Table Tennis England has launched its new strategy – Table Tennis United – to increase participation within the sport.

TTE have been collecting data from numerous sources to establish what is needed within the community grass roots of Table Tennis in the Southeast Area

  • Sport England
  • Census
  • Club Survey
  • Coaches Survey
  • Site visits

Using this information, the Southeast Area Manager and Area Chair have worked on a Local Delivery Plan to meet these needs and this project forms part of this plan.

With the overall vision of increasing player participation across the spectrum, the Southeast Local Delivery Plan has focussed on the collaborative workings of clubs, leagues, county associations, the National Governing Body and outside partners.

The aim is to provide a playing pathway for juniors (specifically under 9s) players through:

  • School
  • Club
  • League
  • Tournament

With a long term aim of more people, playing more table tennis, more often, in clubs, leagues and tournaments.

What the focus areas are?

Using available data, several target areas emerged.

Specifically, when looking at data to establish better playing opportunities for the under 9 age group, several areas displayed excellent potential.

This information also highlighted pockets of coaching activity that lent itself to the delivery of these projects and would enable great support of the activity.

What will you be doing in those areas?

  1. The main playing project delivery will be split into 4 stages across 5 separate project areas.
  2. TT Kidz school activity ending with a School Festival
  3. Club coaching and development
  4. Novice League opportunities
  5. 1* (or Development) competition
  • Coaching development has been split into three main targeted areas.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire have several excellent coaches.  However, for future projects we would need more coaches at all levels to relieve workload on these existing coaches.

Whilst Kent has a good coaching network with Licenced coaches covering most of the heavily populated areas, Surrey is slightly less well served.

Sussex has a good coaching network with Licenced coaches covering most of the heavily populated areas, however, Hampshire is slightly less well served.

Running a Level 1 coaching course in these areas will increase the base number of coaches and combined with the proposed Coach Communities of Practice, will keep them engaged into further qualification.

Participation with a Purpose

As mentioned above each of the areas chosen have a high population of under 9’s.  The overall aim of the projects is to increase coaching offers and provide a signposted playing experience from beginner at school, into club activity, into junior league, into 1* (or development) competition.

Whilst it is never an issue in getting a table tennis bat into a child’s hands, leading them along the participation pathway is more difficult, and these projects aim to assist clubs in this endeavour.

Growing a grassroots workforce

Running several Level 1 courses across the network will increase coaching availability and combined with establishing a Coaches Community of Practice will keep new and existing coaches engaged with TTE and taking more ownership of their own development (and thus increasing coaching quality across the area).

Additional courses aimed to increase Umpires & Referees as well as Tournament Organisers form part of the objectives that will grow the volunteer workforce.

Tackling inequalities

Specific attention has been placed in the increased availability of the sport to priority groups, with the area at the forefront of providing more playing opportunities for Women & Girls, with several 1* and 2* competitions already scheduled for the season.  These, combined with the increased competition offer across the area, will give more playing opportunities to a wider spectrum of participants. 

Additional workshops will be offered to clubs in the delivery of specific Women & Girls activity, wheelchair accessibility and other inclusivity groups including working with British Blind Sport.

Competition for all

The project plan expands on established competitive opportunities by offering not only beginner level introductions, but a framework to compete at whatever level is suitable.  Collaboration with local leagues to offer banded league activity for age specific groups, aligned with an increased network of 1* (or Development) competition will allow new and fledgling players in the sport to experience differing levels of competition at a suitable level, without the pressures of competing at inappropriate times (late evenings etc,), or with other established participants providing overly difficult opposition.

World Class Environments

Kingfisher TTC has been selected as a Pathway Development Centre and support of this centre has been built into the project planning.  This will not only meet the project objectives locally but provide a further pathway for Gifted & Talented performers who are identified early in this framework.

Working in Partnership

At the core of this Area plan is the need for collaboration.  The projects are designed to require not only school and club links to be developed for sustainability, but also local leagues and county associations to be heavily involved in the delivery of aspects of the plan.

Alongside these partnerships, additional support has been sought and agreed with local active partnerships.  Get Berkshire Active, Active Kent and Active Sussex have agreed to support at identifying schools to work with and assist in running festivals for those schools as part of the wider participation programme.

How do we know we are successful

Each project has a defined SMART goal of 100 new players at Stage 1, with a retention rate of 20% into stage 3 of the plan.  This could potentially increase participation in each area by 20 new players entering Novice league activity and then further into 1* competition.