How does a semi-pro make money playing TT?

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If I may, please satisfy my curiosity:

1. I am targeting this question specifically to those pro or semi-pro players who say play regularly at WTT event in the lesser known series like Contender / Feeder or those who play in the Qualifying Round but does not make it to the main drawn. Yes, those type of player.
2. How do these players make their living?
3. Do they have a regular job outside of TT? Part time coaching? TT equipment salesman?

Anyone in the know care to share some of the inner working of this? Thanks.
 
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If I may, please satisfy my curiosity:

1. I am targeting this question specifically to those pro or semi-pro players who say play regularly at WTT event in the lesser known series like Contender / Feeder or those who play in the Qualifying Round but does not make it to the main drawn. Yes, those type of player.

There is cost to enter/travel, and the prize money obviously can't cover 1 meal.
Some of these would be sponsored trips, or covered by someone/team/country.
Some of them could even be "fund me" donations/campaigns

2. How do these players make their living?

A lot of them don't make an income. They are lucky to have expenses covered
3. Do they have a regular job outside of TT? Part time coaching? TT equipment salesman?

Anyone in the know care to share some of the inner working of this? Thanks.

Many of them do have an outside job
more common is part time coaching.
I've met some that are even lawyers, or other professionals.


Some seasons world tour pros (take part in 5 to 10 tours a years), does have some sponsors and comes to x amount a year.
Then the player will need to plan on where to take part etc.
Prize monies (if any) normally will be put back into the piggy bank for future trips.

The above is basically non TT first world countries.

Without private sponsors, a lot of them would not be able to take part
 
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Thanks Tony. You're da best!

1. I wonder who would sponsor a player who obviously would not have an ounce of chance to reach a podium finish. I am baffled at this.

2. For those who have some high profile job like accountant / lawyer, wow! I mean how could they juggle between those intensive training or prep work and their demanding high profile career. Seriously, those guys / gals must pick a lane eventually. I cannot fathom being good at both. Other than just training on the table, serious players also need to do gym work. On top of that these so call semi-pro players also need to juggle their main income / work.
 
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Thanks Tony. You're da best!

1. I wonder who would sponsor a player who obviously would not have an ounce of chance to reach a podium finish. I am baffled at this.

For most, its not about a podium finish.
some sponsors could be local company, that just wants to give back to the local community.
It could be a local thing, or a national pride thing for some givers.

2. For those who have some high profile job like accountant / lawyer, wow! I mean how could they juggle between those intensive training or prep work and their demanding high profile career. Seriously, those guys / gals must pick a lane eventually. I cannot fathom being good at both. Other than just training on the table, serious players also need to do gym work. On top of that these so call semi-pro players also need to juggle their main income / work.
a lot of them more work part time, and only go full time when they retire from TT
a former top European chopper, I think Greek chopper was a doctor or something
England womens no 1 is also a doctor (played pro and medical school at the same time)
passion for sports in semi pro is really true passion
Some of them aim for Olympic dream (to take part in one)

Rather follow your passion/dream when you are young, than oppose to too old, I guess
 
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They also play in leagues, not in the top ones but they get salary. Like second/third Bundesliga, Spanish league, French, Russian and so on. They don't earn lots of money. Usually it's about 1,500 € in a month. Some wins add a bit of extra money
 
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For most, its not about a podium finish.
some sponsors could be local company, that just wants to give back to the local community.
It could be a local thing, or a national pride thing for some givers.


a lot of them more work part time, and only go full time when they retire from TT
a former top European chopper, I think Greek chopper was a doctor or something
England womens no 1 is also a doctor (played pro and medical school at the same time)
passion for sports in semi pro is really true passion
Some of them aim for Olympic dream (to take part in one)

Rather follow your passion/dream when you are young, than oppose to too old, I guess
Gionis Panagiotis is a dentist I think - member of Greek national team.
 
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Gionis Panagiotis is a dentist I think - member of Greek national team.
I highly doubt he can be a practicing dentist and a National Player at the same time; he has to pick a lane. We all know which lane he picked.
 
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If I may, please satisfy my curiosity:

1. I am targeting this question specifically to those pro or semi-pro players who say play regularly at WTT event in the lesser known series like Contender / Feeder or those who play in the Qualifying Round but does not make it to the main drawn. Yes, those type of player.
2. How do these players make their living?
3. Do they have a regular job outside of TT? Part time coaching? TT equipment salesman?

Anyone in the know care to share some of the inner working of this? Thanks.
2. Playing in national leagues is what earns most of those players their daily bread. Some of them, if they are from a wealthier Western country get some of their costs covered to travel to these WTT events by their national federations.
3. No, I'm not aware of any of these players being semi-professionals. If you are making it regularly to these events, you are probably a full-time pro, even if you are playing in a lower-level league.

I'm answering this from the perspective of European players. I can't speak much about how it works for players from other regions.
 
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In the USA the only realistic way to make money is through coaching and/or running a club. Many players who could be in the top 10 just stop playing tournaments to coach full time because that is where the money is at. I know of a few local coaches making $400+ a day coaching. Why would they bother practicing and playing in tournaments when they are making that kind of money? Considering the money needed to be spent on air travel, hotels and entry fees, odds are a player will lose money every tournament. Sponsorships are few and far between as well. One player I know placed very highly at the US Open, was rated 2700 and approached a company for sponsorship. He was told unless he was top 100 in the world, or a junior, the company would not even give him so much as a free t-shirt. Needless to say he is coaching full time now and put his competitive days behind him.
 
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I highly doubt he can be a practicing dentist and a National Player at the same time; he has to pick a lane. We all know which lane he picked.
yes, I was talking about him

he studied dentistry while active playing.
then when he retired from playing, he started to work as a dentist

studying medical school and playing is two lanes in the same time.
 
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In the USA the only realistic way to make money is through coaching and/or running a club. Many players who could be in the top 10 just stop playing tournaments to coach full time because that is where the money is at. I know of a few local coaches making $400+ a day coaching. Why would they bother practicing and playing in tournaments when they are making that kind of money? Considering the money needed to be spent on air travel, hotels and entry fees, odds are a player will lose money every tournament. Sponsorships are few and far between as well. One player I know placed very highly at the US Open, was rated 2700 and approached a company for sponsorship. He was told unless he was top 100 in the world, or a junior, the company would not even give him so much as a free t-shirt. Needless to say he is coaching full time now and put his competitive days behind him.
US is tough
its lucky that top 3 or top 4 gets travel cost covered
number 5 is self funded if i'm correct.
One of the top US players has accommodation "paid" for, otherwise, life wouldn't be so easy for that player.

There is a reason why so many US Olympians stop playing after one appearance. 2 of them were barely at their peaks and retired for university and full time work after university.

Europe indeed still have league income, but some of the lower leagues is really peanuts and one would need side income to survive.
 
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Pros in Taiwan are part of 3 major teams. which are all banks/financial institutions

Taiwan Co-Op bank is the most interesting one - they have Lin, Chuang, Feng, Kao, Guo, Cheng etc.
You get "salary" as a bank employee. Chuang/Lin salary is in the same level as a bank branch manager.
Then they also get "nutritional support", which kind of aids in expenses.
When they retire from playing, they could continue working in the bank until retirement. This was Taiwan's first corporate to kindof say - focus on your sport, and your fall back is work at the bank.
Kids as young as 10 or 12 gets supported from the bank.

Then you have First Bank - which focus on men's only and have some of the other national players like Liao, Chang Yu-An, etc.
The "first" bank employee just happened, so maybe the trend will follow. But Taiwan Co-op has been doing it for decades and many former pros become employees or coaches at the bank and have retired (so we talking being at the bank for 40~50 years)

Cathay Life (green tree as the logo) - This is the women's team, where Chen, Huang, Chien (and pretty much everyone who isn't Taiwan Co-Op) is with.
They have the strongest junior development structure, but don't really have a "post" player system.
They are the youngest team, with only recently some of the "older pros" have since retired and work in the team as assistant coaches.
The team is mostly junior/senior high - which is a 6 year program. Then some could continue and stay on for university. It is an "up" or "out" model basically.

Of all 3 teams, if you leave the team, you do find yourself fully very luxurious posts as coaches. Income as coach is not a problem.

Without these 3 teams being the core of financial support since youth level.
It is tough for the players.
The better players, who have potential - ie world junior medalist, world junior ranked - could also get additional funding from the local city, education dept, national gov.
The most famous is the Olympic Gold Medal Goal, whereby dozens of Taiwanese players are now part of, and the recent batch had the most funding, ever.
Before that, Lin's uncle self funded (sponsored) Lin's coaches salary of 4000 USD per month (which excludes all costs covered). If Lin's uncle did contribute, Lin wouldn't had accererated that quickly and now Lin is earning way more than Chuang - 20 years ago.
 
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yes, I was talking about him

he studied dentistry while active playing.
then when he retired from playing, he started to work as a dentist

studying medical school and playing is two lanes in the same time.
So, this comment is a bit weird to me, as it makes it sound like Gionis already retired. However, that's not the case. He just played in the European Team Championships, played in the ETTU top 32 (or whatever that thing is called), and plays for a club in Poland. (Just for reference, this is from a couple of days ago: )

However, you are correct in that he said that once he retires, he will go back to working as a dentist.
 
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Nexy President Moon U.B. had me look over Kim Jung Hoon's 2 yr contract in early 2012 before having him sign it. He was getting low 6 figure Euros (like 200,000) and I do not know about if his apt was paid.

KJH a couple years earlier was a KNT national player with a WR near WR30, then he ran afoul of the natl coach or director and did not compete for Korea on paid trips... so his WR slipped below WR 100... I think he had to pay his way for a tourney or two to get his WR back above WR 100, so he could market himself for a 1. Bundesliga spot on a team...

I think Prez Moon helped him out a lot hooking him up with Tibhar. I do not think KJH's 2 years were a disaster, he had some good wins, but you gotta be near WR10 to have a great record in that league.
 
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So, this comment is a bit weird to me, as it makes it sound like Gionis already retired. However, that's not the case. He just played in the European Team Championships, played in the ETTU top 32 (or whatever that thing is called), and plays for a club in Poland. (Just for reference, this is from a couple of days ago: )

However, you are correct in that he said that once he retires, he will go back to working as a dentist.
technically retired from ITTF/WTT internationals.
Still plays local in Europe. Which to me is better - since it is cheaper cost and closer towards home, than travelling like a globe trotter and staying in expensive WTT hotels.

I'm not sure if his income is going to be better in TT or Dentistry, but he is just one of the examples of a professional (dentist) that choose table tennis for a long time.
The other was a lawyer I know, who has no TT income, but took it on for as long as possible, until going to work full time.
recently, came out of TT retirement to try for Paris 2024 (and put work on hold)
still no income from TT in 2nd try.
The love for the game, and chance of Olympic versus income is one very difficult subject to discuss or understand.
 
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Nexy President Moon U.B. had me look over Kim Jung Hoon's 2 yr contract in early 2012 before having him sign it. He was getting low 6 figure Euros (like 200,000) and I do not know about if his apt was paid.

KJH a couple years earlier was a KNT national player with a WR near WR30, then he ran afoul of the natl coach or director and did not compete for Korea on paid trips... so his WR slipped below WR 100... I think he had to pay his way for a tourney or two to get his WR back above WR 100, so he could market himself for a 1. Bundesliga spot on a team...

I think Prez Moon helped him out a lot hooking him up with Tibhar. I do not think KJH's 2 years were a disaster, he had some good wins, but you gotta be near WR10 to have a great record in that league.
sponsored players can get free equipment
higher level ones, can get income from TT brands.
Some could even get royality from product sales.

but I think those semi pros, at best, is just free equipment to use (which will save them a lot of money).
I know a male junior that gets 50 sheets of rubbers a year - 25 pairs basically.
Its just barely enough because he glues up 2 to 3 bats at a time and if more is needed, he will have to buy them.
But his coach said, that 50 already saved his budget but a huge margin.
 
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technically retired from ITTF/WTT internationals.
Still plays local in Europe. Which to me is better - since it is cheaper cost and closer towards home, than travelling like a globe trotter and staying in expensive WTT hotels.
I must have missed that then because I remember him playing wtt events and worlds earlier this year. Also, I would have thought he might give it a shot to get to Paris next year, but I guess he decided that now is a good time to cut back a bit. And as you said, I doubt this will hurt his bottom line all that much considering how much you have to invest into the wtt circuit.
 
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