Since Herbie joined the Young Ambassador programme in August 22, he has logged more than 100 hours as an Assistant Coach and Junior Committee Member Representative with N&B’s TTC, in Weston Super Mare.

Before the Young Ambassador programme came along, Herbie was often found helping others young and old, less able than himself, so it was an easy and natural progression step to progress his development forwards with the Table Tennis England Young Ambassador Programme.

Herbie is skilled, hard-working and excels at teaching the members of N&B’s TTC at the weekly coaching, introduction and induction to table tennis sessions. The photo shows him receiving his Table Tennis England YA certificates, T Shirt and Hoodie in recognition for passing the 10-hour and 50-hour milestones. 

Herbie, who is now 17, began playing table tennis when he was 12 at the local WsM Ping Pong Parlour in the Sovereign Centre, which was a North Somerset Council initiative, and from picking a bat up he was hooked.

From those humble beginnings Herbie has become a regular on the table tennis scene, regularly playing four or five days a week, with involvement assisting and teaching at N&B’s and playing matches in the Bristol League during the week, and attending competitions and playing in the National League activities at the weekends. His efforts are even more admirable when considering he is working extra hard in the meantime to achieve the grades required at A Level to support his aspiration of going to university in 2024.

Herbie has provided training and instruction across all ranges, to people as old as 80+ and as young as seven. He is personable and takes it all in his stride. He absolutely beams and comes to life when working with his younger brother Sandie and other TT Kidz. 

He’s a real natural and all of the members are better players now because of his involvement. More than this though he, his brother Sandie and the other youngsters at the club bring life and vibrancy to it. He stepped up to the plate and has matured as a person through the journey. He is a role model not just to the other youngsters, but to all who he meets and helps.

In addition to his playing and assistant coaching duties, Herbie is the Junior Representative for the N&B’s TT Committee, where he presents a valid and critical current view from the youth perspective. He is never found lacking or wanting and is a valued member of the club.

Herbie recognises now it’s not as easy as it looks being a coach or helping others and has learned some life lessons along the way. He aspires now to build upon his successes and work with Steve Longmoor, the Head Coach at N&B’s and CEO of the new Weston Table Tennis Community charity to become a qualified L1 coach in 2023 and help Steve develop all aspects of table tennis in the North Somerset area as a whole, and play his part in delivering table tennis as a service.

It’s been a challenging but rewarding experience mentoring Herbie. It takes extra planning, execution time, effort and patience, but it has been well worth it all. I think it has helped him mature from a fresh-faced, slightly infuriating teenager at times into the fine young man we now have before us. 

He is a credit to his parents who tirelessly ferry him around to the various events, a credit to the club, but most of all though, he is a credit to himself and table tennis as an Ambassador. He deserves everything he is now achieving and we’re looking forwards to seeing him flourish further both in his real as well as his table tennis life.

Reflecting on his experience, Herbie says: “I wanted to become a young ambassador as a way to give back for the time that was spent on me, by sharing my knowledge of the sport.

“I believe volunteering with N&B has taught me how to display my information better, as well as the importance of putting yourself in an uncomfortable position to benefit not just me, but my fellow players. That is why I would highly recommend volunteering to other juniors players.

“Coaching was a lot harder than anticipated, finding the correct words and phrases to describe the exercises in an easy to understand way was a challenge. But with help from Steve, and practice, coaching became more fluent with time.

“Doing the Young Ambassador programme has prepared me for my future in coaching, providing me with the experience in practical coaching, ready for the Level 1 course.

“I have also learned the intricacies of table tennis, having to prepare for myself for the coaching session has allowed me to improve my own stokes, and how to explain them in an understandable way.”

Herbie’s next ambition is to complete the Level 1 coaching qualification, and rise through the ranks of the Bristol League Divisions. Good luck Herbie!