Connacht Academy opens it’s doors

The Connacht Junior Table Tennis Academy is a Programme designed by the ITTA / Connacht Branch to bring the Top Junior Players, showing commitment and potential, to one central location where they can train and develop their technical ability under the guidance of a Level Two registered coach.

The Academy was launched on Saturday 15th December 2012 with Twenty Six Junior Players from all parts of the Province invited to participate. Invitations were issued to players with Interprovincial Experience, National Tournament Exposure and those with aspirations to play at International Level. Invitations were also issued to Players who have the potential to excel at National Tournament Level in 2013.

The Academy has twin objectives:

·         To provide Advanced Training for Our Developing Provincial Squad, National Tournament Players, Current and Future Internationals;

·         To facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skill from Participants to more Junior Players at both Club and School level providing the capacity to increase participation in the sport.

The over-riding vision for the Academy is to increase participation of Table Tennis in Connacht within the current club and school structures, while participation in the Academy will develop the older and more experienced player technically, mentally and physically. These privileged players will be required to volunteer some of their time on club night doing one to one with a younger player thus helping their club coach develop a wider bunch of players

ITTA Director of Coaching – Arthur Brett

This Academy will not only enhance the playing ability of our Participants but will also assist in accelerating the skill development of the Sport at grass root level.  It is not the intention of the Academy to replace Club / School activities but rather to provide a Support System for the current structure facilitating the achievement of Excellence.

The Connacht Branch is delighted to announce that Mark O Flynn will take the role of Lead Coach supported by Level One Coaches from around the Province. Mark has a wealth of experience at both National and International level with a unique ability to communicate effectively with Junior Players.

Numbers will be capped at Twenty Six to ensure efficient and effective delivery. Four Rotational Places of the Twenty Six are being made available in the New Year as part of the Academy’s Talent ID programme. This aspect of the programme provides Junior Players within the Province the opportunity display their talent with a view to securing an Academic Place. The onus is on Club Leaders, Coaches, Parents and Schools to make representations on behalf of players. Representations can be made by emailing Michael Barry at [email protected] The Lead Coach must be satisfied that a Rotational Player is Academy Fit before acceptance.

The next Academy Session will take place on Saturday 22nd December 2012 at Manulla Community Centre, Manulla, Castlebar, Co. Mayo from 12pm to 5pm with the same batch of participants. The Academy will resume 2013 with the next two sessions taking place on Saturday 12th of January and Saturday 2nd February at venues and times to be confirmed in due course. The Academy will run on a continuous basis avoiding clashes with Provincial, National and International Events.

The Connacht Branch would like to thank the ITTA and particularly Arthur Brett for their invaluable support. The Branch would also like to thank Club Leaders, Coaches, Schools and Parents for all their hard work over the last two weeks in getting the project off to a successful start.

Michael Barry

Connacht Branch Secretary