Only recently did he set his mind on playing table tennis after participating in a session of table tennis with his vacation care program at Brighton District Table Tennis Club during the October school holidays.
Today was his first formal lesson in the Junior Beginners at Brighton District Table Tennis Club.
Pictured here is legendary table tennis player, cricketer & coach, Joe Hoad who continues to coach table tennis players at elite levels. Joe very proudly admitted to being "87 years old & doing rather well for it"! Together with his granddaughter, Dani - Joe continues to coach junior beginner table tennis players at Brighton District Table Tennis Club on Sunday mornings between 10.30am - 12 noon. Pictured here with Joe is my son at his first junior beginner training session.
The junior beginners program at Brighton District Table Tennis Club is coordinated by Joe Hoad (legendary table tennis player/cricketer/coach/sports psychologist) each Sunday, between 10.30am to 12 noon. Thanks to funding from the junior development program, fees are extremely affordable at $6 per lesson.
Players can purchase required sports equipment such as table tennis bats and accessories directly through the Club at discounted prices.
It is a casual, fun and welcoming environment. Tea, coffee and biscuits are on offer to parents/guardians free of charge while they watch their children train. Joe explained that if there are enough willing parents/guardians and table tennis tables spare, they are welcome to practice table tennis (at no extra cost) whilst their children undergo training (providing appropriate sports shoes are worn).
Pictured here with Joe Hoad is his granddaughter, Dani who is playing at an elite level.
When I asked Joe about the age criteria he explained that children of junior age are welcome as long as they are true beginners and "can see over the top of the table". At the time of our visit a 4 year old was playing well.
In South Australia, there are currently around 17 active table tennis clubs/associations in the metropolitan area of Adelaide and around 12 regional clubs/associations. Click here to check out the nearest table tennis club in your area.
Also check out this promotional clip from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) which shows professional players and mentions various statistics eg. there are currently around 150 million professional and casual table tennis players world-wide with playing speeds of up to 170 km/h. Alternatively, check out this trailer for Balls of Fury (2007) which shows some spectacular "ping pong" manouvres.
In table tennis, there are no barriers. Joe described his experience and time spent coaching legendary German Paralympian, Rainer Schmidt (pictured below) who was born without forearms and a shortened femur.
Pictured here is German Paralympian & Fair Play Ambassador, Rainer Schmidt. Image courtesy & copyright of Rainer Schmidt's website: schmidt-rainer.com
If you're reading this article from a state/territory other than South Australia, click here for the link to Table Tennis Australia's website, scroll down to the bottom where the map of Australia is and select the state where you want to find your nearest table tennis club.