Did the English Senior Nationals have table tennis atmosphere?
In short no!
I must admit, there were huge developments from last year’s nationals. Credit is due when something has been upscaled because it’s easy to criticise from the sideline and as a business owner my self, it can be hurtful when others disrespect or criticise your work from an outside perspective. Personally, I pride myself in giving 100% to every task so when I’m critiqued or receive negative feedback I’m able to hold my head up high and say it’s OK, let’s try and learn from this. This is only if what I did was wrong (make a note) my effort is never penalised I’m only being critiqued on my work.
From what I saw, a great deal of effort was implemented via TTE into making the nationals a prestigious event and I am not pointing my fingers in that direction. But here’s where I would like to see further developments.
Table Tennis Atmosphere:
I watched a few matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the atmosphere was dead on Friday. It slightly upscaled both on Saturday and Sunday but was not at a level where I believe it should be at.
French Senior Table Tennis National Championships:
I also watched the French National Championships and that was a different world altogether. There is a huge qualification system with 4 tournament rounds that enables up to (I believe) 100 players to qualify. In the main event there are 128 players and that’s where the fun begins with lots of exciting matches and of course upsets. In this year’s semifinals, none of the top 4 seeds reached that stage and one player was seeded 21. As soon as you tuned into the live video feed, you could feel and hear the buzz in the hall, it’s truly what sport requires to flourish as a whole.
Here’s a list of what I saw in comparison;
English table tennis:
- No crowd day one
- Small crowd days 2 & 3
- No light effects
- No real support from the crowd
- Little engagement with the crowd
- Commentary (not my words although I agree was poor)
- No special intro
- No mascot
- No clappers or bangers
- Little to no music
- Split into two halls
French table tennis Championships:
- Big crowd
- Spotlights on players as they enter the court
- Crowd; chanting, supporting, truly vocal throughout each match
- Clappers, bangers and drums
- Music constantly implemented sparking the players and crowd
- Special player intro’s with music and fireworks
- Commentators really engaging and fun to listen to with comments such as; Oh La La la la
- Table tennis mascot
- One hall
Table Tennis Nationals is held once a year:
I appreciate it’s all easily said compared to being done. But let’s be honest we have one major event per year in England and it’s clear that a lot has been put into it. Therefore if a lot of investment (time, money, effort, energy) then let’s invest wisely.
Making an event special is done by one key ingredient, atmosphere. If you get the buzz feeling inside the hall it will be felt by those watching from the outside.
I am always interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions so please comment below
Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis