USATT ‘s Missionary Position

The mission of USATT is to support, develop, grow and inspire the table tennis community; and to provide resources that enable athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence and pursue Olympic and Paralympic success. 

Blah – blah – blah. I guess it’s hard to argue with the sentiment of the USATT mission statement. The problem with mission statements is that they are so vague that it’s hard to know what the organization actually does. I can only speak from my own personal experience. I get two bills from USATT every year. I get one for my annual membership. I’ll need that in case I want to play in any tournaments, view my rating, or be listed among other certified coaches. I get another one to maintain my club’s affiliation with USATT. For a small price my training center is listed on the USATT website and provided with some liability insurance. Beyond that, I’m not supported, inspired, provided for, or sustained in my striving for competitive excellence.  

I don’t have any real complaints with what USATT does. I am frustrated with all the things they don’t do. I’ve included some pictures from the AGTTA free coaching program. The volunteer coaches are actually on a mission. Every Sunday, volunteer coaches and players step up to help players develop and meet their goals. The most basic definition of a mission is “a special assignment.” For the average USATT member it’s hard to tell what that special assignment is. I wouldn’t want to come down too hard on any organization without making some suggestions for improvement. The word mission has another meaning. It’s been awhile, but I used to spend a week every summer building churches in Mexico. It wasn’t really considered a mission trip if there was no travel involved. It would go a long way if someone from USATT was assigned to visit all of the sanctioned clubs on a regular basis. According to the USATT website, there are 182 clubs. An ongoing mission trip like this would promote good will and allow for conducting negotiations, establishing relationships, and providing assistance. Face to face meetings would provide far more information about the state of table tennis in the United States than more surveys. See Surveying USATT

USATT could do far more for their members. Real relationships need to be established with all sanctioned clubs, otherwise USATT has a mission statement, but no real mission. There are some good lessons that could be learned from real missionaries. That’s my position. 

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