Alex and Ben Lane grew up immersed in a family of racket-sport success. Their mother Sue Williams won consecutive Badminton Nationals titles in 1993 and 1994, her two parents both played tennis for England and her sister did too-she even beat Stephi Graff in Under-12s!
“They didn’t just play Badminton to start off with because I wanted them to play a whole variety of sports.
“I wanted them to have an all-round background in multiple sports, then they could choose to specify later on.
“They played tennis and badminton at County level, they played for Exeter City F.C. and even played golf regularly at a decent level-they still play golf now to relax away from Badminton.”
Of course, badminton professionals could not continue to risk injury by playing football or induce negative transfer of racket skills from tennis to badminton:
“The first thing to go was the tennis, because it used to clash a lot of the time. Ben played football right up until Under-19, then he got injured playing against full-grown men-a risk he decided not worth taking with his professional badminton career taking off.”
Sue has made many sacrifices over her life for her kids, but has no regrets about doing so:
“I would never say I regretted or begrudged making any of these sacrifices though. My parents made the same sacrifices to take me to all my competitions when I was at their stage, so it was an easy decision for me.
“I don’t see it as a sacrifice, of course it would cost a lot of money and all my spare time from work would be spent driving them around, but my kids have had a lovely lifestyle.
“Literally every weekend I’d be travelling, and I couldn’t even just take them to the nearest airport because as juniors they’d always travel as a team from London!
“As a parent it does affect your job and your social life-for vast parts of the last 15 years there was literally no weekend-I would not have a weekend free.
“Had they been the same age it may have been easier, but with Alex being two years older than Ben they played at different times in completely different locations.
“They have enjoyed doing their sport and I have loved going with them.”
More to follow later in the week regarding the benefits of being a parent in sport!