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24 October, 2023

More than 50 clubs and coaches from a variety of locations descended on Milton Keynes, for the 2023 Club & Coach Conference at the National Badminton Centre.

The Conference was designed to connect and educate those who are key to the development of grassroots badminton as coach developers, clubs and coaches shared their expertise.

Following some glowing feedback from an inspiring weekend, plans are already being made for next year, with the hope of growing the event to attract more grassroots clubs to attend from across the country.

Over the weekend of 14-15 October, attendees received a warm welcome from Badminton England staff on arrival before the conference kicked off with an introduction from Sue Storey, CEO, who talked through Badminton England’s recently launched strategy.

This was followed by Ross Reid, Development and Performance Manager, who talked about his vision for the pathway and introduced the new junior framework which is currently being developed.

Closing the morning session, Vic Brown, Safeguarding Manager, introduced herself and her team and the work they are doing to ensure the sport creates safe environments within communities.

The conference covered a multitude of topics, including focusing on being at the heart of communities through grassroots badminton. In workshops attendees heard from clubs who have been successful in a variety of areas which has supported growth and a thriving culture.

Four club speakers provided insight and helpful tips covering important areas including increasing female participation and extending club reach.

Sessions for the coaching element took place on court with Richard Morris (GB Para-Badminton Head Coach) as players from the para badminton squad helped deliver a session on coaching players with disabilities.

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This was followed by lead coach developers Steve Bish & Stephen Prichard delivering sessions on the coaching skills clubs simply cannot do without.

A key theme of the conference was the opportunity to network with both Badminton England staff and other clubs and coaches.

The impact and importance was highlighted in the feedback received. Mervin Chengabroyen commented, “Having the opportunity to talk in person with other people on how they run their clubs, what they do & how they do it – it has been amazing just talking to other people in the same position.”

Julie Pike, Clubs Manager said, “We could not have wished for the first conference to have gone better. It has been so valuable bringing our badminton community together and facilitating conversations on what clubs have implemented to overcome challenges.

“I think everyone left the conference feeling inspired and motivated to make positive changes.”

Smash Badminton said, “It was an awesome day meeting some inspiring and superb individuals! Thank you for hosting such an incredible event for us.”

Ian Robinson, a Hertfordshire coach, added, “The conference was fast paced, lively, interesting, interactive, and challenging. There was plenty of time to reflect and ask questions.”

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On Saturday evening, attendees were invited to use the courts which was an opportunity many could not let pass them by. Several attendees were excited to step on the hallowed courts where the country’s top talent train.

Planning has now turned to next year’s event which Badminton England hope will attract more clubs and coaches – a save the date will be going out imminently, so watch this space and be sure to get involved.

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