Thursday, 1 September 2011

Prause Fueling the European Dream

Having previously had good feedback on my interview with Swedish National Coach Peter Karlsson, I decided to seek another interview with a world class Table Tennis Coach. Richard Prause was incredibly successful in the position of German National Coach and now continues to inspire and coach players in Europe at the Werner Schlager Academy where he is Head Coach, thanks for the interview Richard, hope everyone enjoys!
Full Name: Richard Prause
Age: 43 years
Date Of Birth: 09.03.1968
Nationality: German
Highest World Ranking: 58 (1995)
Highest Coaching Status:
German National Mens Team Coach
Werner Schlager Academy Head Coach

Richard Prause
Former German National Mens Team Coach and Current Head Coach at the WSA
Image Courtesy of ITTF
Equipment Used?
Blade: Michael Maze
FH Rubber: Tenergy 05
BH Rubber: Tenergy 05

Your Career

How long have you involved in table tennis as a player and coach, when did you start each of those roles?
I had been working from 1999 till 2010 for the DTTB in different trainer and coaching jobs. From 2004 I was responsible for the German National Mens Team. Since 2010 I am head coach of the WSA (Werner Schlager Table Tennis Academy,founded by Werner Schlager and situated in Schwechat close to Vienna, Austria.
What has been the highlight of your table tennis career so far perhaps 2 seperate ones, as a player and as a coach?
Career Highlight as a player: 3rd place team 1993 in Gothenburg World Championships
As a coach: silver in mens team event 2008 in Bejing Olympics

What do you think of the state of table tennis worldwide as a sport? What is it lacking which it requires to become better?
Table tennis is in some nations a sleeping beauty, eg in germany there are more than 700000 players but in tv our sport is not often shown. Maybe now through modern media like internet the popularity will grow and of course also because of the performances of Timo who leads a german team that might be able to compete with the Chinese.
In many Asian nations table tennis is quite popular and shown very often on TV. Unfortunately in Europe many nations concentrate more on sports like football or just do not have the right structure for a sport like table tennis. The ITTF is trying to help a lot with increasing the ittf hot spot centers and hopefully this will help to create more successful players that will lead the way for more popularity in their nations. To my point of view we changed already quite some rules and table tennis as it is played right now is an attractive sport. We just have to make high effort to create a system where the players are able to work hard every day in order to compete with the best nations like China or in Europe; Germany and France.

As the German National coach what were your proudest moments?
2007 Germany won the first time ever the European Team Championships
2008 Silver in Bejing Olympic Team Event
2010 getting closer to the chinese in the WTTC team in Moscow where we had a close final against China


Richard Prause with his German National Coach successor Rosskopf

What were your goals for the German team and how did you work towards them?
As a German national team coach I tried to work a lot individually and find ways to communicate a lot with all my players. We tried to give all the players the feeling that they have a most important role inside our team and that they have to compete with each other, but at the same time be ready to work for and help the team. We had a very good team spirit although everybody tried to improve more than the other. We tried to always keep the belief to be able to improve every day and were always ready to compete with the Chinese in order to learn from them and to be ready to beat them.
What does Europe need to do in order to work towards beating Chinese players?
The Europeans have to work better together, maybe also to have camps more regularly together in order to raise the intensity of practice. The best 25 Chinese players are always practicing together. In Europe there are, with exception of Germany, mostly one or two good players in one nation. So we have to start putting these players together more often as it is done for preparation for the Olympics. Also the Europeans should have a look at the competition schedule that disable many players to practice regularly.

How has coaching at the Werner Schlager Academy been and what is your involvement there? What kinds of players come there to train? I know William Henzell will be training there, are there others like him looking to build up for Olympics also?
Right now I am working as head coach in the WSA. We are trying to give players from all nations and different levels the possibility to practice in a good structure and surrounding with professional coaches eg Dirk Wagner, Mario Amizic and myself.
Some players are living and practicing in the WSA like Joao Monteiro, Daniela Dodean, Robert Gardos, the Austrian National team, Bobocica, Burgis, Henzell and apart from them we have always guest like the Croation National team, players from Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Brazil and many more.

What are your goals for the next few years?

Our goal is to help all the players to improve their table tennis skills and make them perform their best table tennis. Would be nice if after 5 or 10 years we see some players that are practicing in the WSA winning medals in the WTTC or in the Olympics.


Off the Topic Questions

Who’s your favourite sportsperson of all time?
Timo Boll


Timo Boll, Richard's favourite Sportsperson
Image Courtesy of Denis' Table Tennis World
Favourite food?
Chinese Food
Dream Car?
Porsche
Ideal holiday destination?
Maldives
First thing you would do if you won $1million?
2 Weeks holiday then go on practicing

Your Team Mates

Who trains the hardest in the training hall?
everybody has to be ready to practice very hard and above the rim

And Lastly

Would you like to add one last tip, or an inspirational message for other table tennis players and coaches looking to succeed?
Keep on dreaming and it is always worth trying to improve

Thank you Richard! 

Want to read more great interviews with other former World Champions, Cup Winners and Number 1's? Click for MORE INTERVIEWS.

1 comment:

  1. Good job! Thanks for the interview :)
    Now, whole world is against Chinese... Amazing battle!!

    ReplyDelete