by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (interviews by Daniela Gomes)
In 2016, he was a mentee on the ITTF Mentorship Programme; he attended the Chinese Table Tennis College in Shanghai, before more recently visiting Dirk Wagner, one of the mentors and coach at TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau.
Accompanied by two young Welsh players, Callum Evans and Joshua Stacey, recently he was present at the German Bundesliga club from Monday 27th to Friday 31st March.
Ryan Jenkins reflects on his visit to TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau.
Dirk is a very thorough coach, always planning, thinking. He always wants progress. He is a thirsty coach where the current situation can always be bettered. I like his personal enthusiasm. This rubbed off to me. We went for our daily, post lunch run into the forest where we would chat about situations and how to progress.
Like in China, it’s not ground-breaking techniques that I came across in Germany, nor were there new ideas. I’ve been around the game as player and as coach for many, many years. It’s therefore difficult to find something I don’t already know or find something I haven’t come across. But both trips renewed my memory and tapped me on the shoulder to say “hey, remember this Ryan”. That’s priceless for me.
Being a mentor myself now, a new United Kingdom initiative, I’m able to pass on vital information to other young coaches. I listen to them closely before giving them my opinions. I want them to grow, just as Dirk worked with me this past year.
I thank the ITTF for their respect in selecting me for this programme and I wish them and all the coaches the very best in future years. I hope to be a mentor myself one day for the ITTF, working alongside Dirk promoting good work to others. We would make a good team.