Its a daunting task finding the best table tennis coach for yourself or your child, especially in England.
Table Tennis Coaching for Kids
Table Tennis coaching for kids begins with nurturing your child’s learning process. Your son or daughter has shown some ability or possibly natural “talent” for the game. The next step would be to get a good coach for further development.
Finding a good table tennis coach
Finding a good table tennis coach for yourself, son or daughter can be like walking through a desert in search of water.
Here’s a helping guide to finding the best table tennis coaching for you.
Tip 1: Find a club or Academy that has a low player to coach ratio.
There is an abundance of camps, academies, coaches and clubs out there that would all love to have your hard-earned cash. They may even have big names and famous past background playing careers.
However, you need to do your homework and find out if your child will actually be coached by these so-called top coaches/players, or is your child in a group of many players overseen by an aspiring young coach who is mentored by a legend but has limited interaction with your child!
Getting a one-on-one lesson if possible it’s a great way of advancing your child’s game. Of course, the price will depend on the coach which is dependent on location, past and present success. The advantages of a private coach are the same as in a school classroom; the one-to-one ratio ensures the teacher’s full attention and causes your child to focus on the teacher and their learning, not his/her classmates. Sometimes A two-to-one or three-to-one lesson can be even better, as the players may feed off of one another but beyond that, the learning becomes decreased.
Therefore if your child is in a big group constantly their growth in development is reduced unless there is a ratio of max 1-8 players.
Tip 2: Find a self-developing coach.
If you have decided to appoint a coach on a 1-2-1 or small group lessons, you need to discern which coach is the right one for your child.
How to evaluate a good coach? Look at his/her resume and find out where they have coached, who have they coached, have they developed and moulded their coaching style over the years to keep up with the modern game?
DO NOT evaluate a coach form his/her qualification. Why? ‘you ask’ would you take a brain surgeon with the highest marks in England for his PhD and he has only done one surgery? or would you take a surgeon lower level PhD marks with 20 years of experience and 500 successful surgeries under his belt? The answer should be clear…
Qualification gives the fundamentals and in a certain aspect grants permission to do what you do in your field, it does not state your level of coaching ability.
Tip 3: Sometimes what you see is what you think!
By this I mean, does the coach keep him or herself in good condition physically?
Does he or she play regularly?
Why does this matter? well for several reasons: (there are exceptions of course)
- Can they keep up with the child when training them, or will they get tired and take many breaks?
- Will they have the energy to make the session high intensity? If not, then the student usually responds in the same manner.
- Does the coach still play competitively? If so be careful, as they may still be fully focused on themselves and just do the coaching for a little extra income and lack desire to make your child great. On the other hand, if they compete occasionally this can be great as they know how it feels to compete and how the game is evolving. This allows them to give advice using recent and personal match experience rather than just from the past.
- Physical appearance can also play a huge psychological factor in self-confidence, and the best coaches do have a certain level of confidence.
- If the coach demands hard work and discipline, does he or she follow that same principle? If not, your child will notice this immediately and use it as their personal excuse to adopt the same attitude.
Tip 4: Watch the coach in action.
If you are allowed ask a coach when their next training session is on and go have a look, watch them in action. If they have video tutorials on YouTube have a watch and see if you like their coaching style.
- Was the coach on time? Did the lesson begin on time?
- Did the coach have a plan and was he/she able to adapt and change if necessary?
- Is the coach creative?
- Is the coach engaging? good communication? uplifting, positive?
- Most importantly does the coach care? Do they want their students to be the best they can be or is it just a job?
“Coaching is teaching, and some people are suited for it while others are not. In fact, some of the best coaches are those who did not ascend to the sport’s highest level.”
Tip 5: Your child’s perspective
Everyone is different and we all respond differently to things, therefore a simple recommendation is to ask your child what they thought of the coach? Often, they know if the coach is right for them.
A good coach in most cases will be able to adapt to that child’s specific needs, character and learning style.
Tip 6: The Past has gone, the future is not here yet, so focus on the present
A club or Academy’s past is irrelevant, it’s a guide but does not determine the present state and the prospect of its future. Therefore, I recommend looking at the history of the coach and his environment and using that as a guideline. But more importantly look at what the coach is saying and doing, are they ambitious are they driven and do they still possess passion?
Simple questions would be:
What are your goals?
How long do you expect to be at this club?
What drives you?
I hope this has been a useful insight for people looking at getting a coach.
Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis
FB: Eli Baraty