Outlining how we can return to action
Table tennis activity contributes to many health, social and economic benefits across the country and many of us will be missing the game, however it is vitally important that when activity is resumed, it does not compromise the health and safety of individuals or communities.
When updated Government guidance is published, we will move as soon as we can to consider what it means for table tennis across the country.
We will aim to respond to any changes promptly but we may have to wait for the Government to provide the precise details of their guidance and advice. We are, however, looking at various scenarios that we might find ourselves in and considering how table tennis can return safely.
Resumption of sport and recreation activities will be based on objective health information to ensure they are conducted safely and do not risk increasing the spread of Covid 19, taking into account the following factors.
- All decisions about resumption of sport and recreation activities must take place with careful reference to Government, Sport England and Table Tennis England advice.
- International evidence to date is suggestive that outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. There is a lack of data on risks of indoor sporting activity but, at this time, the risk is assumed to be greater than for outdoor sporting activity, even with similar mitigation steps taken.
- All activity must, at a minimum level, follow the guidance and advice outlined by Table Tennis England, Sport England and the Government. Clubs, leagues and community venues will need to factor in their own playing environments and make decisions that are right for their own club, league or community of players.
Five stage process
When table tennis activity outside of the home resumes, we anticipate this to be through a series of stages, where restrictions are lifted gradually, whilst closely following Government advice at all times.
It is unknown at this time what each stage will look like in detail and how long each of these stages may last, but we hope it is useful to start providing some thoughts on this area, as to how we anticipate table tennis returning.
We will be providing more information, guidance and advice on each of the stages below over the coming days and weeks.
Stage 1 – Play and exercise at home (where we are now)
- Practice and table tennis activity can take place at home with members of your household
- Cardio and exercise that can be done whilst meeting social distancing guidelines is encouraged
- Online learning via video calls
- No table tennis activity in clubs/leagues and no one to one/private coaching sessions to run
Stage 2 –Limited club activity
- Some local club activity may be able to resume with restrictions in place, connected to hygiene, social distancing and space available. Facility templates are currently being developed to help guide clubs and leagues on their own spaces
- One to one/personal coaching may be able to return
- Competitive play is likely to be restricted to ensure a healthy and injury free return for participants and to ensure minimum restrictions are met
- Play on outdoor tables commences with restrictions in place
Stage 3 – Preparing for localised competition
- Local competitive opportunities may look to resume with certain restrictions in place. In preparation for a time when competitive play may resume, we will be providing some ideas for clubs and leagues to consider
Stage 4 – Local competition resumption
- Leagues and competitions may resume with limited restrictions in place
- It is expected at this stage that some restrictions in stage 2 may start to be lifted
Stage 5 – Full play and spectating in place
- Club, league, community and competitive play resumes with no restrictions in place
In reviewing all of the stages outlined, we will factor in the following key areas and provide appropriate advice and guidance in each area:
- Welfare, health and safety of participants
- Workforce – advice for volunteers, coaches, officials
- Re-engaging your existing members – including factoring in how different groups may respond to returning to play differently
- Attracting new members
- Advice/best practice from other clubs and leagues
Table Tennis England’s Be TT programme will be allocating funding support for table tennis activity to clubs, leagues and volunteers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – click here for more information.