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Your First Tournament: Rules and Etiquette
1. T-shirts and shorts must be worn (the shirt must not be white in colour). Rubber-soled shoes must be worn.
2. At the beginning of each match, players are permitted to inspect their opponent's bat to identify what type of rubber is being used, you are not allowed to touch the rubber. You should leave your bat on the table when you step to the side of the court for time-outs and between sets.
3. Remember to shake hands (or more usually just a “high five”) with your opponent, his/her coach and your own coach after every match.
4. You will lose points if you do not serve legally; you should know the rules for serving by now, if you are unsure feel free to ask any of the coaches.
5. You will be expected to umpire matches, there will be scoreboards to help you keep track of the score. Please concentrate when you are umpiring, do not wear headphones or engage in conversation with spectators, etc. The umpire must record the score for each game, and return the ball and scorecard to the "Top Table" after the match (or series of matches in a Group stage). Record the scores clearly and accurately, make sure you know the names of the players.
When umpiring, remember to call the server's score first e.g. "4-5" means that the player serving is losing by 4 points to five.
6. If you are playing in more than one event, it can be a very long day. Bring lunch and drinks as required. If you do not respond to calls for your matches you may be scratched from the event.
7. Have a bottle of water and a towel beside the court during every match. Remember that you are only permitted a short “towel break” after every six points in a game, and obviously also in between games.
8. You or your coach may call one “time-out” in a match, for coaching purposes or rest, maximum one minute. If the opposing player/coach calls a time-out, you should stand to the side of the court or talk to your own coach if there is one present. No coaching or time-outs are allowed in U-11 matches.
9. The usual format of tournaments is a first round of “Round Robins”, with three or four players in a group, the winner and runner-up advance to the next round, the third (and fourth) to a “Plate” or Consolation event. After that it is usually a Knockout format, if you lose a match you are eliminated (you will be usually be expected to umpire at least one more match). If you reach the last eight in a Junior tournament, there will usually be a series of play-offs to determine placings, i.e. 3rd/4th play-off for losing semi-finalists and 5th-8th play-offs for losing quarter finalists. The format of tournaments varies according to the number of entries.
10. Matches are usually played "Best-of-Five" for the Group and Knockout stages i.e. the first player to win three sets wins the match. In U-11 events, the format is usually "Best-of-Three", and in the Plate events, almost always "Best-of-Three".
11. During matches, spectators should be careful not to interfere with play in any way. Do not walk across the playing area while a match is being played. If your ball goes into another court, wait until a "let" is called before retrieving the ball (one of the players will usually throw it back!).
12. At the discretion of the tournament organiser/referee, tables not in use may be used for practice/warm-up. You must not interfere with any active matches if you are playing on these tables, keep noise levels to a minimum. You must leave these tables immediately when players arrive for a match, or if asked to do so by the referee or other official (particularly if there is an important match on an adjacent table). Sometimes the referee will either detach one side of the net or place the scoreboard on the table to indicate that tables are not for use. When practice tables are in short supply, you may be asked to share the table and play "cross-table", each pair of players hitting diagonally across the table.
13. A period of two minutes warm-up is usually permitted before each match.
14. Who serves first? By the rules, it is decided by the toss of a coin. Usually, however, the umpire (or one of the players) hides the ball in one hand under the table, and the other player guesses which hand: if he/she wins, he has choice of service (or choice of end). Each players serves two points, then the other player serves two, and so on. If the score reaches 10-10, each player takes just one serve before service passes to the opponent.
15. Photography: you are required to register your details with the tournament director, and you should never use flash photography while matches are being played.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you think there is any other information I should include here! Thanks!
What age groups are you eligible to play in? Click banner to visit Munster Web-site for information for the 2014-15 season.
Discipline: visit the Table Tennis Ireland site to see a list of offences for which Yellow cards may be issued.
The Munster Table Tennis web-site www.munstertabletennis.weebly.com has details of all Munster events and links to other National tournaments. Beginners: look out for Challenger events which are very suitable for the novice player!
A round robin is where each player in a group of players plays all of the other players in the group. If there are four in the group, each player will play the other three.
Most tournaments are "seeded" and the most common format in Irish Table Tennis is so-called "snake-seeding", see below for an example:
A disadvantage of this system, particularly for novice players, is that some matches may be very one-sided, with beginners meeting very experienced players in their early matches. It is important not to get disheartened by this, it's all part of the experience and there is usually a "Plate" or consolation event for players who are not successful in the early group stages. Hang in there!
Generally, the third (and fourth) players are unseeded and placed randomly ingroups, usually with an attempt to avoid players meeting club-mates in first round matches where possible.
In a Round-Robin, when two or more players have an equal number of match wins, the count-back system is brought into operation by the referee (I.T.T.F. Rules). This is explained here.