Table Tennis England – Talent Pathways

Ultimately, the Table Tennis England Pathway
is there to help players achieve their full potential and realise
what they’re capable of. The Talent Development Centre is
a really important part of that journey and gives players that first-hand
of what it is to be an England player. Currently there’s a lot of activity
taking place in the community, in schools, community centres
and local clubs. The Talent Development Centre programme
is there to help bring all that activity together so players can be signposted to what
they want to get from the sport, whether that’s recreational
or whether to take it more seriously. The Talent Development Centre here in Plymouth
doesn’t just cater for the players within the city; it also brings in players
from further afield. Some players are travelling up to an hour to
access the support and training that TDC provides. As well as that it also offers an opportunity
for parents, family and friends to access volunteering opportunities
to help them as well. The TDC allows players to decide what
they want to do with their talent. That may be that they go on a pathway
to national table tennis and train more hours or they may decide to take that pathway back
into the club where they play at more local level. The role of coach as a talent advocate is not just to
teach the players technical and tactical knowledge, but it’s also to create a mindset in the players
where they decide which route they want to take, whether that be going through the national pathway
or going back into a club and playing more locally. I decided to play table tennis because I saw
my big brother playing and I thought it was fun. I’ve been playing table tennis for four or five years.
My favourite thing about table tennis is winning. Table tennis gives me determination
and perseverance to keep going. I think the most important skill that I’ve developed
playing with the England Youth Squad would be improving my mentality, so making better
shots and choosing which ones to pick. My future in table tennis I hope is bright.
I hope that I can represent my country from the Juniors up to 21s and Seniors,
but the main goal for me is probably trying to push for World Championships or Olympics,
if I possibly can. It’s important that the clubs have good communication
and cooperation with the clubs in their areas. It’s not just to share competition opportunities,
but also to bring players in from the other clubs to train with
the Talent Development Centre players. We all see the success the GB team has had at the
Rio Olympics, but that all has to start somewhere. The Talent Development Centre programme
allows players to access that first step on the table tennis journey.

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