the population are simply unaware it's a competitive sport. One of the necessary components currently missing from TT on video is production value. Entertaining commentators go a long way but so does the rest of the content to frame the play. I've seem productions from various intl channels and chinese [CC]TV tends to put on the best show but still quite ho-hum and nothing that would attract a lay audience.

An illustrative example of how it's done is meteoric rise of televised poker. I mean, who the hell would watch other guys play cards, esp in a game like poker? Yet it was a key technology which turned the tables: the hole-cam. Before this it was basically impossible for all but experts to grasp what's going on because critical information (the hole cards) was missing from the audience. It was this piece which allowed the analysis the compose the backbone of modern broadcast poker. We have a similar problem in TT where the lay audience cannot grasp the impact of spin, because they simply can't see it. This will remain true no matter how big the ITTF makes the ball until we end up playing indoor lawn tennis.

The other day I was pondering possible side projects to my technical horizons a bit, and it occurred to me that it should be possible for current vision technology to measure/calculate spin. Displaying this would similarly allow both the commentators to point out and the audience to internalize why often seemingly easy returns go into the net and demonstrate the nuance & variation in the modern game. I have no idea the amount of work this might take or whether that outweighs other candidates for me, but the core idea seems sound. Hopefully the investigative footwork proves fruitful and the sport get something out of it even if I can't personally carry through.


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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2014, 19:10 
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ian demagi wrote:
It kills me that in the US the sandpaper league is televised and real table tennis cant even get on tennis channel or ESPN....


When minor sports (e.g. Pinewood Derby, Tiddlywinks, etc.) make it onto ESPN, they have to PAY to get on. Not the other way around. So someone was apparently willing to pay to get sandpaper onto ESPN. (And I wonder, is this why Yinhe now sells a sandpaper racket?)

Don't know about the US, but here table tennis is often on one of the satellite TV sport channels. Mainly ITTF tournaments.

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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2014, 19:15 
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agenthex wrote:
We have a similar problem in TT where the lay audience cannot grasp the impact of spin, because they simply can't see it. This will remain true no matter how big the ITTF makes the ball until we end up playing indoor lawn tennis.

The other day I was pondering possible side projects to my technical horizons a bit, and it occurred to me that it should be possible for current vision technology to measure/calculate spin. Displaying this would similarly allow both the commentators to point out and the audience to internalize why often seemingly easy returns go into the net and demonstrate the nuance & variation in the modern game. I have no idea the amount of work this might take or whether that outweighs other candidates for me, but the core idea seems sound. Hopefully the investigative footwork proves fruitful and the sport get something out of it even if I can't personally carry through.


The two color ball and some good camera work - in particular, slowed down closeups of the ball, especially focusing on the receiver's bat - would show this.

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PostPosted: 24 Oct 2014, 04:15 
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iskandar taib wrote:

The two color ball and some good camera work - in particular, slowed down closeups of the ball, especially focusing on the receiver's bat - would show this.

Iskandar


The point is to do it in real-time, like a meter that shows on the screen the spin at any given moment. That way the audience can "see" what's going on as the point progresses.

I'm pretty certain it's technically possible with a fast enough camera, enough lighting, and modern vision algs, so the issue is practical feasibility. Basically stuff like how to avoid blur & aliasing with a 60fps camera and >>1800rpm spin which surpass Nyquist sampling limit. Unfortunately I think it needs to be something novel & clever, like a light bulb over your head idea instead of iteration of what exists now.


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PostPosted: 24 Oct 2014, 12:20 
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Maybe so but it'd have to be both unobtrusive AND informative in real time, and that'll be a challenge, I think. A real time meter would compete for attention with the actual action going on.

Aside from this, I think a good commentator, together with slowed-down, zoomed in instant replay with the two color ball (like I mentioned) would do a great deal to explain what's going on. It needn't be done all the time, just when something needs explaining (e.g. a flubbed or high service return).

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PostPosted: 24 Oct 2014, 13:22 
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If you've ever seen the two tone-ball in action it basically becomes a blur at anything but very low spin, and with a super-fast camera, reducing the speed to where the spin is discernible means everything else standing still. The motivation was good, but I at least found the execution lacking.

The fundamental problem is that most points don't produce epic rallies, and all but experts have no idea what's happening; the ITTF is right on this point. Sure you can explain after the fact given enough time (there currently isn't and doing so would really extend match times), Better commentary in that direction needs to be part of the show, but it's still a terrible experience to watch for nothing on most points. What I mean is that even in the best case, a nuanced spin/no-spin serve, it takes a very highly skilled operator/commentator on the level of the players to pick this up nevermind work the equipment & point out highlights before the next point starts. Again, imagine the experience of watching poker without the hole-cam and the commentators explaining what happened only after the action, and only of the discarded hole cards they can logically piece back together. The hole-cam made post-analysis much better, too.

Presumably the flow if this exist is that the info's visible but unobstructing, like the ball itself can be color-coded with the same technology, and your own focus gradually shifts entirely to the broader point if a rally starts. Also with general ball-tracking, path-tracing would make the point much more interesting for analysis. Let's be honest, how many club players nevermind general spectators really understand what's going on in pro matches? Does a few select slo-mo of the serves really help? These are important questions to not only ask but resolve.

IMO there are only a few key pieces of "hidden" information necessary to make TT a much better show for everyone. Spin is definitely one of them.


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PostPosted: 24 Oct 2014, 13:43 
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Just watching slowed-down video on Youtube, where the ball logo can be seen, the ball CAN be seen to be rotating and does not appear to be a blur. This should most definitely be the case where serves are concerned. Doing this properly would be a challenge, I suppose, you'd have to have multiple HD cameras mounted around and above the table, trained on different targets. Don't know if it could be done real time (like they do in soccer matches), but given time for a good edit job, it should make for some pretty good videos of matches. I don't think it'd really hurt to show matches on TV the day after they occurred, unless it were some really major sporting event like the Olympics. Most of the ITTF tournament matches I've come across on satellite TV were 2-3 days old.

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PostPosted: 24 Oct 2014, 16:24 
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> Just watching slowed-down video on Youtube, where the ball logo can be seen, the ball CAN be seen to be rotating and does not appear to be a blur.

High topspin is something like 6k rpm. A high speed camera is ~120fps. The ball rotates ~1 times between frames. Blur can be reduce to any arbitrary degree by adjusting shutter ratio, but doing so excessively drastically reduces light reaching the sensor (which already isn't great at 120fps).

> I don't think it'd really hurt to show matches on TV the day after they occurred, unless it were some really major sporting event like the Olympics. Most of the ITTF tournament matches I've come across on satellite TV were 2-3 days old.

I don't think this is realistic. We've come to expect it due to the low status of the sport, and because enthusiasts are willing to put with it. Most mainstream sports fans expect to view matches live (so they can talk about it the next day, etc), or at least enough that showing it after would drastically reduce audience size.


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PostPosted: 24 Oct 2014, 20:45 
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Hmm interesting. 6000rpm = 100rps. The diameter of the ball is 40mm, circumference is 125.6mm = 0.125 meters. To get it spinning at 6000rpm you'd have to hit the ball with a racket speed of 12.5 meters (i.e. about 40 feet) per second. And that would be with a stationary ball that remains stationary, and no angular acceleration effects from the rubber. I suppose that's within the realm of possibility... Has anyone actually done measurements with a stroboscope or some other way? Incidentally, Casio made (and may still be making, for all I know) consumer-grade digicams that could shoot ultra high frame rate video (hundreds of frames per second).



(This, by the way, is my other hobby.)

Still it's not the fast loops we're interested in slowing down, it's the serves. Because that's what needs explaining, since the variations in spin would not be obvious to a watcher. Other sorts of misses - blocks or loops long or into the net - are usually small mistakes in judgement - the spin of the previous shot isn't usually a mystery to the audience. One other scenario where this would be useful is when a chopper is involved, since heavy backspin and floats can look the same to the audience.

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2014, 08:39 
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I might've mentioned it before but those high speeds (esp on consumer gear) come at high cost in resolution (inaccurate bandwidth/bitrate) or sensitivity (intrinsic to shutter, or less than full sampling). Specialty slo-mo cameras for sports are pretty expensive. There's only so much light you can comfortably dump on a venue, and only so much you can slow a point down before it becomes unwatchable.

The highest serve spins are ~4k or so. Those are numbers from CNT testing I remember. They in theory can be just as fast as non-serve stroke which is likely >6k if you swing long & hard but in practice deception & accuracy is more important than max rpm.

> Because that's what needs explaining, since the variations in spin would not be obvious to a watcher. Other sorts of misses - blocks or loops long or into the net - are usually small mistakes in judgement - the spin of the previous shot isn't usually a mystery to the audience.

Yes, it's mostly the early game, but pros also use spin variations on topspin strokes and counters. The fact most viewers, even TT fans/players, don't notice it makes a compelling case for the tech.


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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2014, 18:14 
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Well, yes, they use spin variations in loop-block rallies, but there isn't much of a story to tell when someone puts a block into the net or loops it long. Even if the technology lets you see that someone put 15% less topspin on one ball than they did the previous one, the only thing you could say if the receiver puts the block into the net was that he made a mistake in judging the amount of spin. Or if he was forced into the error (not given enough time or was caught out of position) then that would be obvious to the audience already. Whereas with serves (and chops) there's a lot more variation possible in terms of type of spin and magnitude of spin, which aren't obvious to the watcher.

I'm not suggesting they use Casio consumer cameras to do this, but if Casio can make and sell cameras capable of 1200 fps then there should be far better pro equipment that can do the same. Sure, you won't get HD resolution, but it should be possible to see a two color ball spinning.

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