Thursday 7 December 2023

Talkin' Smash Podcast by JOOLA Ep6: The Atmosphere of Live Table Tennis Events with Ryan Willard

 I was at the JOOLA North American Team Championships a couple of weeks ago, a perfect opportunity to get my friend Ryan Willard to sit down face to face with me this time. We sat together on the main tournament court with hundreds of players around us, competing on 167 tables. It was the perfect environment to talk about the atmosphere of live table tennis events. 

Ryan Willard joined me to talk about the haves and have nots
of live table tennis events!

This is a topic I have gripes with. I think digitally table tennis presentation has improved a lot, the investment into cameras and production, particularly at the international level, has made a big difference. That being said, the majority of events still fail to fill seats. This is a huge challenge for event organizers who are trying their best to promote the sport and do new things, but also for the professional sport as a whole. 

Why do hundreds of people show up to watch sports like pickleball, cornhole, darts, snooker etc? Are those sports on a totally higher level than table tennis? I don't think so. 

Table Tennis is complex, it's hard for the average viewer to understand and comprehend. When a player does a filthy reverse pendulum serve and it gets dumped in the net - for a table tennis player this is a moment of appreciation for a great serve. For a mainstream spectator however it's lame, all they see is a serve receive error. 

There are certainly many angles to cover on this topic, I was glad to chat to Ryan about a few of those in this podcast. Be sure to check it out below on YouTube. Follow on Spotify or Apple too for your gym sessions or commute to or from work! 

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