Published on 26 November 2008
|Justin Han in action
|Photo © 2008 Greg Letts
[Standard boring disclaimer] Listed below are my reviews of other Table Tennis sites that I have visited. These are my own personal opinions regarding these sites, and I'm not getting any financial benefit from these reviews (unfortunately!), apart from maybe a return link.
I'm not claiming to be an expert on site design or anything else, and I'm not claiming to be unbiased either, but I will give you my unvarnished opinion of what I like and dislike without fear or favour.
Keep in mind the ratings are based upon my own personal liking for the site and how often I use it, and not some standard list of rules or checkpoints that I follow. So YMMV! [/Standard boring disclaimer]
Any webmasters disagreeing with my ratings or wanting to point out my inaccuracies or their updates can give me a serve here.
About Table Tennis / Ping-Pong
Date of Review: 15th March 2005
Definitely a must for me - I've spent far too much time browsing and posting in the forum on this site!
- Site navigation is fairly easy once you get used to the busy interface and high number of ads - but if they help keep the site going then I'm all for them - I hardly even notice them much anymore.
- The forum on this site is lively and tends to be one of the more useful in terms of content compared to other sites - it's also quite USA focused but still has several posters from other countries making their voices heard. You can post a query on this forum and get several useful responses within 24 hours.
- The highlight is having Sean O'Neill, the ex-USA mens champion, as the guide to the site and frequent poster in the forum - a search on his past posts will provide a wealth of information.
- There are also some nice articles from Sean and others that will help those in search of improving their table tennis game.
- Anyone looking for table tennis match videos should look elsewhere, most of the clips are short and for instructional purposes.
- The links sections could use some work as well.
- For me, mainly the interface of the main pages - there are more links and ads on these pages than you can poke a stick at. I usually go straight to the forum though, which has a much nicer interface, so it's not a major peeve.
Worth it just for the forum and Sean's posts.
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megaspin Table Tennis
Date of Review: 16th March 2005
This is one of the sites on my occasional list - where I will come and have a look every so often just to see what's new. As megaspin are table tennis suppliers, you can expect to see a fair amount of self-promotion on their pages - what else would you expect?
- If you are looking for the latest products, this site is a good place to browse and order at the same time.
- There is a forum on this site, although it is a bit quieter than some of the others out there.
- The site's look and interface are quite pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate.
- The ads on the site are not too intrusive.
- They have a nice up to date table tennis news feed on the front page.
- The articles section is getting a little dated, and could use some new additions.
- No free videos for download - a pity but not unexpected.
- Nothing really irks me much about this site.
Pretty much what you would expect from a Table Tennis equipment supplier site. Great for browsing equipment and ordering, so-so on the forum, and could be better on tips, articles etc.
Sunday 9th October 2005
Jonathan Roberts writes:
FYI, www.megaspin.net has a free email service, with minimal spam. This is very handy, and I recommend it to anyone.
IMHO, that should give them an extra bat in your ratings.
That's true - but I have my own email service now (yay!)- so I don't need it (although I agree it sounds very useful for other readers). But since the reviews are from the point of view of how handy the website is to me, my rating remains unchanged.
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Date of Review: 16th March 2005
I hadn't really looked at this site for a year or two, but came back to it recently whilst checking out other table tennis sites and how they do their design. This site is more of a compilation site, collecting many of the articles and videos from other sites in one location.
- Easy to navigate and not any ads at all really.
- Plenty of variety in articles, which is as it should be considering most are taken from other sites (with permission of course).
- Some nice little animations on many of the pages which are quite different from the average site.
- The articles and videos sections are getting old, with many of the latest articles in each section dating from 2003.
- The last main update seems to be in January 2005, so it seems that the site is not getting updated that often.
- There is nothing terrible about this site that I can see.
This would have been a 3 bat site 18 months or so ago, when the collection of articles and videos were all fairly fresh. Now, while the articles hold their value, the site could use updating more often to make it worth coming back more than every year or so.
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Date of Review: 18th March 2005
I think I first noticed this site about a year and a half ago when reading in Denis' Table Tennis forum, and other members were asking Geoff about his website. Figuring that any Aussie table tennis website is a good thing, I naturally went to take a look. It seemed to be mainly an equipment selling website, with the occasional article thrown in. I usually have a look every couple of months - has anything changed in the meantime?
- Nice, uncluttered site design and easy navigation. Looks pretty good too.
- Plenty of information and photos of their catalog - someone obviously took a lot of time and effort to make sure that this was done well. The ability to sort rubbers by speed/spin etc, and blades by speed/weight/control is a nice touch.
- The Leading Players section is a good idea, showing which players they sponsor and encouraging others to apply, as well as laying out the rules for sponsorship. It's always good to see a supplier putting something back into the game.
- The news archive ended up being mainly a list of short advertising features. There were some good ideas, such as getting William Henzell to write a diary, but that fizzled out after only 1 entry.
- The ability for players to post their own reviews of blades, rubbers and the like would have been very nice, and a welcome addition to the usual manufacturer blurbs.
- The competition pop-up that comes up every time you go back to the homepage. Maybe it's me, but I tend to go back to the Home when I am finished looking in another section, and getting the pop-up every time is a bit annoying - once per session should be enough.
For the person looking to browse equipment before ordering, this is a great place to go and compare blades, rubbers etc. Extra kudos for their sponsorship program - where do I apply?
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Date of Review: 22nd March 2005
Whew! What can I say? This site by Terry and Sue Canup is bigger than Ben Hur and obviously the work of people devoted to Table Tennis - you'd have to be to put together so much content. You can while away a whole day just following the Table Tennis Links section.
- Easy to get around the site and a comprehensive site map (thank goodness!).
- Minimal intrusive advertising - which is always a relief.
- Literally thousands of Table Tennis links - like a Who's Who of Table Tennis websites.
- Good use of pictures - the text of the page comes up first which is great for those of us still using dial-up.
- Lots of tournament reviews - always an interesting read - not many for the last couple of years, which is a shame.
- Terry and Sue are prompt to reply to any emails sent to them about the site, which can be pretty rare these days.
- There are a few dead or changed table tennis links - which is to be expected with the number of links on the site. I know I'd hate to have to maintain them.
- When clicking on links, the Canupnet site header stays on top of the window, as does the URL. I personally don't like this type of browser behaviour, but maybe that's just me.
- It would be nice to have a page telling you the latest site updates - it's hard to know where new content has been added. From my general browsing (and I could be wrong) there hasn't been much updating of the Table Tennis side of things for the last couple of years - a victim of it's own success maybe?
(Note - GL 4th April 2005: Terry Canup was kind enough to point out some workarounds to the last two points above, he writes -
'By the way, a couple of little tricks about the site. If you don't like the frames Canupnet header on the links page, there is a quick back door to get around it. On the main page, right hand column, click on Table Tennis Links Equipment.
This gets you by the header. It's they way I navigate the site. I have the frames version up there to discourage page copying. We found more than a dozen sites had simply copied our page links (all the way down to the background and formatting) and posted them on their sites as their own work.
This is not a huge problem, except they are never maintained! People were complaining to us that the stolen pages had bad links in them, like we could go to the guys site and fix them.
Downside to this navigation trick is that you don't get the cute cartoon on the opening links page.)
Also, newer links tend to be near the top of lists, except on the equipment page which is alphabetical.'
Many thanks for the info Terry - I'll make sure that I use that next time I'm on Canupnet. It's nice to see someone who cares enough to explain how his site works!
- Nothing really - Terry and Sue have put a lot of effort into this site and it shows.
More links to TT sites than you can poke a stick at, plus plenty of other stuff too. How much more can you expect from one site? Worth coming back to, although you may find it difficult to know what content has changed since your last visit - after surfing the links you probably won't care though. After all, over a million page hits can't be wrong!
Also, as noted above, Terry and Sue are prompt to reply to emails, and obviously care about helping others get the most out of their site - I'll have to add on another half a bat for that, bring Canupnet up to 4 bats!
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Denis' Table Tennis World
Date of Review: 23rd March 2005
Denis' Table Tennis World is another of the Table Tennis sites I visit frequently, mainly to read and post in its forum. There is plenty more on the site to see than just the forum though.
(Note - GL 8th April 2005: Denis has been in touch with me to point out a few more features of his site that he thought I missed in my initial review - I've added these features below in italics - thanks for the information Denis!)
- Site navigation is good - once you get used to the little menus scrolling in from the side - it's certainly something different.
- A fairly active forum with quite a few Australians posting for some reason - maybe because Melbourne has such a large Greek population?
- A wide selection of Table Tennis articles on a variety of topics.
- An area for readers to post their own tips - which can make for some quite amusing reading!
- A large section of equipment ratings by readers - it makes for an interesting browse even though not every poster is unbiased. The equipment ratings also have price comparisons divided by the style of play - although I'm not sure where the prices are taken from. Denis also mentioned that he looks through the equipment ratings regularly to weed out the silly comments from people, which is a big plus.
- Denis also has his book, 'Table Tennis from A to Z', available for purchase online - quite a few of his articles are from the book so you have a chance to get a bit of a preview.
- There are some other nice touches, such as a copy of the basic rules of Table Tennis, and a newsletter with the latest site updates.
- Daily news headlines on the front page.
- A Table Tennis community where you can find other players, coaches and post classified ads etc. Quite a good idea, but would be even better with more players registered.
- A table tennis quiz - with some tough questions!
- There are a fair amount of ads on the site - although they are pretty much in the same places all the time so you soon tune them out. The amount of animation that they use can be a bit distracting.
- You need to buy a pass to access two of the potentially most useful areas of the site, the training exercises and video clips (and fair enough, Denis has a right to make some money out of his site too - it doesn't mean I have to like it though!). Being the tightwad that I am, I haven't done so yet - so if anybody else has a comment about whether they are worth the $32 US for 12 months access, please let me know and I'll add it here.
- The articles section, while full of good information, could use a bit of updating - the latest article that I could find was dated for the year 2000. There are several undated articles that could be more recent though.
- Well, the colour scheme isn't exactly to my taste - but to each his own.
A good forum, plenty of articles and other goodies as well. Almost up to the standard of the About Table Tennis site, but needs an equivalent of Sean O'Neill and a bit more activity on the forum to bring it up to that level. A fine website nonetheless.
In light of the extra information from Denis, I'll have to re-evaluate his rating - and it's true that I do use his site more often than Canupnet, which I have given a 4 bat rating. But I don't want to downgrade Canupnet either (since they are such nice people), so I have decided to raise Denis' Table Tennis World's rating to 4 and a half bats. However, I still feel that the About.com is my favourite site overall, so I'll have to lift that too, making it 5 bats to reflect my own preferences.
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North Alabama Table Tennis Club (NATTC)
Date of Review: 24th March 2005
I first became aware of the NATTC website when I asked on the About.com forum about the etiquette regarding using other people's photographs on my website. Mike Wetzel, the USATT State Coordinator for Alabama, graciously offered to see if he could get permission for me to use the pictures on the NATTC site. Since most of the photographs I wanted were by Chip Patton, he contacted Chip and asked if I could use them, and Chip kindly assented. Thanks guys!
Having said all that, I may be a bit biased in my review - but then you did read the standard disclaimer at the top of the page, didn't you?
The site itself is concerned with the history and current doings of the North Alabama Table Tennis Club, and that is exactly what you get. No forum, no shops, no training articles - just the facts, ma'am.
- Site navigation is simple and easy - the buttons on the left in a frame and an uncluttered interface.
- The NATTC also puts the ads of their sponsors on their home page - a nice touch and one that is guaranteed to help keep them in the sponsor's good books.
- There is quite an extensive history of the club included - which gives a perspective of the overall place of the club in American table tennis.
- The club meeting time and latest results are also posted for potential new visitors.
- The tournament section has many photos and results from previous years, along with summary reports.
- There are also a plethora of ping pong photos in the pages, along with a small links section. There is also a page for the club contacts and two professional coaches available for training.
- The site is fairly minimalist in design - if you are looking for fancy designs or flash animations to keep your attention you had best look elsewhere.
- I can't spot anything I hate about this site - but then I would say that, wouldn't I? Go and see for yourself.
No frills, forum, training articles or videos. Just a site about the North Alabama Table Tennis Club and everyone in it. But that's the name of the site - so what else would you expect? Does exactly what it sets out to do - tells you all about the NATTC. And if the rest of the members are as friendly as Mike and Chip, it should be a great place to play table tennis at!
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Doug McLean Table Tennis Homepage
Date of Review: 25th March 2005
If you have been web surfing for table tennis pages for any amount of time, chances are you have visited Doug's homepage - it pretty much pops up in any search on table tennis you care to mention, and on most of the Links pages on the major sites.
Looking beyond that, Doug's table tennis site is there to cater for the Tasmanian table player, along with some links to the main sites around the world.
- Site navigation is simple, some nice graphic buttons on the top of the homepage, and then the standard column of text links on the left for the other pages.
- A elegant graphic theme that is carried from the main page onto the headings for the other pages.
- A comprehensive list of places to play table tennis in Tasmania, with contact details as well where possible.
- A Tassie Table Tennis notice board with snippets of news relevant to Tasmanians.
- It would be nice to have some newer pictures in the Photographs section - the existing photos are from 1998. There are some more photos in another section, but they are dating from 2002.
- The price list is a good idea, but I'm not sure how up to date it is - it says it's from 1/5/2002.
- Nothing ugly about this site - it's simple, clean and elegant and does it's job of looking after Tasmanian Table Tennis well.
This site does exactly what it says on the home page - it keeps you up to date with Tasmanian Table Tennis. Doug's also done a great job of getting his site 'out there' in cyberspace - a great bit of advertising for Tasmanian Table Tennis and Tasmania in general as well!
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Date of Review: 27th March 2005
I haven't been to PongWorld all that often, but I've seen it come up a few times in the Google searches, so I decided to take a proper look around and report back.
PongWorld is a pretty good site allround, and it has quite a few good ideas in place, but it's still the sort of site where I would come back every few months rather than every couple of days.
- Site navigation is OK - although the home page is a bit busy on the eyes until you work out where everything is.
- The Message Board is a good idea, allowing table tennis players to leave brief messages about whatever they like, and get answers from their peers.
- The Find-A-Player is a very good idea, but needs a few more players in Australia. Interesting to note that Tammy Gough apparently has an entry there!
- There is an area for community webpages, where you can put some pages of your own up on the PongWorld server.
- Has a small but useful Tips, Tactics, and Strategy section - some more stuff in there would be good though.
- Player profiles of the top players is an interesting, if brief area. Some more data on the top players would make this even better.
- I like the country profiles, hopefully this will be continued in the future.
- The News Articles section is getting a fair bit behind the times - the latest article is from September 2004.
- The equipment review section is still pretty small at present, and consists mainly of very short reviews submitted by readers. Hopefully it will grow in the future.
- I can't say that anything terrible jumps out at me on this site.
I quite like this site, and it should be applauded for having a number of initiatives that I haven't seen often elsewhere, but I can't shake the feeling that it is lacking a bit of depth - I guess I prefer a few ideas that are done really well rather than lots of ideas that are halfway there. Mind you, this will probably improve as more players go to PongWorld and contribute. What are you waiting for?
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Table Tennis New South Wales
Date of Review: 6th April 2005
As an Australian myself, I make it a habit to browse the home sites for our various State Associations. The Table Tennis New South Wales site is one that I check back on every couple of months just to see if anything new has cropped up. So let's take a look and see what we can find ...
- Site navigation is OK - the main page has the links down the left and the other site pages generally have them on the top of the page.
- Putting the Registration and Affiliation forms (and explanations of the various member levels and what they cost and get) on the website is a good idea - now if they can just get them to work on-line that would really be something!
- An extensive list of playing venues in NSW - I had no idea they had so many places to play!
- Has the online version of the NSW newsletter - called 'Loop'. Also has the obligatory online calender in PDF form.
- The front page could use a bit more work on its aesthetics - but I guess that is according to my taste - YMMV!
- I'd love to see a bit more in the way of local happenings and gossip. It's a big ask to keep doing that sort of thing month after month but it would be nice for non-NSW players to see what's happened to so-and-so lately.
- I can't really think of anything horrible to say about this site - which is good.
On the whole, a good site for the average NSW table tennis player. It gives them where to play, registration forms, some news every few months, state rankings and the calendar of events. A good competent effort from my NSW colleagues. A bit of a site redesign by someone with an artist's eye might improve the overall look - but give me the substance over the gloss every time.
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Table Tennis World
Date of Review: 7th April 2005
This is a relatively new Aussie site, which is just starting to find it's feet and hopefully take off. I come here around once a day to check the forum and make the occasional post.
- Professional looking design and site navigation is easy - thumbs up for the web designer!
- Has a forum for Australians (and others). It's currently growing slowly but steadily.
- Very nice Australian Tournament calendar - you can choose by state or for the whole country.
- Has an equipment review section where players can comment.
- A nicely illustrated article on how to make a clamp for all you speed glue addicts out there.
- Quite a few photos from the 2004 Australian Open.
- The forum is still a bit small at present - we need a few more people on there to really get it to come to life. Regulars like David Kit, gundam, yulske and Geoff are doing their best though.
- The Articles section is a bit empty at the moment.
- The Training Routines section has been advertising that Flash developed routines will be put up in the next few weeks - the only problem is that they have been saying that for the last few months!
This site has all the ingredients in place to be a very useful resource for Australian table tennis players. All it needs now is to get enough of us on the site to make it all come to life. Goodness knows we Aussies could use a really good website and forum, could this be the one? Stay tuned folks ...
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Table Tennis Canada
Date of Review: 12th April 2005
From time to time (about every 3 months or so) I like to check out the Canadian website - mainly in the past to have a look at their online magazine - 'Match Point'. Now it's time to have a proper look through and see what I may have been missing in the past.
- A clean, professional looking design - no problems getting around the site.
- Bilingual site - English and French - but what else would you expect from the Canadians?
- It has the usual calendar of upcoming events for Canadians.
- The Canadian rating lists page is pretty up to date - as of March 17 2005.
- A nice intro and links for the fight against drugs - and even a link for ethics in sports!
- The News link in the navigation menu goes to news from 2002! This seems to be because the news from 2003 onwards is placed in the centre of the welcome screen, with new articles on top. It's still a bit strange though.
- The Coaching corner is virtually empty, with one lone article dating back to 2001.
- The Provinces section is something I'm still not sure about - you click on the link and you go to a page which has the minutes of the 2002 Board of Directors Meeting and the 2002 AGM. I was expecting information about table tennis clubs in the provinces of Canada - maybe as a foreigner I'm way off the mark?
- The online 'Match Point' magazine only goes up to 2003 spring - I guess I haven't been back to the site for longer than I thought!
- There isn't anything that I can see worthy of putting here.
This site is one of those websites that you come away from thinking, 'not bad - but it could have been so much more'. It looks nice and is easy to get around, but I came away not really that much the wiser about table tennis in Canada. Sure, there are plenty of links to tournament results on the welcome page, but what about the other things happening in Canadian table tennis? It needs a bit more meat to add to the eye candy on the site - maybe Canadian players are too busy playing table tennis to write anything for their national website?
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Table Tennis Australia
Date of Review: 15th April 2005
This is the official home site for Australian Table Tennis, and as such you might be expecting something with all the latest bells and whistles etc. Instead, what you get is a simple, straightforward site that covers the basics without too much extra. I usually take a look every couple of months just to see if anything has changed.
- They actually have a strategic plan on the site for 2005-2007, which is unusual and quite interesting to see what is planned.
- A calendar of Australian and International events.
- Some interesting information about the upcoming 3 Event series and the rationale behind it.
- Rankings for 2004, and a list of Australian player achievements - I just wish it was a bit longer!
- Some Aussie profiles of top players.
- Has a Latest Updates area to make it easy to see what is new on the site, as well as a site map for easy reference.
- Contact information for Table Tennis Australia officials is simple to find.
- The profiles of top players could use some updating - the latest information seems to be from about 2003.
- The Coaching and Development section is a bit on the empty side.
- The last item in the Newsletters section is from October 2004.
- The scrolling news items at the top of the main page just don't do it for me.
There is really nothing wrong with the site, and quite a few nice touches, but as the official site for Australian Table Tennis, I can't help wishing that it was a bit more on the jazzy side. A bit more in the way of news and recent information wouldn't hurt either - at present I'd probably keep coming back every few months or so - there's no real reason to return more often.
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NATT - North American Table Tennis
Date of Review: 20th April 2005
I haven't been to this site all that often, but after having a bit of a look around today I'll be sure to have a come back every few weeks from here on in. It's a very nice site indeed.
- Very professional looking design of the site, along with easy navigation.
- A little bit of history about the NATT, which helps to get a feel for the purpose of the site.
- A Charity Matchup section, where people can make donations towards helping worthy organisations buy table tennis tables. Organisations wanting to get help buying tables can also apply for assistance. This is a wonderful idea that should be copied around the world, as far as I am concerned. Well done guys!
- A News section which actually consists of recent articles written by NATT. In this day and age of using feeds to bring us the news, it's nice to see a site that can actually write their own!
- An Upcoming Tournaments area, as well as an archive of Tournament Results that includes some entertaining writeups.
- An image gallery with RSS feeds.
- An online store for buying table tennis equipment.
- There really isn't anything bad about this site - NATT have put a lot of work into developing it and the results show it. Perhaps a few videos for download?
- Nothing ugly about this site.
The more I browsed around this site, the more I found to like about it. I'll be coming back here more often to check out the rest of the tournament reviews and see what else has been updated.
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"Borko & Son" - Custom Blades
Date of Review: 30th April 2005
I received the following email on the 22nd April, when I was on holiday.
I'm a custom blade maker. Here is the web site for my blades. Feel free to list this link on your web site as "Borko & Son" Custom Blades.
I like your web site job well done.
Very Best Regards,
Being relatively new to the web scene, I'm still a sucker for nice feedback, so I thought I would spread the good karma around and check out Borko's website and put up a link for him. So off I went to take a look and report back to my readers.
- Very simple site design - it's one page and an email link for contacting Borko & Son! A very nice looking page though - good photos and graphic design.
- Borko apparently made stringed instruments for 20 years, so if he takes the same care with the blades he makes they should be very good indeed.
- The blades can be made in matched pairs within +/- 2 grams - a very handy thing for those equipment junkies out there who find large differences in weight between blades of the same type.
- Borko apparently has been asked to handcraft blades by Juic LTD Japan - so he should be producing a quality product.
- A bit more information about each type of blade would be good - what is the difference between the blades? What is special about the hardbat blade? I must admit I'm a bit intrigued about what a custom hard bat would be like.
- A link to the Juic website, showing his products would be quick and easy confirmation of the claims to produce blades for Juic.
- I can't see anything ugly to report.
Well, that's it for one of the smallest websites that I have reviewed. The blades look very professionally crafted. There's no links from this site to anywhere else - so it's a bit of a dead end for table tennis websurfers. If anybody has used any of Borko & Son's blades - why don't you let me know what you think about them - and I'll add it to the review.
All up, I would normally give the site half a bat since it's not very useful for me, but since the blades look so nice on the website, it seems a bit wrong to cut a blade in half for the rating - so I'll give it one bat!
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Table Tennis Dayton
Date of Review: 3rd May 2005
During a discussion on a thread on the About.com forum regarding good sportmanship at the Buckeye Open, the webmaster for Table Tennis Dayton, William McLaughlin, and I agreed to exchange links. I'd had a look around his site on the odd occasion in the past, which is mainly intended to "bring to the region of Dayton, Ohio, a top-notch website and online information center for all things Table Tennis". Has William succeeded? Let's give Table Tennis Dayton a thorough going over!
- The site design is clean and functional, along with looking pretty good too! William has a background in eCommerce, and it shows.
- There is a forum that is open to all - it really just needs a few more members.
- It has all the information you need on where to play table tennis in Dayton, Ohio - including locations, club nights and times, fees, and even directions and maps on how to get there!
- A member's section with photos for most of the DTTC players, and even their USATT ratings.
- A whole heap of photos of DTTC members in actions, along with (in)appropriate captions.
- An Upcoming Tournaments page, along with entry forms.
- A Table Tennis Info page, including the usual rules and ITTF information, as well as some more unusual articles.
- A series of multimedia pages - including games and short video clips for download.
- Some fun stuff too - such as the trading cards for various DTTC members.
- A links section with lots of good links in various categories - including mine!
- As I mentioned above - the forum could use a bit more traffic - hopefully this will come as the number of members grows.
- Some of the videos in the multimedia section are getting a bit on the old side.
- It's a work of art! No seriously, it is pretty good visually, and I can't find anything worthy of making this section.
I think on the whole you would have to agree that William has succeeded in his quest to make a top-notch website, not just for Dayton, but for anywhere. This site will go on my list of those to check back on every month or so - congrats Bill!
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Coach Richard McAfee
Date of Review: 11th May 2005
Richard McAfee, a USATT National Coach, was kind enough to email me and offer me the use of the coaching articles on his site. As a thank you for his kind offer, I'm writing this review of his website.
- The site has a simple, clean, and still nice to look at design. Navigation is via the menu at the top left, which uses buttons with drop-down menus to show what's on offer.
- There's a quick biography on Richard, which is interesting and also serves to highlight that he knows his stuff regarding table tennis.
- There are also some news and interviews and a forum, as well as photos from various events in Richard's table tennis life.
- There is a wealth of coaching articles relating to table tennis here. I haven't looked through them all yet, but I have already earmarked a couple that I am planning to use on this site myself!
- The forum is small and looks to be pretty much untended, and the news and interviews mainly date from pre-2000.
- Nope - it's all pretty good really.
While I may not be unbiased with relation to this site, I think that anyone who has put in as much effort as Richard McAfee has in writing the sheer volume of useful table tennis articles that he has deserves some recognition for his efforts. So it's 3 bats from me - and keep an eye out on this site for some of Richard's articles, coming soon - thanks muchly Richard!
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Date of Review: 14th May 2005
As part of my quest to get Greg's Table Tennis pages noticed on the web, I contacted David Marcus of Boston Table Tennis Center, asking for an exchange of links. David was nice enough to link to me, and asked me to put a link on my site for Ratings Central in return. So here is the link (click on the picture to the left) and a review of the Ratings Central site for good measure.
Ratings Central, as you can probably guess, is there to "... make ratings more immediate and exciting for all table tennis players, while making it as simple as possible to submit events. To accomplish this, we have developed a state-of-the-art, fully automated, online rating system." Sean O'Neill of About.com is a big fan of Ratings Central as well, and says so in the footer to his postings on the About.com site.
Hmmm ... sounds good - but what about the website? Let's have a look, shall we?
- Site navigation is easy - the site uses tabs running along the top of the screen. The site layout is simple and uncluttered, with any ads running down the left hand column.
- A bunch of testimonials praising the ratingscentral.com software.
- The use of Ratings Central is free for all table tennis events in North America - they do take donations though!
- Has two versions of software. Cantor - which is designed to let you record results and submit them to Ratings Central, and Zermelo - which handles all parts of running a tournament (except presumably putting the tables up and down!) and also allows you to record results and submit them to Ratings Central. Online manuals are included on the site.
- The people at Ratings Central also process the pro tour results, so you can compare your rating against those of the professionals!
- You can also search for ratings based on players names, events, or clubs.
- I can't see anything bad about the site - it claims to make ratings immediate and exciting, and looks to be doing its best to make it happen.
While this site is not of much use to me at present, which is why it doesn't rate highly, I'd really love to get this up and running in my home state of Western Australia. It's a great service, and provided the fees for non-North American organisations aren't too high, it would be great to have a up-to-date ratings system over here in Perth - and the site would then be more useful to me as well. So 1 bat at present from me, and 4 bats in the future if I can get it going locally!
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Czech Table Tennis Online
Date of Review: 19th May 2005
So anyway, their link is above, and as far as a review goes, this site seems to be mainly a directory of other table tennis sites split into categories such as Associations, Clubs, Results, Profiles, etc. There's not much else to say really - it seems to be just lists of other links, and what actual web pages they have are written in Czech, so I can't really comment on them either.
I can't say this site is of much use to me, but seeing as they seem to expect a return link I thought it only fair to put a review up. There's nothing wrong about the site as such, it's just not very useful to me personally. If you can read Czech you may think differently.
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ETTA - English Table Tennis Association
Date of Review: 23rd May 2005
This is the official English Table Tennis Association website, catering for all those English players in England and abroad - there seem to be a lot of them in Western Australia these days!
This site is bigger than Ben Hur - I'm not even going to try to give a comprehensive review - it would take me hours. I'll settle for a quick highlight tour instead.
- Professional design and feel - it's easy on the eye and easy to get around - they use a menu across the top, and submenus down the left hand side - sounds a bit confusing but it all seems to work.
- Plenty of information for the English player - all up to date too!
- Plans to allow online entry to tournaments and subscription to the ETTA magazine.
- Comprehensive list of English clubs, Leagues, County Associations etc, with further subcategories.
- Latest news and more!
- Nothing really, but there are a couple of minor points, such as the 'Places to Play' link across the top taking you to a blank page. I'm sure these will be filled in in the near future.
- Some articles on how to play, coaching etc would be nice - or perhaps they are there but I can't find them?
- I can't find anything to really hate about this site.
It's got a classy design and plenty of information for the English players - but not too much of interest to those with no ties to Mother England. So it's 4 bats for English players and 2 bats for the rest of us.
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Table Tennis Links - A Research Guide for Students
Date of First Review: 24th June 2005
Date of Update: 8th June 2006
This site has moved recently, so I am just updating the description.
It is still mainly a directory of links, but now the links have been split up into separate pages for convenience. They are a pretty comprehensive coverage of links for the different categories, which include:
- General Information and History of Table Tennis
- Ratings and Rankings
- Rules and Regulations
- and more!
So this site remains a handy collection of links, and now organized more conveniently, which is good. Must resist the temptation to do some websurfing before I finish this rev...
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Table Tennis Victoria
Date of Review: 28th June 2005
This is the Victorian Table Tennis website, and as such it is filled with a wealth of information for the average Victorian player. But what about the rest of us?
- Nice look and design - the "Internet Sport Services" people have got the site design down pat, and also look after Badminton Victoria among other sporting groups.
- Up to date news section, with new news coming through regularly.
- 2005 Calendar, with results of tournaments. Having the calendar of events as a Word file in A3 poster and A4 formats is a nifty idea too.
- Has Victorian player rankings, as well as Victorian Country and Australian and World rankings.
- Having a section for Officials and Coaches is a good idea - here's hoping that it will get even more information put in there in the future.
- A menu bar of Victorian clubs running across the main page just under the main navigation icons takes you to the websites for the clubs, while remaining in the main website.
- The Notice Board is a good idea, but doesn't seem to be used - last notice is from March 2005.
- The clickable map on the left of the main page takes you to a 404 page. Oops! I'm sure they will fix this soon.
- Well, it's a Victorian site, so surely that's enough? Players from the other states of Australia will know exactly what I mean!
I'll have to give this a grudging two and a half bats - it's a pretty good site that is frequently updated, so I'll come back every week or two to take a look. Don't want to encourage those Victorians too much though - they already think that they are great - they don't need me telling them that! ;)
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Wilmslow & District Table Tennis League
Date of Review: 28th June 2005
In my ongoing quest for links, I happened to email Andy Johnson, long serving Secretary and Match Secretary (20 years as Match Secretary!) for the Wilmslow & District Table Tennis League. Andy was not only kind enough to put up a link for me, but he also mentioned that he had done all the coding for his website by writing the HTML manually! OMG!!
- The design is a classic left hand side menu frame with a right hand side content frame. It all seems to work smoothly.
- Clubs and Venues - has a nice little mouse roll-over to give you the location of the clubs.
- Has a complete list of league results over 4 divisions - the grouping of pennant averages into various teams is a nice touch too.
- The Clubs in the League gives an interesting snapshot of the history of the League, showing how many seasons (and which seasons) the various clubs have participated.
- The idea of putting a scorecard online, which can be printed out and handed to the Secretary, is something other associations could use as well.
- What is the Wellens Cup? I know it is a handicap competition, but what is the background? Where did the name come from? I have to know, dammit!
- Nope - I quite like the site - it's simple, clean and effective.
Two bats for the Wilmslow site - although I won't have many reasons to browse the site very often, I've got to award extra credit for Andy's nice reply to my link request and his efforts in writing the HTML for his site manually.Take a bow Andy!
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Monash University Table Tennis Club
Date of Review: 6th July 2005
The Monash Uni site is for members of the club (or prospective members) to find out current information regarding club nights, coaching sessions, committee members etc.
- I quite like the design and colour scheme - it's easy to navigate and easy on the eye.
- The Home page has all the important info for prospective members - where the club is, benefits of joining, membership fees (which are very reasonable), how to join, and a mailing list to keep up to date.
- There is a training page explaining about the training night and how to book tables, rules of court usage etc.
- Pennant teams are fielded in the local Greater Dandenong TTA competition.
- Names, emails and phone numbers are given in order to contact the Committee members.
- There are some links to general coaching information and other Table Tennis sites.
- Nothing really - it's a club website and it fulfills that purpose well. Maybe some photos of the current club members or some sort of noticeboard to arrange hits with other members might be nice though.
I like the site overall, and it's a good site if you are a member of the Monash Uni TTC, but it's still not all that useful to me - so 1 and a half bats only. I'd give it 3 bats if you are a Monash member though.
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Melbourne University Table Tennis Club
Melbourne University Table Tennis Club
Date of Review: 6th September 2005
Similar in intention to the Monash Uni website, the Melbourne University Table Tennis Club website is for members of the club (or prospective members) to find out current information regarding club nights, coaching sessions, committee members etc.
- Navigation is easy - not quite so sure about the MUTTC background though - it doesn't appeal to me all that much.
- It's been recently updated, which is good.
- The Info page has all the important info for prospective members - where the club is (including a map), membership fees ($30 for Melb. Uni staff and students, $100 for others), session times and benefits of membership.
- Quite a nice photo gallery on the site.
- The forum appears to have been taken over by several spammers, judging from the latest messages appearing there.
As for the Monash site, the Melbourne Uni site is better if you are a member of the club, in which case I would give it 3 bats. It's still not all that useful to me - so 1 and a half bats only from my point of view (ie how useful it is to me).
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Date of Review: 6th September 2005
Batskills is the website for Batskills games, which include a number of skill games and rally games which were 'introduced not only to improve skill level while having fun, but also to attract and retain players in competition with more popular sports.' Worthy goals I am sure we can all agree!
- Navigation is easy - although the site does appear to be set to look its best at one screen size, probably 800 x 600. At higher screen resolutions the site tends to be a small centre area in a sea of green space.
- The skill games and rally games look quite interesting and colourful, and good description of each are provided. You can immediately see where these would be fun and useful in coaching juniors - as well as adults!
- Online order forms are available.
- Contact details and emails, postal addresses are provided.
- Orders can't be taken via credit card - which is a shame in this day and age. Possibly the costs and risks involved in credit card processing are to blame?
- The odd typo here and there - although what site doesn't?
- Nothing to complain about.
The overall rating for this site is a combination of the site itself, and the usefulness of the skill and rally games - I can see from my own coaching where these type of targets and goals can be very useful. A very handy site for anyone coaching who wants some extra tricks in his bag.
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Table Tennis New Zealand
Date of Review: 16th September 2005
The Table Tennis New Zealand site is one I've looked at every now and again, as an Aussie who naturally wants to keep an eye on what those strange people across the Tasman are up to!
- Navigation is easy - and of course the colour scheme is mainly black and white! It's a very clean and elegant site overall.
- An interesting brief history of New Zealand Table Tennis, with some old photographs of how it was. It's funny to see that the long shorts have come back into fashion!
- The New Zealand table tennis magazine, 'Table Tennis Info', is online for reading.
- Some good coaching resources, including a list of Level 1 and 2 coaches, and some useful forms for tracking competition results, performance reviews etc.
- A little bit of humour and player pics thrown in too!
- Lots more stuff as well, too much for a brief review.
- Nothing regarding Australian table tennis - come on guys lift your game! ;)
- A few more up-to-date snippets of happenings around NZ would be nice for Kiwi readers.
The Table Tennis New Zealand site has been put together well, and is graphically quite appealing too. 2 bats for me since I'm an Aussie, and 3 bats for all you Kiwis out there.
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Kay's Panabaa Release
Date of Review: 8th December 2005
This is a special mention for Kay, who did such a great job of fixing up my knees and back early in 2005. One session with Kay stopped 99% of the pain I was getting after playing table tennis. So to any table tennis players in WA (or even Australia), if you are having problems with recurring pain or injuries then don't be afraid to try something a little alternative and give Kay a go. I was pretty sceptical myself but the results speak for themselves.
Thanks very much Kay!
Date of Review: 22nd March 2006
I received an email from Carlos Gaona in early March, telling me about his new table tennis website and asking me to take a look at it and see what I thought. According to Carlos - "I'm building up, with other tt guys from latinamerican and europe -and even the USA- a web community for table tennis players in spain and latinamerica -at least that is the idea for the moment."
And so, with the help of the trusty Google Translation device, I thought I'd take a quick peek.
- No problems with navigating the site - it has tabs along the top to help you get to the main sections, as well as links to the latest articles on the main welcome page.
- A table tennis forum of their own - which appears to have a fair bit of activity, as well as areas for individual countries such as Chile, Spain, Brazil etc.
- A table tennis community section - where you can see the current list of community members, and view information that the member wants you to see. Currently at 93 members so far.
- A blog section, where members can add their own comments and articles to the site.
- Well, it's not in English (duh!) and the Google Translation tool isn't perfect, so it can be a bit hard to work out the full meaning of what is written for us non-Spanish speakers.
- I can't see anything that stands out - the site seems to have been put together pretty well.
There has obviously been a fair bit of effort that has gone into this site, and for those of you who can understand the language I would think it would be a terrific site. Unfortunately for me it's difficult to get the most out of the site due to the language barrier. So it's 1 bat for me until they get an English version, and 3 bats for anyone who can read it!!
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