Drinkhall & Evans Training Camp!

Drinkhall & Evans Training Camp!


Paul Drinkhall and I are teaming up to run a training camp at Cippenham Table Tennis Club in Slough on Saturday 27th August and Sunday 28th August!

It feels absolutely great to work with my good friend Paul on this. We have shared some great memories together.

So summer is a time where we all feel we deserve a well earned rest, however resting can leave your game a little rusty. If you feel you want a boost to leap back into the season better than ever, this is the place to come!

We will cover a range of technical development ranging from beginner all the way up to elite. We will also include speed and agility warm-ups along with some fun match play with prizes. You will get a chance to see high level demonstrations from myself and two time Olympian Paul Drinkhall- with the chance to ask questions and find out how the best train!

Please see this link below for full details:

Poster August 2016 Cippenham FLAT (1)


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To check out Paul Drinkhalls progression when competing around globe and at Rio, please click on this link


What I Mean by Being Bulletproof

What I Mean by Being Bulletproof

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Bulletproof in sport is a feeling of inner confidence, a feeling of indestructibility and a feeling of your character being imperishable.

Are you tenacious? Will you persevere when the going gets tough? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you have some of the ingredients needed to being bulletproof!

Strong character

Part of being a successful sportsman, businessman or writer is having a strong character and a desire to achieve. In my playing career what helped me gain confidence was preparation – knowing I had done more than any other person; this for me then gave me the right to win. However, we must prepare in a clever and structured way starting with the basics. There is no point of training, putting the hours in, if you are reinforcing bad habits or not clear where you are going. We must have a way to measure progression. Try to find out which system works for you.

First we have to start with the body. As coaches, we are responsible for providing the players with knowledge on how to protect their body from injury and how to strengthen the body to optimise their performances. We need to make sure we are allowing time in sessions to develop agility, balance and co-ordination. If we create the environment and continuous encouragement the player’s responsibility is to do it and work hard at it!

Having a strong character, being able to come back from defeats and keep sticking with what you believe in are all traits champions have. Without these, the obstacles in life will be too great!

ETTA Nationals Sheffield 89
ETTA Nationals Sheffield, 28th Feb Ponds Forge Winner

How committed are you? Would you rather be out with your friends or train? Do you think about your sport before you go to bed? Do you make decisions in life based on what is going to best for your craft? Is your nutrition suitable for your sport? All these questions need to be a yes if you want to be the best.

It’s a lifestyle choice.


Visualisation is a tool I used every day when playing. I really feel if you can put yourself in situations you are going to face in competitions and have a Plan A and a Plan B to deal with them, you are more likely to be prepared for whatever happens and when the real tough times comes. Having a clear system in your head of how you are going to react in difficult situations and equally joyful situations fills you with confidence and a belief you can deal with anything. This, ultimately, will stop you being fearful and scared of the challenge, it will in fact create the complete opposite effect. You will embrace the fight and look forward to the obstacles.

Technical visualisation is also extremely important, imagining you:

  • Making the right shot choices
  • Moving and be sharp on your feet
  • Playing technically correct strokes
  • Being in the right position

This also goes hand in hand with the tactical element of the game:

  • Having a game plan against certain types of opponents
  • Which direction you are going to play your shots
  • How much spin or speed you are going to play with


Training the mind is a great chance to give you that edge when wanting to be the best and make yourself bulletproof. After all if you want to be extraordinary, find out what the ordinary do and do the opposite!  

This can be done during the day in your travel time or before you go to bed, it is a great tool, don’t forget to use it!


Technical practice is another crucial part of development. This is usually a discussion you would have with your coach – to be done on the multi-ball table. Being sound technically and having good foundations help endure lots of pressure against you. Another good reason for having good technique and good habits is when the pressure is on and the nerves kick in, we usually resort back to what we know best. Let’s get it right from the start! Having many different shots in your repertoire gives you lots of tactical options so you can the change the game at any given time to help you. Technique practice needs to be planned carefully and at a time of the year with fewer competitions, adjustments need to be made and they can take time to ingrain into match play.

Protect the body


If any of you have followed my career you will understand why I believe a coach’s role is vitally important in supporting young players and filling them with the knowledge and actively encouraging them to protect their body.

Sport, places very high demands on the body and more often than not has a dominant muscle being used, this can cause repetitive strain injuries, can effect performance in a negative way and if very unlucky shorten the longevity of your career. Players start very young and are sometimes elite level at an early age. I feel it is a huge responsibility and almost unrealistic to ask a passionate 13 year old who only wants to play the game because they love it to research what physical preparation they should do and which conditioning training would be best. In my view this is the role of the coach – to know your sport and seek advice as to what demands and strains the sport has on the body and then come up with a programme to strengthen all necessary areas. Coaches then should use a period of time in the sessions for conditioning training.


“Don’t settle for mediocrity, place high expectations and demands on yourself”.


If you dissect all these elements of sport and preparations and try to focus on doing the right things day in day out, you are well on your way to becoming bulletproof!


“Nobody can be perfect, but you can be pretty close if you reach for the stars!”


Gavin Evans

Please see the link below for my blog about repetitive strain injuries:










Drinkhall & Evans Training Camp!

Drinkhall & Evans Training Camp!


Paul Drinkhall and I are teaming up to run a training camp at Swerve Table Tennis Club in Middlesbrough on Saturday 20th August and Sunday 21st August!

It feels absolutely great to work with my good friend Paul on this. We have shared some great memories.

So summer is a time where we all feel we deserve a well earned rest, however resting can leave your game a little rusty. If you feel you want a boost to leap back into the season better than ever, this is the place to come!

We will cover a range of technical development ranging from beginner all the way up to elite. We will also include speed and agility warm-ups along with some fun match play with prizes. You will get a chance to see high level demonstrations from myself and two time Olympian Paul Drinkhall- with the chance to ask questions and find out how the best train!

Please see this link below for full details:


The Ability to Deal with Adversity

The Ability to Deal with Adversity
Adversity means a difficult or unpleasant situation, I am going to write this blog about  being positive and not negative when facing an adverse situation.
Growing up was a process that happened very quickly for me with not a lot of notice. There I was, a very young boy in a world of full time professional athletes, traveling around the the world and exploring some very hard training enviroments in the likes of China! At about the age of 10, I was told by the performance director of British Table Tennis,
” You must have a old head on young shoulders, if you want to achieve great things”.
That very sentence is a series of words which I firmly agree with and have stuck with me forever. Why is this relevant in table tennis?
Around the UK – week in, week out – there are competitions being played in sports halls with hundreds of children all with a common denominator. They want to be successful and if possible the best! As I have attended these events and looked around numerous 2 stars and 4 stars, the one compelling thing for me is the difference in one childs characteristics to another, often the same age. Almost without a doubt the players who display the most mature mentality are the players we look upon as “winners”.

Positive Mental Attributes

  • Ability to absorb information (being very receptive)
  • Ability to change tactics and game plan when the going gets tough
  • Positivity
  • Enjoyment
  • Self-encouragement
  • Self-evaluative
  • Displaying a ‘Growth Mindset’
  • Calm in pressure situations
  • Self belief
These are all positive characteristics “winners” have in common. As coaches we must try to install as many of these attributes into our players as early in their playing careers as possible. However these players may also display extreme anger or negative behavior in certain situations. Anger shows competitiveness and a desire to win. This must be balanced – knowing where the line is and not allowing it to effect the next point. They must be ready, calm focused ready to play the next point.

Old Head – Young Shoulders

Dealing with adversity and having a growth mindset work hand in hand. Maturity enables us to cope with defeats and use losses as a positive to improve a skill for next time. Maturity also enables us to, when facing a deficit, keep composed and think clearly in order to regain parity. How many times do we see a child giving up and giving off a ‘ I cant do attitude’? Instead of thinking ahead taking away pointers to get better and fine tweaking or learning a new skill in the practice hall. Preparation is again a sign of a mature player who has every opportunity.
The sooner a player can deal with challenging situations, the easier life will be and equally the better they will perform. If a player is able to get the balance right between wanting to win and understanding that a defeat will aid their development, the pressure on oneself is far less than a player who only cares about winning and can’t see past that.
gav coaching tom
I recently saw a very interesting backronym:
FAIL means:
  • First
  • Attempt
  • In
  • Learning
This, I thought was very relevant to this blog and a great example of a growth mindset if you apply this to your learning outlook.
Winning a table tennis match is of course very important and extremely rewarding, however when you lose it is an opportunity to go back to the training hall and get it right. The great Jan Ove Waldner was onced asked why he was so good, his response was quite genius;
“I learnt to lose”.

This is quite ironic considering most of us seldom saw the Mozart of table tennis lose.
My performance director was right and this hopefully has explained what he meant when he said,

“You must have a old head on young shoulders, if you want to achieve great things”.
There is always a positive to every sporting situation with a growth mindset, and we must always remember this!
Thank you for reading.
Gavin Evans

Creating the Right Environment

Creating the Right Environment

Creating the right environment

 OK, so why is it that some training environments seem to produce great athletes time and time again, with what looks like the same set up as many others? Many times the qualification of the coach is the same, there is often  the same number of players, however almost certainly a particular place will produce better players, WHY? There are clubs around right now and definitely in my childhood where they would produce talent after talent. The easy thing for onlookers to say is, “well they are always going to produce players, look at the players they have already, imagine playing against them every day”. How did those ‘good’ players initially become good? The answer in my view is competition and environment!

Somewhere along the line an environment had been creating to allow individuals to excel. So what do I mean by competition and environment?


 Competition is a healthy thing for an individual, it allows them to see where they are and self-evaluate- a very useful tool, it allows them to be able to create goals, it allows them to strive for more and most importantly, with the right set up allows a player to have fun! When I started to play, I remember I wasn’t even good enough to enter the beginners group, so my mother and I would play on the tables adjacent to the group, copying and learning quickly what the group were doing. “I want to be in that group mummy” I would say, she would reply “keep working hard and you will get there one day”. This was my first experience of goal setting. At the club I trained at there was a beginner group, intermediate group and an advanced group. We all trained at the same time in the same hall, however we all wanted to be in the best group so this was an example of healthy competition.



 So what do I mean by environment? Of course you must have tables, bats, balls and barriers and so on; however environment to me is how a player feels when they step into the hall. Do they feel confident, or do they feel inferior as though they don’t belong? Environment is very much the responsibility of the coach in charge, their job is to create unity! Unity in its simplest form means ‘joined as a whole’ and is the most important thing to creating the right environment. Players must feel proud of being part of your club, they must feel equally as important as anyone in the hall, they must feel they can ask the best player in the hall for a knock and they would get respect back, they must be encouraged, they must enjoy it, but most of all there has to be discipline. Unity is something which can be created off the table. Maybe a team day out? If a player is not so good at table tennis but is exceptional at fitness, use them for demonstration; integrate fitness into sessions for them. Giving players responsibilities is a good way of helping build confidence. Monthly prizes for best attitude, this all helps the morale of every person.



So as you can see I feel strongly that with the right environment, competitiveness and unity every club has the opportunity of creating some super talents!

By implementing this mindset into your training environment, you will create a hardworking, fun and competitive atmosphere, where players have a growth mindset who are not afraid to fail!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and possibly got some ideas to help your club achieve great things!


Gavin Evans


GTE Table Tennis Camp at Waterloo TTC

GTE Table Tennis Camp at Waterloo TTC


It was 7am on Saturday 12th March, as myself and Emily headed up north to the city of Liverpool to deliver a 2 day table tennis camp organised by Graham Chellew. We had been once before to do the same so we were very excited and honored to be invited back. As we left our house it was very foggy, which made the journey slightly longer than we would of hoped, however we arrived safely and raring to go.


I am very passionate about delivering fun but also fitness based warm-ups to raise the core temperature and to build up agility and co-ordination. As part of the warm up we used cones, speed ladder and balls. The balls were used to help participants catch and think about a moving object while doing quite challenging footwork. Instantly this focuses the minds of players, so when they come to the table to play, it is that bit easier than usual. Shadow play was another warm up we used to ingrain good footwork and technique without worrying about keeping the ball on the table. This is a good way of improving muscle memory to different parts of the body, so once again life is easier when you start to play and more challenging obstacles are there to overcome.



Demonstrations are a key part to an athletes’ development; this allows those visual learners amongst us to take in different patterns of play and technical advice, so they can replicate the movement seen. Bandura’s model of observational learning is part of his Social Learning Theory. This states that when an individual is learning a new skill, there are 5 components for this model of learning to be effective. These are:

  • Attention – The learner must observe a demonstration for them to copy. This creates an image in their mind to replicate.
  • Retention – The learner must then almost immediately try to perform the new skill based on the demonstration that they have just seen.
  • Motivation – The learner must be motivated to perform and try the new skill. This is a part of having a growth mindset and being prepared to fail before succeeding.
  • Motor Reproduction – The coach must be sure that the learner can replicate the skill. It may be too hard because their muscles are not strong enough or too cognitively difficult.
  • Significant Other – This can be a role model for the learner or a person that the learner can relate to e.g. a child doing the demonstration can be useful for other children.

Moreover it gets the group together to talk about the exercises and iron out any questions before players start to play.


Format of the day

• 2 regular exercises (Focused closely on timing point and movement wide fh)
• 1 irregular exercise (Close focus on anticipation and moving efficiently)
• Service exercise (Focus on good receive and good consistent first attack)
• Top table ( Situational match play to learn match strategies, e.g server is 5-7 down, 8-8 etc)
• Lunch
• Service exercise based on what we feel needed improvement before lunch.
• Fh flick and Fh touch exercise (Focusing on having a plan A and Plan B when receiving)
• Serving master class
• Competition at the end of the day.


Every player receives multi-ball throughout the day to target areas they want to further improve (strength) or a weakness they want looking at more closely. Multi-ball is also another way of improving muscle memory, along with being a good cardio vascular workout as the balls just keep on coming!

Cool downs

Warm-ups are widely recognised as a valuable practice to an individual’s development, although one area which is widely overlooked is a cool-down. A cool down is designed to slow the heart rate down and cool the core body temperature after strenuous activity. Make sure after exercise to walk or jog slowly for at least 5 minutes and then perform stretching as this is a crucial time to lengthen the muscles and increase flexibility.


Overall everyone improved their game tenfold and enjoyed themselves, which is the most important thing. I would like to take the time to thank everyone who came to our camp, once again it was an absolute blast!

Please check out the full photo album on flickr by clicking on the image below.

GTE Table Tennis Camp at Waterloo TTC

I am fascinated by the psychology of the human mind, especially when it comes to sport. I have written a little bit about Bandura’s Social Learning Theory in this blog post: I will be writing more about sport psychology in the oncoming months.

Thank you for reading my blog, something awesome happened on Saturday night which will feature in my next blog, so keep a look out and don’t miss out!

Gavin Evans



Hi, Everyone!

As some of you may already know, I’m not that good with technology. I can do Facebook and Twitter (although I’m still not great at that) but Emily has been pestering me for ages to get Instagram and all sorts of other profiles that I may or may not need. In the end, I didn’t do any of it. Em took my phone, downloaded the Instagram App and set up my account.

I was happy at first because I thought that she was going to do it all for me. All the fancy photo editing that I don’t even know about. She posted the first two photos (well one photo and one video) and I only had to approve the caption, so I thought great! Instagram is not my problem. But no. Apparently I have to learn the hard way.

So as you all know – I never give up! I’m going to give it a go and post photos and videos of what we will be getting up to in the future.

My Instagram username is gavinevanstt and you can visit my page by clicking on the link – https://www.instagram.com/gavinevanstt/

You can see my first 2 posts here below and I will be uploading loads more photos and videos like this. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, so that you never miss out on my latest posts!