The first four Table Tennis England Pathway Development Centres (PDCs) have been selected – and more centres are in the pipeline as the PDC strategy moves forward.
Kingfisher (Reading), Joola Plymouth, Greenhouse (London) and Ormesby (Middlesbrough) were all selected following an open application process.
Agreements have been made in principle with all four, with a view to becoming operational in October.
There was a total of 10 applications, all of which were very strong. The Table Tennis England Performance team will work with a small number of the other applicants to prepare them to become operational from Year 2 of the strategy, filling geographical gaps and creating a wider, nationwide network.
Further details will follow about how players can get in touch with PDCs and how player recruitment to PDCs will work.
Head of Pathway Development, Emma Vickers, said: “We are very pleased to announce the four Pathway Development Centres, a new initiative that will underpin our talent pathway, where the core aim is to produce players with world-class technical and fundamental skills.
“We will be working very closely with the centres, ensuring they become leading hubs for talent activity in their areas.
“We understand that in Year 1, not every player’s needs will be met geographically, but we are working towards creating a more nationwide network as a priority.”
What is the PDC strategy?
The PDC strategy aims to create a network of high-quality development hubs around the country to support players aged from eight to 15.
The overarching aims are to:
- Develop players with world-class technical and fundamental skills relative to their age, ready to excel in the pathway
- Develop creative and fun environments that keep players motivated
- Create an early investment in good habits and behaviours
- Support coaches to excel in developing elite youth players
The PDCs will be a critical step at the start of players’ journeys to develop world-class potential and will bridge the gap from entry level initiatives such as school-club links, under-eights sessions and TT Kidz into the England squad programmes.
PDCs will ensure a unified and consistent approach to talent development, with national and local coaches working together on every stage of players’ technical, physical, and mental development.
Click here to read more about the PDC strategy.
Raj Patel, Coaching Officer at Kingfisher, said: “We’re thrilled to be selected as a PDC because it recognises and celebrates our unwavering commitment to player and coach development.
“Being part of the PDC network is not just about personal growth; it also contributes to the development of elite youth players and the interconnected hub model that bridges the pathway to England national programmes. It is truly an honour to be part of this critical step towards achieving excellence.”
Ajay Naik, Kingfisher Head Coach, said: “Selection is a dream come true. It acknowledges our commitment to nurturing young talent with world-class skills and the right mindset.
“PDCs offer a unique platform for building a strong foundation for success and where coaching excellence meets player potential, an amazing opportunity.”