The latest news of the SCTTC and the world of table tennis

If you are a club mem­ber and would like to post a table ten­nis relat­ed announce­ment, please con­tact Ray.

Magazine spread on Timo Boll

Magazine spread of Timo Boll

I recent­ly found this great spread from 2016 in a Ger­man mag­a­zine of Germany’s most famous table ten­nis play­er.

Top 10 Points | Bulgaria Open 2018

Space pong

Top 10 Points | Australian Open 2018

Why we lose games...

Top 10 Points | Japan Open 2018

Top 10 Points | China Open 2018

How Table Tennis Paddle Rubber is Made

Inter­est­ing video which could use a few more details…

Top 10 Points | Olympics

Top 10 Points | Hong Kong Open 2018

New bi-color balls

Bi-color table tennis ballsI just ordered some of these to share with the club. Not sure of the star num­ber, but for the price, they should be fine for prac­tice. Appears to be the first plas­tic bi-col­or ball.


Best points of WTTC 2018

Club closed week of May 7

Club is Closed this week on both May 8 and 10.

Please Read: SCCTTC Basic Operating Principles & Rules of Play as of April, 2018

Dear San­ta Cruz Coun­ty Table Ten­nis Club play­ers,

Based on a few recent ques­tions, com­ments and emails from play­ers, Willie and I thought it was time to share some of the club’s basic oper­at­ing prin­ci­ples and rules of play.

The one big change you will read about below is that Reuben has vol­un­teered to open the club on Tues­days and Thurs­days at 5 p.m. (Thank you, Reuben!) BUT, please con­tin­ue read­ing to learn all the impor­tant details.

Wyreless & Willie

Wyre­less & Willie

About our club

We are a fun, friend­ly and loose­ly orga­nized club. From day one we always want­ed the club to be a place for all play­ers, begin­ners to experts. We nev­er want­ed ours to be an elite club like those that give you a feel­ing that you’re not good enough or unwel­come. Thanks to you all, we have an awe­some club and in many ways one of the best you’ll ever play at.

The club was found­ed cir­ca 1991 (no one is cer­tain of the exact date), by J.P. Mon­nerey, Willie (Richard Williams), Stephen Pol­lard and Jim (Jim Lan­g­ley). J.P. left the area and Stephen Pol­lard died. Willie is the pres­i­dent and Jim is the vice pres­i­dent. These are the only club offi­cers. Ray is the club web­mas­ter. Deb­bie has helped a tremen­dous amount with legal advice and doc­u­ments. And many of you pitch in in many ways which is great­ly appre­ci­at­ed and very help­ful. The club wouldn’t work with­out great mem­bers.

Who “owns” the club

We have nev­er thought of the club as hav­ing an own­er, but from a legal stand­point, Willie is the defac­to own­er of the club. He deals with all the bill pay­ing and bank­ing and equip­ment pur­chas­es, etc. Willie and Jim do talk about this stuff and make deci­sions based on the best inter­ests of the club. If some­thing were to hap­pen to Willie, Jim has the access to the books and bank to keep the club going.

Willie is also the rea­son we get to use the Por­tuguese Hall. He is a mem­ber of the Hall. We are very lucky to have been able to play at the Hall for 27 years non-stop (!). It is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to find a place in our super expen­sive San­ta Cruz, that’s big enough to play and where you can also store your equip­ment. And, while our rent has gone up over the years, we have always been able to offer a low entry fee night­ly (fun triv­ia: in 1991 we charged $3 to play all night; today it’s only gone up to $5).

We pay rent to the Hall. The $5 fee the club charges you to play cov­ers our rent (which includes a fee for stor­ing our equip­ment) and allows us to buy new equip­ment. We are a not-for-prof­it club. We are a mem­ber of USA Table Ten­nis and pay a year­ly fee for this, too – in part to have insur­ance.

Things we’ve tried at the club

Since play­ers ask about cer­tain things that seem like good ideas, we’d like to explain that over the years we have tried all kinds of dif­fer­ent “great ideas.” If they didn’t work, we dis­con­tin­ued them. For exam­ple,

  • We tried hav­ing lit­tle punch­cards so you could pay the club fee for many months and get your card punched instead of hav­ing to pay each vis­it (sound­ed good but turned into a bit of a night­mare).
  • We ran 2 pret­ty big USATT approved tour­na­ments attract­ing a few high lev­el play­ers (great fun but a ton of work for only a few mem­bers who want­ed to help – and we lost mon­ey).
  • We tried open­ing on Sun­days but there weren’t enough play­ers to pay the rent or to open and close. (Now, Brooks and Reuben are try­ing this again with the league – see them for more infor­ma­tion.)
  • We have also tried robots and devices like this that let you prac­tice alone. (Very unpop­u­lar because 1 per­son takes up a table, and these machines can be loud and con­stant­ly require adjust­ments and repairs.)


We’ve always had the offi­cial open­ing time of 7p.m. The idea of the 7p.m. open­ing time is that we should def­i­nite­ly be open by then. We didn’t want to promise play­ers we would be open before then because in order to open, some­one with the key has to get there and we have to get the tables set­up. This isn’t always pos­si­ble. Some­times peo­ple get sick, etc. We didn’t want peo­ple to show up and have the club be closed, so we made 7 p.m. the “offi­cial” club open­ing time.

A cou­ple of years ago, though, Willie retired, so we start­ed open­ing ear­li­er (approx­i­mate­ly 5:30) for the pur­pose of giv­ing lessons. As men­tioned ear­li­er, we are a learn­ing club. We have always had lots of inter­est from play­ers in lessons, so we open ear­ly for lessons. In this way we are not tak­ing up tables for lessons when peo­ple want to play match­es on them.

AS MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING, Reuben has vol­un­teered to open the club at 5p.m. So, we are let­ting you know that there’s a good chance the club will now be open ear­li­er than 7 and maybe as ear­ly as 5. Remem­ber that the club has to be set­up on Tues­day nights, which takes some time. Play­ers who get there ear­ly help set­up. And, the mon­ey box and sign-in sheet need to be out for col­lect­ing the fee from play­ers. This 5p.m. open­ing time is new and Willie and Jim aren’t com­fort­able guar­an­tee­ing it yet — so if you get there and the club is closed, you just have to wait for some­one to get there to open.

PLEASE NOTE that tables num­ber 5 and 6 are reserved for lessons from when the first les­son starts to approx­i­mate­ly 8 p.m. If no coach­ing is going on, it’s fine to use the tables. When coach­es arrive, play­ers need to move to anoth­er table. Usu­al­ly, coach­ing on one of these tables will end by 7 so only one table is being used lat­er.

How coaching works

Will and Jim are cer­ti­fied USATT coach­es. Willie is a Club lev­el coach and Jim is a State lev­el coach. The coach­es charge a fee for lessons. This fee goes to the coach not the club. The rea­son for this is that the coach­es paid for their edu­ca­tion to become coach­es and learn how to teach table ten­nis. Stephen Alfred (our high­est rat­ed play­er ever) has also start­ing coach­ing some play­ers (we didn’t have a chance to ask him about his coach lev­el or details about tak­ing lessons with him, so please ask him to learn more).

You are wel­come to ask Wille, Jim or Stephen to explain more about coach­ing or any­thing else. Coach­es are hap­py to give basic tips and advice for free, too. It’s just actu­al lessons that cost.

Advice for buying paddles

If you are look­ing for advice on types of pad­dles and rub­ber to buy, the club’s lead­ing expert is also one of our best play­ers, Charley Aeber­sold. Charley has actu­al­ly made his own pad­dles and has trav­elled in Asia to train and learn more about table ten­nis. But, don’t inter­rupt match play to ask him. Wait until he’s not play­ing and see if he has time to give you some tips. You can also ask the coach­es and there’s end­less infor­ma­tion online.

Rules of play

We have 7 excel­lent But­ter­fly tables. The tables have num­bers on them from 1 to 7. The num­ber 1 table is to the far right as you walk in the door. Num­ber 5 is clos­est to the door to the far left. Num­ber 7 is the only hor­i­zon­tal­ly placed table and the one at the back and mid­dle.

To repeat, tables 5 and 6 are usu­al­ly reserved for coach­ing between 5 to 8. If no coach­ing is tak­ing place, the tables are open for play until/if coach­ing begins.

How our “challenge system” works

Any­one is allowed to chal­lenge on any table in the club where match­es are being played.

Chal­lenge” just means telling the play­ers on the table that you want to play next. If peo­ple are wait­ing ahead of you, you become next in line. Or you can ask oth­er tables if a “line” of play­ers is already wait­ing for that table. Some of the tables have lit­tle racks near the floor for putting your pad­dle as a way to keep your place in line. First pad­dle is first chal­lenger, sec­ond is the sec­ond and so on. If there’s no rack on the table you wish to chal­lenge or you don’t want to put your pad­dle in the rack, then you need to keep track of who is chal­leng­ing the table. It’s easy.

If some­one chal­lenges the table two play­ers are prac­tic­ing on, then the two play­ers need to start play­ing a match with­in a few min­utes. Be con­sid­er­ate to each oth­er. If you need to warm up a lit­tle longer, that’s fine but keep it rea­son­ably short. Chal­lengers are free to remind play­ers warm ups shouldn’t run on too long. As a relat­ed fac­toid, in pro­fes­sion­al table ten­nis com­pe­ti­tion, the offi­cial warm up time is two min­utes. We try to keep warm ups to 5 min­utes.

If dou­bles are being played, find a part­ner and chal­lenge to play dou­bles or wait until the match is over and see if peo­ple want to play sin­gles on that table. Often one dou­bles part­ner has to leave and a dou­bles table becomes a sin­gles table.


There is a spe­cial rule on table 1. If a per­son keeps win­ning they can stay up and keep play­ing on that table as long as they want. It doesn’t mat­ter how many peo­ple are chal­leng­ing the table. Table 1 is where our best play­ers usu­al­ly play so we call it a “winner’s table,” i.e. the win­ner stands if they want.

All the rest of the tables, 2 through 7 fol­low a dif­fer­ent and impor­tant club rule – the “two match wins” rule. Please under­stand, remem­ber and fol­low this rule. When there are play­ers wait­ing to play and those wait­ing play­ers have said that they are chal­leng­ing tables, the rule is that play­ers cur­rent­ly play­ing on that table may stay up on the tables for two (2) con­sec­u­tive match wins.

After that play­er has won 2 match­es, they must leave the table and the los­er of that sec­ond match must leave the table too. That means that 2 play­ers that are chal­leng­ing get to play on the table, while the 2 peo­ple who were just play­ing leave the table.

So, please remem­ber, you can win 2 match­es and then you have to leave that table. It’s fine to re-chal­lenge the table or chal­lenge anoth­er table.

If no one who is wait­ing to play is chal­leng­ing a table, it’s fine to ignore this rule. But if peo­ple are chal­leng­ing, then play­ers must fol­low the rule. Chal­lengers should remind play­ers that they can only win two match­es and then must sur­ren­der the table to the “next 2 play­ers.” In this way, more peo­ple play soon­er and no one has to wait too long. Many clubs fol­low this exact rule and it works well in a small club like ours. But only if play­ers abide by it.

Also, this rule is an equal­iz­er when there are experts and begin­ners try­ing to get on tables. If two “experts” are on a table and let’s say that “three begin­ners” want to get on that table, the begin­ners all chal­lenge that table. Once one of the experts has won two match­es, the table now changes to hav­ing “begin­ners” on it. Of course the experts can do the same thing.

Relat­ed to this rule is that it is not allowed to play on one table and chal­lenge on anoth­er table UNLESS there is no one wait­ing in line for the 2 tables affect­ed.

Sum­ming up, the “chal­lenge sys­tem” and the club’s 7 tables help make it so you don’t wait too long to get on a table — even if you get to the club when coach­ing is tak­ing place. Be sure to ask the play­ers on a table the sta­tus of their match and how many peo­ple are chal­leng­ing. That’s the only way to know what the sta­tus is. Try to ask in between points, nev­er dur­ing a ral­ly.

We know the chal­lenge sys­tem and rules can be con­fus­ing. Please ask Willie or Jim or oth­er play­ers to explain how it works if you don’t under­stand.

We hope this let­ter answers most of the ques­tions we’ve been receiv­ing. Feel free to talk to Willie or Jim or oth­ers if you need more infor­ma­tion. Thanks for com­ing to our club and keep­ing it so much fun – and thanks to every­one who pitch­es in and helps!

Jim & Willie
April 10, 2018


TT Competitions in California

This is a good link to have to auto­mat­i­cal­ly see what table ten­nis com­pe­ti­tions are hap­pen­ing in the near future in Cal­i­for­nia.

The next big one is in Sacra­men­to. Note the dead­line for entry is May 9.