The DiSE programme for 16-to-18-year-old athletes is undergoing a revamp as work continues to create a greater depth in the performance pathway.

The two-year Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) allows current and aspiring performance players aged 16-18 to continue their education while also working on their game.

It is positioned just below the Great Britain Training Squad in the pathway and caters for players who currently do not meet the standards for GB-level programmes.

The position as a ‘periphery squad’ is designed to ensure greater depth in the pathway and create an upward pressure on those who are in the GB programme.

the Table Tennis England Performance team began to redesign DiSE last summer, to ensure it is delivering optimal results for the individuals and the pathway.

Among the changes already introduced this season is an increase to six weekend camps working with the Performance team. They have so far been hosted at Grantham College, with the aim of bringing them into the new Elite Training Centre in Sheffield for the 2024/25 season.

Online workshops have been introduced once or twice a month, and so far sessions from a variety of practitioners have been delivered in the following areas:

  • Performance nutrition
  • Physical demands of a table tennis player & education on the national warm up
  • Athlete lifestyle management
  • Player transitions
  • Careers sessions – understanding performance leadership, coaching, and performance lifestyle roles
  • Anti-doping
  • The performance pathway, key performance behaviours & stakeholders

Three more camps remain in the current season, with several workshops also to be delivered.

A UK Anti-Doping workshop with the DiSE cohort

Natalie Green has superbly led on the coaching and assessment aspects and has brought a huge wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the programme.

Further growth in the programme is planned from next season, with new content, opportunities and events for those on it and Table Tennis England Head of Pathway Development, Emma Vickers, said: “It’s essential that we continue to grow the programmes that sit around our GB squads so that there is greater depth in the English pathway.

“The DiSE programme is an excellent opportunity where this can happen, and there are plans to grow the programme in size over the coming years.

“Not only can it help to build the base level of junior players in England, but they can also achieve a qualification to support their pathway into university.”

First-year DiSE player Ben McKay said: “The DiSE programme has been fantastic for my table tennis ability as it is a great opportunity to train with top players and coaches.

“However, the DiSE programme has been beneficial to many other aspects of my life off the table too, which also help improve performance and improve my knowledge on becoming a better athlete.”

Applications for the 24-25 season will open around June 2024 – any questions in the interim should be sent to: [email protected]

What is DiSE?

DiSE is a two-year programme that gives the opportunity for current and aspiring performance players aged 16-18 who are in full-time further education to access the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme. This is a government-funded scheme designed to directly measure a players’ ability to plan, apply and evaluate their development in a performance context.

A key benefit of the programme is that it provides players with knowledge and skills to not only enhance their table tennis performance, but also increases opportunities to access a university pathway, as there are 64 UCAS points on offer if players successfully complete their portfolios.