Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Tomlinson has the level - German coach

Published:Thursday | November 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Tomlinson

Jamaica's reigning national champion, Simon Tomlinson, has convinced one international table tennis coach that he could thrive overseas.

Visiting German coach Matthias Landfried says that the Jamaican number one has the ability and could benefit from a stint in Germany, which has dominated the men's game on the continent during the last decade. Landfried believes that Jamaicans could develop their skills.

Landfried is in Jamaica on a 10-day holiday but is spending some time coaching at local table tennis clubs. Speaking on November 25, he said, "I saw, for example, Simon Tomlinson in Sweden in Stockholm at the Swedish Open, and he has, of course, the level to play in Germany and to practise there but also for younger players if they come."

Though he is only here for 10 days, Landfried is sharing his expertise with players from local clubs. He started by instructing almost 40 youngsters from the Angels Academy in Spanish Town covering basic technique, service and service returns, and match strategy.

Landfried, who has been coaching at the national level in Germany and elsewhere in Europe for the last 15 years, described his time in Jamaica with his wife as a good mix between sport and vacationing.

"I mix this with holiday because if I come to Jamaica, I cannot come only for table tennis," he said smiling. "It must also be holiday."

Germany has been China's strongest rival in men's table tennis with stars like 1989 World doubles champions Jorg Rosskopf and Steffen Fetzner, 2017 World Cup winner Dimitri Ovtcharov and enduring left-hander Timo Boll. All four made early inroads into the national senior team, but Lindfreid believes that they played their way into contention.

STRONG PLAYERS

"They got the chance not because they were young, but they got the chance because they were strong," he said. "They had been always outstanding players, and because of that, they got this chance."

Now coaching in Croatia after 12 years as a coach in the German Bundesliga, Landfried listed reactions, technique, and footwork as the attributes that young players should perfect but added that the sport teaches lessons for life.

"You will also, in your whole life, be more concentrated and more focused," Lindfried professed, "but also, the most important thing is never to forget to have fun."

He gave some advice to those who might consider his home country as a table tennis base.

"The thing is," he warned, "Germany is big, and maybe sometimes, people don't know where to go, but if you have a contact person, he knows which is the best training camp for young players, or advanced players, or senior players, or so on."

Asked if he would be a contact person for Jamaica and Jamaicans, with an eye on Germany as a place to develop their table tennis skills, the affable coach replied: "I hope I will be ready."

Coach Lindfried expects to be visiting other clubs during his stay in Jamaica.

-H.L.