News Release - BSMTTC News 136
Dateline: 09 February 2022

A first at Marine!

 

It was fast, it was furious, it was fun! The first #TTKidz programme at Bath Street Marine TTC.

#TTKIdz is a Table Tennis England 8 week learning programme for children aged 7 - 11 introducing them to the basic skills to play table tennis. In 2021, for the first time, Bath Street Marine TTC became host for a #TTKidz programme which ran between 8 October and 25 November 2021. We are now looking towards the next programme which launches on the 23 February 2022, so it seemed timely to take a quick look back and see something of what happened in the first programme. And below you can find a short video showing the great range of activities and the fun that the programme involved.

With help from Table Tennis England the programme was well advertised in advance and loads of preparation was done to try and ensure everyone who came had the very best experience possible. One of the Activator's for the programme, Ian Brownrigg, takes up the story:

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A very well prepared fabulous programme

 

"I'll try and sum up the last eight weeks which ended 25 November.  I don't think there's any point in going back over each individual session as highlights of those were reported each week on our Facebook page, and it would take far too long! Rather, I would like to concentrate on how we managed to put our own individual stamp on the programme, which I think was the reason for the success we achieved.

First, we started with our target of 12 children which we were delighted with. They ranged in age from 6 to 11 and were all very enthusiastic and well behaved, which made our job so much easier! 

So, everything was in place; we had the children, the TT Kidz equipment which consisted of all we needed - a really well thought out piece of kit. We had the lesson plans, we had access to a lot of TT Kidz videos, what more could we ask for? We could just get on with it! Well, actually, no! If only it was that simple, not that we were looking to make things difficult for ourselves, we just wanted to ensure we were going to deliver the very best we were capable of.

Eight weeks is a long time and I hope my recollections are accurate! Anyway, Jenny Givens (my fellow Activator) and I decided immediately, although the lesson plans provided a template which we would follow in terms of the subject to be covered, that we felt there were aspects which weren't quite suitable for us, and we should adopt our own alternative ideas instead. Another factor was the age of the children; you might think with the age range being quite narrow - from 6 to 11 - they would all be pretty much alike! The reality was that there were large differences in terms of ability, and there were naturally differences in temperament as well from extrovert to introvert. We quickly settled into a routine of meeting on a Monday morning to discuss the week's upcoming lesson, and one of the innovations we introduced was beginning each lesson with a warm up based on a series of stretches and exercises led by Lesley Blanchard, another of our helpers. This set the tone, it was fun, but it was serious, we meant business! With our draft plan ready we would then meet again on Wednesday afternoon with our other activators Colin Mitchell, Lesley Blanchard and our first aider Bob Wolstenholme, to talk everything through with them and get their ideas as well. Even that wasn't the end of our preparation; we would physically try the routines out to make sure everybody was happy and knew what we were about. The one week where for some reason we failed to do the latter we all felt we hadn't quite nailed it, despite feeling we had prepared well! It didn't happen again.

I must commend Jenny for the work she put in, she trawled lots of videos on You Tube looking for inspiration, she wrote emails to parents, local schools (before the programme started) and provided prizes, fun targets, particularly at Halloween, hoola hoops to act as targets on the walls and was an inspiration.

We used every resource available to us; the robot, the mini-table, tables turned into an L, tables against walls, tables joined together, cones instead of nets, balloons in inverted cones as targets, the TT Kidz cups as targets, upright and turned over, cups sellotaped together, cooking bowls. There was no end to our ingenuity!

It was a team effort and the outcome was that the kids had a great time, and learned some new skills! Even better, a number have continued on and joined up with a new junior table tennis coaching session led by our coaches, Colin Mitchell, Ian McElwee and Steve McCormick. Perhaps most important of all was that every child who attended had fun!"

What next......?

 

The great news is, that although the team may have felt exhausted by the end of the programme, they have now had a chance recuperate and are ready to start again! The next programme starts on Wednesday 23rd February, Just take a look at the short film below to see how much the children enjoyed the last programme, and if you have children who might be interested sign up now, or speak to one of our Activators, Ian or Jenny - whose numbers you can find from our 'contacts' page. The new course will also be a qualifying activity for the Children's University.

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