TFS - Winter 2023

Education and Sports: The cornerstones of successful social integration

The World Health Organization says that for every dollar invested in sport it is possible to save up to seven dollars in health care. And it is a common sense that a higher education leads to better careers and job possibilities. In other words, Education and Sports have a positive impact in individual and collective lives promoting a successful social integration for citizens in all levels.

The Canadian Government endorses this simple reality through a movement called Canadian Sport for Life that designed the Long Term Development (LTD). This staged Canadian model is a training, competition, and recovery program based on developmental age — the maturation level of an individual — rather than chronological age. It is athlete centered, coach driven, and administration, sport science, and sponsor supported. Athletes who progress through LTD experience training and competition in programs that consider their biological and training ages in creating periodized plans specific to their development needs. 

With several stages throughout the life this Government program encourage the physical literacy and sport for all, with some of the developmental stages overlapping the schooling age:

  • Active Start  (0-6 years old Male and Female age range)
  • FUNdamentals (Males 6-9 and Females 6-8 years old age range)
  • Learning to Train Males (Males 9-12 and Females 8-11 years old age range)
  • Training to Train (Males 12-16 and Females 11-15 years old age range)
  • Training to Compete (Males 16 and beyond and Females 15 and beyond years old age range)

Of course, sports excellence is the base of the LTD program but there a special phase to where individuals can pursue and active form of life at any age anytime called Active for Life.

The Idea

Table Tennis is a very high profile sport that can be used as vehicle for a smooth combination of the duet Education and Physical Literacy. The LTD Program overlapping the golden ages of learning with the education at school represents a single opportunity for our sport since the equipment requirements are minimal compared with others sports.  Just as an example, in a space of a regular Basketball gym we can place easily 15 tables for basic start and have up to 60 students playing non stop, up to 120 students taking turns and numbers reaching over 200 students in case of a Table Tennis Marathon – all of it within 1 hour. 

Besides our basic concepts being based on the LTD Program, Table Tennis has a capacity of involve the multi-ethnic that compose our region without having impediments related to age, gender, body biotype and composition, religion or culture. It is a sport for all and can involve parents and community in the process.  

Why Sport?

The learning process of a sport well structured, goal oriented, with plans designed centering the student based in knowledge scientifically verified, can help the school to reach the educational goals of to form and educate a be complete human, well integrated to the society, industrious and creative individual, combining personal organization and motivation with the professional demand required in our modern society.

But, in between all the sports that we our children can have access which ones can help to achieve this goal? Necessarily, it would have that be a sport that could reach high levels of creative, intuitive, and logical reasoning, would have that be a sport that could help the student in the collective and personal organization, would have that be a sport that could inspire the right vision of competition that could be transferred to the real life and its demands, and especially, promoting a team work environment.  Besides all, this sport needs to be dynamic and satisfy to the constant graving of our children for challenges and motivation.

Think: Table Tennis!

Many scientific researches are proving that sports training and regular exercises can produce new neurons and improve the quality and quantity of its synapses and develop them.  Well, do we have a sport that combines the acquisition of the fitness components and develop physical literacy as well as using the human brain in a full level?  We do: Table Tennis.

East European scientists found out in a research with many sports in 1989 that Table Tennis scientifically is verified as the second sport in the world to have more use of the brain – creativity, intuition, logical reasoning, perception, anticipation and concentration. In numbers, when a individual is playing Table Tennis his performance is based up to 61% according to the use of his brain and 39% representing the individual physical literacy. Expected, the sport that has the bigger use of the brain is Chess – not really having a strong requirement in the fitness and physical literacy level.  

Simply then, Table Tennis is a modern sport that has a great educational profile and highly dynamic demand – using 3 different energy systems at the metabolic level – can be used like pedagogical instrument by the educational institutions justified by the high rate of brain stimuli required, promoting the bond between fitness and mental components, contributing for the formal education and social integration of our children. 

More Table Tennis

Another scientific paper published by the Instructor and Professor of Physical Education John B. Allen in the International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences, N° 3 (1996), Table tennis and motor development, speaks about the big importance and influence of the Table Tennis as powerful instrument of Motor Education for children in school age – from 6 to 9 years old age range. The paper also recommends the use of the sport from the 6 years of age because of the big contribution of the education by the movement for children in this age group.  

In a higher level of training, where the student is showing exposure to good amount of Table Tennis education and had had exposure to different levels of training and competition, a conscience phenomena described in the research paper of the Chinese Piren Su (University of Physical Education of Beijing – Chinese) in the International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences, N° 3 (1996). Basically the work speaks about the high number of variations and play possibilities Table Tennis can have during the a match and how quick the athlete must be adapted, improvise and create options (in fractions of second) based in preset goals and motivation with the thermometer is the active conscience function. This kind of decision-making is of great importance for the sure formation of a human being, its interests and goals, as well as the factors that allow the decision-making process act in behalf of a given reason or personal benefit (choice of a career, studies, by example).

Several countries are noted today by the introduction of the Table Tennis in its roots as per se, the educational and sporting cultures, in governmental or private systems.  Table Tennis became itself an important pedagogical ally in the countries education system as Jordan and Slovenia.  The experience of the Jordan was described International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences, N° 1 (1992), “A Proposed Project to Activate the Evolvement of Table Tennis for Everyone (for all) In Jordan”, of Ismat El Kurdi.  In Slovenia, the research called The expert system for orientation of children into table tennis in the Republic of Slovenia, International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences, N° 3 (1996), by Miran Kondric, was designed over a process to select the students for the diverse sport modalities including Table Tennis. The results of the performance at school/education were impressive. 

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