Right before the World Table Tennis Championship in Düsseldorf, Germany the 15th ITTF Sport Science Congress was held on the 27th and 28th of May, 2017. It brought together experts from all around the world with the idea of furthering collaboration between players, coaches and scientists to develop table tennis.

During the Congress, Dr. Johan Pion  gave a fascinating lecture, about sustainable talent systems and how to enhance your sports talent pool, from his unique perspective as an expert outside of table tennis.

For a long time, he has been involved in the field of physical education and research into sports, exercise and health, and has extensive experience in education, research and service at three universities, within sports promotion and the training of coaches. Also he has more than 25 years of training experience in the gymnastics discipline ‘tumbling’.

Dr. Johan Pion is currently the Head of the Department of Sports Talent Research at the Arnhem and Nijmegen University in the Netherlands, and a Research Associate at the Ghent University in Belgium. In 2015, he earned his PhD in health sciences at Ghent University with his research: The Flemish Sports Compass: From sports orientation to elite performance prediction.


Part 1
Part 2

During Part 2, he talks about:

  • KTK Tests as one of the best ways to identify the best movers, how to adapt the generic one to a sport specific one, for table tennis  (0:00-2:54)
  • Talent transfer, collaboration between table tennis, tennis & badminton clubs,  similarities & differences and how that can increase the talent pool of each sport  (2:54-6:44)
  • Minimizing talent loss by measuring players’ potential in various sports & scientific talent prediction  (6:44-11:04)
  • The problem of the maturity of the players, late & early maturing, how to identify and accurately measure them side by side (11:04-14:42)
Part 3

During Part 3, he talks about:

  • The problem of dropout in organized sports, what causes it & how it can be minimized, (0:00-2:47)
  • How focused analysis & accurate statistics help with finding the right athletes that can make it through the critical periods all the way to the top of their sport (2:47-6:31)
  • The Q&A part of the lecture – Question 1 (6:31-8:10)
  • The Q&A part of the lecture – Question 2 (8:10-9:59)
  • The Q&A part of the lecture – Question 3 (9:59-12:36)