Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, in cooperation with International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) announces the launching of University Degree Study Program in Sports Coaching especially designed for table tennis players and coaches.

The project’s main aim is to provide a possibility of acquiring a university education level in the field of sports science and coaching (with additional emphasis on table tennis) to a wider table tennis community by using all benefits of modern technologies (such as “online” learning methods) and academic resources that exist within the community.

Pending final approval, the program is scheduled to start in October, 2016 at the Faculty of Kinesiology University of Split by enrolment of students for the 2016/17 academic year.

“Being the host University for this truly global educational project is both an honor and responsibility for us. Using all benefits of global academic network and modern technologies is an important part of our development strategy and hopefully we will be doing more projects of this kind. With this particular project we are hoping to meet educational needs of international players and coaches that otherwise might be difficult to do in a more traditional educational setting” said Šimun Anđelinović, rector of the University of Split.

The project started successfully at the University of Split two years ago in the Croatian language for a group of South Eastern European countries, in which the same or similar languages are spoken. The project was immediately recognised and supported by the ITTF and twelve students were successfully enrolled. The majority of them were former or active national team level players, and one of them is Tamara Boroš, a former world’s number 2, who on this occasion said:

“Based on my experience this study program is a great solution for active players and coaches, as it enables them to study while pursuing their sports careers around the world. I am currently working and living in two different countries and thanks to this program I am being able to actively study regardless of the fact that due to my professional duties I am frequently on the road. The fact I can choose time for studying that suits me best and arrange time for taking exams with my professors is very important for me. Studying in a traditional classic educational setting would be almost impossible with my current schedule. Of course, this model of study requires self-discipline and work ethics to force yourself to find time to study on a constant basis, without being physically present in classes, but as a former professional athlete I don’t find that to be an extraordinary task. In education like in sport and life itself, you have to put certain effort to see good things happen.”

Announced launching of the program in English language is the project’s second phase, in which the project will really become global. Besides the University of Split, many other academic institutions worldwide are included in the project by providing lecturers and organisational support to some practical parts of the program.

“This is a very exciting project for our Faculty and we are looking forward to cooperate on its further development with our colleagues from different universities and institutions worldwide. We also want to continue and extend our very good cooperation with ITTF” said Đurđica Miletić, dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split.

Within ITTF structures, which have been supporting this project from its beginning, one has been well aware of the importance of including athletes and coaches in educational programs during the course of their professional careers and immediately thereafter.

ITTF is following the IOC’s recommendations and paying great attention to its “Athlete Career and Education Programme”, in order to enable athletes to develop professionally following the conclusion of their sports careers, as well as further educating currently active coaches. This also forms part of ITTF DNA [Developing National Associations] as education of coaches is critical to the long term success of any National Association.” said the ITTF Deputy CEO Glenn Tepper who is responsible for Development and Education & Training within this largest international sports federation.

The ITTF Education & Training Director Polona  Sušin, went on to say ……..

One of the main reasons why the ETTU also fully supports this project is that it gives a possibility to coaches to extend their professional knowledge and gain well-rounded skills and proficiency in the field of sports science and coaching

“We believe that quality of coaching in Europe should be increased and we are investing a lot of our time and resources to do so. We have been organising a lot of coach education activities/seminars throughout Europe lately and this project nicely fits in our well-rounded efforts to achieve that goal. It is surely a big step ahead for education of coaches in our sport and the fact that so many international experts coming from different scientific and professional fields and connected with table tennis will be involved, should definitely help this cause” said Neven Cegnar, manager of the ETTU Development Program.

One of the main aims of the study is also to make quality studying accessible to a wider/global table tennis community.

“With this project we have tried to build a model that would enable both players and coaches to actively study regardless of their professional duties in clubs, national teams or their current geographical location. I believe this is an optimal way to ensure they have access to high quality education in a place and at a cost that makes sense for them” said Goran Munivrana, the member of the ITTF Sports Science Committee and the project’s manager.