Today we are delighted to be sharing an interview with one of the top coaches in European Table Tennis, Aleksey Yefremov.
Born in Minsk (Belarus), Aleksey is from a dedicated Table Tennis family as his father was one of the USSR coaches and head coach of the Belarus National teams and his sister was also a member of the Belarus National team.
Aleksey, currently working in Norway, has worked with renowned players like Omar Assar, Dina Meshref, Sharath Kamal, Anthony Almalraj and many others. He is the personal coach of Norwegian, Tommy Urhaug, (former men’s singles Paralympic class 5 gold medallist)
1. If you could choose one current player to coach, who would it be and why?
Any of my players in Norway or Iceland with whom I work with on a daily basis. Tommy Urhaug (former World and European Paralympic Champion) for example, why? Because we know what to do during a match and how to win in certain critical situations by preparing for them in our daily work. Working on small details helps to understand your players game which will help them to win.
2. One F/H Topspin coaching tip?
All parts of the human body: Feet, knees, hips, shoulder, arm, wrist, even fingers have to come in line (kinetic chain). Then the F/H can become really powerful. Another important thing is not to have too much tension in the hand, relax-pressure-relax. This is key for high quality topspin.
3. Favourite 2 drills?
Player A: First ball B/H-B/H, then B/H to F/H parallel which is topspinned back to Player A F/H, Player A then counterspins to Player B B/H and repeat.
Backspin service, receive with chop to B/H, then B/H topspin parallel or diagonal, then free. I also like serve and all free table.
4. Hardest worker?
From players I have worked with: Omar Assar (EGY), Sayed Lashin (EGY), Zubin Kumar (IND) AmalRaj Anthony (IND), Jose Miguel Ramirez (GUA), Diego Rodriguez (PER), Tommy Urhaug (NOR) and many, many others. But if it’s only one: Tommy Urhaug (class 5 para) for his unbelievable will power!! You can’t compare it with standing players.
5. Most talented player?
I will choose two players from different generations, Vladimir Samsonov and Lin Yun-Ju.
6. One great tip to any young aspiring players?
If it’s only one tip it would be to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, as all is POSSIBLE! If not only one, then I would say to always give 100% dedication to your favourite sport, 100% concentration and attention to detail at practice. Rest time, what to eat, sleep patterns and what to do to be ready again!!
Thanks to Aleksey for taking the time to the interview with us and we hope you all enjoy it.