31 May 2017

Presented by Irene Faber “Towards a sustainable talent system: from detection to the podium in table tennis” was just one of the many presentations offered at the Sports Science Congress staged on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May, prior to the start of the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf.

It was the 15th time that the event had been staged.

:by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Venue for the whole proceedings was the Lindner Hotel, less than 20 minutes distant from the Messeplatz; throughout matters were chaired by Michael Fuchs from the University of Munich with the support of Professor Miran Kondric PhD, the Chair of the ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee.

Present to open the occasion was Thomas Weikert, ITTF President. Also in attendance was Glenn Tepper, ITTF Deputy President alongside Michael Geiger, the President of the German Table Tennis Association, Matthias Vatheuer, the General Secretary and Professor Martin Lames from the Faculty of Sports and Health Science in Munich, very much the mentor for the occasion.

Thomas Weikert opens the Congress (Photo: courtesy of Michael Fuchs)

Most impressively, the meeting attracted some 120 participants; over 100 abstracts were presented in addition to 15 oral presentations.

“As chair of the ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee, I feel very responsible for and committed to racquet sports science. I hope that this 15th ITTF Sports Science Congress was a great opportunity to reinforce its development. Success in sport is much more likely if players follow a sound training programme based on scientific training principles so as to prepare themselves physically and mentally for the rigorous demands of national and international competitions.” Professor Miran Kondric

Dejan Papic records matters for posterity (Photo: courtesy of Michael Fuchs)


A wide range of topics was on view, the opinions of Michiyo Kimura on the subject of nutrition being particularly relevant to young players and perhaps indicating the fact that we need to revise the playing schedules. Finish eating at least two hours before playing was an underlying theme.

“The main challenge of this two-day event was to engage in discussion on what are the actual priorities for improving scientific research among table tennis. We especially have to stress that researchers from various countries around the world have frequently expressed concerns about the way sporting systems are increasingly impacting on players’ achievement, with the possible effect of impairing their health.” Professor Miran Kondric PhD

Professor Martin Lames addresses the Congress (Photo: courtesy of Michael Fuchs)


Continually, in all aspects of table tennis, we move ever more to a most professional situation; sports science has a role to offer. In this respect the theme on the second day “Theoretical and Practical Performance Analysis in Table Tennis” provided food for thought as we attempt to move into ever more proficient situations.

“Concluding on the last day of the Congress we saw that there are many good practices in various aspects of training that represent the quality we desire for professionally managed table tennis. We have to present and share these practices in order to demonstrate that we are not simply talking about things, but we are also realising things.” Professor Miran Kondric PhD

The effect of ball size and net height were items on the agenda (Photo: courtesy of Michael Fuchs)


However, as with all such events, the most important aspect is not necessarily now but tomorrow; leaving the Lindner Hotel richer for the experience and being able to pass on the knowledge when returning home is the key factor.

“Another challenge of the Congress was to improve co-operation between scientists among all bordering sciences. I do hope, however, that every participant will later return to their country and present the conclusions and ideas of this Congress to their colleagues so that they may be used in their future research work. We at the ITTF will do our best to implement all the ideas or recommendations in our scientific work.” Professor Miran Kondric PhD

A most successful gathering, now the task is to spread the knowledge gained, to continue the discussion, to open new avenues and in so doing facilitate promotion; enhance the sport if table tennis.

Members of the Sports Science Congress in Düsseldorf (Photo: courtesy of Michael Fuchs)


Sports Science Congress: Oral Presentations (Saturday 27th May)

Sports Science Congress: Oral Presentations (Sunday 28th May)

Sports Science Congress: Poster Presentations (Saturday 27th May)


Liebherr 2017 World Championships Sports Science Sports Science and Medical Committee

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