Swansea University High Performance Table Tennis Programme

Table Tennis Wales has teamed up with Swansea University to create a world-class table tennis academy, dedicated to developing the talents of aspiring young players.

And already this exciting partnership has begun to reap rewards, with two Table Tennis Wales squad players, Beth Richards and Marc Castro, benefitting from the top-class coaching, state-of-the-art sports facilities and generous funding that is available through the academy.

Based at the International Sport Village – and with access to the rest of ISV’s facilities, including elite strength and conditioning centre known affectionately as ‘The Shed’ – the table tennis academy offers high performance coaching, sport science services, athlete lifestyle management, physiotherapy and strength and conditioning support.

The table tennis academy offers over six hours of on the table training, and for the higher performance players there are separate 1-2-1 or 1-2-2 multi-ball sessions.

The high performance programme is fully supported by Table Tennis Wales with opportunities to link up and train with national squad players and joint training camps.

It also has strong links to local clubs and leagues, where players are always welcome to join and train at their clubs and centres for further practice.

And the table tennis academy is fully equipped to welcome both Para and able-bodied players.

Matt Porter is the academy’s full time coach – a key position made possible thanks to a joint funding agreement between Table Tennis Wales and Swansea University.

Having been involved in table tennis for over 20 years, including as manager and coach at the Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club, Matt has been instrumental in developing the game in Swansea and the surrounding area since arriving in south Wales.

Matt has also worked with the England, Scotland and Cyprus national youth squads, and thus brings a range of both coaching and development knowledge to the programme. He is currently a UKCC Level 3 coach, and is in the process of completing his UKCC Level 4.

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PHOTO: Marc Castro training above

Former student and current Table Tennis Wales squad player Marc Castro says that the academy helped him develop in more ways than one – and that his experiences at Swansea University will always be something to cherish.

“My time at Swansea Uni developed me both as a person and as a table tennis player,” said Marc.

“The university programme helped me to connect with other people, helped me to make new friends and make strides as an athlete that a university student could have only dreamed of.

“The chance to be a sports scholar at the university helped to support and balance my university life and my sporting career. My time at the university was a great one and a part of my life I will always cherish.”

Current student and fellow Table Tennis Wales squad player Beth Richards agrees.

“My university experience so far has been amazing,” says Beth.

“I am really enjoying it, even in these unfortunate Covid-19 restricted times, and alongside this I am able to train with the Welsh table tennis team which is enabling me to constantly improve.

“I am lucky enough to have a scholarship as well through Swansea University, which gives me free access to the sporting facilities as well as giving me many other benefits. I’m able to use the gym at no cost, which also contributes to improving as a table tennis player.

“Learning online is a slight struggle, as it is for anyone who has never experienced it before. However, playing table tennis is an escape from the screen and is allowing me to have some sort of normality.

“I think university is one of the best things I have ever done, I have met so many new people and made a lot of new life long friends. I have become a lot more independent and I know that my confidence has grown a great deal. These qualities will be with me for life so for that I am very grateful.”

 

Beth Richards

PHOTO: Beth Richards representing Wales

 

Swansea University offers Talented Athlete Scholarship Schemes (TASS) to highly talented student athletes with financial benefits up to £2000 and a support package which can include strength and conditioning training, physiotherapy, psychological aid and nutritional advice, all delivered by qualified practitioners. There are many other scholarship packages available.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Table Tennis Wales supported Swansea University table tennis academy, please don’t hesitate to compete this form: Swansea University Table Tennis Programme Enquiry

Alternatively, email our Swansea Development Officer Matt Porter: matthew.porter@tabletennis.wales

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