In France, the table tennis competition is managed by the French Table Tennis Federation (FFTT). There are nearly 200,000 licensees, 17% of whom are women, and it is estimated that 3,000,000 table tennis players have occasional practice *. Therefore, entering the French competition is a great challenge, because table tennis is well established there, with a significant network of clubs (around 4000) and many high level athletes. First of all, to compete, you must have a license that can be obtained by joining a club. Then, according to the meetings, points are recorded. Here are some explanations on how it works: how can you win or lose points, what are the levels of competition, and finally, some examples of championships. First of all, it is important to point out that the competition systems are specific to each federation. So in other federations, you should expect to find systems that are different from the French system. How can we gain or lose points in the ranking ? A player who starts the competition in September starts with 500 points: he is ranked 5. If at mid-season, in January, he finds himself with more negative points than positive, his count is reset to 500. For a classified player, that is to say having already taken part in the competition, the same principle is applied. However, he keeps the points acquired until June for the month of September, or until December for the month of January. The points are updated at the end of the period, ie 10 times during the year: these periods correspond to the 10 months from September to June. The Federation website allows you to consult its ranking which must be updated around the 10th of the following month. Criteria for winning and losing points The number of points awarded by the federation varies as follows: Withdrawal of points in case of defeat, addition of points in case of victory, coefficient according to the importance of the match or the ranking of the players. So when there is a big difference in classification between the two opponents: The more logical or normal the victory, the less points he earns, as well as a loss, so as not to encourage unfair practices to gain points. The more illogical or abnormal the victory, the more points it brings to the winner and causes the loser to lose. Example 1 – Match between two players with less than 24 points of difference: The victories bring 6 points and the defeats deduct 5 points in the general classification of the players because it can be considered that their difference in the classification is not sufficiently important to be taken into account. Example 2 – Match between two players with more than 500 points of difference: A normal win and loss will not change the ranking. Indeed, in this case it is quite logical that the very well ranked player wins and the lower ranked player loses. On the other hand, if the result of the match is abnormal, the lower ranked player wins and wins 40 points, while the well ranked player loses 29 points. The main variations in points occur the greater the gap in the standings and the more abnormal the victory or defeat. What is "la dérive" ? “La dérive” is an adjustment of ranking points. It applies at the end of the season. As it applies to all players simultaneously, it does not modify the position of the players in the ranking but only the number of points. It is necessary because the number of points awarded is greater than the number of points deducted. The drift makes it possible to compare the levels from one season to another. It is simply a mathematical adjustment that takes into account the total points scored in the first half of the season, that of the second half of the season and the total number of players who participated. For example, the phase 1 « dérive » for the 2020/2021 season is -2.98 points. For previous seasons, it was around -8 points. What are the levels of table tennis competition in France ? The players are divided into 3 series which are also available in several levels. The departmental series This series includes players who have scored less than 1300 points, that is to say those who are ranked 5 to 12. It has up to 6 different levels: pre-regional competition, then departmental competition levels from 1 to 5 depending on the departments. The regional series This series brings together players with more than 1300 points in the general classification, that is to say that they are classified 13 or more. t has up to 5 different levels: pre-national competition, then regional competition levels 1 to 4 depending on the region. The national series This series brings together the first 300 female players and the first 1000 male players. This difference is explained by the reduced number of women participating in the competition. Finally, the national series has 5 different levels: Pro A, Pro B, National 1 to National 3 competition Examples of championshipsPro A Championships These championships are reserved for professional players. This is the first table tennis league in France, the highest level of France’s team championship. It is made up of 10 teams which meet back and forth during the season. French Championships These championships are organized each year by age group, with 4 categories of young people, singles or doubles, women, men or mixed. They have existed since 1928 and take place in different towns in France each year. Among the most beautiful victories, Christiane Watel won 8 titles between 1951 and 1965 for women, while Jacques Secrétin is the sportsman who won it the most times, 17 times and Jean-Philippe Gatien, 1993 world champion, 13 times. * according to INSEE in 2015. Image, Maxpixel.