The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has launched a new version of table tennis, called ‘TTX’. The new game has a bigger ball, simplified rackets with less spin, time limited matches and extra points for clean winners.
ITTF President Thomas Weikert believes that TTX “can perfectly complement our professional table tennis game, as it connects the hobby player that plays with their mates at home to a viable competition format which is designed around having fun.”
But not everyone is happy. Reading the comments on the Table Tennis Daily website, the response from the table tennis community isn’t very positive. A typical comment:
“Wow. Just, wow! Let’s make it official that ITTF are out of touch with reality and are hoping to bring the sport back to its roots in drunken pubs where you could make up the rules as you go.”
For me, TTX, sounds really great fun. Here are the rules:
- Matches are the best of 3 sets, 2 minutes each. If the set ends with a tie, there is a sudden death point to determine the winner.
- No restrictions on the serve, serve it anyway you like.
- 2 extra points for a winner (opponent does not touch the ball with their racket)
- 1 wildcard per player per set. The player must call wildcard before they serve and if the person who calls the wildcard wins that point they gain 2 points.
- If they hit a winner on a wildcard point they get 4 points.
I want to play! I can already visualise how I’m going to get 4 points by using my wildcard and hitting a clean winner.
We can sometimes lose sight of why we play sport. When we first picked up a table tennis bat or kicked a football or just ran around in the park – it was great fun.
When you get really good at a sport, there is a danger that you take it too seriously and the fun element disappears.
Table tennis is frankly ridiculous when you think about it. We use small bats, to hit small balls, over a small net, onto a small table. How seriously can you really take it?!
I think TTX is a reminder to all of us, that table tennis should be fun too. As a child, I remember playing ‘around the table’ – a game where any number of players take it it turn to hit the ball before running to the other side of the table. Every now and then I play this game with a group of adults too. And guess what? It’s still great fun!
TTX will bring smiles to faces. It’s not going to replace the traditional game we also love, it’s just adding a new variety which can be enjoyed in the rapidly growing social ping pong scene.
I also think TTX could be a useful training exercise for serious table tennis players. In particular, the rule on 2 points for a clean winner could encourage players to take a bit more risk with their attacks or get them to focus more on the placement of their attacks.
So I applaud ITTF for their new initiative. I hope it takes off and I look forward to playing a game of TTX very soon.
You can find out more about TTX on the official TTX website.