Reaction time and hand-eye coordination: vital to a hockey goalie and highly prized in table tennis, too.
That’s why Table Tennis North’s Thorsten Gohl thinks the NWT’s teenage hockey goalies can use an injection of his sport. A specially devised two-month training program begins in Hay River on Tuesday.
Eight goalies in the U11 to U18 categories will be evaluated on and off the ice to gauge their reaction time, coordination, and overall fitness.
They’ll then be given table tennis equipment and a series of training sessions in the sport.
Once the basics are covered – how to hold the racket, the game’s rules, and how to move in the sport – the goalies will learn small-space footwork drills, receive reaction time training, and face challenges that combine table tennis with hockey goalie gear.
The pilot project, which takes place at Hay River’s Don Stewart Recreation Centre, will wrap up on April 4.
“It is so great to see it all unfold,” said Gohl in a news release.
“The goal for table tennis is to enhance the skills of any athletes, support them, give them the tools, experiences and crazy ‘out-of-the-box’ fun ideas in becoming amazing human beings and role models for our communities.”
Adham Sharara, president of Table Tennis Canada, called the project a “great example of cooperation between sports.”
Kyle Kugler, executive director of Hockey NWT and Hockey North, said the plan was a “great initiative to help develop transferable skills between table tennis and hockey goaltenders.”
The above organizations are joined by Hay River Minor Hockey and the Sport Information Resource Centre as partners in the project, which draws on federal Covid-19 relief funding and a contribution from the Mackenzie Recreation Association.
High-speed cameras will be used to capture data. The program will subsequently be evaluated by the Sport Information Resource Centre for broader applications in the sport community.