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Badminton England’s successful Young Leader Academy returned this month to give standout young shuttlers the chance to improve their leadership skills.

Clubs across the country nominated up to two young members to participate in the weekend session, and 24 exceptional applicants were invited to the National Badminton Centre over the 11-12 March.

Team building, communication, observation and competition organisation were all on the agenda in Milton Keynes, with enough time on Saturday evening to practice teamwork at a local escape room.

Badminton England Relationship Manager Julie Pike hailed the Young Leader Academy as essential foundation-laying for the future health of badminton clubs throughout the country.

“Succession planning is an important part for any club to ensure the club is sustainable long into the future,” said Julie.

“Providing juniors who show a willingness and desire to be more involved by increasing their opportunities allows them a chance to grow in a positive environment that promotes personal growth.

“Many of our young leaders have had this first positive experience within their clubs and are keen to develop their skills to give back to the sport they love.

“They aspire to be our coaches, umpires, line judges and committee members of the future.

“Our clubs can nurture and mentor them to ensure they want to be part of the club and the sport for a lifetime!”

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A Q&A session with Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis kickstarted the weekend’s activities, and all attendees departed enthused and motivated to start playing a leading role in their home clubs.

This involves volunteering to coach younger players and act as role models to the next generation of English shuttle stars.

Julie said: “The skills developed through volunteering at their club are invaluable.

“This could be through increasing their confidence and communication skills by helping coach the younger players within the club, or learning new skills through supporting to run club competitions.

“It provides an opportunity to give back to the club that has nurtured them and supported their growth as a player, and it helps the younger players within the clubs to have older juniors who they can aspire to be.

“Volunteering as a whole is good for both physical and mental health and ultimately helping to develop the skillset they will require when progressing into future careers.”

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