As we continue to celebrate UK Coaching Week, we spoke to Mollie Patterson – who was yesterday named in the England Commonwealth Games squad for Birmingham 2022 – about the coaches who have shaped and influenced her on her journey to England recognition.

“My first coach was Mark Dare at Wensum TTC in Norwich and he basically taught me the techniques and brought me into the world of table tennis. I’m really grateful for that.

“He previously coached Lauren Spink (Charles) who won national championships, so he was a really great coach and he taught me a lot. I was training with him from the age of nine or 10 for at least four years.

“The next big influences were when I moved to Charles Read Academy and started training at Grantham, where the coaches at the time were Gavin Evans and Nat Green (pictured with me above).

“It was really cool to experience having a female coach for the first time, and both of them had experience of playing at the highest level, so I learned so much from them.

“Gavin moved on to England and then Vidal Graham joined Grantham and he helped me develop my game. I had to decide how I wanted to play and how I wanted my game to come together into something I could use as an adult player and he helped me with that and with motivation and how to improve my technique and tactics.

“He coached me at the qualifying play-offs for the Commonwealth squad, so he’s continued to be very supportive even after I’ve left Grantham.”