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GRASSROOTS


ETTA has installed table tennis tables in public places, countrywide, through its Ping! initiative


in the stadiums themselves, will be so in- spired by the action taking place on their doorstep that they will want to take up one or more of the sports themselves. Our NGBs therefore need to have the


best structures in place to cater for these people and ensure that they retain their interest for years to come. Organisations also need to be in the best possible posi- tion to recognise new talent and provide people with accessible pathways towards coaching and elite sport. One of the NGBs leading the way is


the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA). Table tennis has experienced a massive surge in popularity of late, so much so that the ETTA has already reached its 2013 participation targets. Working with commercial providers, they have made the sport fun and ap- proachable – particularly through the innovative Ping! programme. British Cycling is also doing a great job


rolling out the Sky-Ride programme to persuade thousands of occasional cyclists to get on their bikes every week, and its Go-Ride programme provides a range of high-quality coaching and competitive opportunities for young people, which most importantly, gives them access to the lower levels of the sport’s England Talent Pathway.


NGBs need to have the best structures in place to cater for potential participants and ensure that they retain their interest for years to come


Alternative activity It’s also important to take into account the trend towards the more casual take- up of sport, with lots of people jumping between a variety of activities, whether that be going to the gym, taking part in a dance class or turning up to a ‘pay and play’ session. Governing bodies, or- ganisations and clubs need to make sure people’s first impressions, and all expe- riences thereafter, are as positive and enjoyable as possible. England Netball’s Back to Netball pro-


gramme has recognised this and put a solid structure in place to tempt thou- sands of women who had dropped out of the sport to return to it, through fun and informal sessions. This has increased participation in the sport from 118,800 to 145,200 in the past two years, with strong growth among 16- to 34-year-olds. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We


also mustn’t forget about the wealth of other sport and recreational


52 Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital


activities. If you think that the Sport and Recreation Alliance has 320 different or- ganisations as members, from yoga and rambling to parkour and dance – then you get an idea of just how many activi- ties are playing their part in keeping the nation active and healthy. So while we can query some of the


stats and figures, one thing that can’t be denied is that the will and intent to achieve the legacy is there for all to see. No-one can predict just how much of an effect the buzz and excitement will have when the Games finally kick off, but the foundations have been firmly laid. The time has now come to capture


the excitement of the Games and, most importantly, keep the momentum going for years to come. When London 2012 ends – that’s when


the hard work on the ground really begins, and the Sport and Recreational Alliance will be doing everything it can to ensure the legacy lives on. l


Issue 3 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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