I have expressed my thoughts on numerous occasions regarding (Table Tennis England’s) ranking system. The Table Tennis Ranking system currently, in my opinion, is unjust and with a few disagreements, most agree with me. Unfortunately, the current system is dated and quite frankly poor which can be extremely disheartening for some players. I was told by TTE that they are looking into changing the current system but I would like to see this done sooner rather than later.
- The current system has a win-lose system which gives the players the opportunity, if they so wish to duck and hide, from certain matches or events. This is done in order to avoid potential loss of points and protect current ranking.
- If you represent England outside of the English system you may receive points from an international event if you manage to win some matches. Is this system used in another European? Please note I’m basing this on a system for juniors and younger age categories, not senior rankings.
- Moving age groups, player’s take their ranking points and do not receive a 10 % deduction, unlike the age group entered. Many young players move into a higher age group rocketing up the ranking because they had lots of points at e.g cadet stage. They leap above players who they may not have beaten previously and likely to be a weaker standard than them. This system disturbs the whole ranking system and may take up to 6 months before everyone settles into approximately where they should be. Then it starts again the following season, how is this justified?
What can be done?
- A simple solution would be to provide a system which only allows players to gain table tennis ranking points and without loss of points. This would encourage more participation by all players to grow their points and ranking position. It would brush aside fear of losing points and develop a winning mentality. The opposite of ‘I don’t want to lose’ mentality.
- Seniors should be exempt from this as some are professional and require international exposure. Juniors and lower aged category’s should be encouraged to compete inside the English table tennis system regardless of England representation. Young players constantly develop but a system that protects the “so-called” England players does not allow healthy competition. Some players who play for England are happy to stay away from all domestic events and sustain their high ranking position by playing for England. A simple solution is to scrap international points and encourage domestic rivalry for healthy development.
- Avoid points separation up until U-21 category. This will 1) help TTE in terms of data input (simplicity), 2) Give a clear player ranking position in accordance to his/her level regardless of age differentiation. Lastly, it would stop huge ranking movement each year from U13’s to cadet to juniors to U21.
I don’t think there will ever be a flawless system but I do believe we should always aim to provide the best opportunities for our young players if possible. Thousands play tournaments throughout the year spend plenty of time, money and energy. The least they deserve is a system that continuously develops towards fairness and perfection.