21 May 2019

Staged prior to the SET 2019 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open; Bangkok was the home for the second ITTF Under 15 and Under 18 High Performance Training Camp.

Under the direction of Massimo Costantini, ITTF High Performance Manager and Croatia's Leo Amizic, for many years a coach in the German Bundesliga, proceedings commenced on Monday 6th May and concluded on Monday 13th May.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Impressively a total of 30 players and nine coaches attended, the national associations represented being Australia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Italy, India, Iran, Peru, Puerto Rico, Romania, Thailand, the United States and Wales.

Besides table tennis, educational sessions were on the agenda. During those, players and coaches were organised into groups, given the task of  analysing the recent men’s singles and women’s singles finals at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships; interesting and well thought out conclusions was the outcome.

Later, the host nation’s leading female player, Suthasini Sawettabut, shared her experiences of on the subject of dealing with success and failure; her coach, Mr Kirwan explained the importance of meditation in order to control emotions. Notably in addition, Slovakia’s Thomas Keinath, vastly experienced, attended in the role of practice partner.

“The training camp went smoothly and well. Everything was well-planned by the organiser. We had a great co-operation amongst the coaches and a good atmosphere amongst the players. Everyone worked hard, whilst still enjoying themselves, exactly as I expected”. Massimo Costantini

Ana Hursey facing Isa Cok (nearest camera) and Jamila Laurenti serving in unison (Photo: courtesy of Massimo Costantini)


Undoubtedly a motivated group, all with aspects of the play that needed specific attention but most importantly in an age group where learning is comparatively quick and changes can be realised rather more efficiently than when in more senior years.

“We need to be more insistent on the intensity of the work by finding a way to be more consistent in keeping the ball in play, but with high quality. A common mistake that can be observed not only in participants of the camp but also in table tennis players around the world is the lack of playing with quality and consistency. When the quality drops, eventually the game turns into a defensive one. The reasons why so many players find themselves in these situations are manifold: the quality of their daily training, their training environment, surrounding social conditions and many more. Our job is to persist in exploiting one’s abilities to the highest degree in order to succeed in one’s career.“ Massimo Costantini

The training camp concluded with a full day of matches.

“My thanks to the Table Tennis Association of Thailand for the great co-operation and support in organising this camp; it far exceeded our expectations. In conclusion, it was an experience to be repeated.” Massimo Costantini




Ruichao Chen (United States)

“In my opinion, the camp was good for our players. Firstly, the camp provided a chance for our girls to get used to the weather and the playing conditions in Thailand, which means the players had an advantage in the upcoming matches.

Although it was hard to adapt to six hours of training a day in the beginning, after a period of time, the well-planned training worked very well. This training camp was focused on the first three points of a rally, including serve and return.

Another focus of the training camp was the ability to attack, forcing opponents to follow one’s own rhythm. The training camp also focused on the ability to switch positions in the middle of a high-speed rally. Overall, we think this week has been a great week for us, both technically and spiritually.” 


Darko Arapovic (Croatia)

“The biggest benefit of the camp was that we could exchange experiences with other players and coaches. Coaches and players at the camp created a special working atmosphere in which we trained well. Asia was a special inspiration to Hana (Arapovic) and me. We saw a lot of differences.” 


Laoura Nikolae (Greece)

“Thank you for giving us such support. All this work is part of our journey to success. It was a great experience, especially the team work of all coaches working together to under Mr Costantini’s instructions. Our highlights were: high performance, mental preparation, motivation, studying the details of technique and tactics, and variation.” 


György Szily (Hungary)

“The camp was very useful for us. We could see those abilities of Dorottya (Tolgyes) which needed to be improved. We are going to work on them in the future. This was the first time being so far from home. All in all thank you for everything.“ 


Ashley Robinson (Australia)

“I thought the camp was excellent. The training environment and atmosphere was very good between players and coaches. Max and Leo were good in how they talked and educated the players to try get them to be as good as they can be.” 


Yanapong Panagitgun (Thailand)

“I really have to say thank you for the camp in Bangkok. It was very helpful for me. It prepared me for the competition and provided me with useful knowledge, including new tactics in the game. Meeting good coaches and great players in this camp is one of the keys for my gold medal in this competition.” ,

Later Yanapong Panagitgun won the junior boys’ singles title at the SET 2019 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open

High Performance and Development Coaching Massimo Costantini Leo Amizic