Article by David Strang- Coach/Clubs Director for Connecticut Table Tennis - NETTA
((860) 635-1942 e-mail address NETTADAVE@INAME.COM)
This page is being modified weekly (during August 2000) to provide information and links to issues related to the 40mm 'big-ball'.
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(latest update done on Aug 20, 2000) This will include references to quotes and web pages by the many other 40mm sceptics among US and world class players and TT in comming weeks.
We will also be adding our answers to many of the issues raised by the most enthusiastic promoters of the bigger ball in trying to convince you that you may as well switch because you have no real choice in the matter after OctoberBIG QUESTIONS ABOUT A BIG BALL- Many players are aware that the 40mm ball 'replaces' the current 38mm ball ***for ITTF events *** starting in October 2000 AFTER the 2000 Olympics but this DOES NOT apply to all US tournaments after that date ! This was done based on recomendations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)in the hope that it might make the sport more attractive to spectators by making the ball a little easier to see. And they also suggested an as yet unproven hope that points may last longer, because the bigger ball moves slower and has reduced 'spinnyness', hopefully reducing points won by strong or deceptively spinny shots that non-playing spectators may not understand or appreciate (unless explained by TV color commentators. THE BIG 'BUT' (or big lie?) ABOUT the BIG BALL Contrary to popular misconceptions the current 38mm ball will continue to be 'legal' for club and tournament use in the USA until at least 2003 according to the May 2000 board decision by the USATT. WHY THE CONFUSION ? A recent article in a widely distributed catalog, written by a very prominent and widely respected US Coach and Player has confused the issue among many US players because it seems to say we are all switching to 40mm in October and doesn't mention that this is only manditory for the International ITTF sanctioned tournaments, but is otherwise optional with tournament directors. This catalog reaches at least 10 or 20 thousand club and tournament players.
Also, while they have been mentioned, (see the last paragraphs by USATT Official "Dr.Azmy" page 12 July2000 USATT magazine), the details about the USATT decision to continue allowing a choice of 38 or 40mm hasn't been stated as emphatically or 'prominantly' as needed to counter this misleading article in the catalog with at least 3 times the circulation of the USATT magazine.BUT YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE TO CHANGE BALLS IF YOU DON"T WANT TO After October 1st US Tournament directors will select and announce their choice of ball size on each entry form as they currently do with brand and color of ball. And of course club or league play is also entirely up to local players and organizers. While some events seeking foreign players have already committed to use 40mm in deference to USOC/ITTF/or sponsor wishes others have announced 38mm tournaments for this fall and winter as more will if the local and non-professional players encourage it. I play a little hardbat, chopping and even penhold for the fun and challenge and might even try some more 40mm at times, but the fun of those challenges tends to 'fade' with practice, while I've found my spin and speed oriented all-around inverted shakehands game hasn't lost it's fun and challenge after 20 years of play ! I just want to preserve it as an option, whether 40mm 'self-destructs' on further testing as a viable game, or even becomes accepted among professional or other players. Supporting 38mm events this fall insures your right to choose won't be revoked by USATT as not needed or wanted - when we know most players, at all levels, including the pro's never asked to change our great (and spinny) game. It's the marketing and grass-roots coaching and promotion that are lacking. Get a recent TT video or ask those who attended the last US Open or recent Mathew Murad tournament if the 'action' wasn't exciting to watch ! (Or see the US Open ITTF on TV in Chicago soon or on the soon available USATT videos) If like me, you want to retain your ability to play 38mm if 40mm isn't an improvement as many expect, check the 'fine print' before you enter any tournament scheduled for after October. (ALL Tournaments before Oct 2nd will ALL still use the current 38 mm ball that we are all accustomed to.) If, like the vast majority of 'serious' but non-professional players I've talked to , you would prefer not to switch to the 40mm ball in October, tell your local club or tournament director you aren't in a hurry to experiment with a slower less spinny ball until at least 2001 (as the French TTA reportedly has decided) - after the 'PRO's have had a chance to try it for at least few monthes first ! And actually the Pro's aren't eager either - some have discussed a 'strike' after the olympics to change the ITTF's mind. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
MORE COMING SOON ! check back (here) from time to time
( These topics below may become 'clickable' as we add to our pages )
Or use keywords to find discussions of these issues at the About.Com Table Tennis discussion group or elsewhere on the internet. (We recomend Google.Com as a good search engine) TOPICS discussed here (soon / as links added) include:
WILL 40mm HELP (or actually Hurt) PARTICIPATION in CLUB TABLE TENNIS ? DOES THE BIG BALL ACTUALLY HURT THE DEFENSIVE STYLES ?
WHAT HAVE TOP PLAYERS LIKE WALDNER SAID ABOUT 40MM ?
IS TABLE TENNIS REALLY LOSING POPULARITY COMPARED TO OTHER SPORTS?
HOW CAN TT GROW WITHOUT A RADICAL CHANGE LIKE 40mm ?
IS 40mm REALLY A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE SPORT ?
IF MOST PLAYERS DON'T WANT A CHANGE HOW/WHY DID ITTF VOTE FOR IT ?
WILL 40mm FAVOR TALLER AND STRONGER PLAYERS ?
(UNLIKE THE "EQUALITY" OF CURRENT TT regardless of size and body type.)
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