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Meet Our Coach, Usman Umar

We recently asked Usman, our resident coach to do a Q&A session so that we could post about it here. Usman really enjoyed it and said that it really made him think about himself.

Hopefully you will get to know Usman a bit better after reading this article.

How and when did you start playing table tennis?

I started to play table tennis at the youth club in Savile Town where we originally only had 1 table. Later on, I went to be coached at Manorcroft by Bob Ryder and Geoff Asquith. I played in the Dewsbury and Wakefield League and represented Dewsbury in the Junior Inter League.

What is it about that sport that you enjoy the most?

It’s a very fast and dynamic sport that requires you to think so quickly and can be played all year round.

Who is your favourite player and why?

My favourite player Truls Morgard is as he is so dynamic. He is entertaining and can play all the shots and do something that is different and unorthodox at the table.

How, when and why did you get into coaching?

I started to help out with coaching the at Manorcroft and won the Clubman of the Year Award for helping the coaching staff. Then I had a substantial break from the sport and came back in to the sport in 2016 and did my Level 1 Coaching Course and Level 2 later on. The Committee at the Center were so supportive and paid for all my coaching courses including my First Aid, DBS and Coaching Licence. I started to coach at the centre with Chris Reece and Chris Wilding. Later on I started to coach for Ackworth Table Tennis Club. I have coached players from the 5 to 81 years of age, complete beginners to advanced players. I became confident with my coaching when I was invited to coach some of the advanced younger players at a performance camp held by Table Tennis England.

What do you enjoy most about coaching others?

I enjoy seeing players develop and improve and for me nothing can beat the smile on a players face when they are able to do a stroke which they have doubted they could do. I like helping people and have spent my life working in the Public Sector. Table Tennis allows me to build peoples confidence and help them improve their wellbeing.

What are your ambitions for the people you coach, and the club?

My ambition is that every player I coach enjoys playing table tennis. I like all my players to be the best they can be. My ambition is to help everyone I coach to improve and play the sport for a long time.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people may not know.

I coached Josh Bramley when he was ranked 634 and took him to 14. He was a player that people did not believe in and I could see he had determination. He was unorthodox and I have a view that as a coach we are not creating robots. Players should be allowed to experiment and try things out.

I once got to knock up with the former European Champion John Hilton at Batley Sports Center before his quarter final match in the English Closed.

On a none table tennis aspect I played so many different sports at a competitive level for example I played 11 aside football until I was 47. I am a keen cyclist and have cycled over 12000 miles in 2 years.

And finally, if you could give a player one piece of advice, what would that be?

“Nothing comes easy, work hard, believe in yourself don’t give up and you will surely succeed”

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