New table tennis coach at Grantham College, Gavin Evans, has 48 National Titles, a European title, a World title, won Gold in the Youth Olympics in Belgrave and was picked to play in the London 2012 Olympics.
He is the youngest ever in history to be on the ranking list, winning his first game at just six years old at Cippenham Table Tennis Club where his career began.
When did you start playing Table Tennis?
“I was four years old and it was my brother’s birthday. My brothers already played table tennis and my parents were heavily involved in sport so it was a natural step for me to join in.”
What do you enjoy most about it?
“I enjoy the speed most. Table tennis is sometimes described as playing chess while downhill skiing as there’s always a lot going on. You never stop learning and you can always keep getting better and keep improving.”
Where has your Table Tennis career taken you?
“I’ve been all over the world; I’ve been to China 12 times and can speak a bit of Mandarin.”
What achievement are you most proud of?
“The European Championships. I was number one in Europe for two years and never lost a match. I also played in the Commonwealth Championships which was amazing.”
What made you want to become a coach?
“I had to cut down my hours due to an injury. I have been playing full time since I was 12 and as a result have lost all the cartilage in my hip. Having had three surgeries – one which prevented me from playing in the London 2012 Olympics – I thought it would be a great way for me to pass my knowledge and skills on and still be involved in the game. I still get the same adrenaline rush as playing and have had the honour of coaching others who have had early success, such as Tom Jarvis, who trains here at Grantham College and went to the Rio 2016 Olympics as a reserve. It’s great to be able to share my knowledge with other aspiring players and it’s the coach’s responsibility to keep going, be positive and to inspire the team.”
What tips would you pass on to aspiring players?
“Be sensible. It’s not just about sweating and training. You have to look at your long term goals and build your body – the fitter you are, the longer your career will be. Having spent a lot of time in physiotherapy, I have learnt a lot about the body which I can now pass on to my players. Knowing how to look after yourself and keeping fit is just as important as learning the game. Enjoy it, and be positive.”
If you would like to read more about Gavin, follow him on Twitter @GavinEvansTT or go to https://gavinevanstt.com/
To find out more about the Table Tennis Academy at Grantham College, call 01476 400200 or visit http://www.grantham.ac.uk/student-life/sport- enrichment/table-tennis- academy/