Anyone for Table Tennis?
“Connecting with people is what it’s all about,” says Lilla Csaki, President of North Lakes Table Tennis Association.
Earlier this year, the North Lakes Table Tennis club introduced a program encouraging grandmothers, mums and daughters to participate in a sporting venture where skills and wisdom become intertwined with fun and unity.
The Queensland Government, through the Embracing 2018 Legacy Program for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, provided $15,000 to the North Lakes Table Tennis Association for the ‘Girl Power through Generations’ program to get women and girls active for life.
Lilla and her husband and Lead Coach, Balazs, had already been coaching children to play table tennis in the local schools for a couple of years as an extra-curricular activity. The idea of having a proper club was initially developed as they saw that parents and grandparents were keen to have a quick game with their children when picking them up after training.
Lilla says, “My Dad, who is in his seventies, regularly beats me in ping-pong, and it is always a great quality time for everyone. Age, strength and build do not matter much in table tennis, so we decided to act by implementing this program to help foster connections through a common, sporting interest, having fun, and creating precious memories.”
As the word got out about the program, more and more families joined every week, including grandfathers, fathers and sons.
With the program easily modified to accommodate those seniors who have particular weaknesses and injuries, it has also shown to enable some of the younger people to improve their socialisation skills.
“We have discovered that those who are naturally quiet, reserved, and unsure of themselves around other people can talk more easily whilst they are playing, says Lilla “Movement seems to help break down the physical and emotional barriers of communication, and for those kids who aren’t the typical, strong, athletic type, table tennis gives an opportunity for them to shine in an area where they normally wouldn’t achieve.”
With already over 50 members since the club’s inception in January 2017, North Lakes Table Tennis Association believes they offer more than just the mechanics of hitting a ball over a net. Lilla says, “With our members’ ages ranging from seven to 80-years-of-age, this allows for an all-inclusive and vibrant atmosphere at the club. The members often bring plates of food to share, and we even provide colouring books for the littlies to amuse themselves whilst some of the parents play. We definitely focus on the social aspect of getting people to network with each other and families to play together.”
Played every Friday night from 4-8pm in the air-conditioned hall at The Lakes College, North Lakes (during school term time only), all members and newcomers have the option to play socially, casually, or competitively for $5.00 per head. Professional coaching is also available by Balazs who is the godson of Dr Laszlo Ormai - the master coach who famously led Hungary’s table tennis team for more than 40 years, winning multiple gold, silver and bronze medals in numerous European and World Cups.
With the club also running table tennis clinics in other schools around the Moreton Bay region, offering school holiday programs through MBRC’s Active Kids and Adventure Time, and providing coaching and play through the region’s Older and Bolder program, both Lilla and Balazs encourage anyone in the community to come and have a go. “We promote exercise and challenges in a fun and encouraging environment – it’s a great opportunity to become involved in one of the world’s most popular, and sociable, sports. Come and check it out – the first time is on us!”
The club is closed for the summer holidays but will reopen again on Friday, February 2.
For further details visit http://nltt.org.au or the North Lakes Table Tennis Association Facebook page.