Rapid Rise in Numbers, Aerobic Table Tennis Blossoms in North West England
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Time for practising the backhand
Photo By: Courtesy of Steve Rowe
Increasing the numbers of women and girls playing table tennis is one of the goals of the ITTF Women’s Working Group.
Finding a formula to achieve the target most certainly is not always that straightforward.
However, it would seem that in England one possibility is working well, growing rapidly and proving popular.
Steve Rowe, a coach in Wigan, a town in greater Manchester in the north west of England recently tried a very different approach; he introduced Aerobic Table Tennis and it would seem that the concept has met with universal approval.
Staggered by Response In fact, Steve Rowe is quite staggered by the response.
“From only three different school venues we now have about 150 girls doing Aerobic Table Tennis”, he enthused. “I will soon start three more venues and I expect the same figures, that would take us up to 300 new females taking part in table tennis, I want to replicate this in the United Kingdom and around the world; imagine the figures for new female participants would go sky high!”
Productive Meeting No doubt and Steve Rowe is not sitting on his laurels, he is promoting the concept at every opportunity.
“I had a meeting last week with a programme here in the United Kingdom that specialises in getting females to become active”, he explained. “The programme is called US Girls and is run through Streetgames; the outcome from the meeting is Aerobic Table Tennis has been added to their current national programme and also added on their website listed under new trends and ideas.”
US Girls Website Visit the Us Girls Website to see the full range of activities and their support for Aerobic Table Tennis.
Meeting with English Table Tennis Association “In April I will have a meeting with the English Table Tennis Association’s Women's Group, to see how we can work together if possible”, added Steve Rowe. “I am hopeful they will move forward with the project.”
Added Video to Website Also Steve has added video to the Aerobics Table Tennis Website to show that the project is fun and helps burn off the calories.
Positive Response to Presentation “Last weekend I did a presentation at an English Table Tennis Association coach education day, this was the first time I had shown video footage of the session, I received I got a great response from all the attendees”, continued Steve Rowe. “From this presentation I have also been asked if I can accommodate the disabled in the project; I will look at how we can revise things so disabled can also join in, this is something I hadn't thought of myself but I will certainly look into it.”
Unquestionably that would a move welcomed by all concerned and judging by Steve Rowe’s enthusiasm for the project, a solution will be found.
Exercise and exercising control, all parts of Aerobic Table Tennis Photo courtesy of Steve Rowe
Working Together “I want to hear from clubs all around the globe and also the National Governing Bodies from the different countries”, said a buoyant Steve Rowe. “Let’s work together with this great new initiative.
Resources Available “Once a club joins the project, they needn't worry about how to run a successful session, as they will receive a USB memory stick with all the resources, which will include PowerPoint presentations, advertising material including the copyright logo for their advertising purposes, full session plans and the main part, full step by step video instructions of the whole one hour session”, explained Steve Rowe. “I have tried to make it as easy as possible to run successful sessions and we will of course give continued support.”
Coaches Course Planned Furthermore, Steve Rowe has not forgotten the fact that teachers are needed to lead the courses
“All the female Aerobics teachers that run the sessions at the clubs, will be encouraged to take level one coaching course in table tennis; this would of course enable them to run Aerobic Table Tennis alongside any current normal aerobics sessions”, said Steve Rowe. “So now, not only will we increase females playing the game, we will increase female coaches; it's win win.”
The excitement shown by Steve Rowe for the project is the equivalent of winning the national lottery!
Notable Names Support Also, has several notable names who support his project; England internationals Liam Pitchford, Kelly Sibley, Hannah Hicks have all endorsed Areobic Table Tennis as has Australian international, William Henzell.
Tried in Front Room “In the 35 years I have been involved in table tennis, I have never seen a project aimed at female participation work so well; I could not have wished for a better response from people around the world, it's just fantastic”, he concluded. “When I thought of the idea, I really didn't expect it to have worked so well, I even remember trying it out in my own front room, to see if it would work; as the saying goes, the rest is history, I am overwhelmed.”
Overwhelmed but of course delighted and it would seem Aerobic Table Tennis is set grow and grow rapidly.
Shadow play to the rhythm of the beat Photo courtesy of Steve Rowe