by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The course conductor was Christian Lillieroos of the United States.
“It was the first time an ITTF coaching course had been held in the city of Montego Bay, about a three-hour drive outside of Kingston but with its own International airport and a very vibrant tourist location”, said Christian Lillieroos.” A total of 53 Jamaican coaches have so far completed the certification for Level One, ten for Level Two, and four for Level Three; Jamaica has programmed five more courses this year, including two Level Two courses and will do three more Level One courses.”
It is rapid progress for a very ambition programme.
“ITTF coaches courses have been held in Jamaica since 2008; Table Tennis Jamaica has put in place a high priority for educating coaches, it has an ambitious goal of certifying 300 ITTF/PTT Level One coaches in the next three years”, added Christian Lillieroos. “This was the first official coaching certification course in 2016; it is only the second time that Jamaica has received such support from an Olympic Solidarity grant. the first was for Swimming in 2010.”
A notable achievement and much credit must go to Stephen Grant; he is the local co-ordinator; a certified PTT Level One and ITTF Level Three coach, he is also the National Team coach for Jamaica.
A training session conducted the Caribbean way
“Friday, three days before the course started a press conference was held where Table Tennis Jamaica made the official donation of seven tables to seven schools in Montego Bay”, explained Christian Lillieross. “The selection was based on the recognition of having the fundamental basics for a good table tennis programme; the other requirements were to have at least one participant in the ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course and to have the commitment to start a table tennis team in the school.”
Unquestionably the ITTF coaching system is growing quickly in Jamaica; great credit must go to Godfrey Lothian, the President of Table Tennis Jamaica. He has instigated a three year coach education programme.
“Athletics with Usain Bolt as the poster boy is by far the most popular sport, after that table tennis is increasing fast in popularity and is the number five sport right now”, stressed Christian Lillieroos.
Jamaica is also the birthplace of one highly celebrated world class table tennis play; England’s Desmond Douglas, who graced the arenas of the world in for over two decades commencing in the 1970s, was born in the island. At a very young age his family moved to England.
The Para Table Tennis element of the course aroused a great deal of interest
“The course had two female coaches, Deloris Brown-Williams and Charrone Grant; they were both very accomplished teachers in local high schools and coaches in other sports; they took the lead in the course”, explained Christian Lillieroos. “However, the Best in class award went to Mark-Anthony Farr, he is a Dean at a local high school and a past high school team player himself.”
Good marks but Mark-Anthony Farr was not alone in impressing Christian Lillieroos.
“Ricardo Williams also deserves a special mention, he was the super coach from Track and Field and other sports that adapted amazingly to Table Tennis without never really playing before”, continued Christian Lillieroos. “Jamaica has the best sprinter coaches in the world and that brushes off to other sports like table tennis, when coaches who went through their training takes on table tennis; the coaches from other sports had excellent presentation skills and an amazing ability to adapt to table Tennis.”
A successful course, Montego Bay has now a platform from which to build.
Mark-Anthony Farr (right) presents Christian Lillieroos (right) with a gift to remember