The Whitehorse Table Tennis Club has top-notch equipment, facilities to practice in and experienced coaches.
But, club executives still feel something is missing — players, specifically, young players.
“One of the major problems with us right now is that we’re at a bit of a low in terms of junior players,” said club president Dave Stockdale.
“When we have a competitive team, we need four (boys) and four (girls). And you can’t just take anybody to play, you have to take kids that have been coached and know how to play the game.”
On Saturday, the club held its annual general meeting, followed by its regular Saturday meet, which this week consisted of a random team event.
“This is a rebuilding year,” said Stockdale. “My long-term goal was to have a team at the Canada Games in 2011, and that’s why I’m sticking around to 2011 to see them get a team for that.
“I may also stay on to 2012 when we host the Arctic Winter Games.”
Stockdale hopes to conduct some table tennis clinics at local schools to help garner support for the sport among the youth of Whitehorse.
“Unfortunately, some of the players we have lost — kids we developed over the last two years — they get bigger and they can play basketball or they can play volleyball, and they can get on a school team and they put their time into the school teams rather than our team here.”
According to Stockdale, growing the team’s numbers are not only about getting new players out, but also making sure new players stay dedicated to the club.
“A few new ideas came up (regarding how some players) come out a couple times and never come again,” said Stockdale. “So one person suggested that we have a greeter who is responsible this week for any new faces that come through the door. Go to them, talk to them, get them involved, don’t just leave them on their own.”
Another idea thrown around at the meeting involved stepping up the coaching for club members.
“We have quite a number of adults playing who we’re never quite sure if they want to be coached, or if they just want to play,” said Stockdale. “But we have a feeling that if we do do some coaching, starting to improve play, then people will feel more competitive and will stay on longer at the club.”
Team event runs long
Five teams competed in the team event at Whitehorse Elementary on Saturday. Unfortunately, because the meeting ran long, no winner was declared at the end of the event.
“It’s kind of ad-hoc teams,” said Kevin Murphy, the club’s vice-president and head coach. “We threw together pairs of people, one strong and one at the other end of the spectrum … that way it kind of evens off.
“Then we play a strong player against a strong player, and number two player against number two player, and then one doubles (match). So there’s a total of three matches between the teams to see who wins.
“It’s actually an Olympic format.”
The club also meets Tuesday evenings in Porter Creek.
“Sometimes there are more people at that club (meet) than at this one,” said Murphy of the Tuesday events. “There’s a group of people who come out casually Tuesday nights to play doubles and have a great bit of fun.”
A yearlong membership in the club costs $30 for adults and $20 for juniors. Family rates are also available.
For more information about the club, contact Stockdale at 668-3358 or Murphy at 668-2018.