TABLE TENNIS: Grantham club launches mentoring scheme

Cliffedale Chandlers Young Leaders are, from left, back  Sam Bailey, Ashley Willows, Ben Johnson and Benjamin Rigby; middle  Trafford Mason, Flynn Connolly, Frazer Winfield and Aalhad Kulkarni; front  Alexandra Robinson, Viren Panchal and Jai Mistry-Moulton.
Cliffedale Chandlers Young Leaders are, from left, back  Sam Bailey, Ashley Willows, Ben Johnson and Benjamin Rigby; middle  Trafford Mason, Flynn Connolly, Frazer Winfield and Aalhad Kulkarni; front  Alexandra Robinson, Viren Panchal and Jai Mistry-Moulton.
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Young table tennis players from Cliffedale Chandlers have started a club scheme that aims to assist them acquire the skills that will help them become become coaches in the future, while also mentoring the club’s younger players and newcomers to the sport.

Cliffedale Chandlers Young Leaders Scheme was introduced at the end of last year by club coach and welfare officer Cathy Steeples and has drawn interest from the sport’s governing body, Table Tennis England.

Cathy said: “The idea was to give our cadet and junior players a chance to improve their understanding of how sessions are run and what is required to make them a success. We hope some of them will go on to become club coaches in the future and this scheme will hopefully give them a bit of a headstart.

“As well as having responsibility for their club, we encourage them to give feedback on how we as a club and them as players can improve, but also how they can help others around them improve.”

The players on the scheme are expected to complete 20 hours for each of the three stages (bronze, silver and gold), helping the club at sessions, namely the club’s Saturday 12-2pm session which is for beginners and improvers, or volunteer for events the club are involved with.

Some of the participants are already well on the way to completing the first stage after helping at the ESTTA Schools Teams Zone Finals event held last weekend at The Meres leisure centre.

The club also received news that head coach and club chairman Darran Leete had won Table Tennis England’s East Midlands Coach of the Year award after being nominated by club members.

Darran fought off competition from other coaches in the East Midlands Region and now goes through to the National Final later in the year.

Darran was nominated by other club coaches and members because of his endless passion for the club and the sport.

A club member said he nominated Darran because “he always gives the club 120 per cent. He works away during the week, drives home on a Friday, sometimes for hours, but is always the first one at the Friday session, here on a Saturday for both sessions, always at the club events, and all because he wants these youngsters to thrive and improve, and by giving them his free time he is achieving this and we just wanted to show our appreciation in some way”.

l Cliffedale Chandlers holds four sessions a week in the table tennis centre at The Meres leisure centre – Tuesdays 7-9pm, Friday 7-9pm, and Saturday 12-2pm (beginners and improvers)/2-4pm (intermediates and T-Squad. All sessions, though, are open to all ages and abilities and the club actively encourages older people to come along and give the sport a go.