compass believes that a new approach is necessary to help
young table tennis players on the long path
to becoming top international players.
We want to create an optimal environment
for ambitious young talents, together with their helpers
and organizations, in which
"competence and passion" predominate.
compass promotes a career path
for top players which emphasizes
the young athletes' personal development.
Back in the 1980ties/90ties the systems of clubs and associations on regional and national level in Germany and Sweden and other European countries were able to recognize talents and bring them to world top level.
That is no longer the case.
These traditional systems have not developed in pace with the fierce competition from Asia. Europe has not won any gold or silver medal in Singles at the Olympics or at the Worlds since 2003.
Only one European player born after 1988 has been able to reach top 10 on the World Ranking List.
As a consequence the numbers of competition players on the continent is declining.
Compass is founded as a passionate, visionary and competent inspiration to turn this negative development. By analysing the necessary conditions and actions for world top performance, finding the right European talents and together with them do the right things at the right time with the right people, compass’ aims to contribute to make European table tennis strong again.
World Champion 2018, 2 x China. Fotos: ITTF
What compass does
compass has conducted a survey of the European players, who have been Top 10 in the world during the last decades.
The results of this study and the known scientific facts relating to motor learning, which are the basics of the work of compass, have been transferred to many organizations in Germany and Sweden.
Timo Boll 1989 at home in the basement and 2017. Fotos: Privat and ITTF
Training Centres for Talent Development
compass encourages and calls for the establishment of talent development centres
- compass pro-actively searches for potential environments (clubs, associations, individuals) that have the desire and the necessary framework conditions to build a system in which children aged 4-6 will be acquainted with the TT sport in a playful and holistic way.
- All children should be offered a differentiated range of play and activity options from TT clubs. The best and most motivated from the throng of many children are to be given the opportunity to play as much TT as they enjoy. At the same time, the aim is to ensure that the children receive a very good basic technical TT education through competent trainers. In this way, ‘talent nests’ are created from which world-class players can emerge. It is of paramount importance that the children get good training partners, because they then will develop several times faster than when playing with their peers of similar playing standard.
The Lower Saxony Table Tennis Federation is the national association in Germany that has so far come furthest in the systematic development of ‘talent nests’.
A table tennis session with kindergartners in Hannover. Fotos: Jens Fellke
Selective Development System
In order to achieve high goals, compass believes it is crucial that individual talents are specifically supported and developed by their environments.
compass‘ Tasks and Responsibilities
- compass is looking for children in Germany and Sweden who started playing TT early on. This happens at various training camps and competitions; or compass will be informed of young players by coaches, officials or other people.
- The trainers of compass accompany and promote individually 5-to 12-year-old talents who have the dream and motivation to one day play like the well-moving Ovtcharov, Boll, Harimoto or Mima Ito. Important in this context, compass values a player’s joy of playing TT more than a player’s “super motor talent”.
- compass wants to find out, if the gifted young person has a passion for TT.
- compass questions whether the talent’s environment in cooperation with compass can create the necessary framework conditions (personal coach, training conditions, etc.), and whether it has the determination to help young players on the way up.
- compass will always stress the importance of a good cooperation between the personal coach of the talent and all other persons (parents as most important persons) in the environment of the young player.
- compass offers to advise and support these talents and their environment (trainers, parents and others).
- From about 13-14 years old, compass takes on primarily an advisory role.
Not all young players, even if they have some talent for TT, have the stamina, patience and motivation to reach a high international level.
For this reason, compass attaches great importance to the combination of athletic career and education.
Compass legt hohen Wert auf die Kombination von sportlicher Laufbahn und Ausbildung
Who is compass
The foundation was established by Dr. Georg Nicklas, who started his table tennis career at 1. FC Saarbrücken, before he represented Borussia Düsseldorf, TTC Altena and TTC Jülich in the German Bundesliga. In his career Dr. Nicklas has established, among other things, the successful Table Tennis companies Donic and ESN.
Phone: 0049 160 9170 8659
General Manager is Jochen Leiss, 116-times international and former German Champion. Jochen was national youth coach and elite sports coordinator for the DTTB. In 1986 he moved to Norway and worked for seven years as general secretary and national coach for the Norwegian Table Tennis Association. He then served as sports coordinator and sports director for the foundation ‘Norwegian Elite Sport Gymnasium’, which has produced many Olympic and World champions in 25 different sports.
Phone: 0046 7680 02918
Communication Manager for compass is the Swede Jens Fellke. He was a member of the Swedish youth national team in the 70's. After completing his studies, he has made a name for himself as a freelance journalist in the table tennis world by publishing excellent TT books, and a documentary for Swedish television (also in German version) about how the Swedes from 1989 onwards snatched the supremacy in world table tennis from the Chinese.
Phone: 0049 1605568464
Since 1.11.18 Baden-Württemberg’s regional coach Evelyn Simon is member of the compass coaching team. She has trained among others Benedikt Duda, when he was a young player. Currently she is helping 12-year-old Annett Kaufmann on her way up. Evelyn has also written some TT books. After having worked with Mario Amizic for about 2 years, compass counts on her TT expertise and her pedagogical skills in working with young talents.
Phone: 0049 151 42432630
The former national player Oliver Alke, medal winner at European Youth Championships and long-time coach of Hamburg, joined the compass team on 1.1.2019. Olli has been a personal coach for the 12-year-old Lleyton Ullmann in Hamburg for some time. With his background as an experienced player, trainer and trained educator, he and Evelyn will be able to significantly increase the radius of activity and working capacity of compass.