Guest Blogger Sam Walker thoughts on his 1st Season in the World Class German Table Tennis Bundesliga…
Now that the table tennis league season is over for me and my club, the season and my schedule is a lot calmer and much less travel! Having said that I enjoyed my first season in the Table Tennis Bundesliga and it was a fantastic experience that I will never forget. I hope to play in the Bundesliga for many years to come but I think the first season will be the hardest of them all and I’ve now come through it!
Personally I felt I did okay with 6 wins and 12 losses, my goal at the start was to win 5 matches so I’m pleased I managed to reach that. Also, I was very happy with my performances in some of the matches particularly the one against Dusseldorf in the first round where I managed to win both of my matches and that’s why it was so satisfying for me.
As a team we were disappointed to finish bottom of the league, but on paper that was expected of us. Before the season started we wanted to prove everybody wrong and our goal was to finish 8th or above, unfortunately with only 3 wins in the season we couldn’t manage it. I think because we are all so young and the fact that it was the first season for all of us in the Table Tennis Bundesliga made it extra hard. It was always difficult to win a team match, we all had the level to win matches in the league but to be able to win the team match, we all needed to play well and perform on the same day which proved to be hard.
We were all pretty inconsistent throughout the season and I think that was the reason we didn’t win as many matches as we would have liked. It’s definitely something I want to improve on for next season. The toughest part of playing in the league was definitely trying to come back after losing a lot of team matches 0-3. When the team is losing week after week and a lot of the time without much of a chance, you start to expect to lose and obviously that’s not a position you want to be in. To try and come out of that mindset is really tough but I like to think that I did manage to come through it and I hope that it won’t happen next season, I think we’ll be a lot more ready for those situations in the future after having the experience this season.
The experience of playing in the Bundesliga has helped massively on my international table tennis season. Playing against some of the best table tennis players in Europe and the World every week and getting some victories is a huge confidence boost. Even just being around those kind of table tennis players makes you feel like you belong in that top group of players and when you come up against the top players in the World on the international circuit you feel a lot more comfortable and so I was able to put in many great performances in tournaments this season.
Even though we finished bottom we were lucky and will stay up in the Bundesliga for next season, none of the clubs from the second league wanted to come up, so it’s great for us that we can stay up! Next season Masataka Morizono and Dang Qui will both come to Grunwettersbach to join us in the team. I think they are both great table tennis players and both young, I like the fact our team believes in young players and hopefully next season it will pay off!
Sam Walker, England no 3 Table Tennis Player, training professionally in Germany and Rob Davies, disabled wheelchair class one athlete and currently ranked world number one will be Topspin Sports guest bloggers on their journeys and experiences leading up to Rio and beyond!