Coaching Blog – Stephen Gertsen joins the Team!

Welcome to our first Coaching Blog for 2017/18 – we will be bringing you thoughts from #TeamBribar coaches throughout the season!

We are lucky to sponsor some fantastic coaches and we are delighted that Stephen Gertsen and Andrew Rushton have joined the team this year – you can see our coaching team and their profiles on the coaches page.

Stephen Gertsen

Life in the Highlands… doesn’t stand still for long!

Two years ago, my wife and I escaped London and relocated to the Highlands of Scotland. I certainly didn’t move here for the Table Tennis, as you will see from the map of Britain, Inverness is very far north and there certainly wasn’t a great deal of Table Tennis activity in the area. For the first time, for a very long time, Table Tennis took a back seat as I focused on running a new family business, and starting a new sports lecturing role at the University of Highlands and Islands to support my new family.

However, Table Tennis didn’t stay in the background for long, especially when some of Scotland’s top players got in contact looking for private coaching, and I was always thinking about ways I could create opportunities and help Scotland develop. Around this time my friend Craig Bryant and I started jointly running weekend-long training camps, and through these I started working with Bribar. I was impressed by their pro-active attitude and was delighted to join their team as one of their sponsored coaches.

Two years on, I could never have expected to have had so many opportunities to stay involved in Table Tennis up here, especially at elite level. I recently accepted a role with Table Tennis Scotland to head up their Youth Squad programme, this is a part time role running training camps for Scotland’s finest youngsters. I’m extremely proud to be working for the national governing body on a self-employed basis and I’m loving the training camps and really enjoyed the recent European Youth Champs, it is bringing back good memories of working for England at this level a few years ago.

I have just recently finished a weekend camp in Glasgow, it’s a 3.5hr commute for me but it’s something I’m used to! We train for 5 hrs per day, every session has themes attached to it (see below). I’m trying to create a culture where players take real ownership for their games, think for themselves and are self-motivated… easier said than done! “No egos” is my mantra! I think it’s important we create a one team culture, all clubs, coaches, parents and players working hard together to help Scotland grow.

We have had a good pre-season, helping players prepare properly for the Liverpool GP and the UK School Games in September – the results at these first events have shown great promise for the season ahead!

For training camps like our recent Glasgow one, I design my sessions specially tailored towards being in the best possible condition for up-coming events.


Session 1– Technique and footwork focused: consistency work, mainly regular, shared exercises, introduced service in exercises, placement exercises and individual development opportunities

Session 2– Return of serves: reverse flick, touching to angles, placement and good use of table, individual opportunities and physical shadow play.

Day 2

Session 1– Power play: intense footwork exercises, more irregular work and free elements, 3rd and 5th attacks, service and receive, physical work.

Session 2– Individual work, pressure play and challenge matches.

For more information on Stephen’s professional coaching work please check out his website and recent video interview.

Watch out for further Blogs throughout the season…


Posted on 4th September 2017