ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

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Oatsey
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ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Oatsey » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:12 am

There is currently a debate going on about whether the "SPORT" would benefit from having one ITSF spec table which incorporated the best features of each table and was the only one to be used in ITSF events.

My own views are as follows
My own personal view is it would be a good thing for the "SPORT" as any sport has to have consistent equipment, rules, etc to create a level playing field with no advantage to anyone and also for ease of running events , knowing what to practice on , which table to buy to practice for the sport, public recognition of the table as "the ITSF table" etc
So effectively one ITSF spec table which is the only one approved for use in ITSF events which incorporated the best features of all tables would be a good idea although no doubt cause other issues like giving more power to the ITSF to dictate things and make money. However I also suspect it could lead to the situation we have in wrestling with a rival body to the ITSF being created with its own table and events etc so would not really end up with one table anyway.

However there will also always need to be tables with telescopic rods, glass tops , or other features etc to meet the needs of safety and operating tables to make money. Plus innovation is a good thinge.g.the x foos table for example is an interesting new variation making the game more arcade like http://www.xfoos.com/ .

There is also the question about where this would lead? would it tend to mean manufacturers over time all start to produce basically the same table , like a table tennis table or pool table plus other variations for local markets.

So no easy answer as usual!

I would be interested in what others think about this.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Phil Williams » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:17 am

Imaging if they did that on the tennis tour, a tennis court that had attributes from Grass, Clay, hardcourt etc.

stupid idea

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leaks
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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by leaks » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:21 am

Oatsey wrote:any sport has to have consistent equipment, rules
Not sure this is really true. Many sports have consistent rules yes - we already have that with the ITSF. But I don't think consistent equipment means identical equipment. Do racquet sports only have a single racquet that all competitors can play with? Of course not! The governing bodies might specify certain parameters that the equipment needs to fit - for foos this might be "the table has 11 men" or some specification of rages of size/grippiness of the ball.

Tbh I think restricting the tables hurts the game. How are the ITSF going to make this one table the only table in the world? Do they expect the current table manufacturers to just roll over and give up their business? Lots of people have spent lots of time developing their own tables - they're not going to go away just because the ITSF says only 1 table is allowed. All this would end up doing is alienating the current major parties in foos, and they'd end up competing with rather than joining the ITSF.

Thats my 2c.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by inventor » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:04 am

stupid idea
The subject of a single ITSF-spec table is an important one and, I think, it should not be dismissed just like that.

I can see a number of points relevant to this subject area and a few sub-topics within that area.

At the ultimate level, my idea is the design and production of a (unified) ITSF-spec table to be introduced into the Sport alongside the existing manufacturer-branded tables.

I think that a discussion on this subject will contribute towards the advancement of this Sport.

Any views?

Errol Tez

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Oatsey » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:54 am

I think that a discussion on this subject will contribute towards the advancement of this Sport
I think this is true.

Whilst there are undoubtedly pros and cons they should be explored.

I do not believe it would mean that manufacturers would not sell thier range of tables . In France for example Bonzini will always be the table in cafes and bars and in the UK glass top with telescopic rods will always be neeeded for safety reasons in many venues.

So of itself it is not the end of multiple table types at all but would give everyone a level playing field to compete on and practice on as a serious player.
Better for TV as well probably than wondering why they are jumping from table to table and different tables in different matches.

IN addition all the manufacturers can still make the same table providing the spec is not too restrictive and compete on price and minor differences like they already do on pool and table tennis tables e.g. RS make it a bit cheaper than Lechmacher say but lechmacher make it out of marine ply so better quality or something. What makes us buy a particular table tennis table when they are all basically the same ?

Having said that if successful I suspect rival organisations to the ITSF would eventually be set up e.g. like wrestling with their own "tables/Titles and tour/events".

I think some thought as to what would happen is interesting.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by CannonBallGuy » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:22 am

I'm not against the idea. Haven't seen much of what the ITSF have been doing but some of it seems quite destructive to the sport, so if each table manufacturer ran it's own federations & tours, it might be a very good thing indeed.

I am very interested in what the ITSF Spec table would be though - presumably some kind of mix between the official itsf tables? I would be surprised if there was any kind of consensus on what the "perfect" table would be like, with all the table types being so different and everyone having different favourites.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by queen_of_foos » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:30 am

I think it would be a real shame if the ITSF restricted competitions to just one unified table. It's a lot more exciting to see how players adapt to different tables, so for example seeing the Americans play on Bonzini and the French on tornado, adds an extra dimension to the competition. I would say it would make better tv having different tables than just one type.

I hope it never happens. We'd lose some of the richness of the game and end up something a lot more clinical (and boring).

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Christopher Lyall » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:14 am

To contribute my two cents, I think that the Fireball table is probably the closest to being a "unified" table, and that it may well end up being the future.

Coincidentally, there will be two Fireball tables at the Warwick Open in early May...
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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by davez » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:20 pm

I have witnessed the progression of the same dynamic in a completely different context, i.e. the standardisation of a programming language by ISO in the environment of multiple distinct flavours produced by competing vendors.

The vendor will always try to differentiate their product from those of the competition in order to give them a market edge. Yes, they will also try to remain basically 'standard conforming', but if the vendor has difficulty conforming in some area then the commercial imperative will always be the deciding factor.

ITSF will have to adequately recognise that or they will ultimately fail.
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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Willy » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:31 pm

I personally like that there are different table types, and in my opinion most of the skills you have as a player are transferrable between tables. But having more than one table type can mean the style in which you play on each one, and which shots/passes you find most effective are different, and this only leads to gaining a wider range of foosball skills and techniques. These contrasting styles are what makes the game interesting for me - no one strategy or table is "right".

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Rob Davey » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:11 pm

My prediction is this ain't never gonna happen!!!

The ITSF would love to be the only table manufacturer and make a lot of cash.

The truth is all the other table manufacturers would tell the ITSF to Bloop off and go their separate ways again - Result - square 1.

Rob

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Boris » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:13 pm

I've no idea where this debate has come from, the only thing close to a universal table is the Fireball with the interchangeable rods - a concept first put forward by Massimo Ragona (VP - Italy),

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by inventor » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:11 pm

Regarding this topic, a few points seem to be emerging but I think there are many more that can be put forward for discussion.

For example,

can someone shed some light on the subject of "single ITSF-spec table" in relation to IOC recognising foosball as a Sport and making it a part of the Olympic Games?

I cannot imagine IOC organising five (5) different olympic championship competitions in Table Tennis: one for Tamasu tables, one for Stiga tables, one for Cornilleau tables... etc. ??? Can you?

Regards,

Errol

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:31 pm

I really hope we don't end up with a 'unified' table.

I love the 5 official tables we have now, they're all unique enough from the other to make their existence in wcs competition etc worth while.

In regards to the Olympics, tennis there is played on hard courts. Are the grass/clay court players/federations happy about this? I doubt it. It's a minor event anyway compared to the grand slams.

Something like this could happen in foos. I'd rather one table type be picked for such events, with WCS happening on all table types, than just have the one unified table for anything official.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by The Doctor » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:04 pm

A problem that many sports have is that competition that is played out on a seemingly level playing field is actually subject to equipment bias: have you ever wondered why the 'best' pole vaulters also happen to be the ones with the longest poles?

In foos, although the playing field may change, at least it is always level.

The ITSF could change people's minds very quickly by unveiling a cracking prototype table that plays better than the rest.

The most equitable thing to do would be to create a composite model by sticking together 'slices' of each of the current official tables. Sadly, a 'we are the world' Frankenfoos table would doubtless play like a dog and look like its dinner.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by inventor » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:22 am

Imagining if they did that on the tennis tour, a tennis court that had attributes from Grass, Clay, hardcourt etc.
Do racquet sports only have a single racquet that all competitors can play with?
In regards to the Olympics, tennis there is played on hard courts. Are the grass/clay court players/federations happy about this?
In this topic so far, there have been a few references to "tennis" and "racquet sports". However, it must be obvious that the analogy is between foosball and table tennis, not between foosball and tennis.

The counterpart to tennis would be football, not foosball.

Table tennis is a Sport, in fact an Olympic Sport, whereas foosball is not officially recognised as such, not yet anyway.

Now, something different.

There are those people who have access to some or all of the five different ITSF-official tables for practice and/or play. There are even those (professionals) who are fortunate enough to own a sample of each ITSF-official and ITSF-recognised tables.

For those people mentioned above, the variety of official tables represents (quote:)

[*] "better tv" opportunities
[*] "the richness of the game"
[*] "a lot more excitement"
[*] "product differentiation"
[*] "gaining a wider range of foosball skills and techniques"
[*] "making the game interesting".

I agree with all that.

Besides, for those people, (quote:) "the skills you have as a player are transferrable between tables".

I agree with that as well, but only to some extent. Firstly, only some but not all of the skills are transferrable; otherwise we wouldn't see "the Americans struggle on Bonzini and the French on Tornado". Secondly, those skills become transferrable only after long and hard practice on different tables. This in turn means that one has to have access to different tables in the first place. In other words, you have to be one of those people mentioned above.

What if you are not? (Like me personally.)

What if you are one of the tens of thousands of players or potential players in a country where none or very few samples of ITSF-official tables exist? (Like Turkey, the latest member country which joined ITSF only last month).

In fact, those people (who have access to some or all ITSF-official tables) are only a very small fraction of the world-wide foosball player community.

How do we get foosball more popular and more widely adopted across the whole world?

The addition of a ITSF-designed universal table to the arsenal is much more likely than otherwise to provide a beneficial answer to the above question. Clearly, in my opinion, introduction of such a table is an enlargement of, not a restriction on, the excitement and the variety of this Sport.

If such ITSF-spec table is superior to the other tables, then "market forces" will eventually prove its success in both national and international scale.

Regards,

Errol

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Oatsey » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:06 am

Coherant thinking as usual Errol,

this does raise the interesting point of how many players / countries are put off competing / playing in ITSF major events because "they know they will get hammered on bonzini or Rs etc" its a long way to go and pay hard cash of their own when they have no RS or Bonzini tables in their country .

If this were to ever happen which i doubt I suspect it would be to allow this more level playing field for everyone everywhere to practice and compete on one type of table for ITSF events and because undoubtedly having one standard table would increase the chance of it being accepted as a real SPORT by various official bodies.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by The Doctor » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:41 am

If the ITSF were to adopt only one table, the title of World Champion would temporarily lose value, as the World Champ could be best on the official table but mediocre on the others (the probability that the champ would beat a random player 'away' would decrease). A one-table WC would not faithfully reflect competitive t-f for as long as the majority of competitive play is on unsanctioned equipment. To restore credibility to the title of World Champion, the ITSF would have to push for the conversion of local scenes worldwide to the new standard.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by Oatsey » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:12 am

I dont think this is true as at the moment this already happens i.e. Ryan Moore is amazing on Tornado but fairly mediocre (relatively) on Bonzini

A lot of the time its who you happen to get in the draw and what tables they happen to choose helping to decide whether you get through. Some players/teams as we know just pick tables which they think everyone else is not as good on rather than the table they are best on to get a tactical advantage over certain other teams.

Also what is the "value" as being ITSF world champion does not mean you are the best on p4p ,fireball, warrior, sadi, futbolin etc etc etc

There is still more play on non itsf tables than on them worldwide look at P4P in germany.

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Re: ONE ITSF SPEC TABLE

Post by The Doctor » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:07 am

Oatsey wrote:Also what is the "value" as being ITSF world champion does not mean you are the best on p4p ,fireball, warrior, sadi, futbolin etc etc etc
The title of 'World Champion' should be given to the player who, if made to play on every table used for competitive play across the globe, would win the most games. If the sport _as it is played_ is not represented in elite competition, then the winner cannot be said to be the best at it.

The variety of the global game can be reflected either directly or indirectly: directly, by using a range of tables in elite level competition; indirectly, by either choosing tables for use that are taken to be representatives of 'families' of similar tables (Tornado represents Warrior/Fireball; Bonzini, Rene Pierre etc) or by involving the minority tables in the qualification process.

Futbolin-style foos is not represented in the current set-up - and this does diminish the value of the title of 'Table-Football World Champion' as a result!

The analogy with tennis is utterly appropriate: table-football too has equipment standards that not only differ but whose differences have geographical and social correlates, unlike (I imagine) table-tennis*. The solution may be to use a tennis model and use competition across the range of tables (ie. table-specific national champs/world champs) as a qualification process for the end-of-season, ITSF-table-only, elite ding-dong, just as performances across all tennis court surfaces contribute to qualification for the always indoor-only ATP World Tour Finals.

This would preserve the pleasing variety of the sport and ensure that the elite are still embedded in the various communities of practice (as they would have to pick up qualification points across a range of tables, in a range of places) whilst presenting an acceptably homogeneous face to spectators and sponsors for the flagship event.

* I also presume that different table-tennis tables resemble each other to a far greater extent than is the case in foosball.

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