Assigning training partners

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 1 month ago


D K Asked 1 month ago

Greetings team,
I am back here after some while :)

How are you?


I was thinking about what currently happening more and more at our trainings. Our new coach (new since October) continually descreased the variance between the training pairs. He basically established a state where everyone of us plays always with one single the same player. I have played my last more than 30 trainings with only one player. Two regularly training girls always train with each other.

When someone does not come,the coach always either takes his partner to multiball or play with him/her himself,or sends him/her to play service,but he also does it when two players are missing.

For example, the players train

When C and E do not come,their partners D and F could play with each other,but the coach often does not allow it. He says "you need your  assigned training partner else the training does not make much sense." Only when someone new or irregular comes, he acts trangely. There is a player who comes to train to our club only 2x a week. He ALWAYS ends up with me. It is very difficult to train against him,because he has only power and no control. Yet,he is always tasked by playing against my defense,which has simply no point in his current state when he cannot play a decent stroke other than BOOOMB. However,when someone new (and weaker than the abovementioned bomber in terms of overall performance), comes,they get assigned to stronger players or overally much better sparrings.

We tried to talk about it with the coach,but to the abovementioned player he said rudely "This is my competence". To me he said "There is no other logical way" without further explanation. I would like to ask what is your view on the situation and on the "who should train with who" thing.

Thanks Dan

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 1 month ago

Hi Dan, 

Great to hear from you, and it's good to see that you're actively engaged in your training environment! The practice of pairing players consistently with the same training partners, as your coach is doing, can have both pros and cons. Consistently pairing players allows each to become very familiar with their partner’s play style, which can be beneficial for working on specific aspects of their game. It allows for a more tailored approach where each player’s strengths and weaknesses are well-understood and can be directly addressed during training sessions. However, as you’ve pointed out, there's a significant downside to this approach: it can limit players' exposure to various styles of play and strategies, which is crucial for developing a well-rounded game. Facing different opponents challenges a player to adapt their strategies and responses, thereby improving their overall game flexibility and readiness for competition. Regarding your situation where one of the players only plays powerful shots without much control, it's indeed challenging, especially if the training doesn't seem constructive. It might be useful for your coach to consider balancing training between developing specific skills with your regular partner, and mixing it up with other partners to hone adaptability and tactical responsiveness. As for how the coach is handling the assignments and the feedback from players, communication seems to be an issue. It's important for a coach to provide clear explanations for their training decisions to ensure players understand and buy into the training process. Without this, it can create frustration and a feeling of stagnation. Perhaps you could suggest a team meeting or a one-on-one discussion where these concerns can be addressed more thoroughly. It might be helpful to propose a trial period where players rotate partners more frequently, so the coach can observe if this influences the overall performance and development positively. Remember, a good coach should be open to feedback and willing to adapt strategies if that leads to better outcomes for the players. Keep the conversation constructive and focused on how changes could benefit not just individual players but the entire group's development. 

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Thoughts on this question

Rick August

Rick August Posted 1 month ago

I've been to some group trainings where the coach keeps you with the same player the entire session.  I don't mind doing drills with players of all levels but when you constantly get paired with players that have trouble doing the drills and you never switch, the sessions are not useful and not cost effective.  I believe that the players should be rotated so that you get a chance to drill with different players of all levels during the session.  I talked to the coach about this, but he was not interested in changing so I never went back.


D K Posted 1 month ago

Yes - exactly.
I can adapt to many various forms of players within the scope of my ability.
I have gained enough proficiency that I can play drills even against unusual or junk style players.
I have trained myself in a full patience and I am invulnerable against the sparring partner's frustration from his/her own mistakes etc.
This is in fact the almost only skill which I can practise with my current sparringpartner.
His technique is wrong,which means the ball will fall off his bat unless he does a full bomb.
It is either he misses,or I miss,or I return and he does not manage to do the second stroke.
We tried to talk with the coach but he firmly told us back that he is the one who decides.
There was even an argument between him and our other coach,who is now second-in-command,and agrees with us that this situation is wrong.

Also - the bomb player is not an official member of our club,he only trains here. Not uncommon,but possible.
Though,he said he feels (and I share that feeling) that I am a trash bin for players who are not exactly welcome at the training,or who are somehow weaker.
I get to play other players because I train 4x a week,the bomber only 2x a week.
But he,whenever comes, plays SOLELY with me.
At the same time,when another player from outside of the club comes,he/she gets to play with other players.
Therefore,the bomb player feels discriminated.
The coach refuses to talk about it though and claimed that the bomb player can be grateful that he is even allowed to train there at all.


D K Posted 1 month ago

OKay,update from yesterday.
I had to have ab reak from trainings due to injured foot and work searching.


The coach called me when I am going to start attending again because the bomb player cannot train as "I am his assignee and he must not play with anyone else" ... 

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