New TT coach questions Indian paddlers' professionalism

New Delhi, Dec 17 : India's new table tennis coach, Peter Engel, has hit out at the attitude of the country's top Indian paddlers, saying they lack dedication and discipline.

"From what I have seen in the last two months, the players have the talent but are unwilling to give their 100 percent. Though I won't like to name the players, I have found far too often that they pick and choose their training sessions," Engel told IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing North Zone National Ranking Championships here Tuesday.

"They need to realise this approach won't take them far if they want to compete at the international level."

Engel has not spent enough time with the senior players other than travelling with them for tournaments in Germany and Poland. Yet, he was able to project a picture of the state of sport in the country.

He has been familiarising himself with the set up and the facilities and spent quite some time at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala before conducting a camp at Lucknow last week.

Talking about his experience with the campers, Engel said he was disappointed to see players preferring long holidays than spending extra hours at the table. What indeed surprised him the most was how the seniors found excuses to skip training before tournaments.

"Sometimes they don't want to train citing festivals, sometimes there are tournaments and if they waste so much time on these things when will they train," asked the German, who is keen on changing the current system after he comes back from the Christmas break in January.

However, Engel is impressed with the abundance of talent and feels the players can do well with better focus and fitness.

"The situation is not bad and some of the players are willing to learn. I personally prefer them to improve their fitness, the lack of which makes a player lose his intensity around the table," he said.

On the technical front, the Barcelona-based coach felt that the Indians tended to use more of forehand than the backhand.

"There has to be a balance. You can't expect to win points by opting for forehand alone. The modern game needs variety, including a steady backhand," added Engel.

--IANS (Posted on 17-12-2013)

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