Pieke Franssen never imagined a table tennis coaching career sparked by one of his seven-year-old neighbors, yet that is exactly what happened. Franssen grew up on a small street in Holland that held only nine houses, and in one of those houses lived a young Daan Sliepen, the soon-to-be Dutch Table Tennis Champion. Franssen and student, Sliepen, joined Westa Club together, where Sliepen became the club’s first national junior champion in 1993. Since then, the Westa Club has won the most national titles out of all clubs in Dutch history. The pair worked together as player and coach for years and Franssen says he would not have a coaching career today if it were not for his neighbor.
Franssen may have started coaching table tennis at a young age, but his table tennis history goes back even further to when he started playing at age nine. He was a top eight player in Holland until age 18, when he began to coach his peers. Franssen was also in the highest league in Holland and ranked 15th in the country until age 25 when he started coaching the Holland National Youth Team.
Since he started coaching, Franssen has won all of the big titles in Europe as well as the quarter-finals at Worlds. He has coached for the Dutch National Men’s Team at the 2004 Athens Olympics, for the Dutch National Women’s Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and also coached at many European Championships and World Championships.
After winning countless victories in Europe, Franssen realized his true passion has always been coaching young players. He explains,
“My heart is much more in developing players rather than being with the high level athletes.”
In 2010 he won the European Youth Championships as the National Team Coach, the first Dutch victory at that championship in singles since 1977.
In 2013, Franssen discovered that table tennis was booming in the San Francisco Bay area and followed his passion coaching youths at the JOOLA sponsored Alameda Table Tennis Center. He says this is the happiest he has ever been and loves how pure his young players are.
Qualified is an understatement when it comes to describing Pieke Franssen. Stay tuned to the JOOLA blog for upcoming coaching and table tennis advice from this all-star coach.