TABLE TENNIS Trainer Richard McAfee says he would like to see more time outs or small breaks scripted into the games
Teaching table tennis has been his passion and master trainer Richard McAfee was in Bangalore last week to conduct an International Table Tennis Federation’s ITTF-PTT Level I clinic for Indian coaches. The programme was organised by Tenvic, a sports management and education initiative run by Anil Kumble, his brother Dinesh Kumble and former table tennis international Vasanth Bharadwaj.
With 30 years of experience in the sport, the 60-year-old McAfee has trained several hundred coaches and thousands of physical trainers across the world and is currently serving as the chairman of the USA TT National Coaching Advisory Council and is a certified ITTF trainer.
Besides being a coach, he is a noted administrator and event manager of several international meets, including the World Championship, World Cup, US National Olympic trials Paralympics and was the tournament director of the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. McAfee received several international recognitions for his services to the game and was inducted in the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005. He has also authored a book on the game Table Tennis - Step by Step . On the sidelines of the clinic in Bangalore, McAfee spoke at length about the game.
How has the response to your clinic in India been?
I believe that the response to our first three ITTF courses has been excellent. The participation has increased at each city we visited and Bangalore was the largest of the courses with 27 participants. 62 coaches attended the course.
What areas did you focus upon during the clinic?
The course that we are presenting is an International Table Tennis Federation Level 1 course. It is a standardised course . Coaches passing the course and also the post-course requirements, receive ITTF Coaching Certification which is recognised worldwide.
The course is broad based and contains information on stroke technique, bio-mechanics, physical training, psychological skills, first aid, serve and receive, the planning of training sessions and competition management. We also have a daylong class in Para coaching (disabled athletes).”
What is lacking among Indian coaches?
I have met many highly skilled, talented and dedicated coaches. Like all professionals, they need to have access to regular opportunities to continue their education. These ITTF Courses have been the first international coaching education courses to be held in India.
The game has been dominated by the Chinese, do you see an alternate force emerging?
Many countries in South America and in the Middle East have made progress. However, I do not see anyone challenging China at the moment.
Do you prefer to see any major change in the game?
I would like to see some more time outs or small breaks scripted into the games to allow the television announcers to have more time to explain the game and to show replays.
In your long association with the game, what do you cherish most?
The two-years I spent as the competition manager for the Atlanta Olympic table tennis events would have to be the major highlight. Having an opportunity to meet and work with coaches across the world in the ITTF’s coaching certification programme will be a close second.