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Little over three weeks remain until the start of the Big Hit, a week-long celebration of everything badminton that will run between September 13-17.

The Big Hit forms part of Badminton England’s ‘The Time is Now’ campaign, which focuses on encouraging members back onto court while showcasing the sport to potential new players, and highlighting the great work employed by clubs across the country in order to reopen in the wake of the pandemic.

During Big Hit Week, facilities up and down England will be opening their doors with access to a range of family events, outdoor badminton tournaments, social evenings, and even just the chance to hit a shuttlecock with a friend.

Whether you are new to the game, a former player who has been inspired to pick up a racket again, or a long-time fan who can help inspire a new generation, there are a range of opportunities for all to help grow the game.

And as the feast of activities draw ever closer, we’re taking a look at some of the reasons why you should get involved next month, with participants from various parts of the country offering an insight into their experiences.

This week we’re focusing on the enjoyment badminton offers, with Blackburn Badminton League secretary Claire Banfield citing the inclusivity and accessibility she has witnessed in more than 50 years of her involvement in the sport as two of its biggest draws.

Claire, whose primary club is Westholme BC, said: “Whenever I look around the different sports centres, I always see people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

”They love just batting the shuttle back and forth across the net, making their opposition run around the court.

“It’s an easy sport to get in to – once you’ve mastered the serve then you can play and get into a rally. I know some people worry about a lack of hand-eye coordination, but really anyone can play our sport and I’d encourage them to give it a go.”

Twenty per cent of badminton players are aged over 54 while 44 per cent are female, highlighting how the sport caters for all.

Such social benefits associated with badminton are also apparent to Anna Collis, a former England youth international star and founder of SMASHIT Sports, which offers badminton coaching from the age of four.

Anna, from north Hertfordshire, said: “One of the main strengths of badminton is that you can play singles, doubles and mixed, so it’s a really sociable sport. It’s really good in terms of meeting new people and forming friendships.

“It’s also just really good exercise. People can be surprised how much of a good workout it is. It’s not just running on a treadmill – it’s another type of cardio, which I think is much more fun.

“Badminton is a great way to be competitive, stay fit and active and reap the off-court benefits as well such as giving time to yourself and enjoying the social side to the sport.”

Coventry NSB

Engaging with badminton can yield huge rewards in terms of mental and physical health, with regular court action reducing an individual’s chance of coronary heart disease, depression or dementia.

Newcastle Medicals BC secretary Helen O’Donnell is engaged with creating a new junior section of the club, and she shares the belief that badminton is a sport that offers a unique level of enjoyment on and off the court.

She said: “Badminton is great for fitness – you don’t really realise how hard you are working yourself.

“There’s a great community feel and you use different muscles and build that up each session – you can see the improvements after each session. It’s constant progress but with that community feel too.

“It’s inclusive and I think especially for our club we’ve had quite a lot of people turning up as beginners and then playing for the teams.

“They’re doing really well, helping each other out, giving advice and it brings everyone together.”

Claire added: “Due to the pandemic some players might have tried new things because they weren’t able to access courts. But I’m confident the pull of badminton can bring them back to the sport.

“It’s fun, it’s competitive, it’s sociable, and it has huge health benefits – it’s brilliant.”

If you would like to find your nearest place to play, contact 

Learn more about Badminton England’s ‘The Time is Now’ campaign here. If you are a club or coach looking for ideas on how to get involved with the Big Hit, visit the resource hub here.

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