Players often ask me how can I improve my game? The simple answer I enjoy giving "hire me as your coach" 😂 lol.
If you are serious about your game and truly want to improve at least 10% in the next 30 days, then follow these 3 simple steps.
You have three tools which will almost instantly help you with your game, and if you require more get in touch with me or your local coach.
Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis Instagram: _elibaraty
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Achievement is subjective but the three key elements I mention are vital for all achievement levels
1. Perseverance/Grit: If you don't possess these key attributes you will never be a true winner! The reason most people on this planet walk is because they fell over many times and eventually they learnt to balance and coordinate themselves which led to them walking and then running. If we fell as babies and stopped getting back up, we would never walk. This principal applies to your (table tennis) game. If you are willing to fail and learn from your failures/mistakes (Grit characteristics) you will reap the rewards in good time.
2. Forget Goal setting: when setting a goal, we often set ourselves up for constant failure up until we have reached the goal. You can aim for the sky but plan small and give yourself specific targets to self-develop, rather than a long-term goal which is extremely hard to achieve. This will shift your mindset from constant failure to constant self-fulfilment and the journey itself will become a lot more joyful and who knows the ultimate dream may also be achieved!
How to implement? have a goal for each training session not for next month, next year or ten years. The key principal is enjoying the moment not what may or may not happen in the future. But don't forget to keep in the back of your mind that ultimate goal/dream, we must aim high to reach the top.
3. Joy & love: We all forget why we play and set our focus on competition, goals and keeping others happy. When you decide to play a sport such as table tennis it should be because you either have fun playing or love it. Joy will come and go and you will need to know whether the fun/love has gone or been misplaced. Try to make a change; coach, club, location, or different training methods and this will quickly provide you with the answer as to whether you still have joy playing. You will also know whether you still love playing or that inner joy has gone or not.
Focusing on keeping things simple but specific and everything else will fall into place.
eBaTT - (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach me Table Tennis
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I've expressed my thoughts on numerous occasions regarding (Table Tennis England's) ranking system and with a few disagreements, most agree with me.
Unfortunately the current system I believe is poor and can be extremely disheartening. I was told by TTE that they are looking into changes regarding the current system but I would like to see them sooner rather than later.
What can be done?
I don't think there will ever be a flawless system but I do believe we should always aim to provide the best opportunities for our young players if possible. Thousands play tournaments throughout the year spend plenty of time, money and energy, the least they deserve is a system that continuously develops towards fairness and perfection.
eBaTT - (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach me Table Tennis
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If you are a serious table tennis player, you have surely heard this comment before by someone! "Is table tennis a real sport?"
As a full-time table tennis coach, I often hear this comment and struggle to contain my frustration when hearing such an ignorant comment.
I have often asked myself why does table tennis have such poor value in society! And how can this be changed?
I've come up with a few key points:
What can be done?
I thrive to develop my beloved sport and believe Table Tennis deserves it's dues..
There have been many changes to the game in the last 20 years of which some have worked and others can be developed upon.
The other key element is developing a culture and this can only be done if we thrive towards developing and growing our sport, giving it the recognition it deserves.
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aA debate I feel strongly about and some will agree and other may not!
18 years ago, I passed my level 2 ETTA coaching licence (update recently to UKCC). Back then I believed I was a top coach, little did I know how poorly educated I was inside the field of TT coaching. I was a confident young man due to a good personal playing level, unfortunately my ignorance gave me a false impression of my true coaching capability.
Nevertheless, I pursued a career as a table tennis coach and decided to self-educate by...
Reading books, watching other coaches, speaking to coaches and players from around the world. I continued to develop my knowledge by looking at all the possible elements that could enhance and increase the rate of improvement for aspiring players.
18 years later my mind set has changed and I feel like a 'developing coach' rather than a top coach. I aspire to continuously grow as a coach and help my beloved sport (table tennis) continuously grow.
I may have accomplished a lot over the past 18 years since passing my level 2. But the question remains, Is it because of my qualification? Or my desire to be an accomplished table tennis coach?
To date no one has ever asked me what level I am as a coach and I pride myself by giving my best to all my students rather than let a certificate qualify me.
Where I believe, we are going wrong; We judge per qualification instead of achievements. This can be extremely problematic, as some coaches may not feel the need to self-develop and rely upon their higher tier certificate to quantify their coaching skills.
Would you ever ask Alex Ferguson what level coaching badge he has? We all know he's the most successful football manager the premiership has ever seen, so let's focus on those who continuously achieve and grow rather than what course they have been on.
I have a very good friend who possesses the highest level of football qualification, yet he was coaching at junior level football for many years while possessing that qualification. He was always told you must prove your worth before you can move up to the big league. Recently he was asked to coach a senior national team, not because of his qualification but because of his coaching success.
Why do former top players walk into high national/international coaching jobs without any previous coaching experience? Achievement as a player should not qualify you as a top coach, with some coaching experience; possibly yes, but with very little experience how are you able to draw upon your player’s needs?
Studying other sports I quickly noticed, many coaches are often not top players themselves or the highest qualified. On the contrary, they are successful as a coach continuously producing positive results. This is due to self-development and they produce the goods without the need to have the higher tier qualifications.
To make matters worse becoming qualified in England as a coach is virtually guaranteed, unless you fail to complete the course. If I taught my wife how to do the basics strokes and put her on a TTE coaching course, she could potentially be a fully qualified level 1,2 and 3 coach. In theory, my wife can qualify herself as a level 3 coach, giving her more kudos than me on paper.
Let's focus on developing our sport by supporting coaches that thrive to achieve and succeed. Coaches who self-develop and don't necessarily want or need a higher qualification to showcase themselves as good or great coaches.
The governing body should enforce a tighter ruling on who can pass the higher levels of qualification giving them true meaning.
I decided to write this on behalf of fellow coaches that I believe have amazing coaching skills and abilities but are considered less than due to lower tier qualification (by choice). In some cases, some people are unable to afford the courses, especially when there's no direct reward.
If you're looking for a top coach look at their track record not their qualification.
We are often told that shot was high risk!, or tell ourselves that was a poor shot selection. Which is then followed by:
Well I agree with all of the above but...
I also believe we should train at high risk more often.
by Eli Baraty
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2 years ago an 11 year old called Tomokazu Harmioto burst onto the table tennis world stage. Harimoto reached the Men's final at Safir's (Sweden) and stamped his arrival by beating two players ranked inside the top 100 men's ranking.
Since then Harimoto has continued to improve and recently was crowned world Junior Champion aged 13, the youngest junior world champion in history.
Still 13, he has shocked the world once again by defeating fellow team mate Jun Mitzutani current world no.6.
I think it's safe to say Harimoto, is the best 13 year old the world has ever seen.
He reached the quarter final of the Men's World Championships and shows no sign of slowing down.
So what? and how? has such a young teenager achieved what no other has done before?
I'm sure there's millions of factors but I want to point out 3 key things.
Harimoto, has been playing for 11 years which explains (partially his high level). Other factors include both his mum and dad where international level players. He has been training relentlessly for over a decade, few train over two years at a given sport and fewer train 5-6 times a week.
It's clear Harimoto spends 15-20 maybe more hours per week training. He has given up his childhood to become a phenomenon inside the world of table tennis. The question many would ask, and say.. he doesn't have a life!
This is a debate which can only be answered by Harimoto. If he loves what he is doing, then he is living life to the best of his ability. If he is forced to live this kind of lifestyle then yes he has no life. From my point of view he loves every minute, his passion and love is clear to see. It's rare to see someone who clearly plays more than most and still maintain such a high level of joy and passion every time he plays.
At such a young age, few feel genuine fear of losing. The world has not inflicted its true pressures and consequences are limited to none. This enables the mind to relax and all skills are allowed to flow freely.
Only the very best in the world know how to access this freedom of fear and thrive under enormous pressurised situations.
The question is will this change for Harimoto as he ages and will his views on life change? Only time will tell..
Regardless of age, to become great sacrifice is required.
Eli Baraty Table Tennis Coach
I pride myself in coaching anyone and everyone, you have the ability to improve so why not invest in yourself.
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I aspired to become great as a table tennis player and often researched in order to find the best the sport had to offer, in my quest to reach my table tennis dreams.
I travelled all over and around London seeking players, clubs and coaches for my personal development. I was willing to go anywhere and pay any price for the best coach, I clearly remember working as a Domino's pizza delivery boy and spending my hard earned cash on TT.
Michelle Gadal came to England after coaching, Jean Philip Gatien (1993 world champion) and I decided I wanted him to coach me. I managed to get his phone number and so called him, begging Michelle to coach me. His answer was a clear no, because he was the national coach and it would be conflict of interest. I offered him £40ph, back in 1997, in today's money it would be approximately £80. For me personally, it was around 12 hours work at Domino's but I was more than willing! Just so I could gain some words of wisdom form a coach who produced a World Champion.
Today I would do it all again as I believe commitment towards your passion is one few people have in today's world.
Six months ago a young man contacted me saying he has been following my coaching blogs, videos and players (I coach) their success. At the time I was focused on providing my academy players my time and external coaching was out of the question.
Nevertheless, this young man was willing to pay my coaching fees and travel 130 miles one way for one hour of my time. I quickly recalled myself as a kid begging Michelle and decided I wouldn't let commitment go unrecognised. The young man explained that he had a friend and they would both commit to the travel and training. I decided to test their commitment by agreeing to a one off session, that one session has become a six months long coaching commitment and only seems to grow in time.
Both these players entered an event after I coached them with mixed results and the response from them was poor initially but they seemed even more determent to achieve. Training continued and I noticed big steps in their games, two weeks ago they entered London Gran Prix where they both came out with around 100 points each. They both had great wins and progressed in their events which was lovely to see.
3 key points:
I have coach at The Harefield Table Tennis Academy for 10 years and fortunate to work with so many wonderful players and people. From total beginners to borough, county, national and international players, furthermore they have all become amazing people.
After 10 years of doing something you love, it became clear to me that I have a choice stay and continue doing what I'm doing or look to grow as a coach and person. Some may say "why change a good thing" and keep going but I believe its my time to spread my wings and fly.
The world has so much to offer and staying in one place may mean the world for one person but for someone like me, personally it means I'm not growing and more importantly I'm not sharing.
Being involved in Table Tennis for 21 years made me realise the game advances whether you like it or not and I embrace change.
So the lesson for today, if you truly wish to be a pioneer at your chosen field you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace change.
Coaching players for over 17 years and watching them at tournaments and events, it's clear 99% don't know what makes them perform!.
I believe if you asked 100 coaches if they teach their players/students how to knock up (and take away anxiety) in a tournament, many would say yes but only 1 YES would be correct and productive!
So I've decided to write this to help coaches and players.
We all know how important it is to train but we struggle to have the same confidence in tournaments as we do in the practice hall.
Three key elements:
1. Prepare as you do in practice,
players become instantly aware of their enforced errors in their knock up at a tournament.
Don't become aware of your unforced errors or mistakes in a tournament day, unless you're aware of them in practice! We take practice for granted and usually we are unaware consciously of unforced errors. But in tournaments if you look at 95% of players you'll notice they become hyper aware of each and every error. Its as if we all of a sudden make ten times more mistakes compared to practice.
This couldn't be further from the truth, in fact you probably are making less errors due to awareness, so I suggest having a simple numbers routine in practice e.g. fifty drives and 10 topspin's both sides, count how many open ups you get out of ten both wings. Once you have your practice routine ratios, you can implement this on the big stage and be clear as to whether you are actually not playing well or visa versa.
Having a clear numbers routine gives you a clear view of where your playing level is on any given occasion
2. Warm up properly
90% of players have a good warm up routine in practice but as soon as they enter the hall, they grab a bat and ball and jump on a table. Why change a routine on the most important occasions? stick to your routines regardless..
3. Your trade mark exercise
Do a regular footwork exercise which you're good at, makes you feel positive about yourself and your game. Once you find a routine which compliments your game use it to boost your confidence, in tournaments.
Why do something completely different to the way you normally do it? Makes no Sense right? So the answer is simple keep it the same and the outcome will generally be the same but if you change the input then the output will generally change..