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Nobody can be in two places at once but Morten Frost has tried his best in eight months as Performance Director at Badminton England.

In place since April, the Danish doyen has put his shoulder to the wheel on sweeping reforms of the performance arm of the nation’s favourite racket sport.

“When you come to realise the full scale of it, I must say it’s a daunting task,” Morten said.

“It’s a huge job. You need to be cloned into 20 different people to be in 20 different places at the same time, but I do the best I can and work as hard as I can to get there.”

Top of Morten’s lengthy list of priorities was to bolster the sport’s base at the National Badminton Centre (NBC).

The quality of the environment and performance support now available at the NBC underpins Badminton England’s new performance structure and wider culture change.

Frost said: “It was all about trying to tackle the environment and the whole training set-up.

“That has now been sorted. We have a very good atmosphere here.

“Players and coaches are enjoying it and everything is good. We have clear-cut rules and everyone knows where they stand.

“We have lots of meetings and lots of communication that involves everyone. We don’t want to be making any assumptions.”

An all-new national squad sits atop that structure and will now encompass all five disciplines, rather than just doubles as was previously the case.

Morten’s performance philosophy places an emphasis on subjectivity over objectivity with an accent on player’s potential rather than past results.

Undisputed world number one in men’s singles for seven years, Morten has placed a strong and renewed emphasis on strengthening English singles play.

“It is important we have a full squad and I think that is moving ahead quite nicely, a little bit quicker than I anticipated actually,” he said.

“Not to be misunderstood but we have got under the skin of players, we really have driven home some strong messages and we are seeing far better performance behaviours.”

The anchor to such an approach is the team in place to support the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and England Performance Programme.

England’s top players now have day-to-day access to world-leading practitioners in Sports Science and Sports Medicine, including physiotherapists, strength and conditioning practitioners, performance lifestyle advisors and a sports psychologist.

“You name it, it’s all there,” said Morten. “They are there to enhance the whole performance structure as we have it.

“We have had our fair share of injuries this year, particularly in the singles department.

“We have to face the fact that the physical standard of the players as they come into the programme is quite low, lower than I expected it to be.

“That has led to a lot of injuries and we had to find other ways of breaking players into the environment than we did in the first three or four months. It’s getting a lot, lot better now.”

There have been a number of memorable moments in Morten’s tenure thus far, particularly the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where Team England won three medals in badminton.

Ben Lane and Sean Vendy took men’s doubles silver in Birmingham, won a European bronze medal and recently reached the semi-finals of the Super 750 YONEX French Open and Super 300 HYLO Open.

DSC04646 Sean Vendy Ben Lane

Morten said: “I have been extremely satisfied with the performances of Ben and Sean.

“They have shown their full commitment, they have raised the bar and are now starting to beat the top players in the world.

“It’s very important for me that we create the right training environment for them. They need competition and we now have pairs who can push them in training and make it tough for them.

“The men’s doubles department is looking pretty solid.”

Elsewhere, Morten has played a part in the revival of the women’s doubles partnership between Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch.


He said: “There were some discussions before I arrived about whether Lauren and Chloe should continue as a partnership.

“We put it a bit on the back-burner but we have now revived it and all players involved are very happy with the approach we have taken.

“Playing women’s doubles is actually sharpening Lauren’s mixed doubles skills and one complements the other to the benefit of all.”

England’s world-leading para-badminton squad continued its remarkable run of success with three medals at November’s World Championships in Tokyo.


“It is such a strong programme,” said Morten. “Richard (Morris) as the head coach in Sheffield is working really, really well and we are seeing fine results.

“The big thing is to secure the pipeline of players. We have excellent players, but we don’t have many. It’s about having a strong pipeline so the next players keep coming through.”

A busy 2023 awaits for Morten and team with Olympic and Paralympic qualification windows opening for Paris 2024 and the world’s most prestigious badminton tournament returning to Birmingham in March.

On prospects for the New Year, he said: “I am always very, very realistic. It’s not that I don’t believe in what the players can do, but I’m a little bit on the cautious side. I like to be surprised!

“I would be extremely happy with a quarter-final at the YONEX All England. It’s probably the most competitive tournament in the world.

“I have enjoyed this challenge tremendously. I am one of the older Performance Directors but it comes with a vast experience.

“I think that’s exactly what we need now and I am just looking forward to the years to come. I’m very confident we will do good.”

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