Recently I took an interview of one of the Table Tennis greats in Australia. In 1989 he won the Australian Under 15 singles title and was runner up in the Under 17 singles title in the same year. Later on he went on to win a lot of matches and made Australia proud in numerous occasions. His latest venture is to be a good Table Tennis guru teaming up with Alois Rosario and guide the youth of today so that they can exploit there talents to its fullest potential. He is none other that Jeff Plumb.
I served him some questions which he was kind enough to answer.
Are you from Melbourne?
I grew up in Canberra
Why did you shift from Canberra to Melbourne?
I moved to Melbourne when I was 18 to attend University and train with the National Table Tennis Squad at the Albert Park Table Tennis Centre.
Since when did you start playing table tennis? Do you agree with the fact that a player has to start playing at a very early age in order to excel and fully exploit the potential of the player?
I played a little bit of Table Tennis at Primary School in Grade 6 when I was 11 years old. The following year when I was 12 years old was the first time I visited a Table Tennis club. I was always into a lot of sports and I think that is more important than actually having to play Table Tennis. I think that you need to be developing your hand eye co-ordination is some fashion at a young age otherwise it is much harder to catch up to other kids. To become really good at Table Tennis you do need to put in a lot of training hours. I don’t think that your age has a big impact on this if you are under 30 but as you get older it is simply harder to find the time to train.
Who was your first coach? Any messages if he is reading this?
There were a number of coaches at the ACT Table Tennis centre who helped me to improve. Mohammed Hossain was my coach when I won the U/15 Australian Championships.
Any significant memories from the first practice session that you had with him?
I don’t remember the first training session but he was a great coach and utilized multi-ball to really work all the players very hard. He definitely took my game to a new level. He was originally from Jordan and had played at the World Table Tennis Championships for them.
Who encouraged you to play?
I was initially encouraged by my high schoold friend Michael Jacobsen who was also very interested in Table Tennis. I would often go to his house after school and we’d play for hours. My Mum and Dad also encouraged me a lot by taking me to training and tournaments. Ray Perdriau was the president of the club back when I started playing and he was very encouraging. He had a son Simon who also played Table Tennis and Ray would arrange coaching for a group of kids and then also take us to tournaments in Sydney.
Who inspires you the most?
Now that my competitive playing days are over and I’m concentrating on building up PingSkills, I’m inspired by business people like Jason Fried who is the founder of 37signals. They have built up a great business based on the internet and I’d love to do something similar around Table Tennis.
Who is your favorite player?
I’m quite old school so my favourite player was Jan-Ove Waldner. He seemed to have complete control over the Table Tennis ball. Of the current players my favourite is Wang Hao. His reverse penhold backhand is amazing and his forehand is devastating.
When did you first get picked up for an Australian team? What do you remember from your first ever match?
How did you feel when you were representing Australia for the first time?
It’s strange because it is a very special moment but at the time you don’t realize it. You are focused on doing your job and playing as well as you can. I feel more proud of the achievements now that I’ve finished playing and I look back on my career.
There will be more of Jeff Plumb, so stay tuned for part 2 which will be posted next week.
- Jeff Plumb talks about Ping Skills (keepingintouchblog.wordpress.com)