Mark Smythe Table Tennis

Australia's no. 1 coach

Heming article from Germany

Heming has commenced his first full season of professional League. After playing the Olympic Games he travelled directly to Germany where he will be based until early next year. 

He will write some articles about his experiences. Below is his first article.


Article 1

Its now been slightly over 2 months since the conclusion of the Olympic Games and I have been here in Germany playing full time in the regionaliga in the German league for the club SV Union Velbert(2 hours away by train from Bremen) and practicing/living in the Bremen Club. It is a very tough league with many good players, expecially in my position where I am playing as no. 2 in my team and the number 1's & 2s of each team play each other.

Firstly, the training environment/group in Bremen is fantastic. The group is very strong and consists some of elite Senior players that young players like myself are able to practice with on a daily basis. Players including, Constantin Cioti, Kirill Skachkov, Ovidiu Ionescu, Hunor Szocs, all top 100 players in the world. On top of that are players like Phillip Floritz, Yoshihiro Ozawa, Kim Do Yub, Valentin Nemedi and myself with these players also being ranked about 200-350 in the world. The players all get along very well with each other and work hard. It is fantastic to be able to practice with these guys and also receive help from the best ones. The coach is also an ex player in Germany and is Romanian. Previously, many good players have also played/practiced in this club. Players like Chuan Chih Yuan, Adrian Crisan, Paul Drinkhall, Seiya Kishikawa, Jens Lundqvist, Sharath Achanta Kamal, Lars Hielscher, Adrian Dodean, etc. Also,  German legend Bastian Steger plays in the Bundesliga for this club but doesn't practice here but it is still great to be able to watch him play week in week out.

Right after the Olympics, I started my first matches in the Czech Open and lost to a player ranked 130 in the world and another who was around 360. I was very disappointed with how I played in both matches but I knew it would be tough to play my first couple of matches right after the Olympic Games.

It has continued to be a rollercoaster ride with regards to my results, which comes as no surprise seeing as you play so many matches while you are in Europe. I play in a team as the number 2 player, with no1 player being former Romanian national team member (Adrian Dodean) and Bundesliga player (playing for the Werder Bremen Club and won about 20-30 percent of his matches in Bundesliga - highest Division in Germany and strongest League in all of Europe). We play the same people in the league as we play position 1 and 2. He is still very good and is winning all his matches and provides me a great practice partner, mentor and great help as an experienced player who has been through everything that I am going through. There are also 4 other german players who play in the team in positions 3,4,5,6. We have a great team with fantastic team spirit. The league matches have been tough, I started the first league match well, winning both my singles matches against one of the league's weakest teams. However, after that I have lost 4/4 singles matches with 2 of them being very close. I am playing against many older players who were very good before and are still good. Players such as, Thomas Keinath, Teodor Yordonov, Richard Prause, and I am really struggling thus far. In saying that, I have won every doubles match played which is a real positive.

After the first league match, I had 2-0 in my singles record and I was feeling happy and confident again. I then participated in the Belgium Open and played well in my group, winning one and losing one match then progressing out of my group but then lost next match in the pre rounds. However, I was satisfied overall with my performance. Soon after that I had started on my rocky patch again and lost 4 matches in a row in the league and am still currently on a low in my matchplay.

Nevertheless, it is all a great learning experience no matter how much losing can hurt and how tough it can get being a full time player. I will try to enjoy every experience and matches that await me. Next month (November) will be one of the busiest I've ever had in terms of matches, with 4 league matches and 2 pro tour events, Austrian Open and Swedish Open. Every match is a new one and I hope to play well in as many as I can.