I believe table tennis rivalry whether it be; coaching, players, clubs etc. is and should be seen as a healthy form of development.
Table Tennis Player
As a player, one of the best ways to grow and develop yourself is by having a person or persons seen as rivals. Great examples of rivalry in sport include Roger Federer and Nadal, Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier, Messi and Ronaldo. These greats became extraordinary because they pushed themselves beyond normal capability in view of becoming better than their rival. Positive rivalry depends on your character some will avoid rivalry and see it as a negative impact on their career or focus. The fact of this matter is you must focus on yourself (primarily) because you are unable to control someone else’s action. But if you notice what others are doing it can help you develop and drive you further than someone who’s solely focused on themselves.
Table Tennis Coach:
I am Unsure about other countries but in England, it feels as if there is a lot of rivalry between coaches, is this healthy? Yes and No. As a coach, I believe we coach to develop players and the game and by having strong coaching rivalries we can damage players and development as a whole. It’s good to learn from other coaches and develop players to the best of your ability but try to avoid aggressive rivalries.
Table Tennis Clubs:
We see very strong club rivalry in English Football but does it elevate the game? In my opinion yes it does, it makes every aspect of each club and the fans wanting more. I do believe table tennis should collaborate much more as we are an individual sport but maintain a vision of development alongside other clubs. We must find a way of having more full-time clubs and this would enable further growth and healthy rivalry.
I think many players over the years have become great and even better than what they may have believed possible because of local, national and international rivalry. If you have a good balance of rivalry it will enable you to grow and push beyond what was first thought.
Your rivalry can change but you as a person must not change, the mindset must stay the same. Use your rival as someone or something healthy which makes you a better person.