How we will manage Table Tennis in Sweden

Table Tennis 2000 - How we will manage table tennis in Sweden. A document from the Swedish Association.

Translated by Rowden Fullen

Swedish table tennis can be proud of its successes in past decades. This is proof that we are on solid ground with our activities. But nothing lasts for ever. New players are emerging with different expectations. Therefore we must look forward. This document which was adopted by the Swedish Association at the annual meeting in May 2000, shall act as a guide for all involved in Swedish table tennis. We must have objectives. At the same time we know that there are changes on the way. The most important point is that we have vision and that we do the right thing for Swedish table tennis. Read and be creative.

1) Primary goal.

Table tennis is a sport open to all. Clubs give boys and girls equal opportunities and conditions to develop themselves and their table tennis. Our sport shall function in such a way that there will be a big interest in table tennis and so that knowledge and enthusiasm shall be found among large sections of the population. Table tennis shall demonstrate that it should be regarded as a high quality sport. To attract a big interest from the media not at least where television is concerned, it’s an important goal to write and report on table tennis as this gives further opportunities to spread interest and knowledge concerning our sport.

The year 2010 shall find 100,000 members in clubs under the umbrella of the Swedish Association. There will be at least 11,000 licensed players competing in our leagues. It has already been shown that clubs don’t have any big difficulty in attracting youngsters. It’s important that as many youngsters as possible who have begun playing are encouraged and given the opportunity to continue. To achieve this goal table tennis activities must be organized in such a way that players are stimulated and inspired to enjoy and remain in our sport for many years.

The number of active table tennis clubs must increase. By 2010 we shall have at least 900 clubs and in every district there will be organized activity in at least 10 clubs. The table tennis season shall be extended — our sport can and should function for an increasingly larger part of the year than up to now.

Elite level — At the close of 2010 the national men’s team shall be in the 4 best in the world and the women’s team among the 4 best in Europe. To reach this goal at least two of our men need to be ranked in the top 20 in the world and two of our women among the top 20 in Europe. The Association shall have such a standard in the elite divisions that at least 2 men’s teams will be among the best 10 club teams in Europe. On the women’s side at least one team shall be up among the best 10 in Europe. At the Junior Europeans our juniors shall be among the best three teams. The Association’s top divisions for men and women shall be of high quality, both in terms or playing standards and organization and shall have a good overall level country-wide.

2) Education/development.

The evolution of players through training so that they reach a high level is in the province of the clubs. From 13 – 14 years the development shall take place in close cooperation with the Association’s district and national trainers. Table tennis has been organized for the most part in tournaments as an individual sport. The starting point for training and development must be (without going into any details as to how we are going to achieve this) that table tennis is a team sport. One plays, trains and has fun together and has many matches.

For some 13 – 14 year olds there will be a stronger focus on high quality in their game. The goal for Swedish table tennis must therefore be that at the same time that they have quality development in their sport, they have the opportunity to have a thorough school education. The Association has the responsibility for the continuation of high level table tennis development even through the summer months.

Seen from this perspective the clubs which have promising and ambitious young players must cultivate a close and dependable working relationship with the high school in their area. These youngsters must have good opportunities to have a high standard of education in their home town operating parallel with top level development in their sport at their club.

For young ambitious players with initiative who don’t have the training opportunities in their own club, their sporting development and school education can be combined at the so-called table tennis academy. There our youngsters both boys and girls will have access to the most advantageous training, development and education facilities. This means not only the highest levels in the case of training and coaches but solid educational progress. Obviously the Association manager and national trainers will be connected to this activity and naturally the manager will have the primary responsibility. Also too the manager will have responsibility for closer links with the research and developmental activities which are operated within the framework of the academy.

It is obvious that all the instructional and educational input that is needed for leader and coach development within Swedish table tennis, will come from the resources which are available in our clubs as well as the academy and the high schools. The collective resources and experience which we have within Swedish table tennis which can benefit our sport will be coordinated by the Association’s manager.

3) National team and team captain.

For Sweden to reach her elite goals, described under 1) Primary goal, it is necessary to strengthen the national team. A strong national team creates the conditions for exploiting television coverage, which is significant to promote and spread our sport. A strong national team needs clubs with high-level elite activity and well educated leaders and trainers at club level. The clubs which have teams in the top divisions in the national league ought to have permanent trainers. It must be a goal for the Association together with the clubs in the top divisions, the elite clubs, to create the proper environment so that there are well-experienced trainers who can be employed full-time in our sport.

Within the Association we must find a manager responsible for the development of Swedish table tennis at all levels. To work with this person in national team activities, we should find national trainers for men, women and junior teams. At the disposal of the national teams we shall set up sports doctors and masseurs. The Association’s manager and the national trainers shall have a close working relationship with the clubs where we have national team or promising players. The national trainers shall arrange training camps at these clubs and national trainers can also be used as trainers in the elite clubs.

The Association’s manager and the national coaches shall regularly confer with trainers and leaders on current questions concerning the development of table tennis. The sort of aspects which will be dealt with are training development, the training and competition programme for the season, new training methods, initiatives from abroad, monitoring of players and more.

4) The international scene.

The goal of the international activity is to –

  • follow the development of table tennis abroad so that we can adapt quickly to international developments and changes and also have influence on matters at an early stage in order to have the right solutions for Swedish and international table tennis.
  • try and influence decisions and activity in both the European Association and the International Federation.
  • spread to other nations the knowledge of Swedish sport in general and table tennis in particular.
  • arrange big tournaments and international championships at home in Sweden (the Swedish Open shall be arranged every year and will demonstrate a good example of how an international tournament is organized.)
  • spread information on table tennis to other nations where they need information and support from established table tennis countries such as Sweden.
  • intensify information within Sweden on what is happening in the international table tennis world and in other cultures.
  • To be able to achieve these goals the Association shall strive to have a member on the board of both the European and International associations. It’s important that Sweden can have members on the essential committees formed by these international organizations. Swedish table tennis should also stimulate leaders, coaches and players to take an active part in supporting the development of table tennis in other countries.

5) Tournaments.

Tournament play shall be a positive experience and attractive for players, leaders, officials, parents, the public and the organizers. Different tournaments have different goals. Sometimes the emphasis is on the players, for example in pool-play, on other occasions the most important thing is to sell the event to the public, as with the Swedish Open.

The goal is going to be to –

  • extend the table tennis season, with hopefully a spread of tournaments and activities over the whole year.
  • arrange more tournaments of differing types, for example elite and ordinary pools with separate draws. We should have more winners
  • create professional or fun events within the tournament framework.
  • improve the time-scheduling.
  • introduce a ban on other tournaments at the time of the Swedish Open so that nothing overshadows this event.
  • ensure that tournaments have well-educated umpires.

6) Quality.

Swedish table tennis is well known to be of high quality in all that we do. Quality should not be an empty word. Year by year, in a world where all sports fight tooth and nail to increase their membership, their sponsors and have more media time, all this puts higher demands on quality. We must learn from others, be modest so as to produce a positive picture of our activity. Apart from a well-developed tournament programme, table tennis should project such social and equality advantages that all will want to choose our sport. The goal before 2010 is that we attain quality in all aspects with a well thought-out programme of education. This goes for players, club leaders, coaches, training, education, series organizers, tournament organizers or national association office staff.

Players shall respect opponents and umpires and set an example in both national and international events.

Umpires have an important function and have the right to expect education. Without knowledgeable and professional umpires our sport will generally lose credence.

National League (but particularly the highest divisions) grows in status if we keep to the arranged programme. We also have a bigger chance to get media coverage.

Tournaments shall be concerned to demonstrate quality, regardless of the level. In the case of the biggest events the arena shall be appropriately and tastefully arranged and the times suitable to the general public. In this case the speaker has an important role in giving out information and maintaining the interest. The Association shall market and look after the biggest event the Swedish Open so that it will be the focal point in the calendar with live television broadcasts.

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