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International coach training - a long-term effect of the World Championships in Halmstad

The 2018 table tennis World Championships in Halmstad is a splendid example of good side effects of an event. It also clearly showcases the importance of collaboration. In this case between the Swedish Table Tennis Association, (SBTF) the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Halmstad Table Tennis Club (HBTK), Halmstad University and the municipality of Halmstad.

Between 6:th and 11:th December, a brand new and completely unique international high level coaching course will be accomplished at Halmstad University. This pilot project is a direct outcome of the collaborations established during the World championship in Halmstad 2018. It is a high level coaching course for coaches working with professionally. Twelve international and twelve Swedish coaches will study together. The training consists of both theoretical and practical sessions that deepen the coaches skills and knowledge.

"The lecturers involved in this coaching course are utmost world class quality," says Thomas Buza, Secretary General of the SBTF. "For us, this coaching course is extremely important as it fulfills a great need. Not only do we need to be better, we also need to increase in numbers when it comes to coaches. The cooperation with the ITTF and the Halmstad University is very valuable and we see enormous potential for the future and hope to be able to make this education a permanent and recurring one. Exchange generates development and benefits everyone”.

How about the following team lineup; Glenn Östh, formerly Swedish National Team Captain when the Swedish team ”demolished the Chinese wall” in 1989. Nowadays he is Sports Director at Swedens Olympic Committee (SOK). 
Anders Thunström, also a former Swedish National Team Captain for the Swedish table tennis team during the golden age of the early 1990s, with two World Championship golds on his track record. 
Andreas Ivarsson, Associate Professor and researcher at Halmstad University in the fields of welfare, health and sports, teaching sports psychology. 
Xavier Sanchez, University Lecturer at Halmstad University. Last but not least, Jörgen Persson, one of the worlds best table tennis players with almost countless medals from the Worlds and European Championship in his collection. These days, Jörgen Persson is also working with the Swedish National Team in a developing role and is also a highly appreciated match coach. It is truly a team of champions sharing their experiences and knowledge with the course participants!

Halmstad University is one of five National Sports Universities where players can combine their athletic career with academic studies. This is extremely important in order to have something to fall back on when the sports career is over.

"This coaching course has become reality due to the World Championships in Halmstad, where the right contact areas and connections appeared. The idea was born in 2017, during a joint study trip to the Shanghai University of Sport and the China Table Tennis Collage ( CTTC) – one of the worlds strongest academies with a focus on table tennis and university studies.

Now the idea is a reality. We hope that this pilot project will be permanent. The opportunities for development in the field of sports science is fantastic. One of them being to gain the worlds expertise in this area, for example through scientific conferences”, says Urban Johnson, Professor in psychology with specialization in sports psychology at Halmstad University.

Halmstad has a strong reputation throughout the world of table tennis world since the 2018 World Championships. The competitions holds a special place in the history books; Korea chose to play as one nation in the womens quarterfinals. The jointly signed flag remains at Halmstad Arena.

"When we work to arrange large events and meetings in Halmstad, we are fully aware about the long term positive effects remaning once the events as such are concluded. Im not sure everyone else is taking that into consideration, rather looking at the event exclusively. We hope that this unique coaching course will be an eye opener for all the synergies that´s possible with events like these,”says Ann Johansson, Head of Events and Meetings at Destination Halmstad. The positive effects of the World Championships 2018 in Halmstad lives and thrives to the highest degree. It proved to be a sustainable and successful event, not only providing multimillion revenue to the business community in Halmstad and Halland, but also initiating a variety of social activities in the region.

The Halmstad Convention Bureau, which is part Destination Halmstad AB, plays an important part in creating the conditions to carry out this type of large events. Given there is a local host involved, Halmstad Convention Bureau acts as a sparring partner and guide throughout the entire process.

Getting large events and meetings to a municipality is extremely important from a long-term perspective. Local marketing contributes to increased attractiveness that brings socio-economic interests. Its all about the bigger picture.

The World Championships was held in Halmstad Arena from 29:th of April 29 to 6:th of May 2018. 70 womens teams and 72 mens teams from about 100 nations participated and the event attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world. In the economic report, visitors total revenue was SEK 51.6 million, where accommodation counts for SEK 21.4 million and consumption for the remaining SEK 30.2 million.


The picture: The unforgettable table tennis World Championships in Halmstad where Sweden won the bronze medal. We are still as happy and proud. Photo: ITTF