Table tennis coach Steve Rowe is putting the finishing touches to the worldwide launch of his fitness programme called Aerobic Table Tennis. He tells Butterfly how his idea has gained the backing of some of his sport’s leading names, and the future plans for Aerobic Table Tennis.
What is Aerobic Table Tennis?
Aerobic Table Tennis is a high energy fitness workout experience, that combines table tennis movement with music. Music is played throughout the session to create a high-energy fitness workout experience. Added benefits are, you will burn calories, increase your health and wellbeing and be introduced to the great sport of table tennis. It really is a win win fitness activity.
What inspired you to come up with the idea?
I’ve been playing table tennis in the North-West of England for more than 30 years and something I noticed for all those years, female participation is very low. I came up with the idea of Aerobic Table Tennis as a way of encouraging more girls and women to take part in the sport. I looked into how women prefer to exercise and discovered that most like aerobics, they like music playing during sessions, and they like group activities to help form friendships. I put all the findings together, added table tennis and Aerobic Table Tennis was born.
Can only women take part?
No not at all. Even children from the young age of 5 years old can take part in Aerobic Table Tennis sessions, making it an enjoyable ﬁtness activity for both primary and secondary school pupils. The sessions are for both girls and boys. Initially it was girls only, but something I learned over the last 2 years of pilot sessions, boys like to join in too. This was an unexpected result.
The way the complete programme works is, a school starts Aerobic Table Tennis during PE lessons, they would then move on to the next step by starting an after-school table tennis club.
Finally, and this is the main aim of the project, all children that want to increase their table tennis skills will be directed to a local table tennis club. This is great news for the clubs, as their memberships will increase, and more important their female membership numbers will certainly increase.
How have you developed the Aerobic Table Tennis concept?
After more than two years of detailed preparation and promotion, I am all set for the worldwide launch of Aerobic Table Tennis. When I first introduced aerobic table tennis to schools in the Wigan area where I live, I had a great response. The children liked the sessions because they are fun and exciting, and the teachers like Aerobic Table Tennis because it gives them another fun fitness activity to deliver to the children. In 2012 The Malta International Table Tennis Centre invited me to Malta to go into schools to promote the idea there because of the child obesity problem on the island.
The launch in Malta was a huge success, with more than 3000 girls taking part in Aerobic Table Tennis. It was an incredible experience, and something I will never forget. I must mention my partner in Malta Joe Borg Cardona, who runs MITTC and continues to promote Aerobic Table Tennis. Joe is doing a great job. In fact, on 16 July Joe and I will meet the Malta Sports Minister to see how we can further deliver the programme on the island. This is a huge step forward.
How did Aerobic Table Tennis get involved with Butterfly?
As support for my idea grew, I was approached by Alan Ransome, the Butterfly partner for the UK,who also owns table tennis supplier Tees Sport and Ransome Sporting Goods.The outcome, Aerobic Table Tennis is now in partnership with Butterfly to promote the programme throughout Europe and beyond. As part of the partnership, Aerobic Table Tennis will supply all the equipment that schools or clubs need to run sessions. The equipment package for schools will also include an instructional video. I would like to thank Alan for believing in Aerobic Table Tennis, and understanding how the programme will help to increase table tennis participation on a large scale.
How have Butterfly helped Aerobic Table Tennis?
Butterfly have been extremely helpful. 26-28 June I was invited to the annual Butterfly partner meeting in Moers Germany. I was asked to present the Aerobic Table Tennis concept to the European Butterfly partners. We also unveiled the equipment package. I was welcomed with open arms.
30 years ago as a youngster starting out in table tennis, I always used Butterfly equipment. Butterfly is without doubt the number 1 in table tennis equipment, that is a fact. For Aerobic Table Tennis to be working with a brand that I grew up with, its very overwhelming. I can’t thank Butterfly enough for all their support. And I am looking forward to spreading the brand Butterfly at all my Aerobic Table Tennis events in Europe and beyond.
To have the Aerobic Table Tennis logo side by side with the Butterfly logo, it’s incredible.
Who supports Aerobic Table Tennis?
My fitness programme is endorsed and supported by the European Table Tennis Union, Table Tennis England, Table Tennis Wales, Table Tennis Scotland, Table Tennis Ireland, Sweden TT Association, English Schools Table Tennis Association and the International Table Tennis Federation, which adds articles about aerobic table tennis to its website on a regular basis. Some recent support comes from Richard Prause ( Ex German Team Coach ) Richard fully understands the programme. Support from someone of Richard’s stature, it does not come any better than that.
“Modern table tennis is based a lot on perfect technique connected with outstanding fitness. In order to learn a good technique it is crucial to have perfect coordination. By practicing Aerobic Table Tennis you can combine in a very good way coordination and fitness. I encourage players from all ages to try out Aerobic Table Tennis, in order to improve coordination and fitness that will lead to a better feeling for your body and might improve also your table tennis skills”
Who is the face of Aerobic Table Tennis?
Iulia Necula is the face of Aerobic Table Tennis. Iulia was one of the first professional table tennis players to give me support. It made sense that I would ask her to be the face of the brand. Iulia is just fantastic, has great energy and is perfect to help promote Aerobic Table Tennis. Of course Iulia represented her home country Romania at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
When will the official launch of Aerobic Table Tennis take place?
I’m expecting the equipment packages from the manufacturer to arrive very soon. The fact they are arriving a little later than my planned January launch date is a result of my upgrading the quality of the equipment. I decided that the equipment, especially the table tennis bats, should be of good quality.This keeps in line with Butterfly’s quality products. It’s important for me to promote Butterfly in the best possible way. The official worldwide launch will take place in England shortly after the equipment arrives. We have yet to decide on a venue but it will have to be quite large and accessible from all corners of the UK and Ireland, so somewhere in the Midlands would be ideal.
What are your plans following the official launch event?
The aim is to spread Aerobic Table Tennis by inviting associations, clubs and schools to register an interest in the programme. I will then work with them to help increase participation in their relevant countries. I am also looking for instructors to help deliver the programme. There will be instructor courses and teacher training workshops. I plan to offer licences to run official Aerobic Table Tennis, enabling those licence holders to run sessions wherever they want in the world.
In 2015, Aerobic Table Tennis and Pink Pong will be holding a Guinness World Record attempt. The event will raise money for cancer research and I would encourage players from all around the world to take part.
All details of the record attempt will be available soon on both Aerobic Table Tennis and Pink Pong’s websites. Of course during the world record attempt, Butterfly will be promoted to the full. See www.aerobictabletennis.com for more information on Steve’s project, or follow the posts on twitter @AerobicTT
PUT THE BOUNCE BACK IN YOUR STEP – DO AEROBIC TABLE TENNIS!