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Raising awareness about National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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Fort Providence, Northwest Territories, August 23, 2021 – Table Tennis North, in partnership with Table Tennis Canada, recently hosted an interactive workshop raising awareness about National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the new statutory holiday commemorating the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada.

“The purpose behind it was very simple; we want to create a message from the Territorial and National Sport Organizations to highlight the importance of those days with the voice of the athletes,” said Thorsten Ghol, Executive Director for Table Tennis North. “It is essential that we support our athletes and their growth in the sport of table tennis, and reduce barriers to sports participation.”

Special guest Greg Henhawk, Mohawk of the Bear Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation in Southern Ontario, interacted with participants about land acknowledgement, sharing circles, treaties, and modern Indigenous peoples vocabulary. A second learning session is scheduled at the end of September to celebrate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and commemorate the legacy of residential schools across the country.

Table Tennis North is a not-for profit organization that supports, promotes and develops an active, healthy and fun environment with the sport of Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories.

Mission accomplished for Table Tennis North and Richmond Olympic Oval

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Over a 12-week program, Table Tennis North and Richmond Olympic Oval offered fitness, nutrition and mental performance training sessions to youth, sports enthusiasts, athletes, and coaches in the North and across the country. Since March 2021, weekly fitness sessions were held virtually on Zoom every Saturday mornings, and mental performance & nutrition webinars were offered on a bi-weekly on Saturday at 11am, also via ZOOM.

“The Richmond Oval High Performance Team is excited about the dynamic evolution of this integrated service program with Table Tennis North. Accessibility to training services and facilities has been a challenge over the past year but also opened up the incredible opportunity to support athletes and teams in the Northern Regions of Canada virtually.

We want to thank Table Tennis North for the opportunity to be involved and are looking forward to seeing how we at the Richmond Olympic Oval can continue to support athletes as they pursue their goals regardless of their geographic location.” – Richmond Olympic Oval

Athletes from the Yukon, Northwest Territories and even Québec came together and participated in the weekly sessions. Being active in the fitness program and adapting this to the sport of Table Tennis as well as understanding the importance of Mental Performance and Nutrition in sports, but also day to day life.

The participants had a lot to say about this new webinar series:

Team NT athlete Nikhilesh: “It is a cool experience and I wanted to train with other athletes virtually. I enjoyed it like it was. It does not overwork us. It is the perfect fit and it challenges us to give our best. It was a little bit different to do it virtually, but still great to participate in.”

Canadian National Team Athlete Sophie: “My favourite part was learning new things. I never had classes like that, so I can apply it to my daily life even after this program. Doing it once a week does not overwork us, but still makes us work every week. Virtually was good as the teachers adopted to the classes. And it made me train, even for times when I did not want to train.”

Team Yukon Athlete Krish: “I enjoyed it like it was. It does not overwork us. It is the perfect fit and it challenges us to give our best. It was a little bit different to do it virtually, but still great to participate in.”

“It was amazing to work with the staff of the Richmond Olympic Oval,” said Thorsten Gohl, Executive Director of Table Tennis North. “From Ashley managing the program, Emily doing the weekly fitness classes, Scott and Evan alternating with the Mental Performance and Nutrition sessions. Everyone was very professional, well planed and made it easy for our participants to have the best experience possible.”

Table Tennis North will expand the program to open it up for more athletes to join in and prepare for upcoming multi-sport games like the 2023 Arctic Winter Games, the 2023 Canada Winter Games and the 2024 Arctic Winter Games. Including our athletes in taking part of our webinars and sharing their stories from a participant perspective is key to the success of our webinar series.

Team NT & Yukon continue with individual fitness program

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Table Tennis athletes will each be receiving a personalized training plan to work on through the summer that I will be monitoring and updating as we go. The idea is to keep them active and engaged, while still helping them to progress towards their multi-sport goals. The hope for these online programs is that our athletes can continue to see more strength and agility gains through the summer so that coming back in the fall isn’t such a shock to their bodies and they can start out at a higher level for the coming training season! 

We are very grateful working with Yukon Table Tennis and the Richmond Olympic Oval on these programs.

Instructional videos

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from Paul Devitt

A great way of learning some more about technique in Table Tennis is with watching videos. For beginners, I have recommended the following six Yang Yang Table Tennis videos found on YouTube. 

1.       Holding Racket and Basic Body Position 

2.       How to Play Forehand Drive 

3.       How to Play Backhand Drive

4.       How to Forehand Push

5.       How to Backhand Push

6.       How to Practice Table Tennis Alone

Fort Providence skills camp

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Deh Gáh School in Fort Providence is hosting a Table Tennis skills clinic from November 11th until 13th. In addition we will be hosting a coaching & officials clinic on October 9th in preparation to the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games. Table Tennis will be hosted in Fort Smith at JBT Elementary School from March 18-24th, 2018.

Timeline

Saturday, November 11th, 2017
Coaching & Officials clinic

Saturday till Monday, November 11th-13th, 2017
Skills Camp

Fee

$50 for food (Saturday to Monday)
$100 for two nights at the Snowshoe Inn (per person, limited space)

Accommodation & Food

Snowshoe Inn, Fort Providence, food will be provided at the school.
Possibility to stay at the school.

Table Tennis Rules

We will follow the rules of the International Table Tennis Federation. If you have any questions, please contact info@tabletennisnorth.ca and we will be happy to help you.

ITTF Rules: http://www.ittf.com/ittf_handbook/hb.asp?s_number=2

Deadline for registration is November 9th, 2017. For registration, please send and e-mail to info@tabletennisnorth.ca with the following information: First Name, Last Name, Community and birthdate.

If you have any more questions, please contact info@tabletennisnorth.ca. Thank you! We are looking forward to seeing you in Fort Providence!!!

Bright Spot presentations at NWTRPA and Youth Centre Conference

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Table Tennis North took part in the NWTRPA and Youth Centres’ Conference in Inuvik, September 28th, 2017.
“We love being part of events like this” says Thorsten Gohl, who was sharing information about the growth and excitement of Table Tennis joining the North Sports Association and presenting “Table Tennis for Elders program” at the Bright Spot session of the conference. It’s a program that the Territorial Sport Organization has been hosting since 2016. The Bright Spot Presentations are about things that organizations and communities are doing well, celebrating innovation and success!
Thorsten was definitely excited about this, “This is my first time in Inuvik!! It is so great coming together with communities all over the North!! Sport events are supported by the communities and we are also here to support the communities of the North. We have the similar ideas and definitely the same goals; participation, health, growth, fun and showcasing the communities!! we are a sport that is not competing with other sports, but complimenting them, helping create role models, bringing youth and elders together, bringing our communities together and having alot of fun while doing it.”
The NWTRPA was pleased to host Table Tennis North to present at our Bright Spot plenary at this year’s conference in Inuvik. The Bright Spots session focused our attention to how organizations and communities are making a difference in NWT communities, how they got their start, and tips for success. Table Tennis North showcased how their programs are building connections in our communities, building confidence in our youth, and allowing for lots of fun!
About Table Tennis North
As a not-for profit organization we support, promote and develop an active, healthy and playful environment with the sport of Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories.
About NWTRPA
The NWT Recreation and Parks Association works with communities across the NWT to promote healthy living through active recreation.

Paul Devitt at the World Champion’s Table Tennis Academy

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California, June 2017 – Yellowknife’s Paul Devitt is known for his love for Table Tennis. This time it brought him to the World Champion’s Table Tennis Academy in California, the home of US Men’s National Team player JHA Kanak and his coach Stefan Feth.

“Zhang, Li, Nan, and Stefan are great people and amazing coaches. They did an excellent job organizing the camp and showing me what I needed to focus on to improve my game” Paul shared about his experience at the Academy.

 

Coach Stefan was very impressed “He is a very nice guy and worked very hard.”

Additional coaches are Li Zhenshi und Zhang Li, each of them, 4 times World Champion in Table Tennis. “It was great,” Paul said, “I was especially impressed to see a picture of Li next to President Nixon as part of the Chinese National team that participated in the historic “Ping Pong diplomacy” initiative. That initiative helped establish diplomatic relations between the USA and China.”

Well done Paul!! Inspiring for us, seeing you improving your game, and representing the Northwest Territories with pride!

A fun way to learn Table Tennis

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After playing Table Tennis with over 2,500 kids, you can definitely see a pattern. Not that it is a lot of fun, but also an it’s an amazing learning experience for students, teachers and myself.

It all starts off with the introduction. “Good Morning everyone!” and right there is the first indication on what the next 30min to 1.5 hours will look like. Most of the time you will hear a very loud “GOOOOOOOOOD MORNING” and we are ready to go. If not, it will definitely come after the full introduction. “So, my name is Thorsten, but you guys can call me THOR” and you can see the smiles on the kids faces. Of course some random comments of “Where is your hammer?” or “How is your dad Odin doing?”, but that is good, that enables them connect right away. And they bring their attention!

If you ask the questions “Who can play Table Tennis?”, 95% of the kids of all ages will say “Me!” and they raise their hand. If you ask, “Who can beat me in a match to 11 points?”, guess what? 95% of the kids will still say, “Me!”

Having experienced and played many international competitions, I can tell the kids that I will play them with one eye closed, hoping on one leg, my dominate arm behind my back, playing with my non-dominate hand and singing the German National Anthem, all at the same time. It is always fun to see the kids getting excited about it. Guess what? 95% of the kids still say that they can beat me!

Day 1 | eye-hand coordination

We begin to get the kids used to the table, the balls and the environment that Table Tennis can provide them. There is no need for any rackets at this point, as they need to work with eye-hand coordination first.

Some fun activities include, try to bounce the ball from one side to another, hitting targets or keeping control of throwing and catching the ball. There are hundreds of possibilities to set this up. Keeping the kids engaged, excited and competitive. Learning while playing, playing and learning!

table-tennis-set-up

Day 2 | Racket Skills

First off, how to hold a racket. There is 2 different kind of grips, can you guess them? If you said Shakehand and Penholder, you are right.

We are building a little “parkour” for the kids that will get them moving. Again, the competitive part plays a big role. Going through the ladder, side stepping around the cones, jumping over the hurdles and back into line up.

If that sounds too easy, let’s try that with balancing the ball on your racket. Then bouncing. Still easy? Let’s try forehand, backhand, alternating from one side to another. Still too easy? You might be a professional free style Table Tennis Athlete! So, you can see where this is actually going and how many varieties you can add to this. A great way to learn some eye-hand coordination, this time with the racket.

For the younger ones we use balloons instead of Table Tennis balls, always a lot of fun to see the kids get excited about it and even better, a wonderful photo opportunity!!!

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We can also work on more skills like rolling the ball on the floor, first against the wall by yourself, then adding a partner, …

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Playing games, competing together, is always a great way to get the kids interactive. Relays are the best way, if you include a few teams and make some obstacles!

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Day 3 | Target Practice

We are going back to the set up from Day 1, but this time we add the racket. To begin, one person will throw the ball, like a serve, to the other side and then, we hit it back. Working as a team to practice together. 

Let’s make it easier in self bounce the ball before hitting it back to the other side. When the ball comes to you, try and hit it to yourself, let it bounce one time on your side, and then over. So again, there are ways to make it easier and harder, depending on the experience the kids already have. 

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Day 4 | Play Time

Everyone worked very hard and now it is play time. We have good basic of skills. Yes, we hear, “When can we finally play at the table?”, but most of the time, the kids are not ready. The skills training may seem like a waste of time, but if you include a challenge, combined with a competition, you will be the winner! So, it’s time to play now!

“Around the world” with an obstacle! You have to run through the table. Everyone has a few lives and you loose them if you are unable to play the ball on the the table. BUT, you always loose a life when you actually get hit while running through the table. That definitely adds a fun “kick” to the game.

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Champions Table is well known among many sports and a favourite for most. The winner moves up a table, the other person moves down a table. At the end, we can see who will achieve the top table. To make it a bit harder, we can add obstacles on the tables, where you can only play on one side or maybe over a higher net, and so on.

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If you do this for 19 days long, 4 to 9 classes a day, then yes, it is getting repetitive. On the other hand, you are building the foundation blocks for those kids in fundamental basic skills. Table Tennis will score 8 out of 9, because it includes agility, balance, co-ordination, catching, throwing, hitting, running and jumping (Paul Noel, Saskatchewan Table Tennis Technical Director). The only one that is not included is kicking. So, not only are we teaching the skills of Table Tennis, we are also supporting skills for overall athletic skills, with a fun sport to play. 

It always amazes me on how fast everyone can learn. Seeing them being excited about something new is great, actually being able to control the ball for a few bounces for and back, is absolutly amazing. The most important thing of all is to keep them accoupied with competitions and challenges, create obsticles and you are golden. As an experienced coached, you already have 100 different scenerios in your head, but if you start of, be prepared to adjust your plan.

The best part of  Table Tennis clinics for me is always afterwards. You go shopping, into the restaurant, or just walking on the sidewalk and there is always one kid that says “Hi Thor!” and you just cannot help it, but SMILE … makes my day!

 

Story & Images by Thor

North Slave Youth Tour

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Table Tennis North visited Łutsel K’e and Whati for a Table Tennis Youth Tour in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories. Colinda Blondin, North Slave Youth Coordinator for MACA took Table Tennis North and Thor into the communities.

Thor, Executive Director Table Tennis North, has definitely been excited about this and says “Table Tennis is a great sport for smaller communities, so easy to set up, young kids can play it, elders can, beginners and professionals. I love to see the kids smiles, especially the younger ones when they try to balance the balloon or challenge each others in teams doing relays. AND, there are already so many kids with some amazing Table Tennis skills already!!! A huge thank you to MACA and Colinda for having us.”

Lutsel K’e will try and bring some kids to the Territorial Championships hosted January 27-29th 2017 in Fort Providence.

Colinda Blondin, MACA Regional Youth Programs & Volunteer Officer for the North Slave Region, “I enjoy seeing an interest build in the kids. A big curiosity factor with anything and I love how Table Tennis can play a part of that. So great to have another way of reaching the kids.”

We want to say a big “Thank You!” for having us on this tour to the NWT Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and their North Slave Regional Youth Coordinator Colinda Blondin.

Łutsel K’e

Whatì

Sport North visiting Table Tennis at Sir John High School

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It was a very exciting time for Table Tennis North when Doug Rentmeister, Executive Director of Sport North, came for a visit to Sir John High School. He observed the clinic that coach Thor was hosting with the Sir John Sport Academy.

Table Tennis is the 30th Territorial Sport Organization and newest member under the Sport North Umbrella. Now 16 months old, Table Tennis North has reached 11 communities, plus played and workshoped with over 2,500 children in the Northwest Territories. This month of November has included  5 schools in  Yellowknife. 

“Sport North is the foundation of our success. They welcomed us into their family just over a year ago, giving us the possibility as a Territorial Sport Organization to expand and grow. It is very important to come together and make the North stronger, we work and succeed together with one common goal.”

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