The summer often provides a welcome break after a long, hard table tennis season. But a change is as good as a rest.
This proved true for the London Academy players who took part in an elite international training camp in Stockholm.
London Academy took eighteen players to the Angby sports club in the heart of Sweden’s first city. Nine players each came from our Primary and Secondary school programmes, with ages ranging from 4 to 18 years old.
The Angby training camp is an intensive 8-day programme. A massive event, with one hundred and twenty players from eleven countries training, exercising, and even competing, over the course of a week.
The first five days were spent honing the youngsters skills and fitness, with the last three spent in a full-blown competition, which pitched our players against some of the finest young talent from all over Europe.
The training camp was split onto four groups based on ability with London Academy having players across all four. The highest level, group A, was made up of various national squad players.
Fittingly for a season of new experiences, this was the first time we have taken primary school age players abroad. One of the great benefits of having a primary school on site is how it has allowed students to get started at an earlier age and integrate them with senior school players.
The older players have become mentors, role-models and even coaches for the younger ones and the whole club has become stronger as a result.
Throughout the event, the players trained for 5 hours a day, both on and off the table. The training was overseen by a full complement of high-level coaches who provided instruction and feedback throughout.
There was even a dedicated fitness instructor who used a lot of dance techniques for stretching and cardio.
But a trip to Stockholm was always going to be about more than table tennis.
Evening trips included a tour of the Royal Palace and the Swedish Parliament, and a visit to Stockholm old town with its beautiful houses and cobbled streets.
The tournament staged at the end of the programme proved to be a fantastic challenge for your younger players.
Playing at such a high level, against different styles in an international setting, while making friends from different cultures, was a wonderful experience and a fitting end to such an excellent season.
The younger players had a really successful trip. A lot of this was due to the help and influence of our older, more experienced players: Demi, Octavian, Alisha, Fernando, Shahuraj, Parsa, Devan and Janak, who helped them at every stage.
Finally, the a trip of this size was only really possible with the help of two of our parents, Marina and Sylwia. London Academy is grateful for the enthusiasm and effort they put in to make sure that this was a safe as well as enjoyable experience.