One of the rewards of organized club activity is the recognition that comes from competitive play - the table tennis tournament. Whether the tournament is on the club level or a multi-state regional, it requires the planning and work of many hands.
USATT publishes a Tournament Handbook that is a virtual encyclopedia of information on tournament organization and operation.
Types of Tournaments
Tournaments are classified as open, closed, or invitational. Open tournaments allow any player to participate. A closed tournament is limited to players in a specific geographical area or organization. An invitational tournament is when the participants are chosen by the tournament committee and invited to play. Club and city championships are "closed" tournaments.
Junior eligibility and other USATT age requirements are based on a July 1 to June 30 year. For example, if you have a "17 Years Old and Under" event in your city tournament and a player signs up whose 18th birthday is on July 2, the rule allows him to play. If his birthday is June 30, he is not eligible to play. July 1 is the cut-off date.
The entry fees should be set to cover the cost of running the tournament; however, they should be kept as low as possible. The fees for the youth events are usually about a third of the adult entry fees. Finding a sponsor for the tournament or just the trophies will keep the fees low and let the club show a profit.
For club and most closed tournaments, trophies are the appropriate award. Trophies are usually given to the top three finishers in singles competition and the top two teams in doubles. You may find a sponsor who is willing to provide gifts instead of trophies. While this is fine for the adult players, it may be disastrous for the juniors. Receiving an award that has monetary value for competitive play may jeopardize their eligibility for school, AAU, Junior Olympics, and Olympic-sponsored events. Take no chances - trophies, medals, ribbons, or certificates for the kids.