20 Nov 2017

Located in the Caribbean, from Wednesday 11th October to Thursday 2nd November, the second part of a Developing a National Sports Structure Course was held in St Kitts and Nevis.

Supported by Olympic Solidarity and organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, the expert on duty was Switzerland’s Georg Silberschmidt, the first leg of the initiative having been conducted by Ramon Ortega Montes, alias “Moncho“ , the Development Officer for the Latin American Table Tennis Union. Unfortunately, owing to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, it was not possible to complete the entire itinerary.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A three day club coach course commenced proceedings on the island of Nevis. Accompanied by Urban Freeman, Vice President of the St Kitts and Nevis Table Tennis Association, the duo took the 7.00am ferry to the island which records a population of some 11,000.

Six men and three women mostly asssisting with Physical Education classes in primary and secondary schools attended; it was for most the first time they had played table tennis.

“I was amazed to see the progress these guys made within the 12 hour period, by the end of the course, most of them could easily play forehand to forehand top spin rallies. They were so enthusiastic they all wanted to play during the break times.“ Georg Silberschmidt

Later six members of the group joined the ITTF/PTT Level One Course held in St. Johnsons Community Center on the mainland; they had to take the morning ferry and then return home in the evening.

Two club coaches who had been present at the courses held by Moncho alongside a further 14 coaches attended, most were Physical Education teachers. Nine of the 20 members were women. It was the highest female ratio witnessed by Georg Schilberschmidt in his 12 years of conducting ITTF Development Programme Courses. Notably 19 members passed the examination at the end of the course.

“I say thank you very much. We really appreciated having you here helping us start this new journey of table tennis here on the island of Nevis.“ Curtis Morton, student

Now they must complete 30 hours of coaching in order to receive their Level One cerificates

“Achieving the 30 hours should not be a great problem; most are working in schools and due to a generous donation of 500 rackets and 1,200 balls from the American based foundation ATPA, all of them have enough rackets and balls to start to integrate table tennis into the school curriculum, one of the main targets of a Developing a National Sports Structure Course. St Kitts and Nevis Table Tennis Association will focus mainly on keeping the fire burning by encouraging these teachers and sport officers to promote table tennis in schols.“ Georg Silberschmidt

The ITTF/PTT Level One Course concluded, training sessions which included national team members were staged.

A busy schedule; in addition discussions were held with Calvin Lake, the President of the St Kitts and Nevis Table Tennis Association alongside Urban Freeman, as well as other officials in order to form an action plan for the next three years; the introduction of national competitions and similar was high on the agenda.

The Developing a National Sports Structure Course has provided the groundwork, it is  a base from which table tennis in St Kitts and Nevis can grow.

 São Paulo – ITTF/PTT Level One Course
Photos: courtesy Georg Schilberschmidt

High Performance and Development Coaching Georg Silberschmidt