New for 2017, the awesome foursome who form the Racket Pack will become familiar names over the coming months as Badminton England embarks on a mission to revolutionise the delivery of badminton to primary school aged children.
Launched at the YONEX All England, The Racket Pack is set to give children aged five to 11 the chance to learn the basics of badminton in fun, bitesize modules and collect all the skills needed to emulate their favourite character.
And whether they play in primary schools or junior clubs and leisure facilities across the country, youngsters will be able to track their Racket Pack credentials against an award scheme using their Racket Pack passport, in order to support retention into adolescence.
More than 2.4 million primary school aged children take part in weekly sport but little over 100,000 are currently getting the opportunity to pick up a racket and step onto the badminton court.
That is a statistic that the Racket Pack is looking to change both in and out of school, in order to promote badminton participation for life and enable the early identification of talent.
So whether a child is destined to become the next Chris or Gabby Adcock, or just a badminton enthusiast for life, The Racket Pack will provide the early pathway for their development within the biggest racket sport on the planet.
“Our intention is that The Racket Pack will be able to recruit over 37,500 children by the end of next year and then we will look to expand it,” said Jenna Smith, Programme Manager for Badminton England.
“The objective is simple really – move badminton up the radar with the younger age groups from being a top 20 sport to being a top five sport.
“Our England players all say they started playing at the ages of six or seven so it is our job to improve the first step of the player pathway ensuring that children are learning the basic skills correctly and the appropriate exit routes are in place to allow any rising stars to shine as bright as they can.
“We want to make badminton to be as accessible as football and even short tennis.”
Over a year in the making following teacher and coach consultation, The Racket Pack will be delivered in the form of six week modules across Key Stages One (5-7 year olds) and Two (7-9 year olds and 9-11year olds), covering half-term blocks to fit in with school schedules.
Sessions can be delivered in any environment, regardless of size, while equipment will be suited to the size of the participating child.
Sessions will be delivered during both curriculum and extra-curricular time with a clear link to the local badminton club and community. While delivery will predominantly take place in the school setting, it has been designed to be used by clubs and leisure centres as well.
The Racket Pack is now available to deliver. Interested? For more information visit www.badmintonengland.co.uk/racketpack
Ben Lane and Jess Pugh produced one of the stand-out wins of their fledging careers at the YONEX US Open by defeating an established world top 20 pair for the first time in competition.