The latest from the Performance Development Team
Read the latest update from Head of Performance Development, Gavin Evans.
We are delighted to announce that on 29 October, the Performance Development team will welcome Carlo Agnello as national coach, completing a full team where we can begin to really accelerate progress.
It is full steam ahead to Paris 2024 Olympic Games where we have ambitions to achieve our best ever performance as a team and in singles.
As we seek to deliver on our ambitions for LA2028 and beyond, we are working through our funding submission to UK Sport. We have just started working with a data analysis company to identify and to support us in bridging the gap in performance.
Culture and behaviours are a key part, below is some of the ways we will build a winning culture within our performance environment:
- Data and insight to inform best practice design
- Lead the daily practice and wellbeing of our athletes
- World Class Sparring
- The right exposure at the right time
- Systematic and individualised psychological support
- Consistent data informed physiological support to bridge the gap on the Chinese
- Lifestyle support to ensure the right balance is being adopted to bring our best performances together when it most matters
- Coach Development and Learning
We have spoken so much about the need for connection across our table tennis community. Right now, is the time to engage and collaborate with clubs, coaches, and parents to achieve all the things we know we can. It is vital we work together in pursuit of our ambitions, all of us play a significant part in our system build and athlete journeys!
Pathway Development Centres
Across September, we have been working closely with our first Pathway Development Centres (PDCs) who will become the lead talent hubs in their respective areas for players aged 15 and under.
We are pleased to confirm that Ormesby TTC, Joola Plymouth TTC, Greenhouse TTC, and Kingfisher TTC have all provisionally agreed to become centres, and are now working through the finer details to become operational in the coming months.
The PDCs will support the progression of two player age groups, an early development group (8-11) and a pathway group (12-15), with the best players aiming to secure spots in GB performance programmes.
We have been working hard to ensure that our pathway, and how players progress, becomes more transparent, and to do this, we have this month finalised the drafts of two documents that will soon become available. These are:
- Table Tennis England & GB Performance Programmes Pathway Guide – a guide to the pathway, including entry, progression, and exit points, and key information for players, coaches, and parents.
- The GB Player Development Framework – a pivotal document that helps to explain from a holistic standpoint how players progress from the early development to elite senior international level in table tennis. The document has been developed in collaboration with expert practitioners and will be embedded with a series of videos.
We are also pleased to announce that we have now launched the applications for SHEcoaches, a two-year development programme that aims to find the next generation of talent and performance female coaches, fully funded by the Backing the Best programme, managed by Sports Aid. We would like to thank Backing the Best for their generous support to make this project a reality. Further information on the programme and the application survey can be found in the application pack here.
BetterME Player Development Programme
Another new initiative that was launched in September was the BetterME programme for pathway squad players and parents.
We recognise that being a high-level table tennis is not just about technical and tactical development, it’s also important to educate our players about wider areas of development that can not only support their table tennis careers, but also upskill them as people.
September focused on Psychology, and included workshops run by specialist practitioners for all youth squads in the areas of managing pressure and competition anxiety and managing stress and wellbeing as a talented athlete. Parents also undertook a workshop centred on optimising communication with players pre and post competition.
October has a packed scheduled as we turn our focus to athlete lifestyle. Workshops covering player career and personal development, identity, and athlete transition are in the works!
Coach Learning and Development
Our Coach Development Pathway is currently under review with an aim to make a significant enhancement to the support and options available to our coaches to realise our Olympic Ambitions. Set out in Table Tennis United, Coach Education moved from the Development Team to the Performance Team and will now be recognised as Coach Learning and Development, allowing us to be laser focused on investing in the areas where it matters most.
We aim to provide opportunities for coaches to learn at their own pace that encourages and focuses on place-based learning opportunities, with coaches given the autonomy over their own learning and development.
To help us on this venture we would like to say a huge thank you to our newly formed working group that comprises of Steve Brunskill, Eli Baraty, Teresa Bennett, Kevin Buddell and Jon Bayliss. As a group we will review the current process and deliver a pathway that creates a community of coaches with passion, excitement and opportunities.
We are excited to launch our Anti-Doping workshops that will be starting this month. The workshops will run across all squads in addition to parents and Performance Team coaches. These modules will be delivered online, and in person during camps.
Performance Athlete of the Month
Many congratulations to Kacper Piwowar for being recognised as the Performance Athlete of the Month for his super performances in the Serbia European Youth Series, where he achieved two gold medals in the under-13 team and singles events, along with a silver in the under-13 mixed doubles.
We hope Kacper’s hard work and commitment to the sport inspires others to believe in themselves to do great things.