Coaching NewsClub News

Zheng Pu Helps Usher in a New Era of Champions

by Table Tennis America

US Men's National Team member Darryl Tsao and Coach Zheng Pu at the 2023 US Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas. July 3–7, 2023.

Coach Zheng Pu has become a well known face in the United States table tennis community, not just as a high level player, but also as a USATT national level coach and a certified umpire. Zheng has gone all in on table tennis to try and do his bit to help the growth of the sport in America, bringing with him a lifetime of experience from the world’s greatest table tennis nation – China.

As a player Zheng made it to the peak, he was a member of the Chinese National Team, one of the youngest initiates ever. Additionally, he was the youngest player from Chinese Henan Province to be awarded the much sought after title of Chinese National First Class Athletes.

A top player in China, Zheng brought his knowledge and expertise to the United States, where he has worked with some of the country’s most promising talents – helping take them to the international stage and beyond.

Zheng’s most notable coaching collaboration has been with USA’s most coveted star player – 3-time US Olympian Lily Zhang. Zhang was recently part of the national team which won a ticket to Paris 2024 at the ITTF Pan American Championships and Olympic Team Qualification. This victory sets up Zhang with a chance at her 4th Olympic Games. Zheng was also on duty at the Pan Am Champs preparation camp for the US National Team.

The two have trained and worked together for a few years now, during which time Zhang has enjoyed a number of successes. She became the first US table tennis player in half a century to medal at the World Championships – taking mixed doubles bronze in 2021. She has also held a consistently excellent world ranking in the top 30.

Zheng has also been pivotal in developing a new generation of strong players, with Darryl Tsao recently also making the Men’s National Team – fresh off the back of being ranked #1 in the US for Under 15 in both 2021 and 2022. Tsao was a pivotal member of the Under 19 team which won the Pan American Youth Championships this year in West Virginia, USA.

While his work individually has helped elevate his students, Zheng has also been involved in various US National Team training camps and activities, helping spread his knowledge to top players all over the country.

The left handed penholder has a unique and much less common style in table tennis, making him a highly useful training partner and bringing different ideas to the table. These styles at higher levels are incredibly valuable to training groups, where the majority of players are right handed shakehand players.

Zheng hopes he can make a great impact on the sport here in America, with all of his focus going towards his students to help them achieve their goals.

“I think the facilities here in the USA are great for young players, they have everything they need, and I hope I can continue to help share my skills with them so that they can achieve their dreams in table tennis,” says Zheng.

“Most players dream to be an Olympian, this is the top level for table tennis players. I wish in my career that I can help guide players towards that goal and other top level achievements.”

There is no doubt that Zheng is driven and ambitious, and that he not only imparts his knowledge upon players but also the attitudes and mindsets of a performance athlete.

We will keep our eyes peeled to see what Zheng can achieve and where his coaching career leads in the USA.