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    1. Top | #1
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Growing TT in the USA

      On another thread, I was asked in the title to identify Cole's operation (and discuss it)

      My response turned into praise for Cole in what he is doing and also my strategic plan to grow TT in USA. This growth would make our NexyUSA.com operation worth the effort to be in business down the road and also make TT much more of a participating sport at school/social/competitive level... this would open the doors to a whole lot more outfits, clubs, and opportunity to play TT in USA than we have right now. Of course Rome wasn't built in a day, but we got a different approach.

      So... here is the post from that thread that everyone might not have noticed.

      Colestt.com is run by Cole Ely, a school teacher in Kansas USA.

      His mission to support table tennis is to make it really affordable, so players can enjoy EJing on the cheap, but the most important mission Cole fulfills is to make the entry cost to TT very inexpensive. This is big time important as newer players generally want to spend zero or very minimal money when they start playing, often to an extreme, that they might not want to play if it costs more than a couple meals. When a new player learns an average quality blade from a big time company is $130-$160 USD, then they see they can get a workable bat for $35 ish delivered in USA Priority Parcel 2-3 days... Then they will buy from him and play the game. Once players enjoy the game and get on Table Tennis forums and discover a whole new world... it is GAME OVER for defense against EJ VIRUS and they buy up entire online TT store stocks.

      My own Der_Echte Special is using a blade he sells. (Don't anyone tell the CEO I talk good about another vendor) Ditto for my longtime BH rubber to test blades - XP2008. By the way, Cole isn't in it for money, just to help out the TT world. He does a lot of stuff no other outfit is willing to do, especially custom stuff.

      Basically, Cole is doing a great service to TT by providing a means and motivation to enter the sport inexpensively. without a Dude like Cole helping out TT, there would be almost no way new players in USA enter the sport, although SOME new players will go goo-goo Apeshyt buying the most expensive of the the most expensive exotic stuff they can get their pawz on, but they are minority. Obviously, we are a premium company, specializing in blades and apparel/accessories. Our stuff is high quality and not in the bargain clearance shelf category. The newer players might hear about us on forums or someone like Carl tells them, but new players are not interested in buying one of our great blades priced between $80 and $180, even if they get a discount. That is why Cole is big time important to the new player, as well as existing ones.

      NexyUSA has a different approach. We don't want to fight for gain and maintain a huge chunk of the existing market, there really isn't a whole lot of current customers in USA to make it a REAL money making operation for more than several companies... and there are more than a dozen TT vendors in USA.

      You can visualize a huge pack of hungry dogs trying to fight for a chance to gnaw on one bone that is not very big. Our idea is to make that bone BIGGER, in fact so big that MANY dogs can get their bite and like it too.

      Unless we can make the current TT equipment buying possible crowd of 25,000 bigger (maybe 5000 active USATT tourney players and another 20,000 from the community centers and the rare few who actually research equipment to buy for their basement) that level of customers who average on the who a few hundred dollars of purchases per year (some buy once some buy a lot) this all comes out to something under 100 million dollars of sales before overhead and what not. It might be a stretch to say that collectively, the TT market in USA makes 20 million USD after it is all said and done. That just isn't enough money for a dozen or two outfits.

      What NexyUSA wants to build the playing base of USA in an entirely different way NO ONE has ever tried before. We want to invest a little in CHILDREN... to make them TABLE TENNIS LEADERS. We offer a partial sponsorship, get the kid a sharp looking professional uniform. many of these kids are already improving players and do a lot of tourneys and club play. Others in the club notice them, so the existing TT crowd sees Nexy as a professional outfit growing the sport, but the big deal is the kid has a lot of cred at SCHOOL. they all talk and Facebook and whatever. They know what is going on with the improving kid and how much he loves TT and how much a blast it is and it is contagious. The kid generates interest in TT, can approach the school and get something with TT rolling.

      Once enough schools start doing this, we literally MULTIPLY the playing base. Then, when the MOM throws in her support, it is really game over for holding back on equipment purchases.

      When we get tens of thousands more players in and more later, and the whole crowd knows Nexy has been pushing the growth by giving children an opportunity to show their LEADERSHIP, then sales come to us later, but they also come to everyone, both existing outfits and newer ones that the market could now support.

      This way to grow TT is EPIC and no one before has had the mindset to go about it this way. All the TT investment you have ever seen by big outfits is to toss money and gear to top players and run huge expensive tourneys... that doesn't cut it to grow a sport.
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    2. Top | #2
      Ilia Minkin is offline
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      In my opinion the biggest obstacle in growing TT in US is the availability of coaching... It is ridiculously difficult to do well in any sport without guidance, but in such a technically complex sport like TT it is just undoable. And the price of the fanciest racket you can buy is worth of only a few hours of individual coaching, and one needs many to really progress. And even if the price is not a concern, coaching is only available at a few TT "hot spots", that can be too far away from your home club (you're lucky if you have one).

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    4. Top | #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ilia Minkin View Post
      In my opinion the biggest obstacle in growing TT in US is the availability of coaching... It is ridiculously difficult to do well in any sport without guidance, but in such a technically complex sport like TT it is just undoable. And the price of the fanciest racket you can buy is worth of only a few hours of individual coaching, and one needs many to really progress. And even if the price is not a concern, coaching is only available at a few TT "hot spots", that can be too far away from your home club (you're lucky if you have one).
      I agree. This is one of the reasons why I like to coach cheaply and give free advice to anyone willing to post videos. The game gives too much of an advantage to people who know correct technique. Only after correct technical knowledge is common knowledge will the sport become easy to share.
      Cobra Kai TT Exponent - No mercy in this dojo, no matter your rating or the score. All spin, no power or footwork.

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    6. Top | #4
      Der_Echte is offline
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      I went to Chantilly club and was about to go out the door when a member there I never met asked me to play vs him. He was pretty competent for a dude who never got coached. After the quick match, I basically spent a full hour with him going over fundamental stuff like impact zone, basic movement to ball, how to go down hte line or cross court, how to BH loop underspin, how to properly step around BH corner and get into position to use FH, how to block, how to adjust grip pressure, how to hookshot, basic rally tactics... Dude started TT in early 40s and already had 1850+ club rating league. Dude picked up every nugget quick and applied them (except for staying low on BH looping underspin) (when he did it was magic)

      Then when I was about to leave, a 55-60 yr old Chinese lady asked me to hit 15 minutes til the club shuts down at 9 PM, so it was a 15 minute lesson on Kim Jung Hoon's way to play BH close to the table and how to use loose wrist off the bounce... she got consistent in 2 minutes doing that.

      I agree it should be easier to get basic instruction and I am willing to give it freely... but we got bigger stuff going on in USA. We gotta start TT from the bottom up. Sure, we can build a club, but if rent is not dirt cheep and you dont get enough members right away, business end cannot hold up.

      School already has infastructure, a gym or multipurpose room, a couple tables do not cost an arm or leg. If there is a demand from within, it will eventually happen.

      Once there are a LOT of school kids playing, there will be a demand for more clubs and more chances for club owners and coaching and also TT equipment business. it all feeds off each other, but there has got to be a ground force, and 50,000 over 50 dudes and gals are not gunna make a riot to the county rec center to make a TT program. However, if it gains traction at schol, you got a growing base and a future base going forward.

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    8. Top | #5
      Loopadoop is offline
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      There has been some progress. The club growth has been slow. There is a lot of competition for a person's leisure time. Then, if it is not very organized in your area, a person will find a better alternative for their free time.

    9. Top | #6
      Baal is offline
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      Good coaching would be nice, especially people who can speak English well enough to express what they need you to do. But it is not just coaching, you need good places to play seven days a week, and not just a handful of large urban areas, but even in medium sized and small cities. You can find a good place to play and maybe even a league, seven days a week, in a German city with 100,000 people. In much of the US, that is impossible. You may be able to play one or two times per week at some recreation center somewhere (but by contrast you can play golf or tennis or go bowling or shoot baskets or have a softball league anywhere and anytime in the US). Whatever organization there is for table tennis in some places is maybe based on the volunteer efforts of one or two people. I am pretty lucky where I live -- now. I have not always lived in places where it is possible to maintain a decent level.
      Last edited by Baal; 11-15-2015 at 01:57 PM.

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    11. Top | #7
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Baal is true and in many places in USA you have to DRIVE for HOURS to get to a place to play. In these areas (and even in some larger areas) you cannot build a club and count on players to come, at least not in the first year and who keeps running a club where you cant even pay for half the rent past one year?

      TT tables in a school backed by a competent improving player who is a leader and helping make things happen make for at least the school children an accessible place within reason. When there are enough of these in USA, the demand carries over to outside the school later and the playing situation in our nation improves. it is already improving, but only very slowly in huge metro areas with considerable foreign population already favoring TT in areas that already had some TT club there.

      Since I am counting on the improving player to be looking and acting professional who has already gained cred with students, maybe I should involve USATT CEO and ask him to write letter to the athletic director backing this player even more... could make it more convincing case to the decision makers if the cost/benefit talking points are well laid out.

    12. Top | #8
      UpSideDownCarl is online now
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      I think we need to look towards foosball for how to grow the sport. If we can get drunken fools in all the bars in the country to think they are champions....

      No, I think the idea with kids is a good one. I think the idea of more clubs, coaches and places to play is also needed.

      But, sadly, in this country, without some bigger picture type interest in the sport, it is a hard sell.

      It would be cool if colleges were recruiting and paying top prospects to go to their school and be on their team and train for college events the way they do for Football, Basketball and Tennis.

      If someone could figure out a way to get that to happen then high schools around the country would start having teams and then middle schools would start having it in Phys Ed programs.

      So, getting a few top prospects from this country into the top 30 in the world would actually also be a big help.


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    14. Top | #9
      Der_Echte is offline
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      There is a dynamic from top down with some colleges, (think Texas Wesleyan and Lindenwood among others) but the pressure needs to be from bottom up, and then the demand at the top will be there.

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      I can't remember when, but there was a blogpost a while ago by Larry Hodges in which he talked about the development of players in the past thirty years. One of the interesting things he said was that, just based on data, the top ten cadets are much much better than the top cadets ten years ago. There was a number like that the 5th best cadet ten years ago would be 35th today.

      That number is pretty great. There is definitely growing interest in the sport. I was talking to Scott Boggan a few months ago. He told me that when he was 13 he was just about my level now. I am 1700 rated, and my level is about 1800 (my match results correlate with 1800 but my rating doesn't for some reason, but that's another story.) Scott Boggan, when he was my age, came in second in the National Cadet tournament, making him the second best 14 year old in the country. Now, that player is rated over 2500. That shows the growth more than anything.

      In terms of equipment costs and coaching, I would agree that the cost is definitely too much for both. However, golf, and tennis, and martial arts, and even private basketball instruction, have similar costs, if not more in some case. There is a different problem, but we are slowly solving it.

      In our school I am proud to have started and co-led the table tennis club, and we are slowly growing interest and number of tables. At out biweekly meeting we get about 40 people in our relatively small school, which is pretty great. The sport is definitely growing among children.

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    17. Top | #11
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      Greetings,

      As someone speaking from "Across The Pond", it seems to me that America uses the sports scholarship method of encouraging and/or enabling (high) school students to enter college.

      One obvious option is to include TT in the sports scholarship programmes. That, in itself, would encourage schools to implement TT as a viable sport/option to enter college in the long-term.

      Just a thought!

      Kindest regards,

      James

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    19. Top | #12
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dragan Glas View Post
      Greetings,

      As someone speaking from "Across The Pond", it seems to me that America uses the sports scholarship method of encouraging and/or enabling (high) school students to enter college.

      One obvious option is to include TT in the sports scholarship programmes. That, in itself, would encourage schools to implement TT as a viable sport/option to enter college in the long-term.

      Just a thought!

      Kindest regards,

      James
      Dragon, that is the top down approach... only a few Unis do this for TT. There isnt much an incentive for Unis to do this right now as TT is not viewed as the serious sport it is, the players who do not play so much are in their own world and basement. There is no real viewing base or even social competitive playing base nationwide, only in a few hotspots, but it is growing by many people trying.

      What is needed is for the BOTTOM to grow, finding a way to get the children and basement players out of home and to a school or center with a table. Easy to put tables in a school compared to the risk of blindly opening a proper TT club.

      Local Children LEADERS are a LOT more effective at bringing the message to a school. The schoolmates already know what is going on with the child who is a TT leader. They talk and do social media, they are not blind to the achievement, fun blast, and possible competitive side.

      Once we can get some more traction on this, we have to find a way to connect with School Administrative leaders and MOMs at home. Once MOM is hooked, the School Administrator had damn well better listen to her.

    20. Top | #13
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Make note Abe did this on his own, growing hiz level, making friends and getting known locally. All I did was toss him a uniform and a bat to make him look more professional part of a pro looking outfit and give him a chance to better leverage the leadership he was already planning on doing. He already had cred. Just saying he is "Sponsored" helps a lot (not so many children are a "Sponsored Player") and that means a lot, but he did what he did locally (and others in the world see him) he did by himself and family/friends.

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    22. Top | #14
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      Thing is, Der, you seem to be arguing as though it is either/or, as though what you are calling top down is opposed to what you are calling bottom up.

      But they aren't mutually exclusive.

      I think it is great that you want to talk about getting more kids involved and playing. But, it is only one of many things to get the ball rolling. And we need many things all at once to get the ball rolling. Top down, bottom up, sides in, middle out! It's pointless to argue against a different idea that is also good when all that would do is leave you with less of a movement.

      If you look at the biggest top down country there is, China has some insights that would help us too! They go from the tippy top down: THE GOVERNMENT!

      How would we get the government to help the movement.

      Also, here is a middle out concept that would help both the top down, the bottom up and the sides in: the idea of health, weight loss and cardio fitness through something as fun as table tennis could actually help start a movement too.

      And if you get those urban and suburban moms to think, "I lost 15 pounds in 3 months playing table tennis and it's something I can do with my KIDS, husband and parents THAT IS FUN!" then that could help get it into the schools too.

      The more ways we can get more people addicted to playing, the better for the sport regardless of what age bracket, ethnicity, what their goals in playing are.

      The more ideas the better. Reducing options only reduces the potential growth.


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    24. Top | #15
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      If you don't want to listen the the whole drawn out thing, start listening at 14:40. It explains something about trying to start a movement:






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      Quote Originally Posted by Ilia Minkin View Post
      In my opinion the biggest obstacle in growing TT in US is the availability of coaching...
      Good coaching is rare in the rural areas of the US. In the cities there are usually a few very good coaches. I my area we have Sean O'Neil ( US Olympian 1988 ) and Guo Hao ( won the Seattle Open by beating Wang Jinxin who won the US Open and is about 2600 ). There is a third coach but I haven't tried him yet. My usual coach now is Guo Hao. Guo Hao is a lot of fun but Sean O'Neil is more well rounded have played double inverted and with LP. Sean O'Neil provide videos of the practice session whereas I must make my own with Guo Hao. Most people cannot afford the $50 or $60 per hour these coaches charge.

      Guo Hao is from Tiajin. The air pollution is awful there.

      I don't think coaching is the biggest limitation to growth in the US. I have just got back from China, again. I know that in China TT is looked on as a social activity more often than a serious sport. Groups of people do not go to the local TT club to play social TT in the US like they do in China.

      I don't see TT clubs in the US as being places where social TT occurs.

      If club matches or league play were recorded and then played on public access TV there may be an increase in interest as people start to follow club players and have favorites. I think public access TV is one key to get people interested in playing TT at the club. Clubs could also have group event nights where groups could come to the club for a few but club members would watch play or coach at a basic level as desired.

      One thing I have seen in China that I will NEVER see in the US. A mother picking up balls while her kid is taking lessons from a so so coach. China just allowed 2 kids per family. The parents try to spoil their one kid. Also, there is too much multi-ball in China.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Pnachtwey View Post
      One thing I have seen in China that I will NEVER see in the US. A mother picking up balls while her kid is taking lessons from a so so coach. China just allowed 2 kids per family. The parents try to spoil their one kid. Also, there is too much multi-ball in China.
      Funny, you are probably right in most of the country. In NYC I have seen that many times. There are a handful of parents who, when they are paying for their kid to get a lesson, they use a pickup and go around picking up balls so that their kid and the coach don't have to waste time doing it during the lesson.

      At SPiN they actually have ball boys who are supposed to go around doing that. Sometimes they are on top of things, but, not always and if you are going to wait and hope they give you balls, there are many times where you are going to be waiting.....So, some parents there just do it because they don't want the kid or coach to waste time doing that.

    27. Top | #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl View Post
      So, some parents there just do it because they don't want the kid or coach to waste time doing that.
      Obviously, and I don't want my coach to waste time between balls until I am tired. It doesn't take much to get me breathing hard.

      but how does that make TT more popular in the US? I still think public access TV is a good start. I think a good commentator is necessary too to explain to those that don't know what is happening. Any opinions on that? Our local public access TV station only asks that content already be converted to a format that they can use. This isn't too hard given the processing power and tools that most of us have.

    28. Top | #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl View Post
      Thing is, Der, you seem to be arguing as though it is either/or, as though what you are calling top down is opposed to what you are calling bottom up.

      But they aren't mutually exclusive.

      I think it is great that you want to talk about getting more kids involved and playing. But, it is only one of many things to get the ball rolling. And we need many things all at once to get the ball rolling. Top down, bottom up, sides in, middle out! It's pointless to argue against a different idea that is also good when all that would do is leave you with less of a movement.

      If you look at the biggest top down country there is, China has some insights that would help us too! They go from the tippy top down: THE GOVERNMENT!

      How would we get the government to help the movement.

      Also, here is a middle out concept that would help both the top down, the bottom up and the sides in: the idea of health, weight loss and cardio fitness through something as fun as table tennis could actually help start a movement too.

      And if you get those urban and suburban moms to think, "I lost 15 pounds in 3 months playing table tennis and it's something I can do with my KIDS, husband and parents THAT IS FUN!" then that could help get it into the schools too.

      The more ways we can get more people addicted to playing, the better for the sport regardless of what age bracket, ethnicity, what their goals in playing are.

      The more ideas the better. Reducing options only reduces the potential growth.


      Sent from the Oracle of Delphi by the Pythia
      This is my position as well. Anything that keeps TT participation up is good. Someone tried to design an exercise program around TT in England, I believe, in order to attract women.

      I think the 1000s of hours of multiball drills from 2500+ coaches model hinders the sport's accessibility in the US. There has to be a better hook for amateurs, even Beer TT.

    29. The Following User Likes NextLevel's Post:

      UpSideDownCarl (11-17-2015)

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      Great topic! Also very cool hearing this stuff about Cole. He runs a quality business and has been very generous with advise for equipment!

      Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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