August 23, 2017

$80,000/Year Coaching Table Tennis?
An interesting question was raised at the forum – how much money can one make coaching table tennis? At least one person ridiculed the idea that one could make $80,000/year coaching table tennis. However, many coaches in the U.S. do just that, including ones from my club. The arithmetic is simple. If you coach 40 hours/week at $40/hour for 50 weeks per year, you’ll make $80,000/year.

The reality is that there are a number of coaches at full-time clubs who work more like 50/hours a week, which comes to $100,000/year. Add in group sessions, where you often make more than you do in private sessions, and the annual salary goes up. Add in secondary income from selling equipment, tournaments, leagues, and so on, and some coaches get still more.

The $40/hour is typical, but not standard everywhere. In expensive areas like New York City coaching is more like $80/hour. The club typically gets a percentage, but most successful clubs know that they rely on the coaches to bring in and retain players, so they let them keep the bulk of their money. At my club, for example, private lessons are $50/hour for members, $60/hour for non-members, with the club keeping $10/hour of that. (This is different for some of our coaches, who have different deals that involve salary, housing, and other amenities, but they still get pretty good hourly wages on top of all that.) In a place like New York, full-time coaches make even more per hour, and so more annually.  

But here’s the $100,000 question for those who want to make $100,000/year coaching (or $80,000, for that matter) – can you work those long, grueling hours? Coaching table tennis is both physically and mentally demanding, and doing 40 hours/week is tough. Personally, I’ve always put 30 hours/week as my limit, and usually prefer no more than 20. (I make as much money writing as coaching, so I can get away with it.) But a number of coaches at my club do 50 hours/week, week after week, month after month, and at least two of them have been doing this since we opened in 1992 – sometimes doing 60 and even 70 hours in a week. If you can do the hours, you’ll get paid well.

It’s surprisingly easy to get coaching hours at a full-time table tennis center. I remember when people used to argue that there wasn’t enough demand for table tennis coaching for full-time centers or full-time coaches (and later revised to for more than a few of them), but of course they just keep popping up, and there are hundreds of full-time coaches in the U.S. – at least 300, probably more. My club alone has 8-10, depending on how you define it, and they all keep busy.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a full-time table tennis coach? Here’s my Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook, which tells you all you need to know to become one!

World University Games - Update
Here’s the table tennis page. The event is taking place in Taipei, with 22 sports. Table tennis is scheduled for Aug. 22-29, with Men’s and Women’s Singles, Doubles, and Teams, plus Mixed Doubles. Right now they are playing team matches. You can get detailed results at the website. Here’s a summary of Team USA results.

  • USA Men (Billy Ding, Feng Yijun, Nathan Hsu, Jason Plog, and Timothy Wang) started off by losing to Japan 0-3, then beat Oman 3-0, and then pulled off a close one, 3-2 over Greece, to finish second in the group, advancing to the single elimination stage – where, alas, they play top-seeded China in their first match, the round before the quarters.
  • USA Women (Isabel Chu, Angela Guan, Erica Wu, Wu Yue, and Lily Zhang) started off with a 3-1 win over Sri Lanka, followed by a 1-3 loss to Japan, then a 3-0 win over Croatia, to come in second in their group and advance to the single elimination stage. There they lost their first match, 2-3 to Romania in the round before the quarters.

Tournament Tactics – Attacking Against Choppers
Here’s the article by Brian Pace, with links to numerous videos. “Playing against a chopper is one of the unique experiences that you will have in tournament play. The reason that choppers have a unique advantage in tournament play is, there aren’t enough of them to go around for you to develop a tangible tactical approach against. That makes it difficult to create a solid strategy you can recall on quickly. In most cases, you are relearning the strategy as the match progresses. This video post will help you understand the framework the chopper works under, and how you can systematically gain control over the sequence of play.”

Table Tennis Tidbits #6
Here’s the article: Length of Matches, by Robert Ho.

Thoughts about the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the USATT article by Wei Wang. This is a very thorough examination on how techniques have changed at the highest levels. (Wei Wang is a USATT Hall of Famer and the 1990 U.S. Women’s Singles Champion.)

Tao Wenzhang Survives Tight Final to Win 2017 Hawkeye Open
Here’s the USATT article (with link to video) by Matt Hetherington.

Perfect Record, Ishana Deb Supreme in El Salvador
Here’s the ITTF article.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter twenty-two - 1992 – Non-Tournament Articles. Or order your own print copies at, Volumes 1 to 19! (Volume 20 should be out in a week or two.)

USTTA Foundation Opens Applications for 2017 Shonie Aki Scholarship
Here’s the USATT info page. One big change – this used to be open to all USA players hoping for a college scholarship – here’s the info page from last year, for example. Now it’s only for those from Northern California. I’m not sure why they made this change. “The Shonie Aki Scholarship award, in the amount of $1,250 for one year, will be offered to a young table tennis player who is a northern California resident and has aspirations to complete a college education, become a better player and a productive individual who would reflect on Shonie’s legacy.”

Top Step in Bulgaria, now Dimitrij Ovtcharov Stands Tall
Here’s the ITTF article.

Table Tennis Coming Home: 2018 Team World Cup
Here’s the ITTF promo video (31 sec).

Watch Them Filling a 2017 Lexus NX with Ping-Pong Balls
Here’s the video (8 sec). “Between now and September 15th, enter to win your very own KETTLER USA Table Tennis Table when you stop by our dealership and estimate how many ping pong balls are in the LexusNX!” (They are in Virginia Beach.)

Crazy Point
Here’s the video (41 sec) – it starts slow, then gets crazy!

Jörg Rosskopf Takes on Challenges – with Various Objects
Here’s the video (2:19) as the German superstar plays with a cooking pan, a shovel, what appears to be a wooden sword, and finally a frozen pizza!

Send us your own coaching news!