In mid-October, Ashraf Abdel-Fattah (EGY) traveled to Lebanon to conduct an Olympic Solidarity ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course organized by the Lebanese Table Tennis Association and the Lebanon NOC from 13-22 October. Over the 5 days of educational activities, 30 former and current players from across the country kickstarted their coaching careers, elevating the level of the course and triggering highly interesting debates and discussions, inside and outside the classroom. The course centered around the qualities required for coaching, highlighted how to start teaching technical skills to beginners, and focused on creating an orderly environment, gaining the players’ respect, and developing team spirit.
The theoretical part was followed by a 5-day training camp at the Al-Sarafand club, where cadet and junior national team players were preparing for international competitions. This gave the aspiring coaches the opportunity to implement theory into practice. The course was closed by the President of the Lebanese Olympic Committee, Dr. Pierre Galakh, who encouraged the coaches to work with a new generation, aiming to introduce good players to compete in the region and to get the chance to qualify for the Olympic Games. LTTA President, Mr. Georges Kopaly, praised the level of commitment of the coaches and their eagerness to attend this course and pass the knowledge on to their players.
Around the same time, the Libyan Arab Table Tennis Federation, supported by the NOC of Lybia, ran their OS ITTF-PTT Level 1 course in the northern city of Benghazi from 18-26 October. The host city was the scene of the second civil war that lasted in the Eastern region of the country from 2014 to 2017, and the subject of heavy fighting between the Libyan National Army and ISIS. However, thanks to the passion, love of the game, and commitment of the president of the Member Association, the Executive Committee of the Libyan TTA, and former coaches and players, Libyan table tennis has survived these threats along with a global pandemic.
ITTF Senior Participation Officer Ramzi B.H. Mabrouk led this technical course for 20 coaches from six regions of the country. All sessions took place in the National Teams Table Tennis venue, build by the Libyan table tennis community after the challenges of civil war and a global pandemic. The venue was inaugurated in 2021 and has since hosted several stages of the national championships, training camps for youth national teams, as well as recently the Olympic Solidarity Technical Course for coaches, which is the first of its kind since 2003.
“Besides the players who took part in the practical sessions and training camp, we welcomed other children who were curious to know this very fun and playful game, and to learn how to play.” Ramzi Mabrouk, ITTF Senior Participation Officer
The organizers and administrators were committed to giving assistance and support. Similarly, all participants were enthusiastic and actively involved in all the practical, theoretical, and discussion sessions. Libya TTA showed itself to be a very dynamic Federation with great potential and a strong commitment to move forward and to develop table tennis in Libya with a potential future OS course supporting the development of a national sports system.
Mohamed Abuseef Aldaeeki (President of Libya TTA and Member of the NOC’s EC): “I welcome this proposal and promise to do my best to offer this opportunity for the Libya Table Tennis Association to grow and develop through this DNSS program, because the benefits of this kind of programmes will have repercussions on many aspects for the good of table tennis”.
One level up in coaching education, the All Nepal Table Tennis Asociation in cooperation with the Nepal NOC opted for an OS ITTF Level 2 coaching course and training camp, conducted by Christina Chee (MAS) at the Table Tennis Training Centre Lainchour in Kathmandu (NEP) from 22-30 October. A total of 19 dynamic full-time and part-time coaches from all over Nepal attended the 36 hours of the course. All the coaches attending are actively coaching in clubs, schools, and associations and showed a great deal of enthusiasm for learning. They included national players like Elina Majarjan, (currently nationally ranked number 2 female player), Santosh Kafle, and Binesh Khaniya.
The course focused on coaches learning new approaches and ideas about coaching at a high level and covered theoretical and practical aspects of sports education, game principles, techniques, the basis of physiology, brain functions, and all eleven technical cards. The coaches then moved on to the training camp, where they could put their learning into practice while working with 15 boys and 12 girls. Most of the session plan was used for partner drills and multiball, work on body adjustment and footwork, with some match or gameplay and light physical training, with the last session dedicated to a challenge tournament.
Prajwal Shrestha, formal national coach and currently at Butwal Table Tennis Academy, said, “The balance on both theoretical and practical materials was adequate and has been an excellent high level learning moment for coaches at the course”.
“I am a senior coach at the Stag Champions Table Tennis Academy, located in Khusibun. We have talented young players in our academy. So I would love to start to apply my knowledge gained in this course with my players and produce them to a high level stage”, said Elina Maharjan.
“An excellent great comprehensive learning by all coaches in the past 6 course days, and highly recommend this course to any coaches serious about advancing their players to the next level of success on the provincial level as well as nationally and internationally”, said Mr. Chaturandana Rajvaidya, NOC Vice President and President of the All Nepal Table Tennis Association.
The course was closed by Mr. Tanka Lal Ghising, Member-Secretary of the National Sports Council, and he expressed confidence that the technical course for coaches under the Olympic Solidarity Program will provide support to the further development of Nepali sports. All attendees felt very honoured by the visit of Hon. Jeevan Ram Shrestha, President of the Nepal Olympic Committee and Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, even at his busy schedule. He was greeted with great joy by all members present. He is also a table tennis lover!
“A very successful course for contents well received by the participants and I would like to congratulate all coaches for their hard work, cooperation and positiveness throughout the course. My sincere thanks for the support of the International Table Tennis Federation HPD, All Nepal Table Tennis Association excellent organisation and superb warm hospitality, and Nepal Olympic Committee under OS programme for supporting fully and making the course possible. My appreciations to Team ANTTA lead by Mr. Chaturandana Rajvaidya, NOC Vice President cum All Nepal Table Tennis Association; Mr. Dharma Man Bajracharya, Vice-President ANTTA; Mr. Shankar Gautam, Gen. Secretary ANTTA; Mr. Tejendra Singh Mahara, Treasurer ANTTA. and also NOC staff for their support and cooperation. A double big thank you to my two sweet assistants Nabita Shrestha (a fascinated 9 times national champion), and former woman champion Muna Basukala for providing perfect conditions and huge assistance throughout the course. Not forgetting huge thanks to coach Rakesh and all the coaches for their passion and hard work.” Christina Chee (MAS), ITTF Expert
In Paraguay, November saw the third and final stage of the Olympic Solidarity DNSS (Development of National Sports Systems) course take place in Paraguay, with a focus on the administration of the Member Association. On Tuesday 23 November, ITTF Americas Participation Officer Carlos Esnard visited the headquarters of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee for a meeting with the president of the COP, Mr. Camilo Perez, to give an analysis of the situation of table tennis in the country, share the progress of the work carried out during the three visits within the framework of the OS DNSS program and the next steps to be followed by the MA of Paraguay.
The following Saturday 26 November, the city of Villarrica was visited to learn about the work that Club Team Gua’i has been developing, where a training session was held with the club’s players, as well as a small seminar with the coaches. In addition to a meeting with the Executive Committee of the Club to talk about administration, organization, and forms of financing, as well as future organization in the city of national events, the president of the Paraguayan Table Tennis Federation, Mr. Diosnel Ayala, was present, along with its future Director of development, Mr. Victor Galiano.
A visit of the government of Itapúa in the city of Encarnación followed, where the signing of the cooperation agreement between the government of the Department and the Table Tennis Federation took place, in addition to holding meetings with the representatives of the 9 projects of mass participation that will be opened in the Department, establishing practical and logistical points of cooperation. It was also agreed to hold the Itapúa Open, as part of PTTF’s national event calendar for 2023, in addition to 3 departmental events a year, sponsored by the government. Finally, a meeting was held with the Executive Committee to establish a review of all the provisions and the results of the three previous visits and the commitment to continue advancing along the path of development, so that we can count on a Paraguay in the medium and long term with Outstanding international results and with an administration with good governance and transparency.
Within a perfect environment in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city, 9 aspiring coaches participated in the Olympic Solidarity ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course from 24 November to 1 December 2022. Throughout 10 sessions over the 5 days of the course, ITTF Expert Pacinthe Soliman (EGY) covered the theoretical and practical elements of the course, touching on topics such as nutrition, strength training, and prevention of injury to complement the table-tennis-specific teachings, with the last day dedicated to Para Table Tennis specific elements.
The ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course was followed by a 3-day training camp with 7 players (2 girls & 5 boys) between 11-13 years. During the twice-daily training sessions, the coaches reflected on what they had learned from the course, cementing the newly learned material.
“The camp was beneficial for both players and the coaches, as the coaches got to have an extensive coaching experience in this camp.” ITTF Expert Pacinthe Soliman (EGY)
Back in Africa, the Sports Palace of Niamey (NIG) hosted an Olympic Solidarity ITTF-PTT Level 1 Technical Course for coaches followed by a training camp, organized by the Niger Table Tennis Federation from December 5-14, 2022. 28 coaches from different districts were directed by Paul Tiendrebeogo, ITTF Africa Participation Officer, over 10 educational sessions. They covered the general principles of training, the supervision of school children and beginners (theory and practice), introduction to physical training and sports science, the organization of tournaments and rules, and sessions dedicated to PTT. The evaluation of the coaches resulted in 13 coaches eligible for Level 1, 6 club coaches, and 9 school teachers.
The following training camp lasted 5 days and included U12 and U15 players, with training sessions based on the basic elements necessary for the technical development of young players. The coaching team was composed of 5 national coaches who were responsible for teaching the training techniques to the 30 young players (20 boys and 10 girls). The first two days involved tabletop exercises to check consistency, speed variation, and ball placement, as well as footwork. The next three days’ sessions were based on a mixture of drills (more random and game-like situations) and themed matches to test their ability to use the learned shots. The serve and return were used in tactical schemes.
The work on movement, the regular and irregular links, the work on serving and handing over the ball, and the matches with instructions are all elements that have equipped the young table tennis players and allowed them to improve their level of play.
Table tennis returned to Mexico after years of absence with the First Force National Championships from 7-12 December 2022. But this was not the only table tennis activity staged in Mexico this December: from 13-17 December, the Mexican Table Tennis Federation in cooperation with the ITTF and supported by Olympic Solidarity carried out an ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course. Coaches from various states of the country participated, including Jalisco, the State of Mexico, Veracruz, Morelos, Mexico City, Chiapas, Puebla, Querétaro, Morelos, Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur. Over five days, the 10 women and 22 men made an enormous effort to improve their knowledge and get the best possible benefit from the course held by ITTF Participation Officer Americas Carlos Esnard. The course was elevated by its participants, the majority being coaches in their states, and others working directly with the Paralympic divisions, along with a small number of current players.
The president of the Mexican Table Tennis Federation, Mr. Miguel Cervantes, attended the closing ceremony of the course and delivered participation diplomas to the coaches. He urged everyone to continue their practical assignment to achieve their certification as an ITTF-PTT Level 1 coach and join the effort made by the Mexican association to improve the quality of its players through a new Development Program that will begin in 2023.
“I am leaving the course very satisfied because I have learned many things in these five days, which I will be able to put into practice with my students in the State of Veracruz. In the Para TT part, which is where I am strongest, I was able to share many experiences with my classmates. And for the expert, my respect because he did not keep anything of how much he knows about table tennis”. Andrea Fernández (Participant)
“I am leaving super happy because the course exceeded my expectations. It has given me many tools and encouragement to continue in table tennis and share my knowledge. After this course I am more confident in my knowledge. I congratulate the expert and my colleagues because they were five days of a lot of fellowship and learning”. Daniela Sánchez de la Barquera (Participant)