Monday 23 October 2023

Talkin' Smash Podcast by JOOLA Ep2: The Overseas Experience vs. Coming Home to the USA with Lily Zhang

 In episode 2 of the Talkin' Smash Podcast powered by JOOLA, I was joined by three-time US Olympian and six-time US National Table Tennis Champion Lily Zhang. We had a great discussion about different periods of Lily's playing career, living in different places and the pros and cons of living abroad vs. living at home in America. 

Lily Zhang joins Matt Hetherington on Episode 2 of the
Talkin' Smash Podcast powered by JOOLA

Zhang's career, post-university graduation, saw her experience an array of different training experiences. For the first year away from home she bounced around different countries in Europe, training and competing without a base. In year two she settled and trained full time in Dusseldorf at the German National Training Center. Her next experience saw her live in China for almost a year, during the height of the pandemic - training among the world's best with the Chinese National Team and playing in the Chinese Super League. 

After these long winded and varying pathways, her journey has now brought her home to the United States - where she is based and travels regularly for overseas leagues and international tournaments. 

It was great to get Lily's insights into these totally different worlds, but more so to delve into the mental challenges of each. My goal was to speak more about the challenges which players don't think about when they endeavour to move overseas and away from home full time. Lily's knowledge and learnings in these areas, especially with her graduate background in psychology - make for a unique and interesting podcast discussion. 

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