We caught up with former England player and Badminton England Coach Anthony Clark to see learn more about his badminton career as a player and now a coach.
So, tell us about how long you’ve been involved with badminton, or have worked for Badminton England? What is your role all about?
I have been involved with badminton since the day I was born. My parents were both no1 in Derbyshire and my sister and I spent many happy years in badminton halls. It was inevitable that I went on my own journey of playing at the age of 12. At 14 I represented England as a junior and then at the age of 18, I was invited to Milton Keynes to be part of the England senior squad. I spent 16 years playing as a professional. Which was truly wonderful.
I have worked for BE as a freelance coach for the last 3 years. My role is to work with four fantastic athletes- Chris Langridge, Chloe Birch, Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis.
What’s your favourite thing about your role? What do you find most rewarding?
I have to say I am incredibly fortunate to work with 4 athletes who give everything to be the best that they can be. I have built very strong relationships with them all and its just a pleasure to be able to work with them every day. My favourite part of my role pass on my knowledge to them all and give them the tools to achieve their dreams and goals. It’s incredibly rewarding to help them improve their techniques, their skills and to see them push themselves each day. Then when they perform well in tournaments and I can see all the hard work they have put in paying off, it melts my heart. I am so proud of them all.
How has the COVID-19 lockdown impacted you? What have you been up to during this time?
Of course, the lockdown has affected everyone. I have to say that it’s allowed me to spend a lot of time with my wife and kids. Which was great. It also given me the time to work on my garden, which I wouldn’t normally have the time to do. My wife has even grown her own vegetables, they have actually turned out pretty well.
I have also been working on my project, which was to analyse the top 16 pairs in all three of the doubles events. I have spent roughly 100 hours so far on this project and so without lockdown, this would have not been possible. So every cloud!!
And finally, what would be your favourite sporting moment and why?
As an athlete my favourite achievement was reaching both the mens doubles and mixed doubles at the 2006 World championships. I am the only male athlete from Europe to ever achieve that feat. Unfortunately I lost in both finals. But to get there was simply incredible.
My favourite moment as a coach was 1) coaching the Team GB team at the European games last year where we took home the Gold and Silver in mixed doubles, Gold in the mens doubles and Silver in the ladies doubles and Silver in the ladies singles. 2) Coaching Marcus and Lauren to the Thailand open title 3) Coaching Marcus and Lauren to their first ever All England Semi Final.
Being there to witness my players achieve these amazing results is why we all put in such hard work.