By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Table Tennis Association (ABTTA) is on a drive to recruit and train individuals interested in coaching the game here.
That’s according to president of the association, Charles Bellot, who said that with help from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the local body will be hosting coaching courses for those interested in the sport.
“We have some spots that have opened up for PE teachers as coaches, and even persons thinking about getting into coaching table tennis, or just coaching in general, but of course, specifically table tennis for today.
“October 4 to 8, we have some openings for coaches in terms of table tennis where we are going to spend two hours in basic techniques, and two hours mental and physical preparation. I am just throwing an early notice out there for anybody who may be interested; he or she can get in touch with me at 720-8302,” he said.
Bellot, who is also technical development officer for the National Olympic Committee here, said he has also involved the sports ministry through two key individuals where the recruiting of possible coaches is concerned.
“We have reached out to the Ministry of Sports already through Sean Samuel and through the director, Heather Samuel Daley, but there are other persons who may be interested; we have been thinking about it and we can use all of the help we can get.
“Even if you have no experience, once you take the theoretical which is available online, then we can have a follow-up with the finishing touches here in Antigua,” he said.
The former national player revealed that currently, there are boards placed at a number of schools across the islands, but not enough coaches to get the job done.
“We don’t have boots on the ground so it boils down to a situation where I have to be going around to all of the schools and that is not sustainable, especially if you want to grow it to 10 or 15 schools on island.
“We seem to be born with the genetics to naturally play football, cricket, maybe some basketball, netball and track, specifically running, but table tennis requires a whole different range of motor skills, hand-eye coordination and so, it’s just not that easy to just put a board somewhere and persons start to play.
“People will play, hit the ball but they will develop bad form which is a problem down the line,” he said.
In March this year, Bellot said the sport was alive and well in Antigua and could soon host its first national tournament in years.