Coach Corner

A word with Peter Nilsson by Owen Kelly
National Irish Coach 1999-2000
Published in ITTA Newsletter. (Sept 2001)

I have been club, region or national trainer in following countries : Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, Denmark. I will stop my trainer career here in Denmark in end of August.

When did you first start to play table tennis?
I started to play table tennis when I was ten years old in Bjärred ( a small village outside Malmö in Sweden ).

What do you consider to be your greatest success in table tennis?
As player a third place at the Swedish Championships 1989. That I have been able to turn my hobby into a professional job.

Which player do you most admire?
Waldner of course. He is the best player ever. But I think there have been many Swedish and Chinese who have been great players over the years.

Which coach do you most admire?
I don’t have any special coach I admire. I’m interested in coaching (not only table tennis) so I’m trying to be open minded and trying to learn from all coaches.

How do you think the new 11 point game, service rule and time outs will change the game?
11 POINT GAME : The game will be more exciting. I think that the players must be focused and keep the concentration on every point / ball. There is no time too relax when we will only play to 11. I also think they who are strong mentally could have a benefit because many games will end 11 – 8 or 11 – 9.

SERVICE RULE : That can and will be a big change. Those with good service will have a disadvantage but I think all trainers and players will work hard and try to get some new ideas about how you could serve when the new service rule will begin in season 02 – 03. I think we will see many players who will throw up the ball high so they get time to take their free arm away. That can also be that the players will stand a little different then before with their legs and feet.

TIME OUT : I think that it is good that the trainers / players have the possibility to get a short break if you can see that you must change something in the tactic or if the player are playing badly or if the are not mentally stable.

Do you think that tactics will change a lot?
No, I don’t think that tactics will change a lot but you never know what will happened if there will came new playing styles, new rubbers and so on so as a trainer you must always try to get new ideas and be open minded.

What do you feel are the key elements to a successful player?
That the players need to and want to practise hard and a lot in both good and bad times. Good technique – mentally and physical strong and that they are interested to learn new things all the time = improve their style.

What are your impressions of Irish Table Tennis?
A small country who are thinking small. They need someone to guide them. Open the eyes and expand their horizon. Many club trainers (who are volunteers ) are doing a great / big job.

How do you think the Irish system could improve?
All who are involved in table tennis in Ireland must work towards the same goal. Everyone (parents, leaders, trainers and players) must think and work professional if they will have any international results. Send your club / national trainers to training courses abroad.

What advice would you give someone taking up the sport for the first time?
Get a full time trainer who can have training 5 – 10 times every week. Have fun, enjoy the game, practise/play as much you can.

What are your future plans?
Learn more about our sport so I can improve as a trainer. We would like to move abroad again so I could be a full time trainer. The table tennis world keeps getting bigger and so does the possibilities so who knows what good things the future brings

2003: Update: Peter currently lives and works in Norway.