Progress in Midlands

Irish Midlands Table Tennis Academy based near Mountrath Co Laois is a new initiative that has been set up to provide advanced training for developing provincial and national tournament players from the midlands area.
The initiative is initially being funded through the Women in Sport programme so the emphasis is on identifying young female players with the potential to progress. This is putting a more formal structure on the process already in place which has seen the development of clubs like Mounthrath and Ballyroan over the last few years and the progression of players such as Kate Whelan from participation player to top ranked Cadet . 
The academy also runs a talent ID programme or B squad.  The purpose of which is to find, and develop the playing skills of young children (8-12) who are showing ability for the sport and who have the potential, with sufficient progress and competition, to progress to the A squad.
The pathway includes talent spotting through schools and clubs. Coaches, Parents, Teachers and community leaders may nominate young players who are playing at home, school, or in youth clubs and are showing signs of talent at table tennis.  There is also opportunity for older children (13-16) who do not already attend the academy to be invited through club selections and performance at competitions. 
Club coaches may contact project leader Jimmy Hayes (086 86 84 693) for further information or to nominate a player. 
Five times Irish senior Men’s Champion and Level 2 coach John Murphy will be the lead coach for both squads.  John has much experience in coaching Irish squad camps and in working with Irish teams abroad.  He has spent much of his playing career training in Sweden and China and no doubt will bring an innovative approach with him to the academy.  He will be assisted by other ITTA qualified coaches,  all who have completed essential Garda vetting and Code of Ethics training.
The Academy will run on Friday evenings with B squad from 6pm-8pm and A squad 7pm -9pm.
Spaces will be limited and will be filled in order of selection. Players who participate in training must also enter ITTA events such as STIGA Junior Challengers, Provincial or National competitions throughout the province as they continue to develop and reach the necessary standard.