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The last European Youth Championship held in Croatia has become historic for the Ukrainian national team. Our athletes won four medals, and it is the best achievement of Ukraine over the past 20 years.

Setka Cup TV, a channel about table tennis and other tournaments of the international sports platform Setka Cup, interviewed Alexander Minin, trainer of two prize-winners of the last European Championship. We asked Alex about the secrets of the training process, the real role of a coach, and parents’ influence on children’s athletic performance.

Below you’ll find a short version of the interview. The full version is available on Setka Cup TV

What was the most exciting match of this European Championship for you? And why didn’t our girls win the final?

To my mind, the most exciting was the match between Veronica and that defender (Avezou Agathe Anne, France). And regarding the victory, yes, right now, the silver is enough for us.

But we sought to win. It was our goal from the very beginning. Parents tend to think that second place is also fine. But I always say that we must win. We must believe in ourselves and our victory.

Did you get better results than you expected? Or was it a surprise to you?

Well, technically, we were planning to go for gold. And we had well-defined goals because I had a vision of the players and an understanding of their results. The foremost thing for us is the goal, confidence in the result, and practice. Every workout has a purpose. Training without a goal does not exist for us. Therefore, I always try to inspire athletes with the idea that it is crucial to fight for gold.

Was there any particular preparation routine for the European Championship?

Usually, during each training session, I try to give tasks to the players. It means they do not just play. They are working on improving serving techniques, combinations, etc. Basically, I’m sure that they can already play not 100%, but 60% on their own. They are not just hitting the ball but thinking and giving themselves tasks. And the process itself is essential.

How do parents influence athletes and their development?

Fifty percent of our work with athletes is the work with their parents. The child wants to play, and goes to his/her parents. If they are ready to listen to the child and help and not impose their ideas on him, and if they have faith in the coach, this triangle will work.

How do parents influence athletes’ confidence and psychological development?

The attitude of parents is one of the most crucial factors in the preparation of an athlete. Unfortunately, the majority of parents just do not believe in their children. And when the trainer supports a particular idea, and the parents believe in something else, it becomes complicated. Although we know that anything is possible if we do it together.

I believe that if we do good things, then we will get good things. I don’t know if it’s karma or not, but it’s definitely a cycle of good deeds in nature. And this is how professionals are born in any sport.

We have a strong, athletic country. And children’s victories inspire us.