Life has changed more over the last 20 years than it has in the last 2000 years due to technology. But has table tennis culture evolved? Often I look at life and reflect and ponder, is change a good thing?
In my opinion, YES!
We have a limited amount of time on earth and without change, life would be very boring! Imagine sitting in your house for the rest of your life? Not many would want that! so let’s embrace change?
Table Tennis Culture
We create our environment and table Tennis has changed, possibly more than any other sport in the past 20 years. This includes a change of ball size and material, scoring system, speed glue ban and huge technological advances in equipment.
Even though our sport has changed in many ways it has NOT evolved!
Clubs: still run from church halls, community halls, small halls, leisure centres. We have only had 3-5 full-time centres open over the past 20 years in England (as far as I’m aware)
Players: Good players, lack coaching, support, sparring and good facilities to train at.
Tournaments: We have plenty of events (possibly too many). Quality has gone down due to quantity. Price has gone up 4x and prize money possibly went up by 10%
Finance: there are very little profits to be made as a club, player or coach. It’s an industry of 300 million players and yet we struggle to create a broad financial base?!
Coaching: We are limited to few coaches who can take players from intermediate level to elite. And unfortunately, lots of coaches are content with a certificate instead of self-development. We are happy to pay a £100 per hour for a golf coach. But we are unwilling to pay £30-£50 for a Table Tennis Coach?
What can be done?
knowledge: learn from each other, unite and invest in self-development.
Embrace change: understand that without change we are heading backwards. It’s like seeing your own child unable to read or write. Because they chose to keep things as is. Unwilling to develop themselves, if they keep that mindset they will never be able to read or write. And I’m sure as a parent you would never want to see your own child stagnant?!
Money: develop a system to enable players, coaches and clubs to make good money. Be willing to pay for our special sport and the more we invest the more external investors will be willing to invest in our sport! Create a Table Tennis Culture: Find ways to make our table tennis commercial and promote it in such a way that it gets recognised for its true sporting skill. Take it out of church halls, small community halls, full-time time purpose built centres
A great man once told me, without input there’s no output! So let’s put in more for our sport and the output will increase for us all.
Written by Eli Baraty