(by Steve Hopkins)
With the Rhode Island Table Tennis Club currently in operation with limited hours, we were initially hesitant about running a winter juniors group. However, even with our sign up form going out while Rhode Island was in a state of lock-down, the class filled up in 4 days. Here are some notes about what we learned:
(1) First, we’re just about the only show in town. We advertised 10 junior training slots, and we ended up with 13 paid players (two a little over 18), and a waiting list – for our 5 week set of Sunday training sessions. Most of the time when we run clinics, other sports seasons affect our numbers – with our dual sport players gone during another sport’s season (whether that’s basketball or baseball or soccer). This winter, with indoor team sports greatly limited by COVID regulations – table tennis is one of the few options available in our State.
(2) Our current COVID restrictions, leave us with a maximum of 30 people in our space. We are being extra careful, and making sure that we make it easy to stay socially distant. We had the students wear masks during the session, we asked that parents limit their presence or stay clear of us (and each other). And we scheduled time at the club when there are no other activities, so players (and parents) can come and go without crossing paths with others.
At a time when our club is open for fewer days, and those days are seeing lower numbers of regular players – adding a juniors session on an empty day has been an easy transition. Making full use of the club makes sense, and its a great investment in the future as well.
If you’re located in this corner of New England and are interested in future Youth Programs or other programs at Rhode Island Table Tennis visit the www.ritta.org website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.