Change in ta­ble ten­nis rule

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - Hu­bert Lawrence Gleaner Writer

UN­TIL OC­TO­BER 1, coaches were re­stricted by the rules of the In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion (ITTF) in the amount of ad­vice they could give to their play­ers dur­ing matches. Some of those re­stric­tions were lifted on Oc­to­ber 1.

Now, in ad­di­tion to coach­ing be­fore matches and dur­ing time-outs, play­ers can re­ceive ad­vice when the ball is out of play.

The pre­vi­ous re­stric­tion con­strained coaches to cheer­ing from the side­lines and en­cour­ag­ing play­ers in be­tween points. The more crafty prac­ti­tion­ers some­times used hand sig­nals, of­ten pre­coded, to cir­cum­vent the old rules. Those who were caught were sub­ject to ejec­tion.

One fa­mous case in­volved the cur­rent head Chi­nese men’s coach, Liu Guo­liang. Liu, World and Olympic cham­pion as a player, was ejected in Tian­jin, China, at the 2005 World Cham­pi­onship.

Ap­par­ently, in the opin­ion of the um­pire, he was coach­ing out­side the pro­vi­sions of the rule. He was coach­ing Ma Lin in a dif­fi­cult match against Petr Kor­bel of the Czech Repub­lic.

The new pro­vi­sion has de­buted at the men’s ta­ble ten­nis World Cup cur­rently be­ing played in Ber­lin, Ger­many. At first glance, coaches are not be­hav­ing dif­fer­ently than be­fore Oc­to­ber 1. Un­til then, they were only able to ad­vise their play­ers be­fore matches, be­tween games and dur­ing 60sec­ond time-outs. Each player is only al­lowed one time-out per match.

Judg­ing from the play in Ber­lin, it does not ap­pear that coaches are giv­ing ad­vice af­ter ev­ery point as the change al­lows.

The ITTF de­cided on the change at its board meet­ing at the 2015 World Cham­pi­onships. The in­tro­duc­tion fol­lows tests of the new reg­u­la­tion in some leagues around the world, in­clud­ing in Ger­many.

AP

China’s Wang Hao (left) and Ma Lin (right) place their gold medals on their coach, Liu Guo­liang, as the team cel­e­brated win­ning gold in the ta­ble ten­nis team com­pe­ti­tion at the Bei­jing 2008 Olympics.

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