To encourage new entrants to the sport of table tennis, the St Lucia National Table Tennis Association (SLNTTA) moved into high gear this year with an introductory table tennis coaching programme in primary and secondary schools. Four trained coaches; Michael John, Wayne Ben, Stephen Joseph and Chris Wells, all players of the sport who have followed training programmes endorsed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), delivered the coaching programme to schools.
Chris Wells, St Lucia’s number two ranked national player went further to achieve certification as an ITTF certified coach. Chris Wells indicates that he was inspired to become a coach by Teddy Matthews’ selfless efforts over the years in giving national service to the development of the sport. Teddy Matthews is the President of the St Lucia National Table Tennis Association, the national coach and a former National, OECS, French Antilles and Caribbean Champion.
Close to 20 schools received introductory training under the programme. Primary School participants included Anse La Raye Infant and Combined, Dame Pearlette Louisy, Camille Henry, Cannon Laurie Anglican, Ave Maria Girls and RC Boys. Secondary schools included Anse Ger Secondary, Clendon Mason, Vieux-Fort Campus A and B, Gros-Islet Secondary, Sir Ira Simmons, Entrepot, Vide Boutielle, St Joseph’s Convent and St Mary College.
Special attention was paid to the Dunattor School and the programme culminated with an exciting competition among the young players.
The SLNTTA is pleased with the outcome of the coaching programmme and hopes to extend it to every corner of St Lucia. President of the SLNTTA Teddy
Matthews indicates that “the strategic direction of the SLNTTA is to develop outstanding athletes to compete in the regional and global arena in all divisions through the development of a competitive environment at home. This would include training children from a young age, improving access to training facilities, developing a local cadre of coaches, umpires and tournament administrators and re-introducing annual tournaments for all age groups within the school system.”
The SLNTTA will host both the OECS and Caribbean Table Tennis Championships next month in St Lucia.