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Let’s Talk Badminton was launched in May as part of our drive to better understand experiences, support return to play initiatives and collaborate on ways to come back stronger as a sport.

As a badminton community, we are stronger together and with that in mind, we set up Let’s Talk Badminton as the biggest ever community consultation we have undertaken.

There are various ways for people to get involved, from the National Player Survey to the Community discussion wall, while the return to play map is being consistently updated by clubs who are getting back up and running.

As part of the consultation, we have also run 12 focus groups for different audiences including clubs, coaches, volunteers, tournament organisers and members as well as those involved in safeguarding, education and facility management. 

These groups have allowed us to get a sense of how people are feeling about returning to the court and the challenges they may be facing 

All elements of the consultation will be collated to produce a summary report that will help guide our future work, development and support we provide. 

What have we learned so far?

The return to play map has provided evidence of the growing desire for players to return to the court while our surveys have also offered encouraging findings.

A heartening 71% of players have said they will return to play as soon as restrictions allow, while 37% have said the impact of lockdowns and the pandemic had made them keen to play more.

In addition, 63% of respondents agreed they would like to play more often than they usually do.

The primary motivations for returning to the court have been shared between the social and fitness benefits, with meeting up with friends being the part players have missed the most.

The biggest barrier players are facing is finding facilities to play – playing at clubs based in leisure centres are the most popular places players plan to return to – while having someone to play with would persuade players to return sooner.

Not being able to play badminton has been tough for those who love the sport. 73% say the lack of action has had a detrimental affect on their physical wellbeing, while 64% feel it has had a similar affect on their mental wellbeing.

Competitive badminton

A clear majority (83%) of players participate in some form of competition, with 78% playing league badminton.

Two-thirds of those who do not currently play league badminton would be interested in doing so, with the most common reasons for a lack of current participation being a lack of awareness of the leagues and opportunities that exist locally.

League players rate their current experiences as 7/10, identifying the level of competition and number of matches as factors which could be improved, while 70% of players would like to take part in more social competitions.

Pre-Covid participation

Before the pandemic, players played for an average of 2-3 hours at a time, twice a week.

The most popular times for playing were weekday evenings but there has been a desire expressed by a number of players for increased weekend sessions.

If players are to play more often, reduced costs, a higher number of courts being available and more pay and play sessions were earmarked as likely persuasive reasons to do so, with finding a welcoming environment and the positive impact on physical fitness the two most important factors in the badminton experience for those who play the sport.

That’s just part of what we’ve learned so far and we still want to hear from you.

To have your say, head to the Let’s Talk Badminton Hub to help continue broadening our knowledge of how we can ensure the badminton community maximise their return to play opportunities and enjoy being back on court to the full.