The recently announced coaching strategy was a key topic covered at our latest Question Time event for members.

Those who joined the Zoom call had the opportunity to ask questions of Chief Executive Adrian Christy and Chair Nick Donald. Directors Sally Hughes, Jos Kelly, Don Parker, Ritchie Venner and Anna Whowell were also on the call.

A question about how the pausing of coaching qualifications might affect coaching at the grassroots and in schools led to a wider discussion about the strategy, which was unveiled last month.

Adrian said the model of coaches with a certain level of qualification only working in certain areas, such as schools, was not delivering for the sport and that coaches should be supported to be the best they can be in whichever area they are working.

He added: “The coaching strategy is not just about the top level, it’s about building up from the bottom of the pyramid, so volunteer coaches at a local level are fundamental to this.

“I think NGBs are good at qualifying coaches, but not educating them – so we’re pausing courses while we create a broader approach which will help coaches to be the best they can be, in whatever environment they want to be – better coaches are needed at all levels.

“The only thing pausing is qualifications – the work of coaches is still ongoing. The strategy isn’t about more coaches, it’s about better coaches who are supported and developed to do everything from giving kids a lifelong love of the sport to creating elite athletes.”

Another guest on the call commended the recent production of the Pathway Guide, which is geared to helping England and GB athletes of tomorrow to reach the top.

There were also discussions around engagement and transparency, with Nick and Adrian both stressing a commitment to share information, through multiple channels including publication of Board minutes, email communications and via the Local Organising Groups to ensure relevant information is reaching local communities.

There were also discussions around the challenges faced by local clubs, including pressure on time and space at venues.

Question Time events are one of the ways Table Tennis England engages members and enables them to ask us questions in a public forum. Details of future events will appear on this website and in our Over the Net newsletter. If you do not receive Over the Net, then sign up via the form at the bottom of this page.