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Inspiring Women and Girls

Here at Badminton England, we love hearing about how you play and more importantly, how your world is better with Badminton! This month, we’ve been hearing about some truly inspirational stories from female participants who have seen some of the amazing benefits that Badminton can have for women of all ages.

Claire participates in an Everyone Active No Strings Session and has even surprised herself with what she’s been able to achieve despite her Parkinson’s disease: “It had been several years since I had played, with the added excitement of a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at age 47 and the challenges: physically and socially, that accompany it.

I still never quite know what will happen when I get on court. However sometimes, when I am struggling to walk, once I begin to play my ‘memory’ takes over and I can move around the court. When I grind to a halt, which I do from time to time, someone else will take my place. Joy (badminton co-ordinator) has also had me sitting on a chair to play so I could join in or practising a specific skill so I can still participate and even improve – I really didn’t think that would be possible but it is.   

Everyone’s Parkinson’s is different and there’s no cure, but I’d recommend badminton as a great way to keep fit, maintain co-ordination and enjoy friendly competition. I can still deliver a decent smash on a good day!” 

Claire’s No Strings Badminton Co-ordinator, Joy, had a similarly inspirational journey to inspire other women of all abilities to get involved:

“My challenge was to be able to beat my husband and his friends at Badminton and I was trying desperately to find someone or somewhere to build up to that level. That’s when I started looking out for Badminton clubs who would be ok to take in someone at my standard. I somehow managed to play with the 50+ club and was given a warm and welcoming experience.

Thanks to the help and encouragement I got from the friends at the 50+ club I improved considerably at the game. With great support and encouragement from Everyone Active and Badminton England, I went on to do my Level 1 in Badminton Coaching and Umpiring.

With the continued support of Badminton England and Everyone Active, I was able to run No Strings Badminton sessions in Kenilworth and some especially for women. And that’s when I got to meet some incredible women, including Claire. Claire is full of energy and would not let something like Parkinson’s stop her from playing Badminton, her smashes are killer shots! Slowly we have built up a lovely team of women who are all exploring the game of badminton and having a great time at every session.

This has been my way of giving back to the sport and the people who helped me in my journey to become a better player. If you are thinking of returning to Badminton after a long time or developing further, No Strings Badminton is the right session to try out. It’s a social, friendly environment where no one is left behind.”

No Strings Badminton can be a fantastic tool to help grow your club – to access the resource, click here. Many thanks to Claire, Joy and the team at Everyone Active for sharing their story.

We’ve also seen the success of an All Girls group set up as part of Colne Badminton Club.

Colne Badminton Club set up a pioneering female academy to encourage young girls and teenagers to get involved in badminton, building confidence and inspiring the next generation of players with outstanding success.

From its inception, more than half of the 15 participants have gone on to affiliate as club members. The sessions were run by Sharon de Maine and Martha, a young female coach that Badminton England supported through her level one qualification to help Sharon run the sessions.

Head Coach Sharon de Maine: “Running this group in the summer proved ideal as the quieter time of year means it is also the best time to move them up into clubs and they are confident enough to do so. The girls were so quiet to begin with we had to employ some manic salsa music to raise the noise level so they actually started chatting to one another! Importantly, there was some real development in skills and some brilliant confidences developed. It is definitely a different challenge and we are grateful for the opportunity as we have a greater understanding of what girls need to stay in sport.”

This is just a snapshot of some of the fantastic work our female coaches and participants have achieved over the course of 2018 and we know this will only continue to grow in the new year. If your club would like to be involved, click here to find out how you can apply for grant funding to help set up sessions similar to these.