Before lockdown, the clubs routine revolved around our two club nights on a Tuesday & Friday evening. Out with our weekly club news emails, engaging with our members, volunteers, and those involved with the club had never really ventured into the virtual world.
Like most clubs and organisations, this changed rapidly in mid-March when our main club operation for the last 40+ years was unable to happen as we knew it. The balance between staying safe, while trying to maintain the social, health, and educational benefits we know the club/sport brings, was a challenge and remains as such eight months later.
The online quizzes and trick shot videos to cure boredom were a no brainer, but it was longer term we discovered some online elements that may hold a place in our way of working indefinitely. Needing to think fast and communicate as such as a committee and coaching group, the online meeting spaces have enabled us to do that for a variety of purposes. The convenience and functionality of these will surely make for a way of working long into the future.
We are very fortunate to have a strong relationship with Stephen Gertsen, National Squad Coach for Scotland (As well as lecturer, UKCC Level 4 coach and former commonwealth athlete!). After a bit of brainstorming, Stephen was able to deliver online workshops for our players and coaches. We had two of these in April/May, and Stephen has gone on to deliver countless others for clubs and players across the country through TTS (many of which we also attended). Normally we get to see Stephen 2/3 times a year with the focus being on him delivering a fantastic session in the hall and on the tables. Thanks to the online workshops, we have been able to get Stephens theory and practical insight on a range of topics including: tactical awareness, motivation & confidence, session planning, delivering engaging sessions (& much more). This has benefited coaches thinking and future practice, as well as keeping players well engaged and developing their approach to the game away from the table.
More recently we have been hosting virtual club nights every second Tuesday. This has enabled us to watch and analyse top players training/playing and seeing what learning we can take away from them. Again generally we do not get the time to do this on club nights, but the online sessions make more room for players to discuss and feedback how they see things with each other instead of coaches taking the lead. Lastly we have also had a couple of parent’s challenge where members have access to a playing area at home. Just like last week’s blog where we discussed the important part that plays in the club calendar, engaging parents & guardians from home is something we are really pleased to have achieved.
What does the future hold? It is almost impossible to predict, but we certainly think you will be seeing EKTTC online more than we were before whatever happens.