by Clement Meyer, Course Conductor and Coaching Director for the South African Table Tennis Board.
The venue for the whole itinerary was the Filbert Bayi Multi-Sport Complex in the Kibaha Coastal Region. Filbert Bayi, the current General Secretary of the Tanzania Olympic Committee was the 1974 world 1,500 metre and mile record holder. Unfortunately, the African boycott of the Montreal Olympics in protest against New Zealand’s participation because of their collaboration with apartheid South Africa, denied Filbert Bayi what many believed would have been certain gold medals in his disciplines.
Overall, a total of 29 coaches, 19 men and ten women, from the various regions of Tanzania attended. The majority of the participants were teachers which made proceedings much easier. Notably one member was a Para athlete.
Proceedings commence in Kibaha (Photo: courtesy of Clement Meyer)
Matters were expertly organised by the Tanzania Table Tennis Association. Seven tables, 500 table tennis balls, a great venue for practical demonstrations and a seated area for theoretical content were provided. Besides the excellent physical environment I was extremely humbled by the enthusiasm and willingness of the participants to grasp and learn all aspects of the course. The Tanzania Table Tennis Association is certainly blessed with future coaches who will undoubtedly contribute towards promoting and developing table tennis in Tanzania
Participant, Grace Njau, who works as an organiser in the Sports Ministry was delighted, increasing both his practical and theoretical knowledge.
“I will certainly take all the knowledge gained to promote table tennis in my region of Tanzania. The Course Conductor made the content easy to understand with his practical application of the theoretical section. I will share this experience with all and ensure that table tennis becomes a sport for all in Tanzania.” Grace Njau
Intense concentration for a practical session (Photo: courtesy of Clement Meyer)
Participant Leonard Liunda who is a player, coach and an official in an executive capacity for the Tanzania Table Tennis Association was impressed with the content.
“I was extremely interested in the coaching and development of sound technique for our very young players. As an administrator the theoretical content of the course has motivated me to implement and develop various projects to promote table tennis in Tanzania. I am certainly looking forward to participate in any future courses the ITTF may deliver in Tanzania, including the ITTF Level 2 Course” Leonard Liunda
Wheelchair athlete and head of the Para section of Tanzania table tennis, Mozzes Mabula, was delighted with the inclusion of Para in the course. He certainly added to the practical part in the Para section, helping to show the technical differences and special characteristics.
“I am delighted and impressed with the International Table Tennis Federation in including Para in this course. My concern is that in Tanzania and Africa in general there is an absence of qualified classifiers. I am certain that the African Table Tennis Federation and the International Table Tennis Federation will address this concern in ensuring that Para table tennis players are provided the opportunity to be classified. My mission is to use the knowledge gained to ensure that Para table tennis is promoted and developed in Tanzania.” Mozzes Mabula.
The Para element was well received by all (Photo: courtesy of Clement Meyer)
Notably all 29 coaches passed the practical assessment and now look forward to completing the 30 hours coaching to gain the coaching certificate.
The coaching course was immediately followed by an intensive training camp for very young players from the Filbert Bayi Primary and Secondary Schools. The enthusiasm of the children was matched by the total involvement of the coaches in assisting in organising and delivering the various aspects of each and every training session. The five hours supervised part of the 30 hours practical coaching was evaluated by myself.
It was indeed a proud moment when I was able to see how the coaches practically implemented the various skills in assisting to deliver the training camp. Coaches were evenly divided into groups with a set number of players. The first three days I assisted planning the programme. However in the last two days the coaches themselves were responsible for organising each and every session. The outcome of this is that it was a resounding success for the practical implementation of all the facets of the Level One Coaching Course. I have no doubt that the coaches will certainly make a positive impact in developing table tennis in Tanzania.
Young players at the Training Camp with (front) Clement Meyer (Photo: courtesy of Clement Meyer)
Pertinently, the Tanzania Table Tennis Association used the available opportunity to identify emerging talents among the enthusiastic and eager player participants. It was agreed that a programme will be drawn up for schools to ensure that the identified talent will continue under the guidance of a coach. Matters are certainly looking good for Tanzanian table tennis thanks to the sound ideas and enthusiasm of the players, coaches and administrators.
On the Friday 31st August proceedings culminated in a closing ceremony organised by the Tanzania Olympic Committee and the Tanzania Table Tennis Association.
An extremely proud General Secretary, Mr Issa Mtalaso addressed the gathering. He reiterated the message that all the participants must not only look at the 30 hours practical unsupervised coaching as a means to gain an ITTF coaching certificate but also as an opportunity to promote and develop table tennis in all the regions of Tanzania.
Well done Tanzania Olympic Committee, well done Tanzania Table Tennis Association; thank you Olympic Solidarity, thank you International Table Tennis Federation.
Course alongside dignitaries display their certificates as matters conclude (Photo: courtesy of Clement Meyer)