23 Feb 2023

This month, three courses supported by Olympic Solidarity and focusing on coach education took place in Kosovo and Togo. The courses were organized as a cooperation between the table tennis associations and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the countries. Olympic Solidarity’s main mission is to provide assistance to National Olympic Committees for athlete development programs, in particular those with the greatest need for it, in order that NOCs may fulfill their responsibilities to the Olympic Movement while adhering to the IOC’s strategy.

The Kosovo Table Tennis Association, in partnership with the Kosovo National Olympic Committee, hosted an Olympic Solidarity Technical Course for Coaches in the city of Ferizaj, in Kosovo, from 27 January to 5 February 2023. The ITTF expert conducting this activity was Katarzyna Kubas-Ziemiańska, ITTF Head of Development Projects.

The activity consisted of an ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coach Education from 27 January to 31 January, followed by a Youth Training Camp, offering the coaches the opportunity to gain more practical experience, from 1 to 5 February. Representatives of the Kosovo NOC and Kosovo TTA opened the course.

The coaching course was attended by 34 candidates, including 3 women and one male coach from Albania, who followed with high interest the two daily sessions which offered 30 hours of theoretical and practical knowledge and experience. Most of the participants were active coaches from different clubs all over Kosovo, school teachers, and active players who are aiming for a future career in coaching. They had the chance to familiarize themselves with topics ranging from education principles, physical and mental training, and nutrition, to technical elements such as strokes, actions, and footwork. Sessions were full of interesting and fruitful discussions, inside and outside the classroom which kept a good level of engagement.

The fourth day was dedicated to Para Table Tennis. This was of particular interest, as Kosovo has ambitious plans to build its capacities in this area.

“Kasia is a great mentor as she has filled many gaps that we have had in our daily coaching work, both professionally and psychologically. She has brought new experience for all Kosovo coaches and our youth players, through her polite approach and extensive work by making sure that each and every one is fully engaged and following all instructions carefully. The 10 consecutive days with Kasia went by really fast”. – Ylli Maloku (participant)

The second part of the activity served as a practical experience for the coaching course participants and a development opportunity for athletes in the form of a Youth Training Camp with the presence of 16 of the best athletes from the U15 and U19 National Teams. Coaches and athletes were very motivated and proactive during the two daily training sessions. The athletes worked on consistency, footwork, serve/receive, match situations, and good physical preparation.

“Before Kasia came to Kosovo, I had little desire to excel, but she has left a big impact on my future in table tennis as her advice and motivation have changed my way of thinking and now I feel like a different person with incredible motivation to work further considering Kasia as a role model. I wish that she returns”. – Shega Hashani (player)

An additional session for U13 athletes was organized so other coaches could bring their younger players to identify talents and experience how other colleagues trained these days.

“Kasia has brought new experience and high motivation to Kosovo coaches and our best youth players for 10 days in a row. She is passionate to work hard with everyone, at all times and has high integrity, leadership and a professional approach. The Kosovo table tennis community has thoroughly enjoyed working with her as she has left an incredible legacy to pave the way forward”. – Jeton Beqiri (President of Kosovo TTA)

“OS Technical Course for Coaches in Kosovo was definitely a success and memorable experience. I would like to thank Kosovo NOC and Kosovo TTA for being a fantastic host and all the efforts to provide the best learning and training conditions possible for all participants. It was a pleasure to work with such an ambitious and promising group of coaches and athletes for 10 days.” Katarzyna Kubas-Ziemiańska (ITTF Head of Development Projects and course conductor)

The Togolese Table Tennis Federation, in partnership with the Togolese National Olympic Committee, hosted an Olympic Solidarity Technical Course for Coaches in the capital city of Lomé, in Kugué Stadium, from 30 January to 09 February 2023. The ITTF expert conducting this activity was Tunisian Ramzi B.H Mabrouk, ITTF Senior Participation Officer.

The activity consisted of two Coach Education courses, an ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coach Education from 30 January to 03 February, and an ITTF Level 2 Coach Education from 04 to 09 February 2023.

During the first coaching course, 27 candidates, 5 of which were women, followed the two daily sessions with great interest – theoretical in the morning, and practical in the afternoon. It is worth noting the participation of 4 coaches coming from neighboring countries: one coach from Congo Brazzaville, as well as 3 coaches from Benin, 2 of which were female.

Many discussions and exchanges around table tennis emerged from the most experienced ones among the attendees, but there were also many questions and a decisive willingness to learn from PE Teachers who participated in this ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coach Education activity within the framework of a partnership established between the Togolese Table Tennis Federation, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports, where the teachers will contribute to broadening the base of the practice of table tennis in primary and secondary schools as well as in the youth houses.

In this context, Mr. Essossannèyou N’DADIYA, Secretary General of Togo NOC said:

“This partnership initiated by the Togolese TTA and supported by Togo NOC, is of major importance because it will certainly serve to further promote table tennis in the country and to broaden the base of the practice among girls and boys by going to get them in the fold (schools), where the children should be at such a young age. And there, we will certainly use the saying that goes A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body”.

The second Coach Education course was aimed at coaches wishing to deepen their knowledge and skills in table tennis by participating in the ITTF Level 2 coaching course.

We registered the participation of 18 candidates, including 2 women, with a good percentage of PE Teachers who also work and coach in clubs in the capital or in different regions.

The education took place in a very friendly atmosphere and the participants were very motivated, proactive, and interested in the different topics: Education Principals, Physics, and Mechanics, as well as the more technical elements such as strokes, actions, and footwork.

In the end, 5 laureates passed the evaluation, of which 2 candidates will be eligible to progress to the ITTF Level 3 Coach Education after completing all remaining requirements.

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