Mark Hazinski Named as Men's Coach for 2022 ITTF Pan American Championships
by Joshua Dyke
The USATT HPC has selected Mark Hazinski to represent the USA as the 2022 ITTF Pan American Championships men’s team coach. The event is fast approaching, scheduled for Monday, October 31, to Sunday, November 6, 2022, in Santiago, Chile.
Hazinski, now a National Team Coach, has a deep history with the game of table tennis. His coaching approach is to utilize his experiences in international competitions to better relate to his players and bolster their performance.
The coaching selection provides an opportunity for Hazinski to capitalize on the U.S. men’s team player strengths and styles to further develop team chemistry:
I'm looking forward to the challenge of coaching the US men's team at the Pan American Championships in Chile at the end of October. I know it is important for me to get to know the athletes better personally, know how they prefer to be coached during matches, and also what they expect of me as a coach, to make them feel as comfortable as possible to compete at their highest level. Even though I have never coached the US men's team before, I do feel confident that I can relate to them because I have been in their shoes competing in 8 World Championships, 3 Pan American Games, and 1 Olympics, so I kind of know how they feel dealing with the pressure and excitement of the moment when competing in these events. I feel the US men's team has made great improvements over the past few years and can compete with some of the best countries in the world and I'm honored to have to chance to help them however I can to keep this trajectory to become a powerhouse on the world scene.
The USATT High-Performance Committee has found Hazinski to be an ideal candidate to make a medal run with the U.S. men's team this fall.
USATT HPC Chair, Khoa Nguyen commented on the coaching selection, “Mark [Hazinski] is a recognized elite athlete that has competed in World Championships, Pan American Games, and Olympic Games. He is dedicated to the sport of Table Tennis. We're very fortunate to have Mark coach the Men's National Team for the Pan AM Championships.”
In 2000, Hazinski was the youngest player to make the Men’s National Team at 15. By 2004 he was rostered as a U.S. Olympian at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. After the Olympics, Hazinski played table tennis professionally with a stint in Germany and Sweden before attending Texas Wesleyan Univ. as a dominant player for the Rams. Upon graduation, Hazinski shifted his focus to full-time coaching and mentored players at the NCTTA Championships and internationally in Toronto, Canada.
Preparation will be a factor in success at the 2022 ITTF Pan American Championships, and there will be a heavy emphasis for Hazinski to become even more familiar with his Team USA squad. Hazinski looks to capitalize on team meetings and film sessions to unlock more of their potential as a unit. Hazinski touched on the way he seeks to unlock the U.S. men’s team potential:
I feel one of my strengths is analyzing matches to find weaknesses, strengths, and tendencies in athletes, and coming up with solid game plans for them. I am always watching video of U.S. events, World events, and different European league matches, so I am familiar with the playing styles of the top male athletes that will be competing in the Pan American Championships. In the meantime, I plan to continue analyzing the top players from Pan America more in-depth for game plans and also get input from the US players, who may have competed against them in the past, to see what kind of strategies they used against them and what they might change in the future so that we are all on the same page and can work together more seamlessly.
Hazinski will lead a formidable U.S. roster comprised of Sharon Alguetti, Kanak Jha, Nikhil Kumar, and Jishan Liang at the 2022 ITTF Pan Am Championships. The team aims for championship hardware after the U.S. took bronze in the 2021 men’s team event.
Although medaling is the main goal for Hazinski at the 2022 ITTF Pan Am Championships, he also hopes to see the Men’s team produce results at the Pan Am Championships that can build momentum toward the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and beyond. Successes that will strengthen Team USA’s current team members. Furthermore, successes that encourage elite young players coming up through the pipelines to pursue their table tennis careers into adulthood.