TT coach Clarke: ‘India needs centralised training centre’

India coach Brett Clarke also recommended the players to use Hurricane rubbers (from China) to get better results during a video-conference with SAI coaches and players.

Brett Clarke wants Indian coaches to scout for talent from other sports as well.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

Team India coach Brett Clarke said the country needs to have its own centralised Training Centre like the ones in Germany, Portugal and Denmark if it hopes to be one of the top countries in the sport. “It can be anywhere in India. Maybe in Delhi or somewhere where all the top players especially the youth can train. It is a must. Then players don’t have to spend lakhs of money to train abroad. We can also bring in players from other countries like China and South Korea with help from the [Indian] Government,” said the 47-year-old Australian while speaking to Sports Authority of India coaches and players online on Wednesday on the topic of ‘Advancing Indian Table Tennis through Coach Education’.

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Brett said Hurricane rubbers (from China) can be used by Indian players on their paddles to get better results, even if it is slightly different and not exactly the same one used by the top Chinese paddlers. The Olympian said Hurricane rubbers are ideal for strong forehand play. “It (Hurricane rubber) is harder, has a sticky surface and is best for service, receive and forehand. I would like to see 20 percent of Indians use the rubber,” he said.

According to Clarke, the impact of Chinese rubbers can be witnessed in European players using them now. “[Top German players] Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov are using a copy of Hurricane rubbers on their forehand and Japan's [16-year-old whiz kid] Harimoto Tomakazu might have to use it,” said the former coach of the Australian men’s team.

Local coaches in India need to be updated with International trends, he said. Coaches should get more girls to the sport and train them. "It is much easier to get medals in Commonwealth Games. If we get more girls to table tennis, it would be absolutely fantastic in the next 20-30 years. Singapore is only the top team now. In such a scenario, [Indian] women can dominate CWG and do well in Olympics," said Clarke.

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Coaches should not just open the doors [of their Clubs/Academies] but instead scout for talents from other sports and those from the streets, observed Clarke. "We need players from diverse background. We need players who can fight and keen to have a better life."

Clarke cautioned coaches against using long pimple rubbers for girls. "Sixty per cent of girls use long pimple rubbers on the advice of their coaches for short-term gains in the cadet and sub-junior categories. "Using smooth/plain rubber is a better option," he said.