life as a table tennis coach and
administrator has been very interesting
so has also my life as a web-editor, author, journalist, company
director, copywriter, south sea farmer and fisherman, yachtsman,
researcher, composer, musician, environmentalist, giant hunter
- First: Most of my work as a coach and administrator in table
tennis has been as a volunteer. When I started as a coach in
Norway in 1972 there was no money in table tennis. Players,
coaches and administrators; we were all were in our sport because
we loved it! The last year before I left Norway in 1983 the
situation had changed a bit: I was paid per hour to educate
coaches and to do development work in the associtions/clubs.
The only time that I had table tennis as my regular job was
when I was employed as the State Director of Coaching for Queensland
in Australia in 1992 to do a pilot project in Logan. And might
be the year when I was the National Coach of Fiji - without
But who can complain - even if have
spent more time on table tennis than my regular job? I love
coaching and like to help kids to get a good life - and enjoy
the administrative side of table tennis. I am still alive, I
have a wife and two children, a house two minutes from the beach
- and heaps of friends all over the world!
all started in 1971
"digging up" Norwegian champions
(...and many, many more.)
- In 1971, after finishing the compulsory service in the military
with a bit of ping-ponging in the free time, I remembered the
table tennis club I had once visited during my last year in
high school - and went to see what was going on. The players
were incredibly good and I learned fast that I was too old to
become a player of their level.
Well, after a while the president of
the club asked me if I could keep an eye of a couple of young
boys that were fooling around on a table in the hallway and
I said yes since I always came early anyway.
I felt sorry for the kids; so I signed
up for a table tennis coaching course. Not long after I had
completed my Level 1 the coach at the club quit, and
the board asked me if I could take over. Quite a
challenge for a newbie;
they, Fokus Table Tennis Club, had just (1972) become the Norwegian
champions in teams for men!
(Read the whole story here)
short what happened: I was elected a board member of Norwegian
Table Tennis Association in 1972, and the same year I was also
the Norwegian coach to the Nordic Championships. I was the chairperson
of the Education Committee - and wrote the manuals for the education
of coaches from club to national level. I also held the courses
and educated a number of coaches from all over the country.
I was also a member of the Youth Committe: I organized training
camps and travelled to international tournaments with the Norwegian
cadet-, junior- and senior teams. I was elected President of
Fokus in 1974 and was also a committee member of Oslo Table
Tennis - holding weekly coaching clinics for the clubs in the
area and helping them to develop their own coaching programs.
I also worked hard to find a better place for the players of
Fokus to practise, and could open the first the first table
tennis hall in Norway, "Fokushallen", in 1979 with
Swedish world champions as guests. I designed the logo/emblem
that Fokus is still using and also the uniforms. I am a honorary
life member of Fokus.
I left Norway in my yacht Coco Loco
in 1983 - and helped out Solomon Islands Table Tennis during
my four years' travel
on the seven seas (they lost all my coaching certificates and
other papers, but I manged to win a tournament I arranged -
against an old Chinese, but I had to put in such an effort that
I was bleeding from both big-toes!)
. I was the State Director of Coaching for Queensland 1991/92
and the National Coach of Fiji in 1995/96.
It started again
When I was walking at the Strand close to the house we had bought
in Queensland, Australia, a person came up to me and said: "What
are you doing here, Terry?"
and son Olav in 2010
It was Paul Jones, one of the players
from the Academy in Logan. I had done a pilot project there
for Table Tennis Queensland when I was the state director of
coaching in 1991-92 (click here).
Paul was now the full-time coach for
the table tennis club in Townsville. We had a chat about good,
old days, and then he said that he wanted me to help him to
get the intensity up at his practising sessions in the city.
I said that I was finished with table
tennis and that I was sure he was doing a good job on his own.
For about two years Paul asked me every
time he saw me if I could help him but I always managed to say
no. But the one day during a rainy Christmas/New Year school
holidays in 2007/8 he managed to give Olav a "come-and-try"-flyer.
Olav wanted to try and I was stupid enough to say yes.
Read the whole story here
In short what happened - so far: I started helping out with
coaching in Townsville early in 2008, and was head coach from
2009. More about that later.
and I travelled to Norway for short visit October-November 2009,
and Olav played in a few
and also in a 4th division team league in the capital Oslo.
Olav also played in a Norway Cup tournament in a city a few
hours away from Oslo - and here I helped out as a coach for
my old club Fokus (coached Norway no. 1 junior against a Chinese
I was the coach for Norway at ITTF Global
Junior Circuit Event in April 2010 in New Zealand, where Olav
(as the only Norwegian player) got silver in cadet consolation.
Olav got his first gold medal in the Queensland junior championships
(U13-doubles with Rayden Smith) in July the same year, and was
to play in the Australian junior championships.
In March 2011 we travelled to Norway
again and Olav played in the Norwegian junior championships
for Fokus. He played in the Fokus B-team and they lost to the
Fokus A-team in the semi-finals. No medals in the individual
events, but Olav did well - beeing so young.
of my best results as a table tennis coach:
I have 65 Norwegian championships as a coach for Fokus BTK in
Oslo, Norway, and my club also won the Norwegian top division
league for teams; both men and women.The players I have coached
have together more than 200 Norwegian championships.
Fokus also won the trophy as the best
club in a Swedish
tournament when I was the coach. I won Norway's first medals
at the Nordic Championships as the coach for the mens team and
also the juniors women team.
A memorable result in Australia was
when Logan TTA during my pilot project as State Director of
Coaching and Logan coach beat Brisbane TTA 6-0 in the Queensland
State League; Brisbane had all the top ranked players!
are some of the best Norwegian players I have coached as the
coach of Fokus BTK:
Folkeson became Norwegian senior singles champion 14 years old
(she also won the cadet girls single and the junior girls single
the same year). Tone won 6 Norwegian singles titles, and she
also beat the Swedish junior champion in a Swedish tournament.
She played professionally in the German
League with success
killed in a car accident 21 years old while playing for Norway
Guttormsen started playing in England and was runner-up in cadet
singles in the European Junior Championships. He won 8 Norwegian
singles titles and played for Norway numerous times.
Tom Johansen also won 8 Norwegian singles
titles, and startet playing table tennis when he was 15 years
old! He played six years in Sweden and is one of the few players
that have beaten Jan-Ove Waldner - 3 times!
Kenneth Strøm won 4 Norwegian
singles titles. I travelled to another city to coach him when
he was very young and he also came to my coaching in Fokus.
He later played professionally in Germany.
Dag Vavik did not win any Norway men
senior singles championships but won several junior titles and
good results as a junior in the Norwegian national team. He
won men singles in all the Norwegian tournaments the year he
stopped playing and also had good results in Swedish tournaments.
Of other Norwegian champions (junior
and/or senior) I have coached are Unni and Rune Bredesen, Anne
Schierning, Jørgen Aas, Jan Bergersen, Heidi Myhr, Toril
Nilsen, Grethe Viervang and Svein Folkeson (please tell me who
I have forgotten!).
are some of the best international players I have coached (not
on regular basis):
Waldner, Jørgen Persson, Michael Appelgren: World and
European Champions several times; I coached them at Nordic summer
camp for juniors together with the other coaches, and at
national senior training camp when
I took my Swedish Level 3.
Karlsson: World and European Champion; I coached him (and Nicklas
Persson, European Junior Champion) at summer camps in Falköping,
Sweden (together with their club coach).
Tommy Danielsson: Swedish champion,
played in the national team several times, played in the German
Bundesliga, became national coach of Luxemburg. Training camps
Carl Prean: European Junior Champion
2 times: I believe I coached him briefly when he was young,
when with the Norwegian cadet and junior teams for training
and tournaments in England.
Li Chunli: Commonwealth Games winner;
a weekend in New Zealand.
Appelgren at the airport in Bankok on my way to the Pacific
in 1988. He told me he had run away from the training camp preparing
for the European Championships because he became physically
and mentally exhausted. He returned in time - and became European
Coaches I have worked with
I was fortunate to work together with (and get inspiration from)
the Swedish top coaches Thomas Stenberg (Swedish teams and summer
camps), Allan Dahlgren (Stellan Bengtsson/Ulf Carlsson/Falkenberg)
and Christer Johansson (Swedish coach when the team became
World Champions, Norway National coach for almost 10 years).
other achievements (and thoughts)
I have a lot of memorable moments from the time I spend so many
hours helping Fokus and Norwegian table tennis; not only as
a coach but also on the administrative side. Of course it was
a challenge to take on the job as the President in 1973, the
year after I became a member, but I had already so many
experiences within the sport that I felt I could move a mountain!
Tennis" - the book
in Fokus band
Sonia and South Sea choir of table tennis players
Dag Vavik, Tone Folkeson and Jan Ole Kullerud
had so many impulses from my visits to Sweden, from the time
I was the first coach to take young kids to Swedish table tennis
summer camps to co-operation with Swedish clubs and coaches.
Fokus BTK must say to have been the
first Norwegian club to hold tournaments with barriers around
the tables, scoring boards and umpires, plus time table for
all the matches.
am also very proud of being the instrument behind the first
proper development plan for a Norwegian table tennis club: I
conducted the planning
as a course - held at a hotel outside Oslo! Yes, the hard work
resulted in the objective that Fokus should be the best club
in Norway and that we first of all should be the club for players
taking table tennis serious as a sport and not just a hobby.
Some say that the most visible achievement
was the first table tennis hall in Norway and it is hard to
disagree. Well, I just could not accept that the best table
tennis players in Norway should practise in room at a school
where a maximum of four tables were squeezed in between concrete
posts! So I managed to get a two-page article in Norway's largest
Saturday magazine - and the man behind the Bislet games, Arne
Haukvik, called me and said he should find me a hall! We found
a unused space under a school hall and after starting digging
we finally managed to get Oslo city counsil to finance the cost
of making the dark hole into a table tennis hall!
I must thank Christer Johansson for
his brilliant Swedish book about table tennis. Here I learned
that season planning was something also for our sport - and
that that you had to practise more than two hours about every
day, and include strength and condition training, to achieve
results. Christer's seriousness as a coach was something I appreciated
and learned from - and might be it was this that made me use
a world famous sport psychologist (Willi Railo) in Fokus: It
cost a lot of money for us and it was something totally new
for our sport - but it was worth it! He taught us how to do
autogen training (relaxation), mental table tennis practising
(just at home, like in bed) and how to remove competition blockages
(like from "I always loose to Per" to "I might
beat Per") by repeating silently many times.
inputs from Swedish coaches were also important for me as the
Chairperson of the Youth- and Development committee in the Norwegian
Table Tennis Association. We
managed to get national training camps for cadets and juniors
going and we also started a team league
for "mini"-cadets - down to 9 years old!
know that the inner motivation is most important but I also
realised that after a couple of years of hard practising this
is not enough to keep going. So I made sure that the social
side was looked after with as many girls as boys in my squads,
plus activities like pizza-parties and making/staging our own
musicals (!). And I also took a lot of pictures and managed
to get surprisingly many articles in the Norwegian newspapers
(soccer and winter sports totally dominate the papers). To see
you name in print, and picture, is something that motivates
a player! (To
see a video where I am singing live on tv with a choir of table
tennis players - click here!)
was the coach from Norway at the first European Coaches Conference
in Germany, and was also the first Norwegian coach to visit
the Swedish Table Tennis High School (with Tone Folkeson).
I was the State Director of Coaching for Queensland I organized
the first cadet tournament in Australia.
I also made table tennis info-kits for school-teachers and media,
which was presented by
Aussie Sports as a model for the other sports to use. I believe
that The Logan Pilot Project could have worked well as a
platform for table tennis development in
Australia (- and that it still can, so many years later!).
I was the National Coach of Fiji I implemented
table tennis training squads and managed to get the first live
transmitted tournament on the national television, plus regular
coverage in radio and newspapers. The young players, especially
the girls, improved fast and made good results in international
tournaments. Unfortunatly my last visit to Fiji (2018) ended
with me leaving - personal politics had started to play it's
role and I did not want to be part of it. Report here.
Terry, you should be very happy now. We are the best club
in Norway, and you have 65 Norwegian championships as
the coach. No more planning, let us just run our club
on day by day basis!"
I stood up and left the meeting
- and table tennis.
I believe I was the one to introduce
multi-ball practising to Norway, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
short view on coaching:
In Australia where I am living now they seem to believe that
a table tennis coach has to be a good player - and that only
a good player can become a coach.
I don't even consider myself a good player at all but I am quite
sure I could beat J-O Waldner's coach in Ängby (Nisse
- take a look at him here;
the old man)!
is a coach's responsibility to look after the players
also in competitions."
"In Europe you have to choose if you want to be a
good player or a good coach, you can not be both!"
In Scandinavia you will have to choose
what you what to do/be; a coach or a player? Because it is a
coach's responsibility to look after the players also in competitions,
so you will have no time to play yourself! (In Australia some
of the established player-coaches is able to keep their standard
at a reasonable level because they do a lot of one-to-one coaching.
But good players that start doing this kind of coaching at young
age, might be to get money for their studies, should be aware
that they will stop their own development - because they stop
looking at the ball! So my advice is: Drop or minimise private
coaching; squad training is cheaper for the players (will keep
them when they start at uni!) and much more social. Players
might be good quicker with private coaching, but most probably
they will quit fast too!)
might be the best world to characterize a good coach. Always
be the first to the coaching sessions; prepared and properly
dressed as a coach. Check the venue; that balls and nets are
there and ok. The practising program shall have been made in
advance and the goal for the session should be a clear picture
in your mind when it starts.
best coaches are in the profession because they love it.
Besides being strongly committed to the sports and success
the best coaches display a clear commitment to looking
out for the best interest of the individual players."
do a proper warm up with jogging and dynamic stretching.
- Have the goal that you shall manage to look at and say (at
least) a few words to every player during the session. Be interested
- Make written comments under your coaching program for each
session; note what worked well and what can be done better next
time. Make a short comment of each player each session; progress
and needs for adjustment.
- Help the players making their own goals and give regular feedback;
written and/or verbally.
- Make regular reports to the club, like quarterly - at least
after each season.
You have to feel that you are a coach
because you want to help table tennis - and not yourself, like
in the form of money.
And what do I believe is most important
when it comes to improve your table tennis skills? Footwork!
Take a look at how the Chinese are working with small steps
in a Youtube video - click here!
A normal session of 2 1/2 hours: 15
minutes warm up, 1 hour exercises at the tables, 5 minutes break,
1 hour exercises, 10 minutes physical work out, 5 minutes static
My article: "How to prepare for
table tennis matches and how to play at your best." Here
Finally: Administrators, coaches and
players: Never, never, never call our sport ping pong!
the other interesting parts of my life..?
Sonia and Terry
As written earlier: Table tennis have seldom been my main work
- it has mostly been voluntarily, even if I tend to spend more
time on the sport than my job!
I have been a teacher in schools (primary
and secondary), managing director of a company importing sports-equipment
(mainly table tennis), copy-director in some of Norway's leading
advertising agencies, freelance journalist, author and web-editor.
And also a yachtsman, fisherman and farmer: I left Norway to
sail single-handed to the Pacific, and later I lived on an uninhabited
in the Pacific country of Tuvalu for some years with my Polynesian
wife Emma. We were called the "worlds first climate
by media all over the world when we had to leave our island
in 1995 due to cyclones in a country too close to equator to
have cyclones (mean level above the sea for Tuvalu is less than
2 meters). We have two kids: Sonia and Olav.
Besides from being a table tennis coach
I also have also been coaching in soccer (Level 1 coach) and
tennis. I am also interested in music, have been the leader
of a folk-music club in Norway - and I was the first person
to record and release a music-cassette in Tuvalu!
I am also quite concerned of the climate-change
- and have helped Norwegian environmental organisations, challenged
the government and edit an internet newspaper about climate
change and climate politics.
For the last ten years I have also been
doing a private research on what we call ancient human giants
(my english pages here).
I have been on the tv (and radio, newspapers
and magazines) many times; sports, adventure, travel, news,
entertainment and environment.
My personal pages in Norwegian here,
shorter version in English here