TT Flash Drives

October 17, 2014

Big Upcoming USA Tournaments

This is sort of the main "tournament season" for many players, with the Teams and Nationals both coming up, along with other big 4-star tournaments. If you are relatively new to big tournaments, perhaps the first thing to do is to read my USATT article (with the longest table tennis article name ever), "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Your First Table Tennis Tournament…But Didn’t Know Where To Ask!" (It includes sections on General Info, Ratings, Etiquette, and How to Play Your Best.)

If you play in any of these tournaments, you might want to enter some smaller events first to develop "tournament toughness," which will help you in the big ones. Here's my Tip of the Week on this, which begins, "Playing in tournaments is quite different from playing practice matches. Here are three reasons for this. First, the playing conditions are generally different than you are used to - different tables, balls, floors, backgrounds, and lighting. Second, you are usually playing different players, while in practice you often play the same players over and over. And third, there's far more pressure in a tournament match than in a practice match. (There are other, lesser reasons - traveling, time zone changes, eating different foods, etc.)"

Here's a rundown of some of the big ones coming along. (To find tournaments, see the USATT Tournament Schedule.) We'll start with three of the BIGGEST ones.

Nov. 28-30 - The Teamses. We normally call it the "Teams," but there are now two big 4-star Team events over the Thanksgiving holidays, so we have to pluralize that to "Teamses." (Now I sound like Gollum.) The format for the two Team tournaments is 3-person teams, with each team match a best of nine. (In some of the "feature" matches in the final or just before that they play an adjusted best of five.) 

I've got a huge conflict here. I'm sponsored by Butterfly, but the JOOLA North American Teams are both local and run by a former junior star from my club, Richard Lee. (Richard won nearly every age event at the Junior Nationals and Junior Olympics during his heydays in the 1990s - and though I wasn't his primary coach, I spent hundreds of hours practicing and playing with him.) Richard still comes to MDTTC, and his son, 7-year-old Ryan, is now one of our up-and-coming juniors. Here are the two tournaments.

The $3000 Butterfly Teams are held in Hobart, IN. Here's their promotional video (2:07). Tournament director is Dan Seemiller. They are the "new kid on the block," running their own 4-star team tournament on the same weekend as the traditional North American Teams. If they are successful, I'm guessing they will increase the prize money in the future.

The $20,000 JOOLA North American Teams are held in Washington DC, about 20 miles or so from my club (MDTTC). Here's their promotional video (54 sec). This is the bigger of the two by far, with 140 tables and 830 players last year, the most of any USA tournament. I've been going to this one since 1976. (It was in Detroit back then, moving to Baltimore in 1998, and to Washington DC last year. I was the original instigator in bringing it to Baltimore, along with Richard Lee, Jim McQueen, and others.) They'll be using the new JOOLA 40+ plastic balls at the tournament. I'll be coaching my students at this tournament.

Dec. 16-20 - the 5-star $31,000 USA Nationals in Las Vegas. This is one of USATT's two showcase events. (The other is the U.S. Open in July.) I'll be there mostly coaching and attending some meetings, though I'm also playing in a few hardbat events. (I normally use sponge.) The deadline to enter the tournament without a late fee was originally today, with a $75 late fee until Oct. 27, and then no more entries accepted. But they just extended the deadline - they do this every year - and now the first deadline is Oct. 31, with entries accepted with the $75 late fee until Nov. 10. You can actually watch as the entries come in, either by name or by event. They currently have 388, but will have about double that before entries close. (For some reason they don't advertise the total prize money, so I painstakingly added it all up, and it came to $30,650, which I rounded up to $31,000 above.) They'll be using the new Nittaku 40+ Premium ball at the tournament. 

Here are other upcoming 4-star tournaments.  Note they are now running monthly 4-star events at the clubs in Westchester TTC (NY) and Triangle TTC (NC).

Oct. 17-19 - $10,000 North Carolina Open at the Triangle TTC in Morrisville, NC. It might be too late to enter this one, since it starts today, but who knows?

Oct. 25-26 - $8900 Butterfly South Shore Open in Highland, IN. I'll be at this one, coaching Nathan Hsu, who is in the Open, Under 2450, and 18 & Under Boys. We're driving up - a 9.5 hour ride. (If you're there, come by and say hello.) Here's the list of entries so far. The highlight of this tournament might be the Nate Wasserman Junior Championships. These include six events:

  • 18 & Under Boys (1st $1000, 2nd $500, 3-4 $100)
  • 18 & Under Girls (1st $1000, 2nd $500, 3-4 $100)
  • 15 & Under Boys (1st $500, 2nd $200, 3-4 T)
  • 15 & Under Girls (1st $500, 2nd $200, 3-4 T)
  • 13 & Under Boys (1st $200, 2nd $100, 3-4 T)
  • 13 & Under Girls (1st $200, 2nd $100, 3-4 T)

Oct 25-26 - $7000 Westchester October Open at the Westchester TTC in Westchester, NY. (It's actually in Pleasantville, NY, which is in Westchester County, but I like saying "Westchester.") They run a monthly 4-star tournament at Westchester, so I hope lots of players will support this. I wish I could bring players and attend more of their tournaments (as a coach), but I'm too buy on weekends to get away too often.

Nov. 15-16 - $5000 Triangle November Open - another big one at the Triangle TTC in Morrisville, NC. I'll have to get down to one of their tournaments sometime.

Nov. 22-23 - $7000 Westchester November Open - another big one at the Westchester TTC. The entry form for this one doesn't seem to be up, but info is at the club's web page.

Dec. 6-7 - $5000 Triangle December Open - still another big one at the Triangle TTC in Morrisville, NC.

Dec. 27-28 - $7000 Westchester December Open - still another big one at the Westchester TTC.

Knock the Ball Off the Table Contest

Here's the video (1:53) between USA's Kanak Jha and Sweden's Kristian Karlsson.

Interview with Brian Pace

Here's the interview, which covers his table tennis (player and coach), cycling, and other subjects.

2014 ITTF Women's World Cup About to Take Off in Linz

Here's the ITTF Press Release. Here's the ITTF Home Page for the event (with articles, results, and soon pictures and video), which runs in Linz, Austria, Oct. 17-19 (Fri-Sun).

Aging Player Keep On the Ball with Pingpong

Here's the feature article in the LA Times.

TableTennis11 Blog and the Ten Best Backhand Players of Modern Table Tennis

Here's their blog page, with the link the "Best Backhands" item (which includes video) and two previous blog items on "7 Things You Need To Know to Master The New Plastic Ball" and "Top 5 Blades You Want Right Now!"

Training Through Seo Hyowen's Eyes

Here's video (15 sec) of what training looks like from the world #10 and #1 Korean woman.

Table Tennis USB Flash Drives

Here they are! Up to 16GB size.

Lefty Cat Smacking Forehand

Here's the repeating GIF image.

Real Table Tennis

Here's the cartoon! Here's a similar one with the same idea.

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