Table tennis is thriving at La Mare de Carteret High School thanks to the support of the Guernsey Table Tennis Association.
Head of PE at the school Seoirse Lee says that students get the chance to try the sport as part of their PE lessons but the opportunity to play at the nearby Table Tennis Centre at Hougue du Pommier has encouraged several students to play outside of school too.
‘We started with going across to the Table Tennis Centre at the invitation of Derek Webb, President of the Guernsey Table Tennis Association,’ said Seoirse.
‘Derek has been very good to us. The students now know where the club is and it helps to break down the barriers some students experience when accessing sport outside of school.’
More than 40 students attend lunchtime table tennis clubs at school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and even when the club isn’t on they will ask for some tables to be set up in the hall so they can play.
‘This is a perfect example of how to keep the students entertained and active at lunchtimes,’ said Seoirse.
‘Our expectation is that every student will attend at least one school club every term and we have already nearly hit that target.’
Year 9 students Charlie and Sam enjoy their lunchtime games and also now attend Monday night training sessions at the Table Tennis Centre
‘I like it because it’s fast-paced and it’s all about technique and not power,’ said Sam.
‘I had friends from other schools who went to the club and so I joined them.’
Charlie also said he joined the club because he enjoyed playing table tennis in his PE lessons.
‘I’m not very good at football that’s why I like table tennis,’ he said.
The lunchtime sessions in the school hall are fast-paced with videos of professional table tennis players projected onto a big screen and music playing.
‘We want it to be aspirational,’ said Seoirse.
‘They are a really keen group and they like the competitive edge.
‘It’s a brilliant way to mix up year groups and we put a lot of responsibility on our older students to help run the clubs.’
The school is now setting up a Year 9 league and has some outdoor tables that will be used when the weather permits.
Derek is delighted that the Table Tennis Centre is being used and that young people are now taking up the sport.
‘We are lucky to have an excellent facility with the Centre and it’s really great to be able to let young people use it and hopefully start to enjoy our sport,’ said Derek.
‘The Table Tennis Association is really supportive of the work the Guernsey Sports Commission is undertaking to ensure the island’s sports facilities are better used and we are keen to play our part in that. We would encourage any other schools who might be interested in using the Centre to get in touch and give table tennis a try.’