Meet the Coach!
Coach Mike Lauro, Jr. is a USA Table Tennis (USATT) certified National Coach. He is currently the only coach in Arkansas to obtain International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) certification as a Level 3 coach. Mike also holds an ITTF Para coaching certification.
At the beginning of 2019, Mike was selected as the USATT 2018 Volunteer Coach of the Year for the positive impact on his athletes and community service. This prestigious award is Mike's first national coaching award.
Certification courses included a 5-day course for ITTF Level 1/Para and USATT state level coach, and a 6-day course for ITTF Level 2 coach and USATT regional level coach. USATT National Level and ITTF Level 3 coaching required Mike to attend a 10-day course at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs Colorado from October 11 through 20, 2014. The first two courses were held at the Austin Table Tennis Club in Austin, Texas, while the third course was held at the OTC.
All classes conducted by Richard McAfee, an ITTF International Coaching Course Conductor, USATT National Level Coach, Author of "Table Tennis, Steps to Success", and a member of the USATT Hall of Fame. For the USATT National Level and ITTF Level 3 post-course certification requirements, Mike volunteered as assistant coach to USATT National Coach Pieke Franssen, former Dutch National and Olympic Coach, during three of the 2018 USA/ITTF Hopes Camps and Qualifying Tournaments for talented youth players across the United States. The three camps were located at Alameda Table Tennis Club (April 13-15, 2018), Spin and Smash Table Tennis and Ping Pong Club, and the Maryland Table Tennis Center (April 27-29, 2018; see related MDTTC promotional video).
In addition to being a USATT/ITTF coach and owner of Arkansas Table Tennis Academy, Mike is also a certified tournament referee and umpire and competes in USATT sanctioned and non-sanctioned tournaments. A former Arkansas state junior champion, Mike was invited to attend the first USATT Resident Training Program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he trained under USATT Hall of Fame Coach Henan Li Ai. Among active players in Arkansas, he competes consistently at the top level in the state. His highest USATT rating is 2088, but he hopes to increase that in the coming years.
Table Tennis is Mike's passion. One major goal is to create a sustainable junior development program so that all kids in Arkansas have the opportunities that he had a kid and be able to reach for and realize their dreams in life. Whether it is training for a state or national championship, dreaming to make the U.S. National or Olympic Team, or being able to enjoy a life-long sport with countless benefits, Mike's goal is to help others achieve their dreams in table tennis and learn valuable life-long lessons during their adventure.