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    1. Top | #1
      Jane Napper is offline
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      safety when playing doubles

      I think the obviousness of what I am asking may shock some people, but I am hoping for some back-up for an opinion that I already strongly hold, which I would then be able to show to others.
      I play at a social level in two clubs in New Zealand, where we mostly play doubles. Everyone understands the system of alternating shots between partners, but a large number of people consider it acceptable to hit their partner's shot back when they believe their partner has missed it. Some people judge it better than others, but I believe that even those who invariably judge it correctly are responsible for creating a dangerous environment where this behaviour is normalised. Some people judge it very poorly and frequently clash bats with partners. When hitting my own shots I have had many occasions when my partner wrongly decides I have missed it. One time I hit a partner's bat out of her hand. Another time I was hit extremely hard on my hand and I believe I was lucky not to have had any broken bones. I currently have a cut thumb from another clash.
      I really believe that this is a serious accident waiting to happen, but when I ask people to stop doing it they clearly think I am making a fuss. They want to hit the ball back to save the effort of picking it up, and I am failing to convince them that avoiding a serious accident is more important.
      Can anyone help? Does anyone know of injuries that have been caused in this way?
      Thanks.
      Jane

    2. Top | #2
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      If you've had a cut and been hit on the hand that should be enough.

      I'm not sure people are going to be finding many examples of this, because this really shouldn't be happening.

      You should not be hitting a ball that is anywhere even close to within reach of your doubles partner if it's their shot. Not just because you should already have gotten out of their way, but because common sense would dictate that even if they can't legally, within the rules of the game return the shot, it should still be up to them to stop the ball. If the ball is still live, and you misjudge, you are also essentially forfeiting a point that could have just continued.

      Am I correct in the assumption that these social clubs have a fair portion of older/senior players? Because it sounds like the game is being played without a lot of lateral movement. The main reason I would say this shouldn't be a common occurrence, is in a relatively athletic game of table tennis, there is enough explosive lateral movement, that the foremost consideration of a player when it's not their shot, is to give their partner space. If you are standing within hitting distance to the ball, you are a present hazard for your partner to physically collide into you when moving into position (at the very least you make them hesitate to move into position or swing properly due to the risk of bodily collision). Whether or not your partner has missed, and you should stop the ball should be just about the last thing on your mind.

      Are these games being played in large rooms with no barriers/dividers? If having these put into place is a possibility, this might cut down on the appeal of stopping the ball, as the ball probably won't go far.
      Last edited by Hysteresis; 4 Weeks Ago at 05:48 AM.

    3. Top | #3
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      Have a print out and post the rules of hitting order in tt in a tarpaulin so that people can see it lol.

    4. Top | #4
      Jane Napper is offline
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      Thanks for your reply, Hysteresis, and for confirming that this shouldn't be happening. You are right in all of your suppositions. Most of the players are senior, and they don't move well. But even the younger players there have got used to thinking that it isn't normal to move, and they will often hover near the ball waiting to stop it rather than get out of the way. It does, as you say, make me hesitant about moving and swinging confidently - it surprises me how much more I manage to reach when a partner does get out of the way.
      I have been having trouble even convincing the person who hit me hard and the person whose bat I hit out of her hand to stop doing it, but showing them your message may help.
      Sometimes people hit a ball from behind me after I have missed it, but I still think that they shouldn't do it because it means that the thought of hitting the ball themselves is always in their heads, and it is a bad habit to get into.
      You are right that we play in large rooms with no barriers. I'm not sure that it would be feasible to install them, although it does make a lot of sense.

    5. Top | #5
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      I am an older player and sometimes play doubles with other older players. The key for me is whether your partner has the mobility to get out of your way or not. If they don't, it seems to me there is not much you can do, and you just have to accept that you are playing a somewhat different game--'old fart's ping pong', or some such.

      I am assuming that they can move around, and are fairly robust, but are just not in the habit of moving enough. I have had this happen, and this is what I do.

      Firstly, one of the most basic doubles tactics is to play the ball to the non-receiving partner. Use this, and discuss it with your partner, boast about it even--"wow, I got him 'cos his partner did not move away fast enough." Make this a topic of conversation, both with your partner and with the opposition. This may or may not work.

      Secondly, if they are mobile, aware of the need to move, and also of the fact that this is one of the key aspects of doubles play, and yet they still don't attempt to get out of your way, then I feign near-accidents. I bump into them as I attempt to play--not exactly knocking them over, but enough to move them. Or I take a big swing, even if late, and just stop it before I hit them with the bat--or perhaps I hit them just hard enough to remind them that they could have been hurt. "Oops, sorry, are you ok?" How far you want to take this is up to you, but if they start to fear they might get hurt, they might be more inclined to get out of your way.

      Having made these hard-arsed suggestions, today I was playing doubles, and I hit a fairly decent loop. The receiver hit a lovely shot right back at me, just in the perfect place for me to hit a winner--except it wasn't my turn. It just happened automatically--a brain fart, or misfire, or whatever. Of course, I apologized, profusely, but this happens sometimes.

      Doubles is a complex game of movement and positioning, and perhaps you have to decide whether you are playing serious table tennis, or just having some social relaxation. Perhaps they just want some fun, and you want to play seriously, in which case, you might have to accept what they do, or find other partners.

      Good luck.

    6. Top | #6
      Simas is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jane Napper View Post
      I play at a social level in two clubs in New Zealand, where we mostly play doubles. Everyone understands the system of alternating shots between partners, but a large number of people consider it acceptable to hit their partner's shot back when they believe their partner has missed it.
      Jane
      wow, such change of rules is somewhat widely spread in New Zealand? And yes, it sounds indeed dangerous.

    7. Top | #7
      Jane Napper is offline
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      Thanks Simas. I have only been playing for about two years, and I have never played anywhere other than the small-town region of New Zealand where I live (although I am from England). Because it is quite a small population around here, there is overlap between the people who play at different clubs, and a culture does easily become ingrained. People around here have come to think it is normal to hit back shots that one's partner may have missed, and I have a bit of a battle on my hands to convince people otherwise. I did print out the reply from Hysteresis and it did make some impact. I have decided to permanently refuse to play again with the worst offender. He has hit me really hard and I have tried to explain to him why his behaviour is a problem, and he just acts as if I am picking on him because he is old, although he is actually very mobile and gets to difficult shots himself, and what I am complaining to him about isn't lack of mobility but hitting me.

    8. Top | #8
      Brs is offline
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      I would try to partner with only one or a small set of players and ask them politely not to hit the ball out of turn. I would say that to anyone you partner with. Explaining that you were hit and injured and it makes you not want to play should be enough for anyone with any kind of manners.

      If you have the option of joining a more serious club you could play singles and eliminate the problem completely.

    9. Top | #9
      UpSideDownCarl is online now
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      I have a question first. Are you guys just hitting around. Or are these people trying to take the shot that would have been the other player's shot during points in an actual game?

      If it is happening in a game, do these people understand that, by taking the shot out of turn they are automatically forfeiting the point?

      Depending on the answers to these questions I may have more suggestions. But here are a few to start.

      The first, it seems you have partially come to on your own. If people are hitting out of turn and you know it will happen, refuse to play with them as your partner. I might even refuse to play if it is happening on the other side of the table. If the people you are playing with don't honor and play by the rules, PLAY SINGLES. Refuse to play doubles with people who break the rules.

      An accidental shot like the one Gary Buck describes may not be a big deal. But if you are playing with people who won't follow the rules, not only are they breaking the rules, BUT YOU HAPPEN TO BE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, it is dangerous, and it completely prevents you from moving into position for your shots. I have seen a player get knocked out by not moving out of the way of his doubles partner when the partner was focused on the ball and taking a giant forehand. Both players were injured. So was the player's racket as a result of colliding with his partner's head. Concussion. Nasty bruise, weeks later a line on the side of his head. So, these people really should not underestimate the potential for danger.

      This is in line with what Hysteresis suggested but not quite as contact oriented: if you decide you want to give a doubles partner a chance and discover he/she is not moving out of your way appropriately or trying to position him/herself to take your shots you could yell: "GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!" or "YOUR IN MY EFFIN' WAY!" or anything that gets that kind of message across while you are moving to your shot. And then after the point yell bloody murder about how you can't move into position for the ball when your partner is standing in the way of you taking your shot. Make sure, after every time it even comes close to happening, freak out on the person and tell him/her they are in your way and you can't play doubles with them if they don't get out of the way when you are trying to make a play on the ball.

      If it happens more than 3 times during play with a partner, then you could escalate things by quitting the partnership mid course; in the middle of a match telling a doubles partner you refuse to play with them because of their continued rule breaking and how it is endangering you would probably make a lasting impression on everyone involved.

      You don't need to hit or almost hit someone to humiliate them and make them understand how their bad behavior is negatively impacting the play of the team. You certainly should never get hit by a doubles partner again when it is your turn to hit the ball. Every time it even comes close to happening, I would be yelling bloody murder after the point till it stops happening.

      Or, I would tell the offenders, "Thank you very much, but I won't play doubles with rule breakers who put me in danger because they break the rules."
      Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 3 Weeks Ago at 03:23 AM.
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    10. Top | #10
      Jane Napper is offline
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      Thanks for your reply. Mostly it is happening during games, although the cut on my thumb occurred while we were having a hit around while one opponent was briefly out of the room. But I still had the right to assume I could take my shot when it was my turn. Most of the times I get hit, including that time, I hadn't even had to move my feet - the shot was in easy reach and I reached across just slightly and got hit.
      When this happens in games, people do understand that they forfeit the point. Sometimes they do it because they don't think they are capable of getting out of the way, or can't be bothered. Most of the time, they think I can't get to the shot. Undoubtedly they quite often misjudge this and prevent me from getting to shots we could have won the point with. Other times, they hit the ball (and/or me) while I am trying to reach the ball, and most likely wouldn't have managed even without them in the way, but it's hard to be sure. I still should be allowed to try without being injured. And sometimes they hit it after I really have already missed it. In the hands of expert players, I think the latter is in itself not dangerous, but it sets a dangerous precedent. Most times the person I referred to as 'the worst offender' clashes with me, he then says "I thought you were miles away", even when I had literally hit the ball without taking a step. So clearly, in that kind of club environment, it isn't safe to allow everyone to use their judgement, but I do find it particularly difficult to raise an objection with good players who aren't directly endangering me. But I do think it has to be done.
      I agree with you that failing to get out of the way is itself dangerous, but I don't think I play that aggressively, and I don't want to upset the less mobile players. I actually don't have much trouble with some of the oldest and least mobile ones - it is just the ones who think it is clever to hit other people's shots back.

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    12. Top | #11
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Damn,

      Carl just deployed the GOON SQUAD !!!
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    13. Top | #12
      UpSideDownCarl is online now
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      Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte View Post
      Damn,

      Carl just deployed the GOON SQUAD !!!
      BTW: Der can tell you I am bad at getting out of the way after serving in doubles and there are a few times Der has bowled me over because I didn't get out of the way when we were doubles partners.

      Der is an excellent doubles player. I am a kind of bad doubles player. But I understand when Der has plowed me down to make his shot it was my fault that I was in his way.

    14. Top | #13
      Xylit is offline
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      Tell your playing partners that either they stop that stupid behaviour or you won't play any more doubles with them in the same team. On the one hand someone could get hurt like you have said but on the other hand and even more problematic (because much more likely) for me is the fact that rubbers get damaged very easily like that.

      _____________________________________
      Short story:
      When I have started playing table tennis as a little boy 24 years ago, during the very first week of my training in a club, I have witnessed someone get hit by his doubles partner's racket on the nose during a topsin swing, leaving the other guy with a bleeding and broken nose. Needless to say that from that moment on I have developed a fear of playing doubles myself. It took quite a while until I realized that this was just a very bad exceptional case. Remember that unpleasant spectacle until today.

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    16. Top | #14
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
      BTW: Der can tell you I am bad at getting out of the way after serving in doubles and there are a few times Der has bowled me over because I didn't get out of the way when we were doubles partners.

      Der is an excellent doubles player. I am a kind of bad doubles player. But I understand when Der has plowed me down to make his shot it was my fault that I was in his way.
      Running over a dude like Carl, who is a little more flexible than GUMBY (I'm Gumby Dammit !!!), who will not get injured unless you unleash a machete, who can also fall to ground like me and roll to avoid injury, who is reasonable allround condition... running over such a dude isn't such a big deal with injury consequences.

      Someone trying to run Der_Echte over better do it while driving a 10 ton truck with some built up speed... even then there is gunna be collateral damage.

      Now running over not so resilient 60, 70, or 80 yr old people is gunna leave a mark, more than one, maybe maim the person, it is in the odds. We can say that these types are adults, know the risks, and still fail to get out of the way... so they are getting what they asked for.

      On one end, they want to play at a level that is a little higher than "fun" where you just pat the ball back and forth and giggle every touch. Yet, this crowd fails to learn how to effectively move and work together as a team. This crowd presents a unique safety hazard to themselves and others.

      As a more competitive player, you have to ask yourself how far you want to go to play competitive. Ask yourself how far you want to go to get that other player to understand and "Get It".

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    18. Top | #15
      Der_Echte is offline
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      So many thresholds and ways to handle the situation.

      1) Just don't hit them, let the point go, be willing to lose points and not risk injuring or offending. Smile, say it is alright. You are already giving up the idea that this is competitive TT, not even close. It is important to get your expectations right before the match starts. This is where I often fail, my expectations are all wrong and I should figure that out before playing.

      2) Professionally tell them BEFORE the match your expectations. During the match be professional focusing the communication on what is expected and the consequences of failing to move efficiently. Stop short of running into them.

      3) Stop play after the first time they fail to move out of the way and the point is over. Ask them if they will do that again. Tell them they KNOW they should have moved, you already went over that with them. Tell them that if a simple thing like moving out of the way after hitting the ball is too much to technically handle, that they should play CHECKERS or VIDEO GAMES as a social outlet, not competitive social table tennis.

      4) Start using some of Carl's approach. "You didn't move after you hit the ball. do you WANT me to knock you smooth over to get to the ball? Can you handle that? Then move you, move."

      You get the idea of progression here and it could get another 3-4 levels more, but why go there?

      If your expectations are to play competitive, but the other ones are not moving to facilitate that, then either your expectations of playing competitive were unrealistic and you should just play nice or nicely have a bathroom emergency to exit the building... or you could demand that the offending players not play. Neither situation ends very well, but the first course of action is in the best interests of community.

      Personally, my trouble comes from expecting too much. Often, expecting such a player to get out of the way is to much, but I get all hardcore militant about it and world peace is broken. It is better for me and the world if I tone down my expectations.

    19. Top | #16
      Jane Napper is offline
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      I don't think I am good enough for a very serious club, and the options in my region are limited. My main club meets in the daytime, and that suits me well. I think I will go some way towards doing what you are suggesting. I hope it won't limit my pool to a very small number of players, as that would be awkward with the way the club is organised, but I do agree that I should stop playing with people who don't play safely. I will try to win people over to the light side.




    20. Top | #17
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Then you have this dynamic (that the OP briefly covered)

      You professionally inform the player of the expectation to hit and move this direction with one step after they hit, then move back such and such a way... but in the match, they do not do that at all... then you tell the one who does not move that they have a duty to move and some ways they can move...

      When you do that, even in the most calm professional manner, often, you deeply offend the other player as they think it is totally OK to do that.

      You then become evil when you correct anyone.

      Lose
      Lose.

    21. Top | #18
      UpSideDownCarl is online now
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      Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte View Post
      Running over a dude like Carl, who is a little more flexible than GUMBY (I'm Gumby Dammit !!!), who will not get injured unless you unleash a machete, who can also fall to ground like me and roll to avoid injury, who is reasonable allround condition... running over such a dude isn't such a big deal with injury consequences.
      Is this what you are talking about Der?



      hahahaha

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    23. Top | #19
      Jane Napper is offline
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      Carl and Der Echte are completely misunderstanding what is happening. I am not being over-competitive or harming less mobile players. I am reaching to hit the ball, and being hit for it. Often I am not even moving my feet or extending my arm anywhere close to straight. I have no reason to anticipate that I am about to be hit and that I need to back off. I am playing in a 'social' way and they are not. I have seen exactly the same thing that is happening to me happen also to the most elderly players in the clubs.

      Xylit does have a good point about rubbers. I had forgotten one particular incident until he mentioned this, but I do now remember that one woman stuck her bat in the way when I was hitting a shot, and then spent a lot of time stroking her bat, which I had hit. I don't think she has gone for me shots again since then.

      Can anyone tell me whether hitting a partner's shot is considered normal in situations where the partner really has missed it and isn't close? I want to stop people doing it in every situation, however far apart, because in my experience allowing it to be a matter of judgement forms bad habits and opens the door for misjudgements. I think in the circumstances I am justified in taking this view in these clubs, but would this be normal in other clubs?

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      Der_Echte is offline
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      If the situation is that you are attempting to make a play on the ball, but your doubles partner is trying to hit the ball twice in succession, then of course your doubles partner is wrong (and anyone else who does that) and the same courses of action are available.

      Personally, I just wouldn't play doubles with these types unless my expectations are to only goof off and get hit frequently as a way to let the others enjoy. Usually, my expectations are not like that, so I would just declare an urgent 30 minute bathroom break requiring extensive decontamination operations. That would get me out of that mess (doubles) and out of the gym easily.

      Sometimes in doubles, if opponent hits one right back at me where my doubles partner didn't have a chance, I would hit it back in tribute and say good point. If I am behind and doubles player goes in front and takes a swing and misses, sometimes I hit it back and say great shot (name of doubles partner) and other side saw me hit that for sure we are giving up the point and having a giggle.

      What OP is describing is that OP is getting whacked by doubles partner that has brain wired the wrong way. There is no USB cable that can be plugged into that type to upload new firmware. No fixing that, just find a way to walk away, most other courses of action gunna get mud on you too.

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