Ten years of table tennis for school

Readers' news
Readers' news

Table tennis in the Horsham District is booming thanks to the continued support of Greenway School and the work of the MMJ Table Tennis Agency.

The school is celebrating 10 years of being Horsham’s premier base for the game and it has just become a seven-nights-a-week host of table tennis activity - one of the few facilities in the country with such an extended programme.

Players of all ages, backgrounds, motivations and abilities (including players with disabilities and health issues) are now able to access a whole range of practice, social, competitive and coaching opportunities. A number of sessions are provided directly by the MMJ agency, the social nights by Horsham Table Tennis Club and the club’s junior section as a partnership between the two providers.

Horsham District Council’s Leisure Link Sports Development team has also provided advisory and logistical support in building up the sessions at the school.

Horsham Table Tennis Club’s Development Officer, Ian Ford, said:“The move to Greenway a decade ago represented a step change in local table tennis provision. It’s now at a core of a network of opportunities that generates of the order of 10,000 attendances per year.

“However if the facility move was important the engagement two years ago of the MMJ coaching agency led by Martin Jezisek has been just as vital in renewing momentum. MMJ Table Tennis Agency sustains approaching 90% of the network’s capacity and those numbers are growing and standards are improving.

“The agency has developed a performance pathway starting at primary school level and going up to a performance centre with players of county and indeed national standard. It’s a unique set up in the region. Jezisek is a fantastic coach and applies high standards and principles both on and off the tables. He’s intent not just on developing good players but a culture of positive behaviour to go with it, something that’s particularly key in an individualised sport.”

The development of a satellite facility at Collyer’s Sixth Form College has also helped extend the sport’s reach since tables were first put in there 18 months ago. With more space and greater table capacity it’s been used for a multitude of school and community competitions.

Most notably the new weekly senior Horsham Central League, which is affiliated by the English Table Tennis Association and has a pool of around 50 players, with an average age in the mid twenties compared to the typical local league where the average extends to over fifty years.

For more information about table tennis opportunities in the Horsham District, visit www.horshamtabletennisclub.co.uk and www.northsussextabletennis.com.

Alternatively email Ian Ford at ian.ford@horsham.gov.uk or call 07764 146338.