Elizabeth Cann inspires more females to pick up a racket!
With the number of female members at local clubs on a downward trend, the South Kesteven Badminton Academy took it upon themselves to address the issue by creating a women and girls session that was affordable and accessible to the local community. The satellite club allows women and girls to play badminton in a friendly and welcoming environment with the opportunity to receive coaching as well as play for fun.
Mothers and daughters are encouraged to attend together, which helps to create a positive atmosphere with some healthy competition between family members. With a flexible coach leading the session it is very much personalised to the participants needs with the mother and daughter element making it a social occasion between friends and family of all ages. Participants have also been rewarded for attendance by receiving a free racket after 6 weeks of coming along to sessions.
The satellite club is targeted at all age groups with an emphasis on getting more young girls 14+ playing the sport, with the increase in adult participants an added bonus. By encouraging the parents of the young people to attend this helps to break down the barrier of transport as well as having a familiar face or someone you know there when you first attend.
By providing the participants with a flexible coach who can offer a mixture of coaching, fun and games and the chance to just play, the participants are given the opportunity to tailor the session themselves depending on their needs. This relaxed and flexible environment and the ability to receive extra coaching (if you would like) is one of the key reasons why participants continue to attend each week.
The club has also had the benefit of the former England badminton number one, five times national champion and Commonwealth bronze medallist, Elizabeth Cann attending on three occasions, providing the participants with a reward for their continued engagement and inspiring them to continue playing.
Participants are charged £2 per session making it more than sustainable with the current number of participants and free access to courts. Although run by a Level 2 coach, the sessions are also assisted by a Level 1 coach from the hub club and young volunteer from the school. The women and girls that attend are encouraged to continue their enjoyment at two local clubs, South Kesteven Badminton Academy or Grantham Badminton Club, which are both successfully run and Premier Club accredited, providing the perfect exit route. Grantham BC now has nine female members, with the women and girls session playing a big part in this increase.
The mother and daughter session has proven to be a great success with a regular and dedicated attendance who offer a fantastic environment for newcomers and regulars alike. It is also the perfect steppingstone between casual and club level badminton for local women, providing a great service to local clubs and female population. The success of the session has led to Elizabeth Cann attending and wanting to come back on two further occasions stating “This is the second week I have attended the sessions in Grantham and it has been good to see all of the girls so enthused by the sport and putting into practice what I demonstrated previously.”