by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Simply look at the current Men’s World Rankings, eight of the top 12 names are either from China or Japan, consider the counterpart Women’s list and of the elite names it is nine in number.

Perhaps the sheer quantity of players who compete in those two countries is a contributory factor or the fact that success breeds success is a theory to be considered. However, above all one fact is crystal clear, in the coaching field in those two countries there is a high level of knowledge, a high level of expertise.

Li Xiaodong (far right) addresses the gathering (Photo: courtesy of Neven Cegnar)

Thus based on that premise, the European Table Tennis Union is surely making a step in the right direction; China’s Li Xiaodong and Japan’s Rikki Watanabe are the key note speakers at the current ETTU Annual Coaching Conference.

Staged at the Okecie Hotel Airport in the Polish capital city of Warsaw, proceedings commenced on Sunday 8th October and will conclude on Tuesday 10th October.

A total of 58 coaches from 21 countries have enrolled, all being welcomed by Ronald Kramer, the President of the European Table Tennis Union.

All were present to hear Li Xiaodong address the subject of “Analysis of six stages of development of table tennis”; on the concluding day the subject on which Rikki Watanabe will speak is that regarding “The latest situation on plastic balls”.

Valuable lectures; but equally there is great value in the fact that coaches meet and exchange ideas, talk to each other we move forward, talk about each other we move backwards. All present are experienced in their chosen field, there is a great deal of knowledge available.

Simply experts meeting is valuable and are some of the most lucrative and beneficial meetings those which take place outside the formal settings; those which take place over a cup of coffee or even something slightly stronger?