#34 – Gavin Evans: Bulletproof Table Tennis

In many ways, you could say that Gavin Evans was always destined for table tennis greatness. He was born into a family where both parents played to a high-level and he had two older brothers who were both part of the England Youth Squad. Add to that Gavin’s immediate love of the sport and you have the perfect combination.

He began playing at 5-years-old. By 11, Gavin had overtaken both of his older brothers and was beginning to establish himself as the best young player in Europe. For the next four years, he was near enough unbeatable in his age category and was crowned European Youth Champion in Terni 2008. There was a huge amount of excitement and buzz in English table tennis.

However, as a junior player Gavin was troubled by injuries and held back by three hip surgeries. He attempted to make a comeback but eventually had to accept that his body would not allow him to do the necessary training and competing. He was in constant pain from any table tennis. The dream of becoming a professional senior player was over.

Gavin’s love of the sport has seen him transition to coaching and he now working with players of all levels – from complete beginners in schools to some of the best players in England. Gavin is passionate about helping players achieve their goals, both on and off the table, and has a wealth of experience from 18 years of table tennis to share.

In this interview, we chat about Gavin’s career and some of the many lessons he has learned along the way. I hope you enjoy it!

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Gavin’s first memories of table tennis as a five-year-old [1:00]
  • How Gavin improved so quickly and overtook his brothers [4:00]
  • Gavin’s experience of playing in China [12.00]
  • What it was like being part of the England team as a cadet [15:00]
  • What to do when you’re not playing your best table tennis [24:00]
  • All about Gavin’s injury problems as a junior [30:00]
  • Gavin’s advice for dealing with adversity in table tennis and life [34:00]
  • What life is like for Gavin now [40:00]
  • Gavin’s Top Tip – Build a bulletproof body [44:00]
  • How to contact/follow Gavin [50:00]

Links from this episode:

Thanks for listening!

It was really great to chat to Gavin and hear his take on the highs and lows of his table tennis career. I was really struck by Gavin’s positive mental attitude throughout and how he has dealt with adversity. He is certainly a great inspiration and role model for younger players.

During the interview, I mentioned a couple of photos I’d found showing Gavin Evans and Liam Pitchford as cadets back in 2008. The difference in physical size and development is huge…

Gavin and Liam in Terni 2008

Gavin Evans and Liam Pitchford 2008

Gavin shared loads of fantastic advice during the interview. I was particularly surprised by how knowledgeable he is regarding the physical side of the sport. He has a great understanding of the human body and the effects intense table tennis training has on it.

What was your favourite tip from the episode? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought.

Please share the show

I know that lots of you guys are regularly sharing the podcast with other table tennis players all over the world. I just want to say 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!

I’ll be back in a month with a new guest and Episode #35 – to be released 1st June 2016.