My life as table tennis coach and administrator has been very interesting...
but so has also my life as a web-editor, author, journalist, company director, copywriter, south sea farmer/fisherman, yachtsman, researcher,
composer, musician, environmentalist and more!
Terry Dahl
- 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 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 in Fiji - without a salary!
    But who can complain - even if have spent more time on table tennis than my job? I love coaching 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!

Terry "digging up" Norwegian champions.  Words: "....and many, many more." Kenneth Strøm, Tommy Schierning, Pål Guttormsen ,Tone  Folkeson,  Anne  Schierning, Jørgen Aas,  Svein Folkeson, Jan Bergersen.
Terry "digging up" Norwegian champions
It all started in 1971
"- 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

In 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 educated a number of coaches. I was also a member of the Youth Committee and organized training camps and travelled to international tournaments with the cadet- and junior teams. I was elected President of Fokus in 1974 and was also a committee member of Oslo Table Tennis - holding weekly coaching for the clubs in the area and helping them to develop their own coaching programs. I worked hard to find a better place for the players to practise, and could open the first the first table tennis hall in Norway, "Fokushallen", in 1979.
    I left Norway in my yacht Coco Loco in 1983 - and helped out Solomon Island table tennis during my four years travel on the seven seas. I was the State Director of Coaching for Queensland 1991/92 and the National Coach of Fiji in 1995/96.

It started again
Terry and son Olav in 2010
Terry and son Olav in 2010
"- 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?"
    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.
 
   Olav and I travelled to Norway for short visit October-November 2009, and Olav played in a few
Olav with gold 2010
Olav - gold!
tournaments 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 player)
    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
selected 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.
Norway's first team medal .  Terry to thr right.
First Nordic medals
Some 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. Fokus also won the trophy as the best club in a S
wedish tournament when I was the coach. I won Norway's first medals at the Nordic Championships as the coach for the men team and 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!

Best Norwegian players
Here are some of the best Norwegian players I have coached as the coach of Fokus BTK:
Terry and Tone Folkeson.
Tone and Terry
     Tone 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 when she was killed in a car accident 21 years old while playing for Norway in Spain.
    Pål 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 had
many 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, Grethe Viervang and Svein Folkeson (please tell me who I have forgotten!).
Best international players
Here are some of the best international I have coached (not on regular basis):
    J-O 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
Peter Karlsson
Peter Karlsson
Christer coaching Norway
Christer coaching Norway
a Swedish national senior training camp when I took my Swedish Level 3.
    Peter 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).
    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.

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).

Some 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 positive experiences within the sport that I felt I could move a mountain!
    I 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.
    I am also very proud of being the instrument behind the first proper development plan for a Norwegian table tennis club: I conducted the
The Fokus-hall - Olav in blue. Hans Thalin at the post!
The Fokus hall
"Table Tennis" - the book
"Table Tennis" - the book
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!
 
Terry in Fokus band
Terry in Fokus band
   The 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!
 
   I 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!
 
"But 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 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).
    While 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 the school-teachers and the 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 template/starting platform for table tennis development in Australia (- and that it still can, so many years later!).
    While I was the National Coach of Fiji I implemented national table tennis training squads and managed to get the first live transmitted tournament on the national television, plus regular coverage in radio and newspapers.
    I believe I was the one to introduce multi-ball practising to Norway, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
A short view on coaching:
In Australia where I am 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.
"It 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!"
    Well, 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 Sandberg - take a look at him here; the old man)
     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!)
"The 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."
    "Responsible" 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.
-
Always 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 and keen!
- 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.
    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 stretching.
Emma, Sonia, Terry and their house
Emma, Sonia and Terry
And the other interesting parts of my life..?
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 coral- island in Tuvalu for some years with my Polynesian wife Emma. We were called the "worlds first climate
Terry on the front page of a Norwegian magazine
Terry in magazine
refugees" by media all over the world when we had to leave or island in 1995 due to cyclones in a country to 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, a
shorter version in English here

Logan Pilot Project 1992
Academy 2008

Newsletter 2009
Coaching Comittee - 2009
Coaching plan, period 1 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 2 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 3 - 2009
Turbo Table
Coaching Clinic - 2009 -
All Ages Tournament - 2009
Recuitment - 2009 .
"Time for a change"

Coaches Workshop - 2010
.

"My life as table tennis coach and administrator":
Part 1: From 1971 to 2005
Part 2: From 2005 to present

Certificate from the Swedish club Falköping.
Certificate and cv from the Norwegian Table Tennis Association.
Certificate from Oslo Table Tennis Association.
Certificate
from Fokus Table Tennis Association.
Certificate from Aussie Sports.
Certificate Strenght and Conditioning for Sport course
Letter
- from Paul Jones
Letter
- from Australian Table Tennis Association
Letter
 - Jan Bergesen, Norway's AWD-coach