courtesy of ittfoceania.com
The ITTF-Oceania Hopes Week & Challenge is part of the global Hopes Program; one of ITTF’s many development initiatives targeting global reach and overall growth of table tennis. Every year since the launch of the Hopes Program in 2009, talented players and their coaches have gathered around the world, united through the symbol of the Hopes.
The 2018 edition of the event took place in Townsville, Australia, will athletes and coaches from all over the Oceania region attending the intensive training and competition program. The number one goal of the initiative is to encourage National Associations not only to start with professionally managed Talent Identification Programs, but also to promote and work with young players for future success and growth.
“It was a great journey that the players and coaches took during the six day event. You start as contesters from different countries but through the combined training, education sessions and a cultural day out you become mates, companions and even friends. The spirit of the hopes was present everywhere, through both coaches from different players helping each other to improve together as well as players, overcoming language barriers and working together in a team.” Patrick Wuertz, ITTF-Oceania High Performance Officer
The week provided some of the region’s top talent an opportunity to hone their skills.
“The Hopes week and challenge enhanced players understanding of table tennis not in regards to the technique aspects but also the mental management. The understanding of the basics, in particular footwork of most players has improved significantly. It was great to connect with the other coaches during the coaching education sessions as well as during the training.” Hong Bo Liang, coach of Girls’ Challenge Winner Celine Chen
It’s not all just about the players, and coach education is also a top priority during the week.
“We found the Hopes week to be an exceptional opportunity for our young players to develop their skills and connect with other players. Coaches were able to learn new insights and knowledge. Attention to detail as well as contemporary coaching methods made this an outstanding experience for players and coaches alike.” Paul Whitehead, coach of New Zealand’s Minette Whitehead
It’s positive signs for the Oceania region, and all the signs point towards a strong foundation that will help foster a new generation of table tennis players in the years to come.
“You can see that the coaches are doing a better job in the grass roots development every year. However, we still have to focus more on the basic skills, the message of the training was clearly that we need to get the foundation right first before we talk about more complex topics.” Patrick Wuertz, ITTF-Oceania High Performance Officer