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English Table Tennis National Championship 2018


For the first time in possibly 20 years, I did not watch or follow the English Table Tennis National Championships!

I sneaked a peak on some highlights from Saturday with Craig Bryant vs Alim and 1 or 2 other games but that was enough for me. I felt so ashamed and disassociated seeing the nation’s most prestigious event (for me) the worst Nationals to date!

How can we make it better?
  1. Have a Qualification event: This would give every player in England an opportunity to play inside the nation’s no.1 event. It would provide shock results and make most players feel a part of the event. Implementing an open entry would lead to extra support towards the main event (the players, whether in or out would feel a part of the whole event). It would also open doors for players such as myself, who may decide, they wish to compete again but do not have a national ranking! Or better yet someone like Andrew Rushton who could still push most players inside the top 10 but is unable to play due to the new closed ranking system. Increase the main event numbers, by having 64 players in the draw and the top 16 ranked players gain automatic qualification. Opening the Nationals to every player would be a huge boost for everyone; players, spectators and the organisation.
  2. Venue: I understand this year, it was easy to host the Nationals off the back of the World Cup but as many have said, “the nationals need to feel intimate”. For instance looking at the Ping Pong World Championships at Ally Pally which has a great vibe and family feel, maybe we should look at using that same venue?
  3. Characters, Hype and Charisma: TTE, coaches or the players themselves need to develop some charisma. I’ve read some great stories about players like Chester Barnes how he attracted thousands to come and watch him because of his outbursts and vocal statements. I’m not saying have bad boys to draw in the crowd! I’m just saying it would be nice if we had charisma before and during an event to build hype. For example; Nicknames: (‘The Big Show’ – Chris Doran), TTE: publish some bold statements “World Class players will go head to head” Players: send out quotes “I will not drop a set this year”, Coaches; “My player has a new weapon to reveal”.
  4. Crowds and fans: If you want bums on seats and there are many ways of going about it: 1) Advertise heavily, emails, leaflets sent to every club in England and put adverts on TT websites, newspapers etc. 2) Offer a deal to every qualified coach in England. E.g. a free ticket for the coach and a small discount for every player they bring or push to go, or commission based ticket sales. 3) Send tickets to every club in the country and give them a profit share margin for every ticket sold.
  5. Make it an event: create fun activities for families, mid-game entertainment, food and beverages etc.
Coppabox Seats

Stay positive

I tried to stay away from the massive negative talk on social media as it really depressed me. I’m a huge believer in our sport. And seeing the most important National TT event in dier state, I felt obliged to offer my solution based ideas and thoughts. Whether TTE takes notice of the outcry from its players and my blog suggestions is beyond me. But at least I’ve done my bit in an attempt to help.

I hope this is a wake-up call for TTE if not it may prove fatal in the (not so long) foreseeable future.

Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis 
Instagram: _elibaraty
Twitter: @elibaraty
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M:  07900401144

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Barry Meisel

    I agree with most of what you say but I would go a little further. Firstly the tickets are highly overpriced at today’s value should be about £10 to £15, anyone purchasing ar least four should be given one free. Your correct the more publications re getting as many spectators is the way to go also offer a free raffle with the prize to be presented at the finals. The event should accomadate any English players also a veterans tournament. Finally get a good sponsor through a PR company and pay the players decent prize money down to the quarter finals in a smaller and more comfortable venue

    1. Chuck hewitt

      I’m glad you agree with me on some of the things I committed on.I am 68 years old and would love to have a go in the nationals just for the experience, but once I got knocked out i would stay and watch the rest of the day. This would be one way to get more people to attened the nationals and have a good day out . As a level 2 coach they should try to fined a way to encouage the children to attend these events, one way would be to give them a free pass for the duration of the event also give the coachers a free pass as well for all the hard work they do for TTE.

      1. Syd Montgomery

        Great post Chuck I am 75 and would love to play also I am as keen as ever this sport of ours is amazing.

  2. Syd Montgomery

    Great Ideas Eli it needs people like you with your enthusiasm for our great game and your very modern ideas. The Hard Bat tournament was it seemed well attended and well presented with interviews with the players and the crowd participation making the atmosphere great we have an amazing sport in Table Tennis it needs pushing as long as we don’t have the stand offs as in Boxing nose to nose is going a bit too far, If it was me and Chris Doran he would have to kneel for that to happen although it would get a good laugh.

  3. Mike Gadd

    In a todays digital communications world it seems TTE cannot reach out to its members, I had lunch with Chief Executive of TTE as she was surprised when I told her no communication was received by anyone I knew that were members of TTE.
    I recently looked at using a Facebook advert for a high level club, within a 50 mile radius I could reach 250000 people interested in Table Tennis.
    I also cannot understand why modern sales techniques are not used such as the system used by budget airlines with prices increasing as ticket become less.
    On the Thursday of the World Team event 2 sessions would cos approx. £50 including booking fees plus carpark @ £18 travailing by train would have been in rush hour to arrive at 10am so someone from the Southeast would be looking at approx. £100 for the day (that’s more than a years membership at my club for 130 hours play).
    What other sport restricts a national tournament to top 32, even football brings in all levels they may not get to the final but they sure have fun and great experiences on the way.
    I did buy some discount world team tee shirts as prizes for top table this week and the 17 kids that turned up for junior club the winners went home happy.

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