Swan Warriors Table Tennis Club Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

By Michael Reff | Nov. 12, 2019, 11:41 a.m. (ET)

Swan Warriors Table Tennis

Swan Warriors Table Tennis Club Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

By Michael Reff

 

At the beginning of November, the Swan Warriors Table Tennis Club in Sunnyvale, CA celebrated their 2nd anniversary. Along with promises of next year relocating their 7500 sq. ft. facility to a 16,500 sq. ft venue, more than doubling in size, things couldn’t look brighter for the flourishing club. But perhaps it can, because to top it off, 7 members of the hardworking training facility have made the current US national team, including 2017 and 2019 US Nationals Men’s Singles Finalist Nikhil Kumar.

So, what is the secret to the Swan Warriors’ success? Well, SWTTC’s cofounder and 2014 US Open Men’s Singles Champion Tao Wenzhang attributes it to “team spirit.” Tao elaborates,

Many people think of me and Bob {Bob Chen, cofounder of SWTTC and 2016 US Open Men’s Singles Finalist} when they think of Swan Warriors, but we actually have a whole team of excellent coaches supporting us. In addition, our parents and students also work hard with us. Our achievements definitely do not belong to any single person, but to our entire team. We really want to recognize the importance of the people contributing behind the scenes. To me, they are the true reason for our club’s success”

Furthermore, when asked about the main goals of maximizing use of the new larger practice venue for next year, Tao cited a couple. According to him, the move is not just about cultivating the current crop of table tennis talent in the USA; he also says that he hopes to work alongside other clubs all over the country to promote new found interest in table tennis to those who have not yet been exposed to the Olympic sport.

Looking back on his coaching career thus far at the SWTTC, Tao reflected on what has been the biggest challenge in running a club. One problem, he says, “is the difference between American and Chinese culture.” Tao observes that American children are more independent and speak what they think, as opposed to Chinese children who usually do not question their coaches’ advice. He believes that there should be a happy medium in incorporating his coaching ideas with his players’ opinions, but at the same time “being able to convince them to 100% believe in {his} experience.”

Tao also cites age as a main challenge in his club as well as for other training facilities in the USA focusing on young talent. He says that just when his students are on the cusp of attaining major strides in their game, “around 17 and 18 {years old},” they commence college studies and can no longer concentrate as hard on table tennis. Tao has given this area much thought as being a main problem in the advancement of USA table tennis, but he is still optimistic for the future.

Congratulations to the Swan Warriors on their 2-year milestone and bright future paved ahead with a larger practice venue and determined goals!