Janis Baker from West Norfolk YMCA Junior Badminton Club tells us how she kept her members engaged and interested in badminton throughout the lockdown period.
What was the identified need to start work and what are we looking to achieve?
I run a number of sessions throughout the Kings Lynn area through schools, leisure centres and my junior badminton club, which engages a large number of players. Throughout the summer periods I put on summer camps to maintain interest levels and attract new players. With Covid-19 this has halted all my sessions and had resulted in no badminton delivery at all since the end of March! I decided to put on an outdoor badminton session in the local park as I knew there would be the interest and I was keen to give some of my players the opportunity to get back to some badminton!!
What did yourself and Badminton England do together to establish the project?
Once restrictions started to ease, I worked with my BE Relationship Manager to determine what the guidelines were and do the relevant actions (risk assessment and Covid-19 training). I knew of a suitable place to hold an outdoor badminton session and had sufficient equipment from many years of coaching to ensure I could run a session with the necessary social distancing requirements. I had also recently been sent a coach’s incentive bundle from Badminton England with T-shirts, drinks bottles and towels, which I was able to use for prizes on the day.
How we have achieved success?
I marketed the session around my network and was very quickly fully booked with 10 children. The children all had great fun, playing a few different games and using some different equipment such as the ‘fast shuttle’ which I’d picked up when I was in France some years back. The wind did provide a bit of a challenge, but we managed to get round this and use it as another fun element of the session – developing hand/eye coordination further! It’s also worth mentioning two of my children were really anxious about attending (as this was the first time they had seen their friends or been out) but once they got going they were fine and completely forgot about Covid!
What impact has the project had?
Setting up these sessions has really enabled me to engage with my players and help to maintain their enthusiasm for badminton during a really difficult time in lockdown. Working around the restrictions, and making sure we delivered safely was important – it really highlighted to importance being adaptable when possible! For many of the children it was the first time they had come together as a group following lockdown, so they were able to enjoy time with their peers, so that was a really positive impact for me.
And what did your attendees have to say?
Quote from George, aged 10:
‘It was great fun especially battling against the wind, I really enjoyed the smaller shuttle as it went quite far on the field’