"It is time for a change"

For me it was a strange situation to find that the juniors were not practising together, there suddenly were small coaching groups with different coaches. So I wrote and e-mailed a letter to the committee-members - unfortunately without any positive response.

Dear members of the management committee,

Former national Australian coach Marcus Gustafsson said it like this:
"My biggest goal is to get the players to think more 'group' than just 'individual' like now. This is the way the rest of the world does it and I'm trying to make Australia understand the benefit of group training."

Group training sessions are similar to a school-situation, with many players and often only one coach: The coach explains the exercise; the players practise the exercise at the tables while the coach moves from table to table to correct/assist/give feedback. He is rarely playing at the table with the players (might be a few seconds with beginners to give them shots they can hit). The coach (coaches) is working for the association, the players pay the association, and the association pays the coach (or can be voluntarily). Private coaching is as good as non-existent in other countries than Australia.

In our association many of the players are used to private coaching (one-to-one or in small groups). Some claims it gives fast results, but the fact is that the Australian players are far from the best on the international arena. Sweden might be the best sample of how it is possible to make world-champions without private coaching (or table tennis schools/camps for the best talents): J-O Waldner, Jørgen Persson, Peter Karlsson and the others never had a private coach - they did their daily practising with the other members of their respective associations in normal coaching squads! The same goes for the Swedish juniors that now are on the rise to European stardom.
It often seems that coaches in Australia used to getting money from private coaching believe that group coaching will reduce their income, but it does not have to be so.
Private coaching and small, private coaching groups:
- is too costly for the association.
- is too costly for players/parents.
- disrupts other coaching activities.
- divides players and coaches.
- can result in wrong development for the players.
- gives no team-feeling or feeling of social belonging.
The last point is very important. Quite a few players in our association and else in Australia have become very good with quite a lot of private coaching - only to quit playing at young age. For rugby players it is easy to see why so many of them continue to play after becoming seniors: If they become good enough they can make heaps of money from their sports! The motivation is there. To tell young table tennis players that they might be selected to the Olympics if they practise hard enough might be ok, but they will still be unable to make a living from their sport. The motivation has got to be something else in the long run. The love of table tennis is of course there, but it is not enough. In Europe and other countries what they do to motivate the young players is to make the social aspect very important: When you head off to your practising sessions you are not only going to hit a small white ball across the net - you are going to see your friends!

My hope is that the diversion that the association has experienced during the last years will come to an end. The association is being pulled apart and will not, as Brian pointed out, live long if we do not see a change. I believe that this change could start by making sure that all our junior players practise and play their fixtures together - so that they all can improve their skills and built a positive team-spirit. Let's show the players down south that the Townsville players are getting ready to beat them!


Academy 2008 - the academy was never approved/started.
Newsletter 2009 - start of the season/year.
Coaching Comittee - 2009 - established and later cancelled.
Development Committee - 2009 - established and cancelled.
Coaching plan, period 1 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 2 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 3 - 2009
Own evaluation, players - 2009
The Turbo Table
Coaching Clinic - 2009 - Easter Holiday week-end coaching.
All Ages Tournament
Recuitment - 2009 - drives to get new members.
"Time for a change"
- letter concerning coaching.
Junior Invitation Series
- an attempt to get the juniors back.
Coaches Workshop - 2010
- cancelled same day.

Supporting letter for Terry - from Paul Jones
Who is Terry Dahl? Information about me.