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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 02:29 
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adham wrote:
Yes, you are right. This is a main priority for me. I am not sure from which country you are. But as you may know, the ITTF has 205 National Associations, so of course it is impossible for the ITTF to go one by one. What we do is we psuh at yhe Networks level such as Eurosport, ART (Middle East), etc. Of coutse in Asia we also deal on a one by one basis in certain markets because the game is very popular in some countries. So we have agreements in China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong etc. In other oarts of the world it is more difficult. So we package one-hour highlight packages of our top events, and offer them free of charge to the local TV stations. But we cannot do the leg work. We ask each national association to contact their TV station in their own country. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. We keep trying.

I think TV coverage is great where you can get it, but what's better is the matches you are streaming on the ITTF site. I would make it a priority to update that technology (the size too small now). We're currently on the verge of a paradigm shift. Very soon, it won't be uncommon for people to watch webcasts on their TVs so you soon won't be so much at the mercy of these networks, you can broadcast it yourself. And you need to get the associations to heavily promote these webcasts. In fact, you can offer a 24-hour on-line table tennis web channel (streaming or on demand). The beauty of this is the associations can send in footage of their tournaments and the various countries can get recognition for their players also. This, of course, will encourage more participation in the game and each webcast will offer contact information where people can go to start playing. This channel can also offer training videos, which would be quite popular. Your countryman Wayne Gretsky once made a comment that has become one of the main philosophies I apply in my life and business (and table tennis). "A good hockey player skates to where the puck is. A great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be."

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 04:09 
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fattchoi wrote:
adham wrote:
So, let's see some crazy ideas.


Firstly, let me be the first in any forum that you have attended to congratulate and thank you for steering the ITTF ship for the good of the TT world. Thank you for all your time and work :D

As for ideas, I do have one which might solve the 'vertical throw' scenarios. In order to avoid advantages or disadvantages to either opponents in a match, maybe the umpire should be instructed to ask both players to show him their throw before the match begin. The one with the more vertical throw can then be given a choice of whether he wants the opponent to at least throw as vertical or not. I am sure once this rule is announced, most, if not all, players will immediately learn to throw vertically as it would disadvantaged themselve should they be required to make more vertical throw on the day of competition. If this idea is not crazy enough, I will try my best to come up with something else :P

Cheers.


I did pass your idea (crazy or brilliant?) to the ITTF's URC (Umpires and referees Committee) and I received one answer so far from the person responsible for Umpires within the Committee. We cannot introduce it as a Rule yet, but it will be introduced as common practice before a match. Here is the answer, preceded by my response:

"This is great. I like your comments. Please introduce this aspect as a regular part of umpire training, this is what I would call, a "cooperative" method, and much better than my suggestion. In fact, the idea from the player is what you seem to support, but to be done at the ball selection level, which is much much better. Thanks for your positive response.

Adham"

On 17-Dec-08, at 12:29 PM, :

Dear Adham,

The proposal is not at all a crazy idea. Actually it worked very well for young players and PTT players who sometimes claim that they have problems throwing the ball correctly. At least such sample throw demonstrates if a player can throw in an acceptable way. I always advise umpires doing that during the ball selection time, not in the field of play, and to remind players to observe the service requirements. Such advice and request for demonstration also gives the message to the players that the umpire will take care of the service action. Normally there is little problem then after the match starts. Even if the player does not serve correctly, they will accept a fault call more easily during the match. Some "top" players may find it annoying to be asked to do so, but those who observe the service rules would also appreciate the intention of such requests. Umpires should be encouraged to take initiative to communicate with players on the service requirement, before and during the competitions. This could be further emphasized in the Handbook for Match Officials and as part of t the training process.

However, it is important for the umpire to control the service at all times, especially during the first 4 points, as you said. The biggest psychological obstacles for some umpires to control services are that whenever there are situations / controversies, the umpires are blamed most of the time, or even have adverse consequences to their umpiring career if the complaint comes from some top players, coaches or officials.. The umpires would only be able to do a good job under a supportive environment and culture. There is much to do in our education, training and support system for umpires.

Regards,

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 04:26 
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adham wrote:
No one has ever thanked me for the volunteer work as the ITTF President !


Adham,

I, for one, had no idea the ITTF Presidency was a voluntary position. It makes me wonder what percentage of TT players do. Could be the reason for you not receiving the thanks you alluded to above?

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 04:36 
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Glueless wrote:
adham wrote:
No one has ever thanked me for the volunteer work as the ITTF President !


Adham,

I, for one, had no idea the ITTF Presidency was a voluntary position. It makes me wonder what percentage of TT players do. Could be the reason for you not receiving the thanks you alluded to above?


The "thanks" comments were more tongue in cheek, just to say that people tend to complain more than offering congratulations. This is human nature. Yes, it is a volunteer position. I am not sure if the players know or not, we don't go around mentioning it. But having said that, if I take a volunteer position, then it's my choice and I have to give the position the time it deserves. The disadvantage is that we may lose very good candidates that cannot leave their current jobs. I'm lucky that I have that flexibility. I am sure we could get a much better president than me if it were a well paid job. I grew from within as a player, coach, club president, national association and then finally ITTF. So, I do have a bit of an "insider" advantage. But imagine if we could attract a top CEO from a top international company? Of course we would have to pay him/her handsomely, but it may be worth it. I hope to influence this change for the next president.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 04:38 
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I am not ignoring some of the ideas and comments above. I just do not have sufficient time to answer properly now. I will do so in the next 48 hours. I just answered the quickies. Please be patient. Thanks.

Adham

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 10:21 
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Hi Adham,

bit of a crazy idea here from a young fella - but here goes.

I've seen in the last 5 years a big change in games that dwindled in popularity and coverage such as lawn bowls - and then have recently come to light herein Australia specifically because of "barefoot bowling" which is essentially where anyone rocks up, drinks, and basically almost a "party" style of bowling.

what would it take to start promoting table tennis as a party game? People really enjoy playing it in their basements, when they're with friends, what if we were to put it out there as the sort of thing for people to do when they're out, having a drink with friends? think of it like Disco ten pin bowling, with a bar.

I personally have mentioned this idea to some of my friends who don't play table tennis - and if it was to be put in the right atmosphere - they would be all for playing, and all for having a good time - all in all boosting the popularity of the sport.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 10:41 
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adham wrote:
fattchoi wrote:
adham wrote:
So, let's see some crazy ideas.


Firstly, let me be the first in any forum that you have attended to congratulate and thank you for steering the ITTF ship for the good of the TT world. Thank you for all your time and work :D

As for ideas, I do have one which might solve the 'vertical throw' scenarios. In order to avoid advantages or disadvantages to either opponents in a match, maybe the umpire should be instructed to ask both players to show him their throw before the match begin. The one with the more vertical throw can then be given a choice of whether he wants the opponent to at least throw as vertical or not. I am sure once this rule is announced, most, if not all, players will immediately learn to throw vertically as it would disadvantaged themselve should they be required to make more vertical throw on the day of competition. If this idea is not crazy enough, I will try my best to come up with something else :P

Cheers.


I did pass your idea (crazy or brilliant?) to the ITTF's URC (Umpires and referees Committee) and I received one answer so far from the person responsible for Umpires within the Committee. We cannot introduce it as a Rule yet, but it will be introduced as common practice before a match. Here is the answer, preceded by my response:

"This is great. I like your comments. Please introduce this aspect as a regular part of umpire training, this is what I would call, a "cooperative" method, and much better than my suggestion. In fact, the idea from the player is what you seem to support, but to be done at the ball selection level, which is much much better. Thanks for your positive response.

Adham"

On 17-Dec-08, at 12:29 PM, :

Dear Adham,

The proposal is not at all a crazy idea. Actually it worked very well for young players and PTT players who sometimes claim that they have problems throwing the ball correctly. At least such sample throw demonstrates if a player can throw in an acceptable way. I always advise umpires doing that during the ball selection time, not in the field of play, and to remind players to observe the service requirements. Such advice and request for demonstration also gives the message to the players that the umpire will take care of the service action. Normally there is little problem then after the match starts. Even if the player does not serve correctly, they will accept a fault call more easily during the match. Some "top" players may find it annoying to be asked to do so, but those who observe the service rules would also appreciate the intention of such requests. Umpires should be encouraged to take initiative to communicate with players on the service requirement, before and during the competitions. This could be further emphasized in the Handbook for Match Officials and as part of t the training process.

However, it is important for the umpire to control the service at all times, especially during the first 4 points, as you said. The biggest psychological obstacles for some umpires to control services are that whenever there are situations / controversies, the umpires are blamed most of the time, or even have adverse consequences to their umpiring career if the complaint comes from some top players, coaches or officials.. The umpires would only be able to do a good job under a supportive environment and culture. There is much to do in our education, training and support system for umpires.

Regards,


Adham, thanks for following up on my 'not so crazy idea' :D I have to say the suggestion of players showing their ball toss during ball selection is a really good idea. This way, it is done before the match started and therefore, the players are aware that the umpire will crack down on unfair tosses.

On top of requesting the umpire to help eradicate this ball toss issue, maybe the coaches institutions should all be requested to coach their players on ball toss as well, if that is within the ITTF realm. Make them see the disadvantage to their students if they don't learn to toss vertically. After all, it is a huge disadvantage to have to adjust during a match especially service is such a vital part of a match. I personally try to get people to toss straight up whenever I see them tossing illegally. Especially for the beginner. Once they begin with the right way, they will continue to play the right way. But once bad habit set in, it is very hard to change them. So coaching is very important in this respect to help prevent these bad habit such as illegal toss.

Once again, I must thank you for taking the time to listen to all our complaints and suggestions. More importantly, for taking the time to discuss and act on them as appropriate to help make TT a wonderful sport. And it certainly make me even more appreciative to learn that yourself and all the other ITTF members are volunteers. Well done.

Cheers.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 11:40 
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SuperHappyFunSlider wrote:
what would it take to start promoting table tennis as a party game? People really enjoy playing it in their basements, when they're with friends, what if we were to put it out there as the sort of thing for people to do when they're out, having a drink with friends? think of it like Disco ten pin bowling, with a bar.


It already exists. Here in the States its called 'beer pong'. And we want to stay as far away from that as possible as it further degrades the idea of this sport as anything other than a joke.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 11:59 
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Glueless wrote:
SuperHappyFunSlider wrote:
what would it take to start promoting table tennis as a party game? People really enjoy playing it in their basements, when they're with friends, what if we were to put it out there as the sort of thing for people to do when they're out, having a drink with friends? think of it like Disco ten pin bowling, with a bar.


It already exists. Here in the States its called 'beer pong'. And we want to stay as far away from that as possible as it further degrades the idea of this sport as anything other than a joke.


I quite agree. I observed quite a few players started off playing OK until they had a couple of drinks. With that, they started to play a little bit badly and you started to hear screams and curses. They do not only lose control of their games, but also their behaviour. Not a good image for the game at all. Joke aside with Jixiaolan the other day about boozing before games, I do totally discourage it.

Cheers.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 13:19 
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beer pong is a different game, just uses table tennis balls - that's all.

i'm not talking about changing it, it's all about changing hte attitude towards the sport. how do young people around my age get into things? by their friends. if they're enjoying something like this, it's naturally going to pull people into it.

As i said, compare it to disco bowling. that's extremely popular - and pulls people into real bowling inadvertedly.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 13:22 
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SuperHappyFunSlider wrote:
beer pong is a different game, just uses table tennis balls - that's all.


Maybe in Australia it is -- here it's not. Beer Pong is played on a table tennis table with table tennis balls and table tennis rackets.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 13:24 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_pong

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 13:32 
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speedplay wrote:
My idea on how to increase the popularity of the sport, I've said it before, but I'm happy to say it again: I think it all depends on media coverage. So what can we do to get more/better coverage?

1: ITTF should have loads of statistic, easily available to any TV-station that wants to broadcast TT-events. The sport journalist loves this kind of stuff, and so do we, the viewers. When Ma Lin steps up to play Samsonov, I want to have the stats, how many times have they played each other, who holds the upper hand? Does it matter if it's best of 5 or 7 games? What about even games? Present and past? This kind of info is needed and as I said, it should be easy to get hold of.

2: Big events! Look at Tennis, they have their grand slams, Golf has their Majors and Table tennis has... Our opens? Come on! Create a couple of big events, preferably in different continents, give them some cool names to show that these comps are more important then the regular opens. An increased winning check might be needed to gather all the best.

3: Not sure if you (ITTF) are trying to sell the sport to media, or if you are offering it to them for free, but I suspect you are trying to sell it. Well, it is hard to sell a product that no one (or at least, very few) wants. So, when you kick of these major events, offer them to TV-stations all over the world, for free! Perhaps with some restriction that they must show at least x hours to get it for free? I'm sure some TV-stations would accept this offer, which would give the sport a great opportunity to catch attention. Later on, when people knows about the event and hopefully start to look forward to it, then you can start charging money for it.

Those are my ideas on how to improve the popularity of the sport.


1. You are right. We try doing that as you described. But it should be done more for sure. Some sports lend temselves more to statistics because of many "dead" periods. In table tennis we also have them (in between games, toweling, change of ends, etc.). I also would like to see more interviews with players.

2. You are absolutely right about this. In fact this will start in 2010. We will do a trial in 2009 with six Pro Tour events, then reduce possibly to 4 in 2010. In 2009 we have targeted the German, English, Japan, China, Qatar and Kuwait Pro Tour events. Stay tuned. Your idea may materialize.

3. We sell in popular markets and we give away in other markets. Our problem is to get through the first hurdle. We had to pay Eurosport to put our events on their programme 5 years ago. Now it is normal to have our top events on Eurosprt. So we do need the Table tennis fans all over the world to call their TV stations and ask for TT. Often the TV networks tell us that there is no demand for our events.

You hit the nail on the head 3 times. Thanks.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 13:34 
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I don't think the ITTF will get involved in anything like this, it's their job to promote TT at the international levels... the local associations can promote the sport any way they wish...

I think it's better to try and give TT a more professional image, and I don't think this will help. Even if it does attract more players, it might not be the type of people you'd want :wink:

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2008, 13:37 
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mynamenotbob wrote:
adham wrote:
Yes, you are right. This is a main priority for me. I am not sure from which country you are. But as you may know, the ITTF has 205 National Associations, so of course it is impossible for the ITTF to go one by one. What we do is we psuh at yhe Networks level such as Eurosport, ART (Middle East), etc. Of coutse in Asia we also deal on a one by one basis in certain markets because the game is very popular in some countries. So we have agreements in China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong etc. In other oarts of the world it is more difficult. So we package one-hour highlight packages of our top events, and offer them free of charge to the local TV stations. But we cannot do the leg work. We ask each national association to contact their TV station in their own country. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. We keep trying.

I think TV coverage is great where you can get it, but what's better is the matches you are streaming on the ITTF site. I would make it a priority to update that technology (the size too small now). We're currently on the verge of a paradigm shift. Very soon, it won't be uncommon for people to watch webcasts on their TVs so you soon won't be so much at the mercy of these networks, you can broadcast it yourself. And you need to get the associations to heavily promote these webcasts. In fact, you can offer a 24-hour on-line table tennis web channel (streaming or on demand). The beauty of this is the associations can send in footage of their tournaments and the various countries can get recognition for their players also. This, of course, will encourage more participation in the game and each webcast will offer contact information where people can go to start playing. This channel can also offer training videos, which would be quite popular. Your countryman Wayne Gretsky once made a comment that has become one of the main philosophies I apply in my life and business (and table tennis). "A good hockey player skates to where the puck is. A great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be."


Oh yes, this is the future. We have been dabbling with streaming for almost 2 years now and had many bad experiences with the service providers. We have now decided to do it in-house (first trial was in Madrid), but unfortunately we tried it on a low budget. I agree with you that we need to invest more in this area and we have as a goal to provide "almost" all our events on itTV in 2009 through an enhanced in-house service. We would also like to encourage some of our national associations to also stream events that we cannot include in our programme. Some do already with great success, but we do need more.

Stay tuned, and complain if we are not providing a good standard service. I will push our people to improve, but of course I have to be careful with the costs.

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