Table Tennis England’s Performance Team and the Members’ Advisory Group (MAG) have collaborated to produce a report and action plan to build on the strengths of the Team England pathway and address areas for improvement.
This report was initiated because of feedback that the Members’ Advisory Group (MAG) received about how the Performance Team was interacting with parents, coaches and clubs. It was felt that these interactions were not as effective as they should be. This in turn meant that Table Tennis England was not maximising its ability to produce the next generation of top players.
The Board asked MAG to engage with the Performance Team to explore the issues in detail and make recommendations to the Board. Members of MAG received a presentation by the Performance Team about the work of the pathway, following which an in-depth and wide-ranging discussion was held.
The presentation included the structure of the Performance Team, the constraints it operates under, its strategy for producing top players and the evidence which leads that strategy, lessons learned during lockdown and how the team interacts with players’ clubs and coaches.
The discussion which followed considered the strengths and weaknesses of each of these and other areas and how they could be improved to maximise the pathway’s ability to produce the next generation of top players.
The report produced by MAG following this process has been published and is available on the MAG section of this website.
The report includes a series of recommendations – a key one of which was that the Performance Team be asked to produce an Action Plan describing how the individual recommendations of the report would be addressed.
This has been done and the Action Plan has been incorporated into the report and includes a check-list that enables the implementation of the recommendations to be monitored.
MAG Member Liam McTiernan said: “As a former member of the England Youth Squad myself I was particularly keen to be involved in this project now that I am a member of MAG. It was excellent for the Performance Team to engage with us in such an open way and they clearly have a breadth of experience that can add a lot of value.
“I have no doubt that they have an ambition to produce table tennis players who can compete at world level and along with all of my colleagues on MAG, I am excited to help them on their journey to achieving that goal.”
Table Tennis England Director of Sport Simon Mills said: “This was an important process which allowed both the Performance Team and MAG to tap into the expertise and knowledge contained in both groups.
“We all share the common goal of producing the best possible England players and the will to leave no stone unturned as we try to do that.
“We have asked MAG to continue to provide input and be a sounding board for ideas.”
Don Parker, Elected Deputy Chairman said: “This report is a very carefully researched and thoughtful piece of work, of which I share the assessment and recommendations.
“We need to ensure that when the players return to their home environment that they have the necessary support particularly in terms of facilities, practice partners and coaching expertise. I’m particularly keen that we continue to provide appropriate international experiences for our young players whilst minimising the costs to the players for participating in the whole programme.”
MAG chairman Neil Hurford said: “It will be important to monitor progress in implementing the Action Plan. MAG will continue to engage with the table tennis community to seek input on how we can continue to support the pathway and our young players to become the best they can be.”