Now the new Table Tennis England Area’s have been formed, and in the midlands, the old West Midlands Region now teams up with Derbyshire a traditionally strong County for Table Tennis over the years under its new name The West Area. A new Area Local Organising Group will be formed and several key partners both within table tennis and outside to help steer the work going forwards under the Chairmanship of Martin Clayton from Birmingham.

To help kick start growth and in sync with the Table Tennis United Strategy, research has indicated that 3 out of the Top 4 Counties with the highest population of 5-9 years and 7 out of the Top 10 Local Authorities with a similar age group are based in the West Area. There is of course a large population of older players, both social players and competitive players around these locations also which adds to a very interesting mix to grow table tennis in the longer term.

Looking at this data more closely shows several key areas that have potential to move the sport forwards: –

  • there is a huge untapped market for new younger players who could potentially take up the game and stay for life within Birmingham, Stratford Upon Avon, Dudley/Sandwell and Warwick/Leamington Spa. Of course, this is OK to state but it needs matching up with an existing club network already in place which must have the ability to be able to deal with new players and have the knowledge and approach to support these players on their journey through the sport.
  • Many locations around the West have also welcomed a significant number of older players back into the sport or for the first time under the umbrella of ‘Bat and Chat’. There is an opportunity here to welcome these players into the traditional form of the sport.
  • There are other locations that are developing the sport well and will be key partners going forwards.

The new West Area aims over its first couple of years to deliver: –

  • a new series of TT Kidz sessions, delivered locally in either clubs or primary school to develop the next generation of younger players.
  • Working with community groups within Birmingham, initially to proof test the concept, that community groups can join a local league if the league is willing to embrace a new way of playing using the Table Tennis Fast Format product.
  • Pilot ranking events for U11’s held during the evening.
  • Investigate and establish a High-Level Coaching programme linked in with the Performance Program.
  • Run and organise coaching, officiating and a local competition framework that support all other activities named in this plan.
  • Utilise the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Legacy funding to grow the sport.
  • Start more regular dialogue with Table Tennis Counties.
  • Search for external funders to support this work further.
  • Pilot a club running activities in a Ping Pong Parlour based in a shopping centre rather than within its our walls to show the public what we are all about!

To make all this possible partnership work and relationship will need to be formed with key external friends and partners. These being the Active Partnership Network, Sported and Local Authorities. These partners bring a huge wealth of knowledge, contacts, and occasional funding to the table.

If the plan is successful there will be a new younger group playing table tennis, entering more localised competitions either local league or ranking events locally with the most talented players being pushed into a formal performance pathway. New divisions of local leagues will be played in community venues during the daytime or early evening but crucially at a time that suits the user not at the traditional time that league matches are played.