#29 – Billy Shilton: Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Dreams

I first met Billy Shilton about this time last year when he convincingly beat Sam Priestley in Band 6 at the Nottingham Grand Prix during The Expert in a Year Challenge. He was a very solid young player even back then (and seriously under-ranked) but over the last 12 months he has come on leaps and bounds, winning a number of international Para medals.

Billy is now 17 years old and living and training in Sheffield at the national centre. He is still hoping to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in his new class (and is flying to Costa Rica next week to see if he can pick up enough ranking points to make it there), but obviously the big one for him will be Tokyo 2020, in five years time.

Billy is a great example of a young player who has made a conscious decision to focus his efforts 100% on table tennis – and he’s getting the results to show for it. He is also thinking long-term and is prepared to dedicate the next five years of his life to full-time training in order to give himself the best possible chance of medaling in Tokyo. Despite his age, I think there is a lot we can all learn from Billy’s single-minded dedication and commitment to his goals.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Billy got started playing table tennis just four years ago.
  • About Billy’s disability and how it impacts his table tennis.
  • Tips for improving your dynamic balance.
  • What a typical day is like for Billy at the national training centre.
  • How he manages to juggle both table tennis and college work.
  • The effect that a confidence boost has had on Billy’s performances.
  • Why Billy is now a class 8 athlete (he was in class 7 until a couple of months ago).
  • What Billy learnt from his time in China.
  • TOP TIP: Why quality is so important in your training.
  • About Billy’s younger brother Stan who is crushing it in the England U13s.
  • What’s next for Billy Shilton.

Links from this episode:

Thanks for listening!

I hope you enjoyed listening to my interview with Billy Shilton. It’s brilliant to see a young player so committed to their table tennis and prepared to think long-term and plan for the next five years. I have no doubt that Billy will be a force to be reckoned with by Tokyo 2020.

It’s also amazing to see the Team GB Paralympic players being so well supported. Long may this continue!

What was your favourite part of the interview? Leave a comment below and let us know.

A bit thank you goes out to Billy for taking the time to chat to please. Please like/follow him on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with his progress and results.

And also, a big thank you to our sponsor – ttEDGE

Running and producing a weekly podcast costs money (not a lot of money, but I do have to pay out for hosting each money and buy equipment and tools). It also takes up quite a lot of my time (probably about 4-5 hours per episode if you include prep, doing the interview, editing and uploading it, and then promotion).

In order to make it all a little more financially viable, I have taken the decision to have each episode paid for by a sponsor. The format of the show will remain the same, except that after the interview I will give you a very brief message from them, whoever it might be. It could be promoting a product or service. It might be making you aware of a special deal. Anything really. I hope you understand.

And I have to say, I couldn’t be happier with our first sponsor…

ttedge logo

ttEDGE is an online table tennis coaching service run by William Henzell (Australian #1) and Brett Clarke (former Australian national team player and coach). They produce top quality coaching videos and offer one-to-one online coaching and video analysis to platinum members of their website.

If you haven’t heard my interview with Brett Clarke yet, you can listen to that here.

It’s actually pretty unbelievable that you can have such an experienced coach as Brett Clarke, watching your videos and giving you one-to-one feedback and advice on your game, all included in the price of membership. I would probably charge £30 an hour just for this alone!

That’s the main reason why I believe joining ttEDGE could have a massive impact on your game. The videos are great, and will help you loads, but one-to-one access to a top quality coach like Brett is what’s really going to push you on to the next level.

If you are interested in becoming a member of ttEDGE, and I highly recommend you do, here is the link you’ll need…


  • Standard membership is free.
  • Platinum membership, which gives you access to everything and one-on-one feedback from Brett himself, is only $19.95 per month.

If you are interested in sponsoring future episodes of The Expert Table Tennis Podcast, please email me via ben@experttabletennis.com.

Fancy being a guest on the podcast yourself?

Your podcast needs you!

I like to have a variety of different guests on the show (professional players, up-and-comers, bloggers, top coaches, sports psychologists/scientists etc.) to keep each episode fresh and appeal to a wide audience of table tennis fans. One idea I’ve had is to feature you guys, the podcast listeners, from time to time. I think it would be a great way to learn from each other and share what is working in practice.

If you are a regular listener to the podcast, and fancy being on the show yourself at some point, then drop me an email and we can discuss how it would work. My email is ben@experttabletennis.com.

Please share the show

All that I need to say is that downloads are at an all-time high so far this month. It’s a great feeling to see so many people listening to the show and I know that loads of you are helping me to spread the podcast by sharing it with your table tennis friends.

Thanks for all the help you’ve given me already! Please continue to support the show and subscribe on iTunes, leave us an honest iTunes Podcast review, share this episode on Facebook or Twitter, or simply just mention it to a friend. I appreciate your help so much!

Next week’s show (Episode #30) will be the last one of 2015 – I decided it was a bit much to release an episode on Christmas Day! Guest is still to be confirmed, but it will be someone awesome. Then The Expert Table Tennis Podcast will return in early January 2016 with new episodes being released every single Friday. I can’t wait!