by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Led by the host nation’s Sandra Riettie, a total of nine students attended, five men and four women.
Notably Yvonne Foster, eight times national champion and Annmarie Smith an international hockey coach, attended. In addition to St Catherine, students travelled from Kingston and St Andrew.
“The students took a lot of interest in the course and showed great enthusiasm in learning, the most enthusiastic day was day four where the topic taught was Para table tennis.” Sandra Riettie
A detailed itinerary was organised. Introductions complete; on the first day such items as the history of table tennis, the ITTF website, ITTF/PTT Pathway, ITTF Development Plan and role of Olympic Solidarity were explained. The day ended with a practical session that involved a skills circuit, skills awards and target serving.
One day complete, the second day focused on techniques beyond fundamentals, warm up routines, basic strokes, competition formats and rules. Later on the third day, more advanced training including multi-ball was introduced alongside physical training, before Para table tennis was the subject matter on day four. Tournament organization, rules and a practical test on day five ended the course.
“Not only did this course sensitize us to the proper rudiments of the sport but it prepared us for the challenge, the zest, hunger, confidence and desire to impart our knowledge to players and other stakeholders, as well as bridging the gaps among member nation globally.” Annmarie Smith
Throughout the efforts of Sandra Riettie were well received; three outstanding students emerging; George Blake, the most senior, alongside Annmarie Smith and Yvonne Foster.
“The course was conducted in a very relaxed environment with the theory constantly being supported with practical demonstration and enforced with practice by students. I was a casual table tennis player, I was not familiar with the real technical aspects of many of the serves nor the skill associated with the sport. During the course I learned and now fully understand many technical aspects of table tennis, learning how to coach Para athletes was an eye opener for me, as I really got to appreciate many of the issues and challenges for Para athletes in sport generally and table tennis in particular.” George Blake
Most certainly George Blake was motivated by Sandra Riettie as were all members of the group, whatever the level of experience.
“It was an overall excellent and eye opening experience, I learned a lot especially where we were introduce to the history of table tennis its development throughout the years, the hierarchy of ITTF, the regional support personnel, how to coach athletes with various disabilities and the classification of Para athletes. Most importantly we were taught how to make the training session fun while teaching.” Yvonne Foster
Eight students gained the necessary requirements for the ITTF Level One qualification; one gained the Club Coach award.
“Special thanks to Table Tennis Jamaica President Godfrey Lothian and Matthew Dawson course co-ordinator.” Sandra Riettie
A successful course completed, a step in the right direction for the sun drenched Caribbean island.