Today we are delighted to be publishing an interview with one of the top coaches in world Table Tennis, Li Chao.
Li has worked for the China, Chinese Taibei, Wales, and Scotland National teams, and is currently the UAE (Dubai) National Coach. Chao, originally from China has worked with some of the best players in the world including the Japanese Superstar Jun Mizutani and we are thrilled to share his knowledge with you.
You have worked with some of the Worlds best players including Jun Mizutanii…what attributes do you look for in a player?
I still remember my first time as a coach for Jun Mizutani 10 years ago, when he played the world champion Wang Liqing. Before the match, I only told him three points: 1. Believe in yourself and have firm belief; 2. Stick to your tactics; 3. Make quick adjustments in the face of adversity. Through our joint efforts, he won the match 3:1, which was also his first victory against the world champion! Therefore I think the characteristics of a world-class player should be: Having super-comprehensive quality and also the ability to respond to a crisis!
Can you give other Coaches a couple of tips on how to get the best out of players in training?
As a professional coach the most important thing is to guide players correctly in training. Especially giving different guidance to players of different ages and different levels. Keep them interested in table tennis! Only when they fall in love with table tennis will they focus on the training and the coach can then more easily improve the players level! So lead the players first, then focus! It can’t be done without either one of those!
How do you motivate a very talented player but struggles to maintain focus in training or matches?
For such players the coach needs to pay more attention to them. Talent is their natural advantage, but their lack of concentration can also cause them to waste this advantage. Therefore coaches need to guide the player more in training and competition. They especially need to often have new/good ideas, so that the player will train hard every day but also feel hope for the future! That way they’ll get closer and focus on it!
Can you tell us two of your favourite drills and why?
First of all, I need to make it clear that every coach has different training styles and methods. It is necessary to decide the training plan according to different coaches and the different levels of players they are training. If I had to choose, I would choose:
1: The attack after the serve/return. Because our training is for matches, the first thing in the match is the serve and return. Then into the game to reach the final goal of winning! Therefore, serve or receive then quickly attack, should be the beginning of all matches. It is also an important means of scoring points!
I will choose multi-ball training. Because multi-ball training is the best way to train a player’s speed, power, skill and continuous reflexes. The soul of table tennis should be: fast, accurate, ruthless, variation and adapting. These five aspects are vital! 1. Fast movement 2. Accurate hitting 3. Fierce scoring of points 4. Different spins 5. Multiple variations of tactics
Can you put these in the order of importance for an Advanced player…..Technique..Physical Fitness..Mentally Strong…Great Feeling/Talent
My personal opinion is that all of the above is important! The most important thing is to keep training consistently and always want to win!
Technique, Talent, Mentally strong & Physical fitness.
Finally, can you give 2 tips to any young aspiring players out there?
Enjoy training hard to improve’ and ‘Always set goals to see how you are improving’!
Table tennis is a sport that requires high quality physical condition, strength, agility, reaction and intelligence. We hope that more people can love this sport and more people can participate in it! With participation, it will be strong!
Best wishes and good luck! 🏓
Coach Li Chao
Thanks to Li for doing the interview with us and we wish him all the luck in the future.