(by Jinxin Wang (Men’s Singles winner 2015 United States Open)
Progressing to higher levels, learn from China
Aspiring players in abundance in China, there is an embarrassment of riches; at the other side of the world, in recent years talented young players a have emerged in the United States.
However do the American players have shortcomings? How can they improve their technical abilities in order to first reach international level and then progress to what might be termed world level?
Arguably the answer is to be found in China.
1. Comparison of the table tennis systems
The difference between the United States and China is one of systems and organizations.
China’s sports system is primarily government led with a focus on directing human, material and financial resources towards achieving results in international competitions. From local level organizations to city training schools, provincial teams and the national team, a pyramid shaped system is designed to produce players who can excel at high level.
Established daily training schedules, strict supervision and enforcement added to strategic training methods require not only the effort of players but also motivated coaches and knowledge; this is why in the modern era the results of the Chinese national team have been so consistently high.
In contrast, the United States model is very different. It does not have government support; it is self-funded and is very fragmented across the country. The control from the National Olympic Committee and from the national association is limited. Athletes pay for all training and competition; they practise in private clubs and can practise anywhere they wish.
Training for players in the United States is flexible since there is no set training schedule and no national or even state level supervision. The amount of days one practices in a week is determined individually. United States players spend much of their time on academics and other extra curricular activities or hobbies.
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