Pete Jeffrey has been a part of the National Coaching team since retiring from playing in 2005 and in 2017 he took on the role as Head Coach for Badminton England. Pete will be sharing his thoughts, views and comments on all things badminton and giving an insight into his role as Head Coach and what his philosophy is for the future of English Badminton. Each month Pete will tackle a new topic and share his thoughts here, starting with his story and the journey that led him to the role of Head Coach.

Where it all started I started playing badminton in our back garden with my family aged just seven. From there my love for the sport grew and I went on to train at Redbridge Sports Centre, playing for Essex throughout my junior career. I was however a late developer in terms of representing England, with my first England appearance coming as a senior. Playing career My break into the England squad and national training set up came about after winning the Mixed Doubles title at the French Open in 1996. From here I went onto to win other European circuit titles, qualifying me for my first World Championships in Men’s Doubles in 1999.

I went on to play at two world championships, representing England five times and holding a best ranking of 11th in the world for mixed and the top 20 in the world for doubles. Illness, however, meant I missed most of 2003 and the qualification period for Athens. Having briefly returned to playing in late 2004, I eventually retired in 2005. Journey into coaching Coaching was something that always interested me and was where I believed I would end up eventually.

Throughout my playing days the tactical side of the game was something I was always really into and I loved the technical elements of the sport. This, alongside me wanting to help other people, meant that when the opportunity to do some coaching on the side during my final year of playing came about, I took it. This was mostly supporting younger England players coming through including previous three-time national champion Sarah walker. This helped me transition into coaching and I took my first coaching role within the national set up, assisting Julian Robertson as a freelance coach.

It was a great time for me to start coaching with the national squad, which went on to win three medals at the World Championships that year. Travelling with the squad at the time allowed me to learn so much from other coaches during a successful period. From here I became full time in the programme as the England U24 coach, with the remit of supporting the transitioning of players from juniors to seniors. Over time my remit changed to become a national coach supporting senior players and in 2017 I finally took on the role of Head Coach for the England Programme.

Along the way, I have now attended as a coach three Commonwealth Games, two Olympic Games and countless World Championships, which have provided some great memorable moments. A great coaching moment When looking back on my career to date, the 2011 World Championships in London stand out for me as a massive highlight and break-through moment. Overseeing Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier reaching the final and being runners-up from an unseeded draw was a great week. Looking back, it was incredible to see how well they performed that week and I take great pride in having helped them to prepare and execute their game plans. A truly special week!

To this day I still love developing a good game plan, working out opponents, setting a plan which players can deliver against and fine-tuning during the match. Getting the tactics right really motivates me and is very rewarding. I believe one way we can look to gain an edge on the world stage is through being adaptable in our approach to a game and at coming up with a game plan that can disrupt and allow us to compete with the world’s best.

Changing role, changing responsibilities Throughout my time I’ve been responsible for pretty much every area of the programme at one point or another. This adaptability I experienced as a young coach working across all disciplines helped me to prepare for my current role as Head Coach for Badminton England.

One major difference in my current role is that you are not just coaching players, you are working with and trying to have an impact on the rest of the coaching team and trying to develop them at the same time. Coming next month? Pete will share his views around the importance of character and developing it within players.

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