Message from Chairman – May 2020

by Colin French

 Hi everyone it’s me again,

It’s been nice to hear from some of you and to find out how you are managing in such difficult times. Paul D sent me some clips of his trick shots in his garden and lounge, will get Trevor to put them on the website. In the meantime if you have any photos or video clips of TT activity do send them to myself or Trevor and we can have some sort of gallery.

During the last week or so I received several documents from Table Tennis England, I would guess many of you will have seen them on their website, please find these attached for you to look at.

Their STAGE 1 guidelines are simply stating that you can’t play TT other than at home, there are also suggestions about how clubs keep in touch with their members, if you have any thoughts on that do let me know. The latest government advice is that from 13th May is you can play on an outdoor table with members of your household or one other person.

Then there is a document for preparing for STAGE 2. This is their initial thoughts about a return to club activity. Obviously nothing can be decided until the government advice allows us to return, but it is good to know that some serious thought is being given to it.

In addition to their Initial Thoughts there are three Layout and Use Guidance documents. One is for a one table venue, one for a three table venue and one is for a six table venue.

Please have a look at the 6 table venue layout, this is for a sports hall 18m x 36m which is about the size of the hall at Testwood.

The recommendation is to use 6 tables and at any one time have just the 12 participants and the one organizer in the hall.

There is clearly a lot to think about how we can implement this.  There is a lot for the organizer to do, apart from taking a register and ensuring players observe social distancing measures. The suggestion is that he / she sets the session up and packs everything away, wearing gloves and wiping down the tables and chairs after each session.

Then there is the whole issue of the length of sessions (1 hour or 1 and a half hours?) how do we set up a booking system and who can book a table? It would have to be fully paid up members only.  I can’t see we would have space for visitors and it would be pre booked sessions only. There is to be no cash payments made so do members pay for x amount of sessions in advance?

I am in the process of completing our pricing agreement with Testwood for the next season from September onwards. We have been asked to submit our hours, days, months and annual events for the whole season as if it is going to happen as normal. With so much uncertainty we all know that the reality will be a timetable far different to anything that we have had before, but we need a starting point.

So when we eventually resume and start practising how many sessions per week can we manage to organize? I think we need to keep to the usual timetable as much as possible since it works! That’s with Junior coaching sessions on Mondays and Thursdays and open practice on Mondays and Fridays.  

As to how we organize the junior coaching sessions, using the guidelines set out for Open Practice, perhaps we need to wait and see what future guidelines Table Tennis England come up with.

We may need to tweak the session times especially on Mondays with open practice maybe starting a bit later. I would think that perhaps the Friday Junior coaching for beginners, with newcomers arriving all the time, might not happen.

Normally on Tuesdays in September before the STTA season (which should start in October) John would be running an Individual League so I think we would still go ahead and book Tuesdays but use it as another practice night.

So that’s where we are at the moment, there is much here to think about! When we eventually get the go ahead it is clearly going to be very difficult to organize and we will need more members taking on additional roles. In the long term this might be a good thing because in the past the club has relied upon John and myself to organize much of what goes on. Being away from TT I have had plenty of time to reflect upon how the club operates and the time I spend at Testwood. Although I am retired WTTC dictates how many evenings of the week I am out, what weekends I am free, and when we can go away because of events that I run. So things need to change and as I said before we need to have more people involved with the day to day running of the club

Lockdown for me is no hardship and as I mentioned in the last newsletter I have much time to spend in the garden. Yesterday there were two roe deer at the bottom of the garden first thing in the morning, then a fox wandering across the field. We have a robin that comes to the kitchen window and tells us that we need to put more bird food out, this morning it arrived with two young chicks. In the evening we have several hedgehogs that come up to the back door to be fed, they sometimes fight each other!

So I hope you are all keeping well , apologies for my ramblings, do keep in touch and let me know your thoughts about how we might proceed once we are given the go ahead.


Colin French                                   

Chairman Waterside TTC