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


Terry and son Olav in 2010
Terry and 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 (see previous article - 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.
    Paul had been very happy with his improvements in Logan with wins over Queensland's best players.
Olav wanted to try
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.
    I had been at the club once with Paul and it seemed like he was doing a good job with squad training and social activities for the players. And I believed that Olav would stick to his tennis when the rain stopped. Wrong. He wanted to keep on playing table tennis.
    So there I was, at the table tennis hall three times a week sitting at a chair watching Olav play. Well, I have always enjoyed coaching - so it went the way it had to; I said yes to help Paul - "just a little bit".
    So after a meeting with the club it was decided that I should give Paul a hand.
The Strand, Townsville
The Strand, Townsville
The Strand, Townsville
The Strand waterpark
The players were veterans
I was surprised to see that so many of the players were veterans. Paul had a couple of young players but the majority was players from about 40 and upwards. In Norway and else in Scandinavia it was the youngsters that did regular practising - not the veterans! The oldies had a hit now and then with each other and played in a few tournaments, but squad training - no!
    I also discovered that the players were used to do a lot of one-to-one practising with the coach. This did not exist in Scandinavia - all coaching were done in squads.
    The club started to cut down Paul's hours, so private coaching was a much needed extra income for him and his family.
    Paul was not only a coach but also a good player, so one-to-one playing with the best players was ok with him but since I had concentrated on becoming a good coach I was not a very good player. I had played as a reserve in the team a couple of times for my Norwegian club Fokus, but my level was far from Paul's (to read about this - click here)!
Help the players at the tables
At first Paul wanted me to walk up and down along the tables and motivate with loud "Come on, guys!", "Yes - good work!" and so on. Well, not all the players liked this and of course it was kind of waste of resources with two coaches for such a small squad. So after a while Paul thought it would be a good idea if he joined the squad so that he could help the players at the tables by playing with them in the exercises. Then I could lead the squad sessions. This would also suit him better since he now was studying to get an extra job so that he could support his family; he could not commit as much as before.
    
The Strand, Townsville
Paul Jones and Olav
Our arrangement worked quite well. We discussed training methods and co-operated on how to develop each player. The only disagreement that I remeber that we had was that I wanted the players to move their feet all the time, while Paul wanted them to stand still doing basic strokes. Paul's view was common in Australia but not in Scandinavia (and Asia).
Something had to be done
After helping Paul out as a coach for a while I realized that the juniors needed better follow up. The coaching itself was ok but the attitude towards table tennis as a serious sport was not good enough; not if the players and the club should prosper. Something had to be done - and an academy like the one we have had in Logan seemed to be a way to go.
     Paul liked the idea and in 2009 we prepared a paper that was presented at a board meeting at the club (to read the paper - click here). The response was shocking negative! To this day I do not understand why.
Olav, partner & Cook Islands players
Olav, partner & Cook Islands
Gold medal in U13-doubles
Olav had played tennis and soccer for a couple of years so his ball-skills were good enough to improve fast. His forehand loop was a bit long, of course, but he got them on the table with spin and a nice curve.
     In April 2010 Olav and I travelled to New Zealand so that he could play in the ITTF Global Junior Circuit Event. He had Norwegian passport so first we had to ask the Norwegian association if he could play. "Great, Terry, we will send you his uniform and enter Olav as a player and you as the coach", was the reply.
     I helped out at an international coaching camp (86 players from 16 countries) two days before the
Olav with gold
Olav with gold
tournament started - I was responsible for the multiball practising the second day.
    Olav did well in the tournament; he beat all the players from Fiji and Cook Island in the team events together with a young boy from Kiribati. He did not manage to get through from his pool in the cadet U15 singles, but in the consolation he got all the way to the finals!
    Olav also played in the Queensland junior championships in July the same year and got a gold medal in U13-doubles (with Rayden Smith) and silver in teams! And was selected to play in the Australian junior championships.
    The Australian juniors was a bit too tough but next year Olav got another gold in the Queensland championships, this time in mixed double (with Rebekah Stanley)!
Played in Norway
Olav, silver in teams
Olav, silver in teams
Olav has also played table tennis in Norway. He and I travelled to Norway in 2008 so that I could see my mother and father; they were more than 80 years old and getting sick. Olav meet my table tennis friends and have a hit in the Fokus-hall. Yes, he even played in a Fokus-team in a series for the very young ones and got a medal! And he was surprised to hear that about every adult he met had been coached by me, they now had their own kids playing!
    My parents died in 2009 and in 2012 Olav and I visited Norway again (to see my daughter Sonia who was studying there), This time Olav played for my club in the Norwegian Cadet Championships. Olav played in the
Fokus B-team and they got all the way to the finals in
U15 boys teams - where they lost 0-5 to Fokus A.
    Olav also played in a couple of tournaments. Even I was kept busy; in one tournament I helped to coach about all the Fokus-player at the table like in the old days, I even coached Norway nr 1 junior (Eskil Lindholm) in the Open Men finals against an imported Chinese player (Eskil lost but he got a set!).

All the committees were scrapped
In 2009 Paul and I had also thought it would be good if the club had a coaching committee. Not that is was that many coaches, but we tried to get somebody helping out with new beginners and it is always good if the coaches can have meetings and decide together. We made a paper to the board, and also suggested a development committee and a social/economical committee. This was accepted and the committees formed (the president even managed to get a capacity that had helped form professional sporting clubs in Townsville to sit in the Development Committee).
     But it did not take long before all the committees were scrapped - it was felt that everybody at the club's management board should get involved (to see the paper on coaching committee - click here).
Poster/leaflet
Poster/leaflet
Lost a major source of income
The club had lost a major source of income; bingo. Paul was no longer employed full-time and had to find other means of getting income to his family. I had to try to get things going on my own, with Paul just joining the squad now and then.
    I had told the President of the club at the time that I could do the job for free, - that I was used to do table tennis coaching for free, like in Fiji - but he said that I had to get paid for the hours I put in: All coaches should get paid, was his point of view.
    Of course I should never have accepted. I should have realized that when the hours were added up after a few months then 20 dollars per hour would come to more money than they had realized it would be!
    Well, I did quite a lot without getting paid as well. I run the Friday Fixtures and planned activities to promote our sport. I also tried hard to get kids from the schools to try table tennis. Not easy, but I managed to fill the hall with at least two players at each table!
Thought that the club had closed
There were very few tournaments in North Queensland so in 2009 I planned and arranged what I called "All Ages Tournament" - with team and single events for everybody from cadets to veterans. It must be said to have been a great success, with teams/players from Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton. '
Junior Invitation Series 2009
Junior Invitation Series 2009
    The players wanted me to arrange it again in a months time or so and on a regular basis, but the committee at that time did not seem very keen - and I do not know why. So it never happened.
    I also wanted to get back again the young players that had quit when Paul had to step down, and planned a tournament/series especially for them. But unfortunately I had to travel to Norway because my parents died when we started to ring around, and it seemed that the club did not manage to get hold of many - if any. No more talk about a series.
    Also a lot of the new kids I had managed to recruit were gone - and I heard by a father of two young brothers that they thought that the club had closed down; they had been there two weeks on the normal day but the door was closed.
Fiji Camp invitation
Fiji Camp invitation
International coaching camp
Well, I had not lost contact with my friends in Fiji - and one of the players I had in my squad some years ago was now the President of Fiji Table Tennis. He invited me to hold an international coaching camp prior to the Fiji Open in December 2011.
    Great; I could do some coaching again (you should by now understand that I really like to do table tennis coaching!) and Olav could play in an international tournament!
    The participants came from Fiji, Salomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia; many of them were national junior representatives. And a number of experienced national coaches and senior players helped me out at the tables.
    Knowing the Pacific attitude I tried to make exercise that could motivate everybody. I also used a number of exercises the better players were used to from the Oceania camp. And made sure that the youngest and most inexperienced ones had a lot of fun exercises, like hitting cups, and playing games.
    My program had emphasis on footwork and attacking skills, and
Olav and trophies from Fiji
Olav and trophies
also a development day by day; stepping up from simple exercises to more difficult exercises - and then to more match-like ones. Multi-ball-practising in the afternoon (sometimes with two players on one side) and top-table match-like exercises to make it a bit more fun when the players got a bit tired in the hot afternoon!
    It must be allowed to say the camp was successful; the players worked hard and improved their skills! We were so happy that we followed up with a very simular training camp the next year!
And Olav was happy to meet some table tennis friends again - and make some new ones. And bring a
good haul of trophies back home!
Coaches' Workshop
In December 2009 I did an effort to motivate the club in Townsville to improve the situation: I got the board's permission to conduct a Coaches' Workshop. The objective was to "strengthen cooperation between coaches working in Townsville and establish a common platform so that they can follow the same principles/guidelines (for all players in TTTA)". And the goal was to "get enough, and capable, coaches looking after all the players, from beginners to advanced players from January 2010". '
In Europe you have to choose if you want to be a good player or a good coach, you can not be both!
      I put a lot of effort into the planning and hoped that we could have a positive meeting with everybody discussing coaching methods and players' development. I was as good as the only coach with certificate in Townsville but might be this could motivate to a positive development?
     I was pleased to see that the majority of the players turned up but then I got a shock: They cancelled the workshop before it got started!
(To read the program for the workshop click here)
Wanted to improve his game
Well, things seemed to go from bad to worse in Townsville. The club cancelled the squad-practising on Thursdays, stopped the junior fixtures on Fridays and also kept the venue closed on Tuesdays.
     Olav wanted to improve his game but we knew very well that he would have to practise more than two days a week if he wanted to play on an international level - or even Australian level! What should I do?
The Academy logo
The Academy logo
Paul and Olav with trophy
Paul and Olav with trophy
     A school close to where we live had a new multi purpose hall. Might be I could use that venue so that Olav and the few other keen players could practise there on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
    Well, it was not so easy. The school said that to use the hall one needed to be a club, and also have insurance. The only way for me to get cheap insurance was to establish table tennis club affiliated with Table Tennis Queensland (TTQ). So I started a new club in December 2010: Table Tennis Academy Townsville. The meaning was that Olav and I, and others that wanted to have extra practising, should be members of two clubs (to read about it click here).
    I thought everybody would be happy - I had always heard in board meeting when I was a member of the committee that there should be more than one club in Townsville. But no. Olav was told that he could not play in the weekly fixtures since he was a member of another club.
     I wanted to hold a friendly "Stockland Challenge" - a team match between the Academy and Townsville Table Tennis, played at the largest supermarket in the city. The purpose was to show people that table tennis was more than "a hobby you do in your garage on rainy days" and also to give the players a chase to play in front of public. The other club said no. Well, luckily two of their members were also members of a church, and they formed a "church team".     
     It was a very positive event, with people passing through the shopping centre stopping to watch. Olav and Paul won the team match and got a big trophy.
Build a club from scratch
It might be that the other club thought that the Academy was a threat to them; there were rumours that I wanted to steal their members. But as Paul said it: "But Terry, why do they say such a thing; you do not want any of their members, do you?!" No I did not. Everybody was welcome to play at Belgian Gardens School no matter which club they belonged but I definitely did not want any of the veterans at the other club to swap to the Academy - I wanted young kids to start playing table tennis! The main objective of the Academy was, as you can read here: - First of all to involve children in table tennis as a sport, with emphasis on fitness and competitive skills.
    Paul also said the following in a letter to TTQ: "I think that he has been unjustly maligned for this and also once again completely misunderstood by certain people who really don't understand his goals and intentions or who are using it as an excuse to hit out at him and as an excuse for some pretty doubtful exclusionary practices."
    It some of the players wanted to be member of the Academy as well as TTTA, that was fine with me, but I have never had any interest in coaching veterans - in Norway they do not practise on a regular basis! I wanted to build a club from scratch - with young kids!
Plane for more than 2 hours

I had honestly believed that the other club should be grateful that I took on the job of starting another table tennis club in Townsville. I had learned that it was not much of offer when it came to competitions: One open tournament in the year; that was all besides the weekly Fixtures. The nearest club was more than four hours drive away, and they had nothing more on offer. If Olav wanted to play against good players of his own age we had to take the plane for more than 2 hours to get to Brisbane!     
    
There were 16 soccer clubs in the Townsville area - and they had a series for the young kids every Saturday. If we wanted table tennis to prosper in Townsville we would need more than one club; the more clubs the better! And it had to be something on offer for them!


Incomplete: More to follow!


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

Development forum 2014

"My life as table tennis coach and administrator":
First page
Part 1: From 1971 to 2005
Logan Pilot Project
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
Supporting letter
- from Paul Jones
Supporting letter
- from Australian Table Tennis Association