Paddlers lack professionalism: Engel

New Delhi, Dec 17 : Peter Engel, who is the new Indian Table Tennis coach, has lamented on the easy-going approach of the top Indian paddlers, saying they lacked focus and discipline.

In short, he said the Indian paddlers, barring those playing in European clubs, lacked professionalism.

"From what I have seen in the last two months, the players have the talent but are not giving their 100 percent. What is irritating is they tend to pick and choose their training sessions without realizing that this approach will not work if they want to succeed at international level," Engel said.

The German, however, refused to name the players.

Since his arrival in October he has not spent enough time with the seniors other than travelling with them for tournaments in Germany and Poland.

Engel has spent quality time at both the NIS, Patiala, and at the Lucknow camp until last week before coming here.

Talking about his experience with the campers during the ongoing North Zone National Ranking Championships here on Tuesday, Engel was disappointed to see players preferring long holidays than spending extra hours around the table.

"What surprised me was how the seniors found excuses to skip training before the tournaments. Sometimes they don't want to train citing festivals. If they waste so much time on these things, how are they going to concentrate on the game," asked the German, who is keen on changing the system after his Christmas break.

In fact, the earlier coaches Massimo Costantini from Italy and Poland's Leszek Kucharaski have said the same about our paddlers. But there seems to be no change in the attitude of the majority of players.

Nevertheless, Engel was impressed with the rich talent but pointed out to the lack of dedication and fitness.

"The situation is not bad as 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" said the coach, who played for his country at the World Championships in Kolkata in 1975.

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," he said.

Engel was candid enough to admit that the women paddles have a lot of catching up to do on the international stage.

"The difference is that the men play in European clubs and get to practice with quality players. But the women get to practice mostly in camps and in India only. I am planning to have more camps at frequent intervals when I come back," said the coach.

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

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