Category: Table Tennis China

Ma and Fan final

There it is!

The inevitable, Ma and Fan are in the final…

BUT, they both had a huge scare and fight in the semi final’s. 11-9 in the last is truly anyone’s match and yet they both found a way to cross the line.

Is that due to; Belief? Tactic’s? Luck? Hard work paying off?

What could have Dima and Lin done differently to convert the match in their favour?

Fan Zhendong – Can win the Olympics! #1

World no.1 and possibly the most ferocious player in history. His speed, power and aggression is computer game like! How he is able to blitz every ball machine like? Even the picture demonstrates that he’s super-human.

I don’t believe any player is capable of matching his speed and power. The only way he can be beaten is by using variation of speed, power, spin and placement. Implementing all these variations and keeping consistent is extremely difficult especially when you have a super force (FZD) coming at you…

This event is most likely going to crown him as the new Chinese king and take over the dragons title.


  • World ranking no.1
  • Silver medal World Championships
  • 4x World Cup champion

Can Fan Zhendong really win?

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t think so. Fan is the favourite to come out with a gold medal around his neck.

What may stop him:

  1. Fan Zhendong, is machine like and if things are out of place, it can have a malfunction. Meaning if someone is able to find the switch off button, he can be beaten.
  2. Are the Chinese hierarchy’s going to have influence on the match? Or say may they best man win? If they do have influence I believe they would want to see Fan win, a so called hand over! If it’s best man win scenario, Ma Long may look at finding the switch off button, so he can walk away from the sport as the only man to win two single Olympic golds.


I think Fan is like but not loved! He’s speed and power is admired but few can connect to that sort of game. He is not in the game to win fans but win titles and it’s clear to see.

Personally I have never connected to him but in awe of his ability. Therefore I will not be routing for him even though the odds of him winning are higher than any other player in the draw.

Please share your thoughts and comments. And of course share the thread if you liked it…

It’s not the best advert, if one nation continues to dominate a sport, but it’s down to other nations to find a way of winning! 🙌🏓

Ma Long – Can win the Olympics! #2

The best player ever! Aged 16 he exploded onto the scene and I immediately connected to him. I told one of my players (Filip Szymanski), that Ma Long will become world no.1. I didn’t know he would go on to become virtually unbeatable!

This event is most likely going to be his last and the aim is simple, add to his legacy.


  • Highest world ranking no.1
  • Olympic Champion
  • 3x World Champion
  • World Cup champion

Can Ma Long really win?

I think it goes without saying, the answer is a simple yes! But here are the issues;

  1. Fan Zhendong, lays in his pathway, it’s around 50/50 between them both over the past 2-3 years.
  2. Is it time for Ma to hand over the torch? If he wins, it may hinder FZD’s confidence and future as the new Chinese captain.

I do believe if Ma reaches the final and Fan, is knocked out Ma will be crowned as the only player in history to Win 2x singles Olympic titles.

Tactically Ma Long knows how to beat Fan and I genuinely believe he will find the answers in the final if they meet. But my mind tells me that China want Fan to win and need him to carry the torch for the nation for the next 5-7 years before a new super star emerges.
Tactically: Ma will need to spread his ball placement and not give FZD rhythm. If he gets bogged down (BH to BH) and then Fan switches Ma wide to his fh. Then that’s FZD trade mark and no one in the world can go head to head with Fan in this encounter.


In my opinion Ma is the most loved Chinese player internally and externally ever. Which effectively means he will be routed for. If and possibly when he meets Fan in the final.

China, is definitely still the strongest TT nation in the world and if we are being realistic, it’s a strong bet that we will see a gold medal around a Chinese players neck! 🙌🏓

Personally I would love to see Ma win and retire on-top but my brain tells me it’s not going to happen!

Please share your thoughts and comments. 

Why are they the best?!

Put aside numbers for a minute, (we all know TT is played in the masses there) but numbers does not guarantee success!

It’s a collaborative system, structure and team work…
Unity enables China to dominate TT like no other sport on the planet.
If we truly want to compete with China, we must unite nationally and internationally.
I have the master plan, now who will join me 🙌🏓💪🏼

China’s Table Tennis Dominance at the World Championships 2018

China’s table tennis dominance continues as they took both men and women’s team titles the weekend. I watched most of the event with many thrilling matches, but I chose not to watch the final (I knew the outcome prior to the occasion).

The issue for Table Tennis: 

Knowing the outcome is a big problem for our sport or any sport for that matter! For example, if I took a Ferrari and a Ford Focus on a track and announced to all my family and friends come and watch these two cars race, I’m pretty sure no one would be interested. Why, because common sense tells you the Ferrari will destroy the Ford and there’s no point in watching when you most likely know the final outcome. There needs to be uncertainty to increase players and viewers appetite.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Rowe (Aerobic Table Tennis)


China has dominated table tennis for nearly 20 years now and from an inside or outside perspective the joy of uncertainty has disappeared!

Some would say well what about someone like Usain Bolt who dominated sprinting for a decade? That was joyful to watch, yes but everyone knows that stint would only last for a decade at most and like any athlete, their time will pass. China keeps producing new table tennis superstars, so their dominance seems unstoppable unlike a top sportsman who’s rain will eventually end. China as a nation continues to dominate and their supremacy is unknown which means it’s down to us to do something about it.


Why does football as a sport do so well from a spectator’s and players point of view?
1. It’s simple to understand
2. The game has many elements of uncertainty, a team from the lower end of a division can beat a top end team.
3. Countries like Sweden, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, USA, Cameroon etc. Can all beat one another on a given day?

So how can China’s dominance be challenged?

1. Belief: Often I see TT players not believing that China can be beaten before they start they have lost!
2. Time: China seems to have a little gap which I’ve not seen before, only Fan Zhendong seems to be a new generational player. Could we see a small kink in 3-5 years, time or do they have some hidden stars ready to take Ma Long and Xu Xin’s place?
3. United: countries must unite in training regimes to push one another to higher levels.

It’s time to believe, unite and take this possible opportunity to break China’s stranglehold and dominance on our sport.

Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis 

China’s Table Tennis Coach

China’s table tennis coach is considered to be the best coach in the world. This is subjective but currently from an outside perspective, when you coach the best players in the world that’s the perception.

Respect your coach:

Back in the late 90’s, I idolised top players but I had an even greater respect for their coaches. I’ll never forget hunting down Jean-Philip Gatian’s coach. Gatien was a World Champion (1993) and as a fellow lefty, I felt if I’m ever to become a World Champion myself. I need to learn from someone who’s taught a fellow lefty how to become a Champion!


Table Tennis Coach in your corner
Table Tennis Coach

Today as a coach myself, I realise what a huge role a coach has towards creating success for his/her players. And this has been highlighted even more so, recently. The Chinese supremacy seems to have declined drastically over the past few months. Former head Coach Liu Guoliang was pushed into a new role inside the Chinese’s Table Tennis Association. Liu had an aura and presence about him which kept players in check and coaches working together in harmony. I believe when someone is able to unite those around them, its a gift and one that must be respected.

Head Coach

Being a head coach requires so many skills to ensure success in his/her camp. But unfortunately many don’t realise or know the qualities required to be a top coach. And how a top coach is able to bring the best out of his/her players.

China’s Table Tennis Coach

It’s clear to see Liu’s past presence has had a big impact on China’s national team. The players seem lost and unsure where or what they are meant to do. The vision seems blurred and even the coaches are seemingly lost and angered causing an overall decline in China’s TT army.

What will China do and will they regroup? before the next major event such as the world table tennis event?

So… my message is to always respect your TT coach, regardless of whether they are China’s table tennis coach or yours. If they have given you, your club, or nation success, they must be respected for their work and achievements.

Liu in action click here – notice the respect

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

World Table Tennis Team Championships 2018

Table Tennis History

Less than 20 years ago, the World Table Tennis  Championships would include, Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles and a Team event, all on the same occasion! Today the team event is a separate entity and I wholeheartedly agree. I remember going to Manchester 1997 to watch the event where I witnessed Waldner get destroyed by Samsanov in the team category but then go on to humiliate Vladimir in the final of the single event.


Twenty-First century Table Tennis

Today having a separate event allows all players to give their 100%, due to a singular focus rather than multiple categories which takes precedence for certain players.

Some interesting results have occurred already and notably, England has caused the biggest shock of the event beating Japan. At the Beginning of this month, England suffered a shock defeat to a weakened Nigerian team at the Commonwealth games, so…

What has changed in less than a month?

1.    At the Commonwealth Games, England were favourites to beat Nigeria and the whole event (an unfamiliar situation for the players). At previous events England was unseeded and the pressure was on the opposing teams to beat England but on this occasion, the tables had turned. It seemed the pressure of being favourites had taken its toll on the players and on that occasion, they were unable to control nor handle the pressure and bowed out to Nigeria in the semi-final stage.

2.    Often when we suffer a tough loss or go through a negative period, we learn from it and use it to grow and develop ourselves. England TT men’s squad did just that! and clearly picked themselves up brushed off the loss and used it to produce their best result to date.

3.    Liam Pitchford, has become a top 5 in the world team player outside of China. Liam has found a system that enables him to compete with any player in the world outside of China in a team competition. He uses the power of his teammates and coach to push himself beyond his normal capabilities and produces huge results for the team which uplifts the overall team’s belief.

China’s Table Tennis

Unfortunately, China is still seemingly unbeatable with Ma Long and Fan Zhendong currently untouchable… But Ma Long has a newborn baby now and he is around 30 years old now. He surely will be looking to slow down in the near future which effectively leaves Fan Zhendong as a lone ranger. And I believe from what I’m seeing there is not much coming through from behind to back Fan. So, could we see China broken in the next 5 years? It’s a tall ask and one few can truly answer but a small crack in the wall can turn into a major structural issue. Keeps a close eye on table tennis over the next few years and let’s see what unfolds.


Only time will tell if China will be beaten once again! but the key for everyone as England has shown, you don’t need all the skills in the world to beat the best in the world. Belief plays a huge part and if you have that inner belief you are capable of achieving what is seemingly impossible.

Well done to England Table Tennis Men’s Team for their wonderful achievements over the past 3 years.

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

Learn from the Best Table Tennis Coaches

This Weekend, I was privileged to work with some of the best table tennis coaches in Europe! how makes these coaches some of the best table tennis coaches in Europe?

Mario Genovese –

From Malta, Mario’s record as a coach and player is extraordinary producing top-class players with very limited resources and facilities in Malta. Mario is a current world record holder with 22 Men’s singles National titles and is still capable of increasing that record. He was an international player for many years and a professional player based in Sweden. Currently, Mario is an ITTF level two coach and he knows and has worked with many world class players and coaches. Today Mario has produced Malta’s no.1 Table Tennis club and all the nations best players have come from his base over the past 10 years. For more information click here

Afonso Vilela –

From Portugal, started Coaching in a little place called (Madeira) famous for players such as Marcos Freitas. Afonso worked closely with Joao Monteiro, in a successful attempt to qualify for 2012 London Olympic Games. They were very proud to achieve it and Afonso was Joao’s personal coach at the Olympic Games. Afonso, went on to work with many clubs across Europe gaining vast experience in the sport. Recently he took a head coach role in India, where he coached a group of young players including world no.1 ranked Junior (Manav Vikash Thakkar). Afonso aims to have his own table tennis centre soon with plans in place to develop a full-time table tennis centre catering for all players.  Alongside side a future vision of creating and developing a new batch of Portuguese Table Tennis Superstars.

Julien Girard –

From France, A former top junior and senior player himself decided he would shake the French system by producing top players outside of the national governing table tennis system. Julien believes in results, not accreditation and he wanted to prove it by investing in personal and physical investment. In France, you need to pay thousands towards a coaching diploma (to be a qualified table tennis coach). Julien redirected the money and invested it by taking himself to as many top clubs and coaches across Europe and Asia for 5 years. This was in pursuit of learning his current craft hands on, from the best in the world. Today Julien has taken a small club in a small town south of France to the top division (Pro A) with French players only. He has produced and developed 4 men’s singles titles in the past 5 years, with his players including; Alexandre Robinot, Adrien Mattenet, Jeremy Petiot and Stephane Oauiche. For more information click here

So, what have I learnt from the best tabe tenis coaches?
1. Attention to detail:

Often I go around England looking at table tennis clubs and coaches and they are content with basic play. The saying in England is “practice makes perfect” nothing could be further from the truth! It’s ‘perfect practice that makes perfect’, therefore we must look at perfecting our clubs and players not just allowing them to take part.

2. Secrets:

Each coach has one or two secrets by this guys have plenty because they are open-minded, willing and want to learn. They openly ask what do you do? and how do you do it? I often feel coaches in England don’t share knowledge and we don’t learn from one another. We need to have; open workshops, coaching collaborations and clubs competing against each other in a competitive way but with open arms when it comes to growth for our players and sport.

3. Experience: 

You may have all the qualifications in the world but if you have not been on the job experimenting and trying out the theory’s you don’t know what works best. Each coach has their particular way but with experience, you can find ways that work better than others and that takes time to implement. You must go to other clubs and coach many players. Try to visit other countries to see different systems and philosophies. This will provide you with vital experience to truly succeed.

I have been blessed to work with these amazing coaches (some of Europes best table tennis coaches) and today we are called UNITED TABLE TENNIS COACHING (Team) We have a Facebook page and soon to have a website. Our aim is to grow and develop table tennis in Europe to compete with Asia but also find ways to beat them.

We want you to be a part of our journey, so please keep an eye out for our coaching seminars, videos, developments and coaching days across Europe which will be published soon.

Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors

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

Two Huge Losses for Lin Gaoyuan, What Will This Mean?

Two huge losses for Lin Gaoyuang what will this mean?

The World Table Tennis Cup is currently being played and Lin Gaoyuang, has suffered his second loss from a winning position!

Lin, played in both the World Championship and World Cup this year and on both occasion’s he was leading vs Xu Xin and Timo Boll; 10-5 and 10-4 in the last but managed to lose.

Playing for China Lin Gaoyuang
Lin Gaoyuang representing China


So, what does this mean?

In every nation but China, this kind of loss would be dealt with a pat on the back and some critic as to what happened, followed by words of encouragement.

In China, it’s a different ball game!

This is seen as a huge problem and one of which has been dealt with severely in the past. Such as; (funnily enough – both left-handed, like Lin).

Chen Qi – was a remarkable player capable of beating anyone on his day but often failed under huge pressure and thus was never a first-team player, for China.

Hao Shuai- another phenomenal talent that crumbled against Michael Maze having many match points and leading 3-0. His future was never the same after that event!

Today Lin, crumbled on two big occasions, he can be forgiven against Xu Xin but I believe his first-team position has ended as of today! Losing to Timo Boll from 10-4 in the last will be the nail in his coffin. He will be in the national squad for sure but likely will never be in the first team.

Harsh Truth

This may seem harsh and many will feel it’s wrong, sideling a player after two poor performances especially as they have sacrificed their lives for the sport. But China has a strict regime that takes no prisoners and unfortunately, due to their TT dominance, they will not allow a weak leak in their set up.

Both I and David Diniz (professional coach in Portugal with his own TT academy, spoke about this matter today and felt it’s a huge subject.

What’s your opinion on this? and do you think Lin Gaoyuang, will be given another chance to redeem himself in the future?

To view Timo Boll’s Come back against Lin Gaoyuang click here

Written by Eli Baraty

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