I aspired to become great as a table tennis player and often researched in order to find the best players, coaches and clubs, in my quest to reach my table tennis dreams.
I travelled all over and around London seeking players, clubs and coaches for my personal development. I was willing to go anywhere and pay any price for the best coach, I clearly remember working as a Domino's pizza delivery boy and spending my hard earned cash on TT.
Michelle Gadal came to England after coaching, Jean Philip Gatien (1993 world champion) and I decided I wanted him to coach me. I managed to get his phone number and so called him, begging Michelle to coach me. His answer was a clear no, because he was the national coach and it would be conflict of interest. I offered him £40ph, back in 1997, in today's money it would be approximately £80. For me personally, it was around 12 hours work at Domino's but I was more than willing! Just so I could gain some words of wisdom form a coach who produced a World Champion.
Today I would do it all again as I believe commitment towards your passion is one few people have in today's world.
Six months ago a young man contacted me saying he has been following my coaching blogs, videos and players (I coach) their success. At the time I was focused on providing my academy players my time and external coaching was out of the question.
Nevertheless, this young man was willing to pay my coaching fees and travel 130 miles one way for one hour of my time. I quickly recalled myself as a kid begging Michelle and decided I wouldn't let commitment go unrecognised. The young man explained that he had a friend and they would both commit to the travel and training. I decided to test their commitment by agreeing to a one off session, that one session has become a six months long coaching commitment and only seems to grow in time.
Both these players entered an event after I coached them with mixed results and the response from them was poor initially but they seemed even more determent to achieve. Training continued and I noticed big steps in their games, two weeks ago they entered London Gran Prix where they both came out with around 100 points each. They both had great wins and progressed in their events which was lovely to see.
3 key points:
I have coach at The Harefield Table Tennis Academy for 10 years and fortunate to work with so many wonderful players and people. From total beginners to borough, county, national and international players, furthermore they have all become amazing people.
After 10 years of doing something you love, it became clear to me that I have a choice stay and continue doing what I'm doing or look to grow as a coach and person. Some may say "why change a good thing" and keep going but I believe its my time to spread my wings and fly.
The world has so much to offer and staying in one place may mean the world for one person but for someone like me, personally it means I'm not growing and more importantly I'm not sharing.
Being involved in Table Tennis for 21 years made me realise the game advances whether you like it or not and I embrace change.
So the lesson for today, if you truly wish to be a pioneer at your chosen field you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace change.
I began playing when I saw Forrest Gump and from that day it became a life long journey..