06 Nov 2019

Supported by ITTF North America, the Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, New York was home for two well-received high level training camps for cadets and mini cadets from Monday 7th to Friday 11th October; United States and Canadian teams combined together with players and coaches alike to deliver a unique training experience for athletes of both nations.

The 19 table, high quality venue proved the perfect facility; proceedings following a United States Youth National Ranking tournament which had hosted 42 players and eight coaches.

by Matt Hetherington

Mini Cadet Camp Head Coach Pieke Franssen, with a team of coaches from the United States and Canada, led proceedings, six hours of training per day, split into two sessions and preceded by a morning running session for 25 minutes before breakfast. The environment was one that the young players were not accustomed but a very beneficial experience for their future development.

The camp for the mini-cadet players focused more on foundation skills, they still fell within an overall theme of playing from the middle, targeting the elbow, footwork and positioning which revolved around alternatives to playing safe cross-court angles.

Stretching ready to start (Photo: courtesy of Matt Hetherington)

Sessions from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon and 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm session provided the tough and challenging conditions needed to nurture improvement in the talents; the three hour long sessions building a more high intensity atmosphere than most were used to in their weekly training routines.

Alongside the on-table training, the group also engaged in physical training which had a large focus on building core stability, as well as acceleration, stamina and co-ordination exercises throughout the five day training event.

On the final day the cadet players underwent a large practice tournament; it provided a perfect opportunity for the coaches to organise a longer multi-ball session for the mini-cadets, going through a variety of drills and providing another intense training method into the mix.

Preparation for Wladyslowowo

Under the guidance of Canada’s Anqi Luo, North American Team Coach at this year’s ITTF World Cadet Challenge, the cadet camp served as a preparation for the North American team travelling to the event in Wladyslowowo, Poland. It gave the Canadian and United States players an opportunity to prepare together in the best conditions possible for the internationally acclaimed event.

Aside from the unified training, the North American team players were also able to undergo some very important doubles practice in anticipation of the world-class event.

Overall, the focus of the training camp revolved around match preparation exercises.

A demonstration prior to the start of a training session (Photo: courtesy of Matt Hetherington)
Initiative welcomed

Mini Cadet Camp Head Coach Pieke Franssen was positive about the event overall and hopeful for more joint training exercises in the future.

“The camp went very well, it was a great atmosphere to have co-operation between the United States and Canada, bringing different playing styles among the training partners and different philosophies and methodologies among the coaches. Westchester Table Tennis Center has been a really good facility for this experience and hopefully we can continue to have more of these training camps in the future.” Pieke Franssen

Anqi Luo’s reflections on the camp were echoed by the team of coaches present.

“At the Westchester training camp, we gathered top cadet players in North America along with many young athletes with high potential. We were able to offer high quality and intense training that players would otherwise have to travel out of the continent for. The players selected for World Cadet Challenge also had a great opportunity to meet each other and to pair up for doubles in preparation for the upcoming tournament. It was overall a very successful training camp; these camps will definitely help to elevate the level of young players in North America.” Anqi Luo

Smiling faces in Westchester (Photo: courtesy of Matt Hetherington)
Most beneficial

One of the United States coaches and team leader on duty, pivotal in the organisation of the event, Daniel Rutenberg, was most positive.

“I think the training camp was beneficial for all participants; this one of very few joint training events between the United and Canada in past years. I was very glad that we’re able to pull this camp off by providing such an intense and a high performance environment for the kids. I think all the participants worked hard and it was an ideal preparation for those getting ready for the World Cadet Challenge event.” Daniel Rutenberg

Mini cadet training (Photo: courtesy of Matt Hetherington)
High Performance and Development Athletes Westchester