If you love coaching table tennis you may have toyed with the idea of becoming a professional table tennis coach. Wouldn’t it be great to get paid to do something that you love. To get to spend your days helping people start out, improve and compete at table tennis.
That’s exactly what I was thinking last summer (June 2011). I thought becoming a full-time table tennis coach would be a great job but I wasn’t sure if there was enough money in it.
Well, 15 months later, here I am. I’m a professional table tennis coach and I’m loving it. In this article I’m going to show you that, with a bit of hard work and dedication, it is possible to take your passion for coaching table tennis and turn it into a career.
How much money can you earn?
The majority of table tennis coaches are paid ‘by the hour’, so the amount you can earn is determined by your average hourly rate and the number of hours you work per week. If you are in the UK, have experience as a table tennis coach or a top-level player and have your coaching qualifications you should be able to earn between £20-£30 per hour coaching table tennis. I know some people are able to charge more but realistically, especially if you are just starting out, your average hourly rate should be somewhere between those two figures.
As for the number of hour you work, that’s completely up to you. There are 168 hours in a week but I think trying to work them all is a bit too ambitious. If you’re looking at coaching table tennis full-time that will probably amount to about 30 hours per week, on average. Again you may be able to do more than that but with the travelling between venues and the odd hours you can end up working I think that 30 hours is a good goal to aim for.
So what does that leave us with in terms of money? The table below is taken from the Professional Coaches Handbook, created by Larry Hodges. It gives you a rough idea of how the typical numbers can add up.
From the table you’ll see that it perfectly possible to make in excess of £40,000 a year as a professional table tennis coaching as long as you can get the hours. Thirty hours a week works out at either 6 five-hour days or 5 six-hour days per week.
What about coaching jobs with a yearly salary?
There are some table tennis coaching jobs that pay a yearly salary. Greenhouse Charity are a charity that employ table tennis coaches for inner-London schools and community clubs. Their starting salary is normally £22,000-£26,000 per year but I’m sure that some of their more senior coaches are on more than that.
The ETTA also have full-time coaching positions in each region and disability coaches as well. I think that they offer a similar salary to Greenhouse, roughly £20,000-£30,000 per year.
With these jobs the salary is probably going to be lower than if you were coaching full-time as a private coach but the advantage is the job security. You may also get other benefits that you wouldn’t get if you were working as a self-employed table tennis coach.
What do the top international table tennis coaches earn?
It has been quite hard for me to research how much money the top international team coaches are earning. However, I managed to find a couple of articles online that give us a snapshot.
Firstly, an article about Liu Guodong, Singapore’s head table tennis coach back in 2008. He coached the women team to a silver medal at Beijing. I think he’s now coaching the Indonesian team. The article about him stated that he had wanted $9,000 per month, which is about £5,500 a month in our money or about £65,000 a year. From the tone of the article, he was offered considerably less than this. This gives us a rough idea of how much the top coaches are earning. Pretty decent money but nothing spectacular.
Secondly, and more recently, is an article about Leszek Kucharski, who became the coach of the Indian table tennis team last October (2011). He was given a salary of $6,000 per month including free accommodation and travel. That’s quite a nice deal and in pounds it works out as £3,500 per month or about £45,000 per year. Not bad when you don’t really have any bills to pay but still nothing like the sums paid to coaches of other more high-profile sports.
So can you make it as a professional coach?
I would say, “Yes, you can”. It will require quite a lot of work at the beginning building contacts and finding work but I think the hours are there if you can be bothered to find them. I even ended up giving a friend of mine twelve hours of coaching per week at a local school this year because I just didn’t have the time in my week to do them myself! And I know he’ll do a great job.
There are also loads of other ways to make some extra money as a coach, such as…
- Running your own group sessions
- Holding beginner courses
- Organising tournaments
- Selling equipment
- Starting your own table tennis club
I think it is perfectly reasonable to make £40,000+ per year as a professional table tennis coach, if you have the dedication to promoting yourself and trying new things. You’ll also have a lot of fun doing it. I can assure you of that!
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I’d love to hear from you. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope it’s been useful.