updated 12:41 AM AEST, May 28, 2020


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Brian Burke: On The Ball | Time to take a tip from table tennis

Last week TTA came across an article asking whether all sports are going broke.


We contacted the journalist, Brian Burke, to advise that table tennis is well and truly bucking the trend. An article was published this morning, titled 'Time to take a tip from table tennis', highlighting TTA's strong turnaround and bright future.


Article Copied from The Maitland Mercury website:

This, I thought, was perhaps a cause for a little concern - a reader the week before had made it known that they were less than impressed with my reference to Our Saviour astride a Malvern Star - so I was guessing that, whatever this call was about, it wasn't going to be good.

It turned out my concern was misplaced. Scott Houston introduced himself as the CEO of Table Tennis Australia, which operates out of Adelaide, and he was calling to let me know that he'd read last week's column and that, contrary to my statement that all our sports are broke apart from horse racing, the Houston headed Table Tennis Australia has successfully navigated one of the great turnarounds in Australian sports administration and is currently in terrific shape.

It hasn't always been the case. When Houston took on the CEO role in 2017 TTA was in a hole to the tune of almost $650,000. "We were," he says, "perhaps six weeks from bankruptcy, receiving phone calls from liquidation companies, really on the brink."

Houston and his board put together a plan and, through a combination including select loans, donations and a pre-payment of fees system, managed to keep TTA solvent.

They overhauled the business model and made extensive operational changes to the organisation with the result being that, within two and a half years, and without any form of government bailout, TTA could happily declare that it was entirely debt free.

It has been described as 'one of Australia's most remarkable sporting administration success stories for a decade.'

"And," says Houston, "the successes around the board table have been mirrored on the playing table."

The statistics show this assessment to be completely correct.

Participation rates for Australian table tennis are at a record high with 168,000 official participants.

Keep in mind that that number refers only to 'registered' players - the members of the 200 or so affiliated national clubs. The estimates including people playing in social settings run upwards of a million, which puts table tennis well into the top ten of the most popular sports in Australia. We are also extremely internationally competitive with Australia having earned a full quota of playing spots for the Tokyo Olympics.

An important part of TTA's success has been the instigation of what are proving to be very effective grass roots approaches. Their Sporting Schools Program had 16,000 kids go through it last year, with estimates of 48,000 kids playing at school. The entry level 'Spinneroos' program is also aimed at getting kids playing early.

At the other end of the spectrum, the benefits of playing table tennis, both physical and mental, amongst the elderly have long been noted and Houston is working on various ways to encourage the playing of the sport in aged care facilities.

There is also the acknowledgement of table tennis being played in various work places, particularly in the tech industries. TTA runs the 'Corporate Cup' competition for these players.

Bluntly, table tennis in Australia is going gangbusters; so well that even under the current Corona crisis - the situation that has so easily brought pretty much all of our other sporting bodies undone - Houston notes that TTA is in a position that, at this stage, it does not anticipate any cuts to staff or their hours, and no salary reductions.

Scott Houston was a professional table tennis player. He was a national representative and spent years with the sport internationally playing with clubs in Germany, Austria and China. He did a great deal of coaching and was later a development officer.

The point? Table tennis is a sport where the person currently running it has played it at elite level and knows, inside and out, how the whole thing works. It is a personal bugbear of mine that so few of our others are similarly helmed. The contrast of their fortunes with the accomplishment of TTA should probably be a lesson learned by somebody.


Link to Article

  • Published in NEWS

All venues are to be closed immediately.

Yesterday (22/3/2020), Prime minister Morrison announced that all Indoor sporting Venues are to be closed from midday today 23/3/2020 for an indefinite period.
Unfortunately this means that all our venues are to be closed immediately.
Kind Regards
Ted Davis
Vice President
Table Tennis NSW
Message from TTA,
Following on from previous correspondence, TTA has continued to monitor the rapidly developing situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), including liaising with relevant Government authorities and all peak bodies. TTA is acutely aware that COVID-19 continues to cause concern and uncertainty amongst the table tennis community and we will continue to provide regular correspondence to assist all stakeholders with their decision making.
The Federal Government announced stricter measures on Sunday 22 March 2020 in relation to closures related to COVID-19. In particular, from midday today, Monday 23 March 2020 onwards, indoors sports facilities are required to close. TTA requests that all clubs/associations take immediate action to follow the Federal Government requirements and cease operating until further notice. TTA has also suspended all National Squad training sessions until further notice.
While this is unfortunate, the health and safety of everyone in Australia is the top priority, including the table tennis community.
To view the complete COVID-19 update from TTA.

Click Here  23 March TTA Update Statement - Coronavirus COVID-19.pdf

TTA will continue to provide further updates as they arise.

COVID-19 Community Sport Guidelines

Highlights from Office of Sport

Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with a direction with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues. Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.

Dear Members,
I am writing to provide you with an update regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the Sport and Recreation Sectors.
I appreciate this is a hugely difficult time for all organisations and participants. The Office of Sport continues to work with NSW Health, Sport NSW, State Sporting Organisations and the sector to monitor COVID-19's impact on the NSW sport and recreation sectors and the communities we serve.
COVID-19 Community Sport Guidelines issued to National Sporting Organisations
The Australian Government has announced new community sport guidelines to combat the spread of COVID-19.
This follows ongoing consultation with sporting organisations and is focused on providing relevant advice on change room access, physical contact, travel, and social distancing and hygiene practices.
These guidelines were developed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), comprising all state and territory Chief Health Officers and is chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.

Download Community Sport Guidelines 

I understand that many State and National Sporting Organisations have developed positions relevant to their sports, so I would also encourage you to refer to the State Sporting Organisation websites to stay up to date with how your activities may be impacted. 
Find your State Sporting Organisation website
State Sporting Organisations and programs for people with a disability
Fitness Australia – Recommendations for Gyms and Indoor Fitness Centres
Mass Gatherings
On 18 March 2020, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard made an Order under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 to force the immediate cancellation of major events with more than 500 people.
The object of this Order is to deal with the public health risk of COVID-19 and its possible consequences by giving a Ministerial direction that prohibits mass gatherings of 500 or more people in outdoor spaces and 100 people or more in indoor spaces, subject to certain exclusions.
Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with a direction with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues. Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.
For more information, refer to Public Health (COVID-19 Mass Gatherings) Order 2020.
Further Information
We are committed to keeping the sport and recreation sectors up to date as the situation evolves.
Links to further information can be found below: 
Office of Sport COVID-19 Information
NSW Health
Commonwealth Department of Health 
Australian Institute of Sport
Your sincerely
Karen Jones 
Chief Executive
Office of Sport 

Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with a direction with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues. Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.

Events Postponed

The rapidly moving scene with the coronavirus has meant that Table Tennis NSW has made the following alterations to our 2020 Calendar events.
1. Friday 20-22 March Level 1 coaching course
2. Sunday 22 March NSW Junior Open is postponed
3. Sunday 29 March Junior Division Tournament has been postponed
4. Sunday 5 April Junior Team Training has been postponed
We will advise any further alterations as they come to hand 
Kind Regards
Ted Davis
Vice President
Table Tennis NSW
  • Published in NEWS
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