The Learning Tree Table Tennis Club is a top-notch fulltime training facility for juniors, based in San Diego, CA. The club is part of an overarching program called the After School Learning Tree (ASLT) which celebrated it’s 15th anniversary just last year. The ASLT offers several educational services such as music lessons, Chinese classes, arts, and of course table tennis.
The coaching staff are led by Stellan and Angie Bengtsson; Stellan, originally part of the Swedish National team, is a multiple medal winner in Europe and the world, along with being the 1971 World Champion. Angie is a many time US National Champion and has been inducted into four different Hall of Fames. She is also a Para team coach.
It’s understandable that Learning Tree TTC has been temporarily shut down along with all other clubs throughout the nation, especially since California was one of the first states to issue a stay-at-home order.
The staff has been trying to make the most of the time while the coronavirus is in full force. “Since the pandemic, we have been restructuring the junior program and focusing on areas on improvement for coaching,” says John Alto, club manager of Learning Tree TTC.
Since the club caters to the younger demographic, Alto also says that he and the staff are trying to maintain email correspondence with the many youth players as well as with their families.
He also notes, “We understand our members may be in difficult financial positions at this time therefore we stopped charging membership and tuition as a result of the [shutdown].”
In the meantime, the Learning Tree TTC is trying to focus positively on the near future when the club will be reopened. “So far, we plan on hosting our annual summer camps to make up for the lost training time,” says Alto.
These camps focus on distinct levels of players as well as preparation for other tournaments. According to Learning Tree TTC’s website, the training is split up into US Nationals Preparation, Summer Break Camp for Beginners, and Thanksgiving Break, this last group referring to playing in the U.S. Open or the National American Teams Tournament.
Alto has some words of encouragement for his members: “To our players, above all, we hope that you and your family continue to be safe and healthy during these ever-changing times, but know that you are not alone and that we are all in this together.”
And with that message of solidarity, we wish Learning Tree TTC and its members the very best on reopening its doors to play the sport we love once the storm of coronavirus subsides.