Table Tennis England The Winning Edge Issue 6 - Page 6

Will Bayley winning Paralympic gold in 2016
Monday to Friday , with a minimum of 20 hours at a table – but they also then get expertise in other areas , like a psychologist and physiotherapy .
‘ That ’ s where the individual athlete plans are very useful , so if Billy for example decides he needs to work on something specific , he ’ s got the time and contact with the coach to do it .
‘ We ’ ve also got video analysis here , which most players coming through the pathway programme haven ’ t had much access to before , so they can see themselves playing , which is a really useful aid for both athlete and coach .’
The ‘ here ’ in all this is the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield , an international standard , multi-sports training centre and the base for , among others , England Athletics , England and GB Boxing and England Basketball .
British Para TT have also called it home for the best part of a decade , but having a singular base poses the coaching staff some tricky questions , as Marples warns .
‘ Some players can commute here if they live close enough , but others will potentially move their entire lives to be near this training centre . We will do an extensive amount of work with the athlete before inviting people here . We want players that will buy into an elite performance culture . We will only bring players here once we believe they are ready to be here .
‘ That ’ s because we have worked hard and embedded a high-performance culture and we want future players to aspire to this .’
Finding those players whose aspirations he ’ s keen to attract is what takes up a sizeable portion of Marples ’ time .
‘ My role as the Pathway Manager is to build strong links with the current pathway players and their personal coaches - to ensure that they are in an environment where they can excel and become better athletes . I then organise camps throughout the year where these athletes are invited to take part .
‘ We ’ ve also started linking up more closely with the Talent Development Centres ( TDC ), to try and grow a new initiative called the Futures Programme , through which players could be working and improving without needing to be directly seen by us . Instead , we ’ d work with those players ’ coaches and clubs to develop training diaries and offer some insights around things like psychology .
‘ At the development level , I observe the athletes at training camps roughly every six months to monitor their progress . There will be some focus on specific exercises based around their classification , but at development level it ’ s more of a broader improvement we look for .
‘ It ’ s important to continue to build links between the player and their club and coach . We encourage all the pathway programme athletes to attend their club training sessions , and to work closely with their personal coaches . We are then just a phone call away if the coach would like to discuss any aspects of thir athlete ’ s game .’
Think you might be coaching the next Rob Davies or Will Bayley ?
Contact Shaun Marples at : smarples . bttad @ gmail . com or on 07944776751 .