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Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 3: Is the Sport of Table Tennis Expanding or Shrinking?

07 September 2017  | Posted in: Fun & Inspiration

Ferenc Karsai, one of Europe's top table tennis coaches, discusses the future of table tennis. Is the sport currently expanding or shrinking? What's next for table tennis?

Who is Ferenc Karsai?

Karsai is one of Europe's most famous table tennis coaches. He was the head coach of Austrian Men’s National Team from 1995 to 2013 working with Karl Jindrak, Robert Gardos, Chen Weixing, Werner Schlager, Daniel Habesohn, and others. Coach of World Team against China in 2004, and was elected to be the best trainer of all sports in Austria in 2003.

Although officially retired after leaving the Austrian National Team, he remains active and has been seen coaching Canadian and Belgium players at World Championships and other important international competitions.

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Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 1: How Plastic Balls Have Changed Table Tennis
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 2: How Could the Best European Players Beat the Best Asian Players?
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 4: Advice to Recreational Table Tennis Players for Improving Their Game
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 5: Are Boosters Good for Table Tennis?
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 6: Are the Many Recent Changes in Table Tennis Rules Good?

Ferenc Karsai Full 1 Hour Interview - Plastic Balls, Boosters, How to Improve Your Game, and Much More

Save 20-25% on Table Tennis Equipment >>


Transcript of the Interview:

The Interviewer: What do you think about future of table tennis as a sport? Because now, in many big table tennis countries, such as Germany, France, they are by far biggest in Europe for table tennis. Also, last but not least in China, table tennis is reducing. Less players are playing, if we talk about Germany and France, less license players, less players on the club level. Also, young generations, they have a lot of other opportunities to go to other kind of sports, to play games, or to study. There are nowadays, I feel that there are a lot of competition from outside to table tennis. What is your opinion. Is table tennis developing, or could the sport develop, or it would be shrinking?

Ferenc Karsai: This is a very good question. But I think also, a little bit positive in this time, that some people start to play table tennis, the older play people. Because for the sport, like only amateur sport, is very good sport, the table tennis. I think altogether, the people who play table tennis in the world, is not less, because many people like to winter, to go to the table tennis or to play table tennis, but not professional. This is, I think, is one, we keep the table tennis player all in the world, but not the professional. The professional is a question. If somebody decided that ... play table tennis, and after ... to have enough money from the table tennis is the first question. Better to study, or together, possible study and table tennis, and play high level. This is the second question. This is the reason why not so many table tennis, like maybe could be. For example, I was one year and one and a half year in Canada, and there is the problem that the players, they finish the table tennis if they are 17, because so big countries, it's not possible practice and study. They know it from table tennis, is very difficult, has enough money for the life. This is a problem. If like in tennis, sure, if you are good tennis player, you don't have money problem in your life. But, in table tennis, is not so. This is also is a little bit problem, I think, that they don't have enough money, the professional players, only the best 30 or best 40 in the world can live good from table tennis, but 120 ... If you are for example teacher in the school, or you are 120 in table tennis in west country, I think that teacher has more money than the 120 in the world. 

The Interviewer: This is not about money, this is about table tennis. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Table tennis nowadays is not enough to survive.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. 

The Interviewer: As a sport ...

Ferenc Karsai: I am a little bit pessimist, but I think we must find a new solution that we have enough maybe change the system in the league, or something like this. After they have more fun to play table tennis, will professional also.

The Interviewer: On a professional level. 

Ferenc Karsai: But all total, I think we didn't lose so many people in table tennis, because many amateur people play table tennis. 

The Interviewer: You told that it's impossible to earn enough money, being a player. But, you are professional coach. For professional coach, can you make living out of table tennis? In other words, do you have enough money?

Ferenc Karsai: I don't have enough money. I am not rich, I am very poor.

The Interviewer: They don't pay enough.

Ferenc Karsai: But for me is not so important, very much money, for me is important the money is enough for my life, with much work, or ... This is also a reason why I must working, because I need also a little bit money. Because, what I have, my retired is not enough for the life in Austria. In Hungary, may be enough. I have a family in Austria, my son. I must live in Austria. I must work a little bit more. Not a little bit, much more.

The Interviewer: Much more.

Ferenc Karsai: Okay. But, I like the ... Not the money is the first for me in this table tennis. First is table tennis. Like sport and I like very much.

The Interviewer: Let's say if we take top table tennis coaches, for instance, if one team or one national federation, they want to invite a really experienced and professional top table tennis coach. How much they need to pay?

Ferenc Karsai: I never ask how much they get. I don't know also because the coach. Like coach I have a contact but I never ask how much money they have. I don't know. 

The Interviewer: You don't know?

Ferenc Karsai: I don't know.

The Interviewer: This coach is from Bundesliga, or for ...

Ferenc Karsai: I don't know national.

The Interviewer: German national team.

Ferenc Karsai: Really, I don't know. I never ask it. 

The Interviewer: Do you think it's possible to make living out of table tennis as a coach?

Ferenc Karsai: I think they don't have so many coaches in Germany. In French, they have more coach. They get more money also. All they make, the organization, with the county federations or national or clubs, really, I don't know, because if I speak with coaches, I ask always from table tennis. Never with salary and with money. 

The Interviewer: Table tennis is more important for you?

Ferenc Karsai: More important for me. 

The Interviewer: Okay. For free, you cannot work?

Ferenc Karsai: This is also true. You are business man, you know better than I, but okay. You need money, but the first priority for me, the level, how can improve the players.