Creating the right environment
OK, so why is it that some training environments seem to produce great athletes time and time again, with what looks like the same set up as many others? Many times the qualification of the coach is the same, there is often the same number of players, however almost certainly a particular place will produce better players, WHY? There are clubs around right now and definitely in my childhood where they would produce talent after talent. The easy thing for onlookers to say is, “well they are always going to produce players, look at the players they have already, imagine playing against them every day”. How did those ‘good’ players initially become good? The answer in my view is competition and environment!
Somewhere along the line an environment had been creating to allow individuals to excel. So what do I mean by competition and environment?
Competition is a healthy thing for an individual, it allows them to see where they are and self-evaluate- a very useful tool, it allows them to be able to create goals, it allows them to strive for more and most importantly, with the right set up allows a player to have fun! When I started to play, I remember I wasn’t even good enough to enter the beginners group, so my mother and I would play on the tables adjacent to the group, copying and learning quickly what the group were doing. “I want to be in that group mummy” I would say, she would reply “keep working hard and you will get there one day”. This was my first experience of goal setting. At the club I trained at there was a beginner group, intermediate group and an advanced group. We all trained at the same time in the same hall, however we all wanted to be in the best group so this was an example of healthy competition.
So what do I mean by environment? Of course you must have tables, bats, balls and barriers and so on; however environment to me is how a player feels when they step into the hall. Do they feel confident, or do they feel inferior as though they don’t belong? Environment is very much the responsibility of the coach in charge, their job is to create unity! Unity in its simplest form means ‘joined as a whole’ and is the most important thing to creating the right environment. Players must feel proud of being part of your club, they must feel equally as important as anyone in the hall, they must feel they can ask the best player in the hall for a knock and they would get respect back, they must be encouraged, they must enjoy it, but most of all there has to be discipline. Unity is something which can be created off the table. Maybe a team day out? If a player is not so good at table tennis but is exceptional at fitness, use them for demonstration; integrate fitness into sessions for them. Giving players responsibilities is a good way of helping build confidence. Monthly prizes for best attitude, this all helps the morale of every person.
So as you can see I feel strongly that with the right environment, competitiveness and unity every club has the opportunity of creating some super talents!
By implementing this mindset into your training environment, you will create a hardworking, fun and competitive atmosphere, where players have a growth mindset who are not afraid to fail!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and possibly got some ideas to help your club achieve great things!