Dennis La Rose (Trinidad)
For those of you who don't already know, Dennis La Rose was born in Guyana. He contracted polio at the age of four, but that did not stop him from playing table tennis. He used a stick in one hand to keep his balance. In 1987, Dennis began coaching. In 1996, he moved to Trinidad, where he continued to coach and play table tennis. Dennis La Rose is an ex National Paralympic Table Tennis Champion, National Junior Team Coach, and a founding member and head coach of The Carenage Blasters Table Tennis Club in Trinidad.
I met Coach Dennis for the first time in February 2014 when he came to the Westchester Table Tennis Center with his student, Aaron Wilson, who competed in the February Open. A tough coach during training, who does not hesitate to ask his students to drop and do 25 push-ups for slacking off, Dennis is kind and approachable off the court. During his recent visit, I had the opportunity to get to know him and speak to him off the court.
|Coach Dennis La Rose|
|With the Carenage Blasters and their head coach, Dennis La Rose (standing at the back on the right)|
1. Tell us how you got started with table tennis?
2. What quality do you most admire in a student?
Discipline and commitment.
3. Tell us about your club in Trinidad.
Our club is called The Carenage Blasters Table Tennis Club. We have about 32 members, ages from 7 up to 25. We mostly do preparation for the National Championships and the Caribbean Championships.
4. I believe you have coached and mentored many famous players including Paul David. Tell us about some of your other students well known in the world of table tennis.
Idi Lewis of Guyana (ex Caribbean Champion)
Sydney Christophe of Guyana (ex Caribbean Champion)
Kenwin Small of Trinidad (ex Caribbean Junior Champion), and
Aaron Wilson of Trinidad, who is now one of the top juniors in the Caribbean and is on the Trinidad Mens Team.
5. It is said that at high levels table tennis is a mental game. What is your advise to players for becoming mentally tough?
I tell my players to skip (jump rope) a lot, make sure the get a lot of exercise, and try their best to concentrate.
6. During a match, sometimes players get distracted with what's happening around them. Some get annoyed with nets and edges, etc. Can you suggest a strategy for staying focused during a match?
I tell my players to close their eyes, think about something that makes them happy, and try to relax.
7. What do you like to do when you are not playing or coaching table tennis?
I play video games and watch movies.
It was a pleasure to meet and train with Coach Dennis La Rose and the Carenage Blasters. I look forward to seeing them in the future!