Top Level Requirements for Table Tennis GreatnessResults at World Championships/Olympics - sure, a country needs to consistently come up with good results at these tournaments before it can be considered a world power, but in my opinion many people view good results from the wrong perspective. They consider that medals in world championships or the Olympics are needed for the sport to become popular in their country. I would argue the opposite point of view, that in most cases they sport needs to be popular before a country has much chance of consistently medaling at world class events.
What About the USA?For all of you out there who are wondering why USA table tennis isn't dominating the world table tennis scene at the moment, and what needs to be done before the USA can take its rightful place as the Number 2 table tennis nation (behind Australia, of course!), here are my thoughts, as summed up in the diagram above.
The USA badly needs to work on its foundation blocks if it wants to become a leading table tennis nation. At present, anybody who is a regular reader of the About.com table tennis forum would know that the the USA's teamwork between important people and competent administration have been questionable, perhaps for a long time. Hopefully the new USATT administration (which begins on 17 December 2007) will be better in this regard. It is also hoped that the movers and shakers in USA table tennis can put aside their personal grievances in order to advance the sport together.
The remaining foundation blocks all have plenty of room for improvement too. There are bright spots here and there, but at present all too much rests on the shoulders of all too few. Until these foundation areas are built up and strengthened, it will be nigh on impossible for the USA to become a world power in table tennis - the USA simply doesn't have the infrastructure to consistently and successfully complete all the tasks that are required to produce top world class players over a long period. In table tennis, just as in life, you generally get what you deserve - and the USA is currently exactly where it deserves to be, and it will stay there until its members and administration are prepared to work together to fix its problems.