Category: Success stories

Michael Gerrard, My Inspiration

Every so often I’m asked who’s your inspiration/role-model/mentor?

I always answer, I try to learn from everyone but if I was to pick one.

It would be Michael Gerrard,

He inspired me to be the best version of me and a man that has given me pure hope and belief in myself. Most importantly, recently he has shown me that anything can be achieved.

But first a quick story…

17 years ago Michael walked into my club (back then Barnet TTC), asking for some table tennis coaching.

He wanted a private session (1-2hrs per day) 4 times a week. At first I thought great I’m cashing in (not in a selfish way but in a way of, this is helping me) and then I wondered why is a 47 year old man having so much coaching?

Michael had played a little as a kid at Barnet and decided to come back into the game after 20 odd years out. But this time he had a purpose, a special tournament! A charity event held at Lords Cricket ground (London).

Entry fee: £10,000
Rules: must never have had a ranking or played league table tennis

Michael set his mind that he would win this event and donate all the winnings to a (Cancer charity) in memory of his former business partner, who passed away from the disease.

Michael’s level back then I would say bottom division local league (depending on the league of course).

I had no idea about his potential opposition but the aim was to give him the best possible chance of winning.

The key focus was to elevate Michael’s strength (forehand), develop a block and a spinny serve. After a few months all of the above had upscaled and it was show time.


A lot of extremely influential people had entered including Michael Sherwood (CEO Goldman Sachs), Philip Green (owner of Topshop) turned up to watch, Ray Kelvin (owner of Ted Baker) and a few other hot shots…


I looked at each player knocking and made notes, I formulated a strategy against all possible opposition. Michael was focused and determined in taking this event, and put all his trust in me (his coach).

Match time

First match Michael cruised through, eyes turned on him plus Michael Sherwood for the title. In the semi’s Michael faced Mr Ted Baker and was routed on by Philip Greene who was worth £9 Billion at the time. Ray was able to hold his own in the rallies but struggled to return Michael’s spinny serves. I have another story that followed on from that match, involving Philip Greene (but I’ll leave that for another day).

In the final Michael was in the zone and overwhelmed Mr Sherwood to take the title.

My treat:

Michael paid for my Nobu meal and gave me a kind donation to my table tennis centre to say thank you. Yet that was nothing because that day created a life long bond between us.

As the years passed, Michael was always there when I needed a friend with a big wallet but bigger heart. He always picks up the phone to have a chat but never answers any text messages 😜.


I saw Michael as a father figure, a man that had build a small empire yet is the most humble guy. He treats everyone the same and cares for people’s well being.

I was down a few times over the years and Michael always provided me with his wisdom. He encouraged me to keep driving forward and to always keep the light lit no matter how dark or dim it may be…

Most importantly Michael believed in me and kept having his coaching sessions every week.

He joined the local league Barnet plus Harrow & Wembley where he began at the the bottom moved up to the top division over the years.

Success, beyond belief:

In the past few weeks just gone, Michael beat two players whom I would never have dreamt possible, considering his level when I first met him and the age he took up table tennis seriously.

The players are top local and national league players;
Darius Zurwaski and the legendary Costas Papantoniou. When I received a message showing me the score card, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

How has a man who’s level was so low and began playing seriously aged 47 moved into the top division local league and beaten some of the best players in the country, (Both players had played Premier British league).

Veteran scene here we come
Michael is 64 now and we are both aiming to hit the world veteran scene. I’ve learnt that age is just a number and that the table tennis ball doesn’t know your age. I’ve also learnt to believe in the impossible because of Michael, who is Mr Impossible…

And that’s why Michael is my inspiration!

Mental Health Benefits of Table Tennis

It’s funny because I got into table tennis by watching the award winning film Forrest Gump. The main actor is portrayed as “dump” but it’s clear he has some sort of autism. I quickly related to the character, personally suffering from Dyslexia and I was also labelled as the “boy who can’t read or write, the stupid one”.

Magic of Table Tennis

We can all play table tennis and aside from being a fun activity and sport which can be played almost anywhere and with anyone, table tennis also offers many health benefits. Of course like all sports it provides great mind-body stimulation, and social interaction.

But what sets table tennis apart?

  • Improving hand-eye coordination.
  • Very low risk of injury
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Improving reflexes
  • Improve decision making
  • Improve strategy
  • Develops your vision and eye movement
  • Increases synovial fluid in the joints
  • Scientifically proven to be the worlds best brain sport. This is because you have to make decisions physically and
  • mentally with minimal time.
  • Table tennis is used in hospitals and care homes as treatment for dementia.
  • It improves balance.

Unbeknown to me at the time, (when I first began playing, aged 14) these health benefits started to reshape my brain and body! My focus in school started to enhance, my understanding of things began to make sense and I began to strategically develop my reading and writing skills (still working on it lol). My life had changed and spun 180 degrees from the boy who was never going to mount into anything…

Into, ‘today’ a man who does what he loves for a living (I was told it’s not possible to be a full time TT coach) and now I use the sport that changed my life, to help and inspire thousands; locally, nationally and internationally.

I’m not saying table tennis can cure and heal with a flick of a finger. But it will provide you with so many hidden benefits that you won’t fully understand, know or feel until one day… You will wake up and realise that you have implemented a compound effect which all of a sudden has materialised into something special, Who you have become!

Table Tennis whether done in small or large quantities will benefit your body and mind.

All you need to do is pick up a bat and let the magic begin…

I share my journey, coaching, inspiration and TT updates on my social media platform. I hope to see you all soon and if not then please join me on the journey of table tennis at eBaTT 🙌🏓

Stevie Brunskill’s Kind Words Of Recognition

I have won 1 award in my 21 years of coaching and that brought me to tears!
Because I felt respected and recognised. I think it’s something we all want! Whether it be by one or one hundred people (that’s irrelevant), the relevance is making an impact and then for it to be recognised.
Today opening FB and reading a mini blog by Stevie Brunskill, felt like I had won my second award.

As a professional table tennis coach with over 40 years in the game, you could say that I have met, played, coached, and worked with some wonderful people. I have decided to write and pay tribute to some memorable people that have inspired and helped shape me as a person.

Everyone that knows me, knows I do everything from the heart and give without ever thinking I want something in return. So when I get a small complement or something written or said to me or about me in a positive way. It truly fills my heart and makes me want to give more. 

Mr TT – Eli Baraty

Eli Baraty must be one of the most well-known names in table tennis. His self-promotion and his promotion of table tennis is probably of the highest in quantity and quality.

Some people might knock him for this, but actually who else is promoting table tennis like he is?
I don’t think anybody is. Not just in this country but I think it would be hard to find anybody in the world who relentlessly pushes table tennis to the mass market like he does. He constantly preaches about how great table tennis is. Eli really does live, breathe and sleep table tennis. Eli is very professional in his attitude and manner. I think his video presentations are possibly some of the best produced on the internet.

Eli and I have worked on several camps together. Eli’s coaching style is very professional, and he is always looking to develop and be creative with his delivery, often thinking outside the box, never shy to try new ideas and create new methods of training. Over the years Eli and I have become great friends.

Eli is a really nice guy who is easy to get along with, easy to work with and has brought many top coaches together with his coaching collaborations. Eli always gives great tips and advice to develop players and coaches. His presentation skills and promotion of the sport are second to none.

Although Eli is big on self-promotion, he never puts others down, in fact he is usually one of the first to praise and promote others. He is always offering to help and support others for the greater good of the game.

Another side to Eli that I admire is he is always looking to self-develop, always wanting to learn more and expand what he does, he never sits still. If someone is doing something and he is not, pretty soon he will be doing it and trying to develop it further if he feels it’s of value.

Again those that know me, know I don’t like to talk about what I do or can do but actually do it. Which means I must keep delivering, thank you so much for the love 💕🏓

Eli is very respectful and a true family man with strong traditional values and will always take a stand for what he believes in and stands by what he feels is right and wrong. He works tirelessly to help the game of table tennis improve, grow, and develop. It actually hurts him to see his beloved sport falter and fail and if he sees this, he is quick to say, not in a bid to drag the sport down, but to hopefully point out weaknesses and give suggestions of how he feels it could be improved, such is his passion for the sport.

Eli has a great zest for life, not just for creating good table tennis players or great clubs but also a general zest for life, if ever you ask how he is doing? Eli’s reply is nearly always “amazing” or “fantastic” He really does have this mindset of life is wonderful and probably sometimes it isn’t for him, but Eli is not going to bend to this. His mindfulness is so strong that he will continue until life actually becomes good. He tries to improve every aspect of his life which is something I admire.

He takes his table tennis work ethic and attitude into every aspect of his life. I think that’s what table tennis has given him, that’s what I feel table tennis has given me and I see this in Eli. Eli pushes this ethos of self-belief into the people he meets, helping others to develop many aspects of their lives by removing the restrictions and verbal barriers which other negative people may put in front of them. Eli himself dreams big and wants others to achieve their dreams also.
Eli is an extremely motivated guy who is so passionate and in love with the game, and what I think sets Eli apart is that his passion and love of the game is at every level, he loves the game no matter what, whether it’s played at home for pleasure, played for leisure or top elite, for Eli it doesn’t matter, as long as there is a bat in someone’s hand that’s what Eli wants to see. He would want for the sport of table tennis to be the biggest sport in the world and especially in this country more than anybody I know.

Many years ago, I remember someone saying, “table tennis will never be a popular sport until people in table tennis are willing to walk around town with tee shirts saying I love table tennis and not be embarrassed to say they are a part of the sport”. Until this happens table tennis will never grow. People within table tennis need to wear the tee shirt and be proud to be part of this wonderful sport.

Eli wears the tee shirt, and he wears it with pride.

Unfortunately for the sport of table tennis there is only one Eli Baraty.

As I always say, “if you have a dream, wake up and make it happen”

Behind every player, is a great coach

“Behind every player, is a great coach” I couldn’t have said any better!

Watching, talking and seeing these two Andreja Ojstersek Urh and Darko Jorgić over the past few years. Has given me hope, inspiration and even more love for our sport.

I first met Andreja, at the Olympic Qualification in Portugal and she made my eyes water. Telling me the back story of what she and her husband sacrificed for Jorgic and other TT players in Slovenia.

A coach that cares is a true coach and one that comes around rarely…

Comfortable With The Uncomfortable – Secret Table Tennis

As a single child with a single parent, I had no choice but to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I didn’t know at the time that it would be my secret table tennis success. Many days and nights I would roam the streets in our local neighbourhood/area. Aged four it all began, my father left and my mother worked many jobs to provide a roof and food over our heads. A bicycle was our form of transportation and staying with local neighbourhood friends was our close nit base. The neighbourhood was often used for food and passing time while mum was out working.

Dealing with difficulties:

Many times I would find myself arriving home with a note left for me. Unfortunately due to my dyslexia reading was something I found extremely difficult. I would try my best to read the letter which would often take a lot of time and mental effort. Other options included taking the letter to a neighbour’s house to read on my behalf or more often than not I would ignore it and assume all would be fine.

Life was presented to me with, “this is the way it is” deal with it! I was given a difficult scenario’s from a young age and having no choice but to accept it, I found ways to make the most of my circumstances. Viewing my options I found coping mechanisms and problem-solving tools to the scenarios in front of me. Many times I made mistakes but the beauty of it all, (which often youth of today fail to do) I learnt from my mistakes. Our personal fortunes never got better in fact financially and mentally it got worse for my mum.

Making a change

At 17 I decided it’s time for me to break away from a seemingly tough life. I packed my bags and went to live in France. Due to many years of survival experience, I was able to self-control my life out there without speaking a word of French (initially). I had a map and used my rollerblades for the first two month that was my form of transportation. And admittedly I would find other illegal ways of using public transport to get to other clubs or tournaments. I did have a little money but that was used for Table Tennis equipment, food and living costs. I’m not saying my life was like living in poverty but I faced many tough situations. The beauty of it all, I found it easy taking care of myself because I was doing what I loved and my passion for Table Tennis overshadowed the difficulties.

Today I realise all the uncomfortable scenarios which felt comfortable made me “comfortable with the uncomfortable”

I believe we are wrongdoing our future generations.

We look at given our players the best opportunities: top coaches, top facilities, best equipment, treat them well and look at avoiding making our players uncomfortable.

That’s where I feel we are going wrong! If I gave you a million pounds today, statistically speaking most will have blown the lot within 1-5 years.

If I teach you how to make a million, it’s likely that million you made will increase over time. And if you lose the million you have knowledge of how to rebuild if your willing to do so.

Make your players uncomfortable:

We are all far more resilient than we know or are given credit for.
For example, if I said don’t eat for a full day, most will say what are you mad! “I can’t do that I’ll starve or I will die” lol. If you were forced not to eat for (24 hours) the worst thing that would happen, you would feel hungry. Your body would adapt to the situation and slow down your metabolism and take energy from current body fat stored. Your mind will switch from I’m hungry to Ill be OK, I know the food will be provided in 24 hours. both your mind and body will work together to find solutions.

We don’t like feeling uncomfortable and look at every way possible of making ourselves comfortable.

Table Tennis Match
Ping Pong World Championships


Tips to develop yourself as a person and table tennis player:

Every morning: do what you don’t normally do! This includes: making your bed, brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, do not touch your phone for the first hour etc. You will develop self-control and built new neurological pathways in your brain.
Play in uncomfortable conditions:
– Make the floor slippery by not cleaning it.
– Start a league match without a knock up.
– Play using your opposite hand for 5-10min per training session,
– Play a shot you don’t like doing in a practice match
– Dim the lights
– Have a freezing cold or far too hot playing conditions in the hall for a training session.
The list goes on, be as creative and imaginative as possible.
Challenge yourself: to do something you don’t enjoy/want or believe you can do. For example, go and play golf, football, skiing, bungee jumping etc. Do an activity which you have never done before or fear.

Draycott table tennis club

I was at Draycott TTC last weekend and the players possessed many of the characteristics I speak of above.

The conditions were super hot that day, and I provided exercises which most were unfamiliar with or struggled to fully understand how or why it’s done. But yet most took on board the variety of uncomfortable scenarios. This showed me the character and ethos of the club which explained why Draycott is possibly the no.1 TT club under 17’s in England (currently).


I loved seeing all the players wearing Draycott’s club shirt, something I enforced in my former clubs and academy. I originate from a country where military service is a must, I was taught about forming a unity which begins with the uniform. You are given the opportunity to be yourself but when you’re tackling a certain cause or vision, that’s when it’s key to unite, in other words (assemble an army to tackle your desired outcome).
I’m an individual but I am also willing to unite at any given moment when I’m thriving towards success and need help getting there.

If you are wearing your clubs kit, it means you have created a bond and one that many fail to understand. Often due to ego or ignorance of unity, many fail and few succeed.

I urge all players, clubs and coaches to develop elements of uncomfortable situations and by doing so you will reap the rewards in the long term.

Check this unique uncomfortable training click HERE

Written by Eli Baraty

eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)                          
Coach Me Table Tennis 
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Instagram: _elibaraty 
Twitter: @elibaraty
FB: Coach Me Table Tennis
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M:  07900401144

Table Tennis Diplomacy

I am a great believer in table tennis diplomacy and Diplomacy as a whole. Many years ago a great event occurred called Ping-Pong Diplomacy, In short, it’s about how China opened their gates to America (click on the link to read about it).

A month ago the table tennis world witnessed history once again but this time, I call it Table Tennis Diplomacy.

Courtesy of Steve Rowe - North and South Korea Unite
Courtesy of Steve Rowe – North and South Korea Unite


We all know Korea is divided into north and south and they are officially separate countries. Both produce wonderful table tennis players. South Korea won the first Olympic men singles gold medal back in 1988 (Yoo Nam Kyu). Followed up by another singles gold medals in 2004 (Reu Seung Min). Both countries continue to produce both men and women world-class players. But at the recent world team Table Tennis Championships, we witnessed something even more special.

United Table Tennis Team:

Both South and North Korea, women’s team reached the quarter-finals stage and they were supposed to play each other. What seemed to be a refusal of play initially, actually became unity. Both countries decided against personal competition against one and instead formed a unified combined Korean team. Both coaches sat on the bench together alongside all players for the following semifinal match.

Nowhere but Sport:

The only time you will ever see countries who are enemy’s unite in peace, is inside sport. Sport brings people from every country in the world together in an even playing field and allows them to compete in peace regardless of nationality.

Sport connected me with every kind of person and showed me that what we think and see is often far from what actually is. Meaning we often judge or believe someone is a certain way because of their religion, colour, culture or faith.

Power of Table Tennis:

Because of table tennis, I alongside most don’t judge someone’s external appearance or given title such as; religion, colour, culture, faith etc. Table tennis allows us to communicate via our sport first and foremost. Once a sporting encounter has taken place then and only then we truly judged one another. Often we are able to assess someone’s character via the sporting battle and a mutual respect is either formed or a bond of sporting friendship has been developed. On a rare occasion, both players will not get along due to a fearsome battle on the table but a shake of hands will occur and both parties will go their separate ways.

Survival Instinct:

It all falls into one category of survival instincts. We are programmed to protect ourselves, our family and close Nit group of friends. Therefore we make the judgement based on; history, hearsay, poor body language, colour, race, region (location), religion etc. It’s an automatic response to anyone we meet who’s unknown to us and is simply a survival mechanism.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe this kind of human behaviour can ever be changed. But it can be controlled, via the power of sport.
I believe we should assess first then judge.
In a sporting environment, we feel protected via the umbrella of our chosen sport. This allows us to put our survival antenna down and give access to people whom often we would not grant permission to access our territory.



As we communicate with people from all backgrounds we start to understand that we are often similar. People want to enjoy our lives on earth with health and happiness. Humans are not born to destroy or fight one another other. We are creators and united we develop things unimaginable to a single person.

Put your guard down:

If we want to grow, develop and flourish there’s no better way but to unite. No matter how good or strong you are, as a single person, you can never defeat, develop or grow like a united team of 100 people.

Open your arms before your mind and you’ll see how people are often good, all they want is a chance to prove it.

Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis
Instagram: _elibaraty
Twitter: @elibaraty
FB: Eli Baraty
M:  07900401144

Are You Ready for Table Tennis Success?

Are you ready for table tennis success? Something many don’t fully understand.
Forrest Gump
22 years ago, I saw a man on-screen hitting a ball up against a folded Table Tennis Table and become World Champion in what seemed to be a few months! Unfortunately, and fortunately, that scene made me think that I could also become a World Champion one day! I was a natural sportsman and I felt with hard work I’ll achieve the same goal with relative ease.
Today’s youth have the same issue I had back then but it’s on a much bigger scale, everything must be or is INSTANT!
Local League
Older and wiser, its clear to me how ignorant I was and what a tough sport, Table Tennis truly is I ponder across many playing memory’s but the initial stumbling blocks always stick in your mind. For instance, back in 1998 after being playing table tennis for around 2 years and climbing up the junior ranking list very fast, I believed myself to be a skilled player.
Losing to unexpected opposition

One week at a local league match I lost to a man in his mid-60’s who only pushed and chopped both sides. The same week I lost to a man over 20 stone in weight who just downed a few beers prior to our match. Admittedly, unbeknown to me John Taylor was Barnet league’s leading player for many years and top 40 men at the time. The man enjoying his beer while destroying me was former England senior no.2 Graham Sandly, a gentleman who lost to Desmond Douglas deuce in the third twice! (back then up to 21 points) at the Senior Singles National Championships.

Don’t Judge or let others misdirect you, be in control of yourself!

Their record and ability were unimportant to me, due to their physical appearance and I was truly devastated as an aspiring World Champ. I remember being awake in the middle of the night (unable to sleep) replaying both matches. I was thinking of, losing to an old man who only pushes and a man who can’t move “what’s the point?” I felt demoralised and defeated and on the brink of throwing in the towel. Fortunately for me the love for the sport kept me playing and I went on to beat John the following season. Graham does not play anymore, so I was unable to get revenge.

Cippenham Men's Single Winner


Personal Development

my development enabled me to represent England as a player at Safir’s (Sweden). My skills continued to grow to a point where I was able to beat and train with some world-class players. I did not manage to become World Champ because I ultimately quit playing competitively at a young age (that’s another story). I changed my pathway from player to coach but the dream is not over! I still believe I’ll win a world championship title one day, whether it be as a coach or possibly as a player aged 60 years old plus 🙂


I look back and think the key was pushing beyond that horrible feeling. This enabled me to achieve as a player and today as a coach. I have developed such grit that hearing negative comments such as; “I can’t make a living from being a coach”, “I’m a rubbish coach”, “I steal players”, “I’ll never be a good coach”, “get a proper job” just makes me stronger. Furthermore, it makes me better and inspires me further towards my quest of becoming a world-leading coach.

Never Give Up

There have been many occasions when I felt like, maybe it’s time to get a “normal job”! But something deep down pushed me further, especially when tough times hit. I looked at how I could better myself?!  and kept driving forward and I realised without the tough times I would not have the knowledge or success. I honestly believe that my journey has just begun even though I have been coaching for 18 years. My ambitions of changing the face of table tennis for the better continues to grow. I will achieve my dreams because I refuse to quit. Each time I fall or get hit it makes me smarter, stronger and pushes me forward ten folds.

I’ve come to a realisation;
  1. We may have a vision but if we are not willing to face the tough times, we will never achieve great heights.
  2. Losing and going through difficult times is the best thing you could ever ask for. At those moments and times, you truly reflect and this enables you to grow as a person and player.
  3. Greatness is achieved in time, if you want something special to be instant it will never happen. You will surely never achieve anything special with that kind of mindset.
Its a long journey, so put your seat belt on and get ready for some bumpy rides:

I coach some very rich and influential people, some that can buy and have almost anything on earth.
The reason they love Table Tennis is that they know it’s impossible to be a good player instantly. They want to grind and work towards success. There’s no better feeling than working towards a big goal and achieving it.

You are in control:

If you have a mindset of I’m willing to; work, learn, and face the tough times plus get through them, then you’re ready for Table Tennis Success.

Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis 
Instagram: _elibaraty
Twitter: @elibaraty
FB: Eli Baraty
M:  07900401144

All Good Things Come to an End but an Ending Provides New Opportunities…

I have coached at The Harefield Table Tennis Academy for 10 years. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end but an ending provides new opportunities. I am a person always looking to embrace change! I was fortunate to work with many wonderful players and people at a wonderful facility. Coaching beginners, county, national and international players was a privilege, but the most rewarding aspect was seeing all become amazing young people.

Table Tennis in Harefield
Harefield Table Tennis Academy


Building something from nothing

After 10 years of doing something you love, it became clear to me that I have to choose whether to leave or should I stay and continue at Harefield. It’s a tough ask, continue doing what you love or look to grow as a coach and person. Some may say “why would you want to change a good thing?” and keep going but I believed that it was my time to spread my wings and fly higher.

The world has so much to offer and staying in one place may mean the world for one person but for someone like myself, it means I’m not growing and more importantly I’m not sharing.

Embrace Change

Being involved in Table Tennis for 26 years has made me realise how new opportunities can be greater than what you originally had. And whether you like it or not and I embrace change.

So the lesson for today, if you truly wish to be a pioneer in your chosen field you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace change.