Table Tennis Scotland in partnership with British Para Table Tennis and assisted by the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) National Association assistance programme and UK Sport International Relations funding hosted a Para training Camp and Coaches conference at Sport Scotland’s National Sport Centre, Inverclyde, Largs from Friday 13th – Sunday 15th October 2023. This was designed as part of the Legacy Programme from European Para Championships 23 in Sheffield.
Delegations from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Belgium, Greece, and Hong Kong all working together. There was also a Scottish Pathway Squad training session taking place with over 30 Youngsters taking part.
A total of 120 players, coaches and officials were involved over the weekend.
The National Sports Centre was ideal as all the bedrooms were fully accessible with wet rooms, extra long beds, and room for wheelchairs to manoeuvre.
Gorazd Vecko, Performance Director for British Para Table Tennis led the training camp assisted by National Coach Mathew Kenny and National Pathway Coach Matjaz Sercer as well as Coaches from Norway, Wales, and Scotland, with all players working hard and mixing well.
Coach Education was a key part of the weekend, and several workshops were held to develop the Scottish Coaches; while foreign coaches worked with GB coaches,
Belgium, Norway, Ireland, and Italy were very appreciative of the quality of the sessions as they cannot usually access such training and knowledge.
Richard Yule, Chief Operating Officer for Table Tennis Scotland got things started with presentations on their new projects in terms of Social Table Tennis Table and looking showcasing their Pop up and Play programme.
Karen Tonge OBE, former Chair of British Para Table Tennis then delivered a workshop on the various rules for Para Table Tennis, and this was very useful as many of the coaches had not been involved with competitive Para players. She also covered integration of players within a club setting who may have a disability. How to engage with players checking what is appropriate for their level of disability and what they can do. Positive not negative. During training sessions in the Sports Hall Karen Tonge OBE spent time challenging coaches on what they were observing; how they could engage with a Para TT athlete. How they can get involved with finding and recruiting new Para TT players to develop the sport.
Dr Kim Daybell, who recently retired from the British Para World Class Performance Programme has recently qualified as a classifier and delivered a workshop explaining the various classifications and the challenges with reclassification. This was a great workshop, and everyone benefitted from it.
Gorazd Vecko and the coaches then conducted a Q&A and lots of good questions came from the players and coaches to get an insight into how a World Class programme runs and what is involved.
Sunday saw three more workshops for the Scottish Coaches in relation Scottish Disability Sport. Led by Club development and Performance pathways. These were also led By Richard Yule Chief Operating Officer for Table Tennis Scotland as well as Match play for the athletes and final feedback and words from Gorazd.
We thank Drumchapel Table Tennis Club and the Chairman of Table Tennis Scotland for organising transportation from 2 airports and arranging training at their club on Thursday for the early arrivals from Norway and Italy.
Future camps are already being planned between British Para and Table Tennis Scotland due to the success of this weekend and we look forward to watching this develop.
Our thanks goes to European Table Tennis Union (ETTU), UK Sport International Relations Funding, Table Tennis Scotland & British Para Table Tennis who all worked together to make this a successful weekend.