I'm a UKCC Level 1 table tennis coach (the lowest level of officially recognised coaching standard in the UK). I can help at coaching sessions but I can't lead one on my own. Why, because I'm not considered technically qualified to do so (technically refers to generic coaching skills as well as actual technique). I seldom offer advice on threads and topic relating to coaching on this forum. Why?
1. It's not worth the hassle. Someone always has a different opinion they believe is right.
2. Being a qualified coach, I know enough to know that I don't know enough to offer advice in a forum environment.Does that mean that others don't or shouldn't post on these types of topics?
No. Everyone has the right to offer an opinion.Does it mean that anyone who posts on these types of topics should be believed and not challenged?
No. Everyone has the right to expect that they are receiving sound advice, advice that won't hinder their development (and often in coaching you're taught that you should only try and change a technique if the way that someone is doing something isn't working, or could be done better - textbook technique is not always the most appropriate way for everyone to play the game).What's the relevance of this post? Simple.
- If you post on this forum, there is a good chance that you will be challenged about your opinions.
- If you post on this forum, you need to accept that other people will have different opinions to you.
- If you post on this forum, you have a responsibility to other posters not to mislead them. Helpful advice and opinions, can do more harm than good.Who and how do you decide what's good?
If someone is new to a forum, how do you know whether the advice they give is good or bad? There is a theory about teams and the stages it goes through before it performs well - storming, forming, norming, performing. Any new poster is likely to go through all these stages on this forum - which in many ways is a team. It would be great to jump straight to "performing" but it won't happen because those earlier "unpleasant" stages are needed so that boundaries can be drawn and perceptions about the qualities people bring to a team can be assessed. It happens.My experience
I didn't post on this forum for some time. There have been occasions when I've been torn in to after asking a question and the moderators have stepped in. There have been times when I've had my wrists slapped for being "unfair" to forum members - sometimes by moderators, other times by people who have sent me PM (personal message).
What ever the outcome, I need to build up a level of trust about the person posting - and that level of trust doesn't mean believe only those who believe the same as me. Nor does it mean repeating my comments continually until I wear someone down and they give up. Nor does it mean having to put up with what I consider to be childish school ground behaviour and name calling.
When I read comments about being challenged about "standard of play" I ask myself two simple questions to determine if it's a fair challenge - and I believe any opinion has a right to be given and a right to be challenged - and then a third, much harder one
1. If Ma Lin, William Henzell, Paul Drinkhall or Timo Boll had posted that comment and everyone knew it was them, would I react any differently to it.
and then I ask a second more subjective comment
2. Is that the type of comment I would expect someone with their table tennis experience and knowledge would make
and finally a much harder and even more subjective question
3. If that comment is left unchallenged, does it risk doing damage to this forum or it's members
And it's my answer to the third question why I'm posting now.
I started two threads in the past about "helpful posts"
Do you find equipment review "threads" helpful or confusing:viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7012&hilit=+trust
What makes a good review:viewtopic.php?f=9&t=27892&hilit=+trust
In both of those threads common denominators were "benchmarks" (check out the topics if you want to know who said what below)
- "knowing the standard of the player is a must."
- "An honest description of the tester's level and style also helps"
- "Of course, a good player may not necessarily give an accurate review."
and crucially this opinion was expressed
- "I am not going to stop anyone to offer their opinions on the equipment, technique etc. Just give me some idea about your level and play style so that I can evaluate it in context."
It's one of the reasons members of this forum spent some time coming up with a review template and asked reviewers to use it - it's on this forum if you search for it.What's this got to do with this topic?
Forum members here will not take what you say at face value. You will be challenged if you post here. People will express a difference of opinon. In my case, posting although frightening at first has given me a lot more confidence and helped increase my social skills.
Not everyone will agree with everyone else and not everyone will agree when it's inappropriate. I know for a fact there have been discussion behind the scenes on this forum a number of times in the past when moderators have had different opinions on how and when to get involved in what for someone is a dispute and for someone else a discussion.
And importantly, sometimes you just need to agree to disagree and move on. Shouting, repeating arguments trying to wear people down won't work - people aren't stupid. They'll stop posting and they'll stop reading those posts.Suggestion:
1. Before joining, consider reading this topic:
Forum Goals, Rules and Guidelines - viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7074
2. If you feel you are being treated unfairly on the forum - even if it's by another moderator, consider reading this topic
Dial a Moderator - viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4026&hilit=moderator
3. If you still not happy with the behaviour of a forum member or they generally annoy you, you can either
- remove their posts from threads so that "you" don't have to read them anymore - use the "friends or foe" options within your user control panel (you have to be a member to do this) faq.php#f6r1
and search for friend or foe
- ignore them and not post
4. If you're not happy with how you are being treated, apply to be a moderator and change the forum from within
5. If you still aren't happy, you have the right to leave the forum
Everyone has the right to choose to post or not. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and it helps if you can look from another persons perspective too.FACTS vs OPINIONS and third party hearsay
And lastly, just to correct an opinion with a fact. This is not a "Pips dominated forum".
FACT 1: There are at least 28 categories of discussion on this forum - "alternative equipment" are only 4 of them
FACT 2: The Categories which have the most topics posted on them are
- General 3219
- Equipment (all) 3159
- Long Pimples 2424
- Inverted 2311
- Blades 2311
- Table tennis videos 1989
FACT 3: The most popular thread ever on this forum was a blog
FACT 4: This forum is one of the few that has a section dedicated to ITTF and Table Tennis Associations and had one of the most informative and controversial topic threads ever which was hosted by Adham Shahara who was constantly challenged.
Eventually Adham chose option 5 and left. This topic divided many forum members down the middle, caused many disputes, much bad blood but was also one of the most informative and challenging reads I've ever come across in any table tennis forum anywhere in the world. But Torsten Kuenett still remains and is kind enough to answer questions on another very controversial topic and although his answers are not always liked, his presence is appreciated.
FACT 5: When a survey was carried out of the type of equipment used by members of this forum in 2009 - a time when this forum was developing and was considered to be a "pimple forum" - 91% of members used inverted rubber on at least one side of their bat.
And for those who think a survey in 2009 has no relevance:
FACT: As of today, the latest 50 active topics have been
Table tennis other topics General 11
Inverted rubbers 6
Long pimple rubbers 3
Equipment (all) 3
Buy and Sell 3
Table Tennis Blogs 3
Short Pimple rubbers 2
Videos – Pimples / Antispin 2
Forum member videos 1
Forum suggestions 1
ITTF watch 1
TT Techniques and strategies 1
TT robots 1
OOAK lounge 1
Table Tennis Balls 1
Anti Spin rubbers 1 Conclusion:
This is not a “a pips etc forum”. OOAK forum is “A truly International Table Tennis Community for both Defensive and Offensive styles!”
This is the forum I spend most of my time on. It's also a forum where I've had the most upset, been the most frustrated and disappointed. However, it's also a place where I've had some excellent feedback and helpful encouragement. It's a place where I've made some of my best table tennis friends. It's a place where I've learned a lot, given a little back and enjoy visiting. It's OOAK. It is what you choose to make of it.
Decide for yourself.