News and events

It’s a smash for sports coach

12 December 2012

Rachel Atkinson

Table tennis enthusiast celebrates graduation

A table tennis coach swapped his bat for a scroll when he graduated from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Matthew Stanforth was among a group of 11 elite coaches who went back to the classroom to undertake a Postgraduate Diploma in Elite Coaching Practice.

The 32-year-old, from Middlesbrough, studied on the two-year UKCC Level 4 Coaching award course in Preston alongside professionals from the sporting worlds of squash, rugby league, hockey and basketball.

“I’ve had an incredible time on the course and have learnt so much”

He said: “I’ve had an incredible time on the course and have learnt so much. The knowledge I’ve gained during my time will stand me in great stead for the rest of my coaching career.”

Matthew, who is the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) Regional Coach for the North East, said: “I’ve really enjoyed working alongside coaches from a variety of sports because I’ve been able to pick up lots of ideas and tips which can easily transfer to the world of table tennis.”


Matthew Stanforth, Postgraduate Diploma in Elite Coaching Practice graduate

Highlights of his course included analyzing technique and discovering innovative training methods.

The coach, who has worked with the England under 15 and 18 players, added: “Going back to studying was great. The lecturers were so encouraging, they couldn’t help us enough and I’ve developed an interest in continuing my coaching education with a Masters degree.”

“I think the course has been tremendous for our sport”

Matthew, and fellow table tennis coach Ryan Jenkins received their Diploma in front of his family and ETTA managers.

Jill Parker MBE, National Talent Manager at the ETTA, said: “I think the course has been tremendous for our sport. The new ideas they’ve brought back to the court have been excellent and we look forward to more of our coaches undertaking this Diploma.”

Bryan Jones, UCLan Principal Lecturer in Coaching and Performance, said: “The course is making a big difference to coaching methods throughout various sports. We’ve got more sports looking at sending their coaches as they’ve seen and heard great things. That can only be of benefit to the individuals and national teams - you can see the positive effect that sport has had on the national during this Olympic year.”