Training strong for ping pong

Table tennis makes triumphant return to Deh Gah

November 19, 2015
DJ Drygeese swings for the ball while Fort Providence's recreation manager Andre Bolduc and student Adam Nadli encourage him. - photo courtesy of Thorsten Gohl

DJ Drygeese swings for the ball while Fort Providence’s recreation manager Andre Bolduc and student Adam Nadli encourage him. – photo courtesy of Thorsten Gohl

A weekend workshop at Deh Gah School helped 11 students from Fort Providence and Ndilo hone their racquet-handling skills.

The training camp ran from Nov. 13 to 15 and involved four training sessions, hands-on work with Arctic Winter Games

coaches and a question-and-answer session with Table Tennis North.

Tennis instructor Thorsten Gohl said students learned how to properly hold their racquets, proper techniques for playing table tennis along with different strokes and exercises to help them improve their game.

The workshop included cardio workout sessions as well as movies on table tennis.

Gohl is a level three tennis coach and master learning facilitator who volunteered and hosted the clinic.

“I love seeing the sparkle in the eyes of the children when they are able to hit that cone off the table,” Gohl said.

Mike Johnston, vice-president for the Northwest Territories Table Tennis Association, brought six youth from Ndilo for the weekend training camp.

“The growth in those kids was incredible. Most of them had never held a racquet before, and their improvement … over three days was just incredible,” he said.

Johnston said the association chose Fort Providence for the table tennis camp because the community has the proper equipment to run tournaments.

The association is on the verge of becoming a territorial sport organization under Sport North. Although the announcement was not official as of press time, Sport North marketing co-ordinator Melanie Kornacki confirmed in an e-mail Sport North will be announcing the change soon.

Becoming a territorial sport organization will make the tennis association eligible for funding from Sport North.

Johnston said accessing the funding could allow the association to hold more tennis camps in the future, which could bolster the Northwest Territories in the upcoming Arctic Winter Games.

“We have enough players, but barely. Table tennis is only played in about three or four communities – that’s why we want to grow it,” he said.

“You don’t need a team; you only need two or three players. It’s perfect for smaller communities, and we want to make it bigger so it’s a bit more competitive.”

Territorial tryouts for table tennis will take place in Fort Providence in January, he said. An exact date was not available from Sport North.