by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The fourth edition of the initiative, a total of 12 players from 11 European countries all under 13 years old, are present; proceedings being organised by Croatia’s Neven Cegnar, the Development Officer of the European Table Tennis Union and for many years the coach for his country’s women’s team.
Assisted by Tomas Demek and Dominik Piskor, Petr Korbel is very much the celebrated name amongst the coaching staff; a player who has first-hand experience of the trials and tribulations that may face young players.
Notably in Novi Sad in 1988 he won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships, a tournament in which another young man came to our attention; a certain Vladimir Samsonov, then representing the Soviet Union, he won both the Cadet Boys’ Doubles and Cadet Mixed Doubles titles.
Now for those in Ostrava, listen to the words of Petr Korbel but I suggest all should heed the words of Sir David Brailsford. He took the Great Britain cycling team from virtual zero to leading the cycling medal table at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He followed the policy of marginal gains.
“If you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1 per cent you will get a significant increase when you put them all together” Sir David Brailsford
Surely that theory can also apply to table tennis?