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SCI News No 95        SCI Executive Committee       
Go West Young Man, Home of Iconic Names Hosts Successful Inaugural Course
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Advice from Christian Lillieroos (right)  Photo By: Courtesy of Linda Hsing


Famous for Hollywood, Disney World, the Los Angeles Lakers Basketball team and home of one the SPiN Table Tennis Clubs owned by Oscar winning actress Susan Sarandon, the Californian city of Los Angeles, situated on the west coast of the United States, was the recent host for an ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course.

Staged over a period of two weekends, the first part of the programme being on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November, the second from Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th November, a total of 13 potential coaches enrolled, with 11 being present throughout the whole five days and all passing the practical test.

Organised under the umbrella of the ITTF Development Programme, the expert on duty was Christian Lillieroos.

Venue for the course was the Allen and Son Table Tennis Club, a new club about 45 minutes by car north of Los Angeles airport; a new club opened a year ago which proved an ideal venue.

Eight table tennis tables with one designated for a robot and all local on a deep red floor provided the perfect environment.

“The course organiser was the internationally known Linda Hsing, who is a member of the ITTF Technical Commission and is a well-known Referee and Blue Badge umpire”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “The club owner Allen Verny is originally from Russia, where he played as a child; he is an experienced businessman in the field of appliance repairs which is located directly adjacent to the table tennis club, he took part in the course.”

A businessman, clearly Allen Verny is very wise in the field of marketing.

“He prides himself in always having a large television screen with table tennis movies going on as an attraction for the public walking by his club”, added Christian Lillieroos. “Of course we had the privilege to use that for our theory.”

Unquestionably Allen Verny is most enthusiastic when table tennis is the subject; so were the course members who came from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Course Members
“Only two of the participants were born in the United States”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “The coaches came from all over the World; in particular those born in the United States did well.”

Incredibly they came from Iran, Russia, Nicaragua, England, China, Malaysia, Armenia and Nepal. One notable member was Mike Meier.

“He is an International Umpire and Referee with experience from the Youth Olympic Games, he has coached Para Table Tennis athletes at the World Championships, has competed in the World Championships of public speaking, played for the 10 times in a row University national champions and famous Texas Wesleyan University table tennis team”, advised Christian Lillieroos. “Currently he works as an insurance broker.”

In common with all members Mike Meier proved an enthusiastic student.

At full stretch, ready to start the session of play
Photo courtesy of Linda Hsing

The Question Course
“I will label this course as the “question course” because it was a never ending flow of questions from the participants, for me that is a sign of high level of interest”, said Christian Lillieroos. “A person needs to have a high level of knowledge to be able to make questions, so it is a good sign for a very good course.”

A good sign from a most motivated group of students.

Self-Funded Course
“In the U.S.A. where all courses are self-funded the participants take the course very serioulys and study hard; many of the attending coaches were in the process of being hired full-time as a coach and their hiring depended on a recognized certificate in coaching”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “In the U.S.A. the legal environment demands a coaching certificate to be able to coach full-time in a club, many club owners start to realize their potential liability in hiring coaches who do not have a recognized coaching certificate.”

The result is in recent years there has been a notable growth in courses organised under the banner of the ITTF Development Programme with the U.S.A. Table Tennis(USTTA) increasingly active in this field.

Mirror images, a practical session takes place with movement on the agenda
Photo courtesy of Linda Hsing

Fully Adopted
“Now, the USTTA coaching certification system has fully adopted the ITTF coaching certificate, an ITTF Level One Coaching Certificate translates into a USATT state coaching certificate, which is the second level certificate out of four levels; this level of certificate is the first level where a coach is certified to be a head coach over a group of athletes”, added Christian Lillieroos. “Importantly, this course was the first ITTF coaching in the Los Angeles area, California has had many ITTF Coaches Courses in the last two years but all the previous courses where in the San Francisco area; we hope after this initial course many more will follow.”

System Somewhat Different
No doubt that will be the situation in a country where table tennis coaching has an accepted system somewhat different from other parts of the world.

“In the United States, the culture is mostly coaching by private lessons and seldom in a group”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “Many times when international coaches come to the United States they are surprised by how much private lessons dominate their work.”

Course members with Christian Lillieroos seated fourth from left
Photo courtesy of Linda Hsing

Grateful for Support
A successful course and Christian Lillieroos was grateful for the support received.

“My special thanks go to Linda Hsing who hosted the Course Conductor and did everything to recruit participants for the course, she acquired wheelchairs and helped every day”, concluded Christian Lillieroos.

Sunday Night
Education over but not table tennis; many visited the SPiN Club.

“The course participants attended the regular hosted Sunday night tournament that they call “Dirty Dozen” after the classic movie from the 70s; that same night the famous musician “Redfoo” and a French tennis trick shot player “Gael Monfils” were in the club to play and see the pros play”, concluded Christian Lillieroos. “It made for a great photo opportunity.”

A memorable end to a memorable and most appreciated course; matters concluded on a high note. Here’s to next, cheers!

Sunday night at the SPiN Club in Los Angeles
Photo by Adam Bobrow



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