Biographical Information and Current (Mar - Aug 2015) Tournament Plans
Mike Brown was born with cerebral palsy, a permanent physical disability that impairs control of movement due to damage to the developing brain. He started playing table tennis at age 13 and has been playing ever since, initially in Rochester area leagues, then in regional tournaments, and now as an international caliber Para Table Tennis Athlete. Mike has recently been selected to the team representing the United States in the Para Pam Am Games, to be held in August in Toronto. If Mike does as well there as he has shown in the past and obtains enough participation points by travelling to major International Para Table Tennis Tournaments he will be in line for selection to the US National Paralympic team to participate in the Rio 2016 games. This is his goal and the USA Table Tennis' Jasna Rather has encouraging words for Mike in his continuing quest.
Mike needs our continuing help to fund tournaments in the next few months:
A video news article from the Democrat and Chronicle describes Mike's passion for the sport of Table Tennis:
Personal High Performance Plan
Personal Goals in Table Tennis
Short Term Goals:
- Participate in more international tournaments
- Stay fit and focused, work on core and upper body strength and flexibility
- Qualify for the United States National Paralympic Team
Intermediate Term Goals:
- Keep working hard at bettering existing table tennis skills and learning new ones
- Make it to the top ten in ITTF Para Class Six World Rankings
Long Term Goals:
- Stay in the reckoning for National team selection as long as possible
- Get further involved in coaching table tennis to para and able-bodied athletes
Description of current training and competition schedule
I workout at the Rochester YMCA or at the Harro East Athletic Club in Rochester from 1pm - 3pm daily. At my table tennis club: the Genesee Valley Table Tennis Club, I play in three weeknight club leagues (Mon, Tues and Wed) and attend most game play and practice sessions each Saturday.
My workouts consist of lower body weight routines to manage muscular spasms from cerebral palsy. I add upper body flexibility and core strength routines to keep myself match ready.
The table tennis leagues I participate in range from a beginner to intermediate level league on Wednesday nights, an intermediate level league on Monday and an advanced League on Tuesday. The range of player abilities I face in the leagues have estimated USATT ratings from around 500-800 to 2000+. I enjoy competition, especially the mental and psychological aspects of match play. My league stats can be accessed online:
- http://www.gvttc.com/MondayLeague (the Intermediate League)
- http://www.gvttc.com/ClassicLeague (the Advanced League)
- http://www.gvttc.com/WednesdayLeague (the Beginner/Intermediate League)
More recently as my club coaching staff has expanded I have started to incorporate modern multi-ball techniques in my training. My club now has two coaches who have completed the in-class Level 1 ITTF/IPTTC course and are about to submit their practical hours to get fully certified. A recent coaching session we videotaped can be accessed on youtube:
I plan to compete in multiple local and regional tournaments which mainly attract able-bodied table tennis players as well as selected international ITTF sanctioned Para tournaments.
My club plans to sponsor 3-4 USATT sanctioned tournaments a year and I plan to attend 3-4 additional regional USATT sanctioned tournaments. A tentative international tournament schedule for the next year – depending on the level of fund raising and funding I obtain is:
- May 26-31 Beyreuth, Germany. Approved Ranking Factor: 40
- June 17-21 El Prat de Llobregat, Spain. Applied for Ranking Factor: 20
- August 7-14 Para Pan American Games. Approved Ranking Factor: 50
- Oct 30-Nov 3 Sint Niklaas, Belgium. Approved Ranking Factor: 20
- Nov 5-9 Buenos Aires, Argentina. Applied for Ranking Factor 20/40
Summary of Notable Competition Results 2014
- Ligano Master Open 2014, Lignano. Italy. Mar 19 – 23 2014
- My first international para tournament outside the US – I learned to face tougher competition. I learned a lot.
- Cote d'Azur Tournament, Hyeres, France. Oct 22-27 2014
- I qualified in the singles event past the Round Robin group stage to the SE stage but lost before the medal round
- Copa Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica Dec 17-22 2014
- I qualified past the Round Robin stage in the Team event with Sweden's Michael Azulay and we won a Bronze medal in the class 6-7 team event
Plan to reach personal goals
International tournament travel
I plan to continue working hard playing, training and raising funds to secure spots in international tournaments. I feel that my experience, level of play and mental match readiness will continue to improve as I compete in more international high-stakes tournaments. Table tennis has provided me with many friends forming a support group indispensable in helping me continue traveling in my quest to get better as a competitor and represent my country internationally.
Physical Fitness and Mental Focus
I plan to continue my workout and incorporate more core strength and flexibility routines in consultation with my coaches. I feel mental strength and focus has always been my primary competitive asset. I plan to continue improving by learning new playing patterns and enlisting modern coaching techniques.
Qualifying for the US National Team
This goal has been my primary motivation to continue to push to excel, and I think I am closer to this goal now than ever before. With my selection to the US Team competing in the Para Pan Am Tournament in Toronto, Canada – I can now aim to continue to improve my game to do better when I represent the United States in international competitions.
Bettering Existing Table Tennis Skills and Learning New Ones
I think my strength is my combination of quick hands and eyes. I plan to continue to improve this strength by rigorously training, using multi-ball coaching and robots to mimic high speed match patterns. I would like to learn to incorporate more spin variation in my shots, and in particular improve my game against players using pips and anti-spin rubber.
Improving my World Ranking
By improving my playing techniques, mental preparation and tournament selection I hope to keep rising in para world rankings. I think I will be able to get closer to the top ten players in class 6 as I continue to compete and focus better.
Staying in the National Team over an extended period
Working on match fitness, quality nutrition, and a daily fitness and exercise plan will help me keep my mind and body ready. I am committed to pursuing my goal over the long term in order to do my best competing at a high level in the sport of table tennis that I love.
Expanding involvement in mentoring and coaching able bodied and para athletes
My club leagues involve me in playing with a diverse group of players, and I am often able to help them improve by pointing to technical and strategic improvement they can make. I would like to continue my involvement in coaching and mentoring table tennis especially youth table tennis and para table tennis.