Badminton was introduced in the South Wilts area as an organised sport, by long-standing local residents John and Pauline Hauting, in 1966. The Hautings have supported the game ever since, as coaches and organisers, moving into Landford Village Hall when it opened in 1993. Although there are four, weekly badminton sessions at the Village Hall, none is specifically for younger people or beginners interested in trying the game. So, local players decided to mark the Hauting’s half-century of involvement by emulating the way they began, by organising a free try-out event, aimed mainly at young people and novices.
Advice and Guidance - was obtained from Badminton England, and the Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership. These organisations enabled us to engage the services of two local qualified coaches, who brought with them not only expertise in playing the game and running inclusive events, but also the essential Public Liability Insurance cover, and extended DBS. Because we used qualified coaches, Badminton England agreed to provide a “Racket Pack” free of charge, delivered to the venue. In discussion with the coaches, who visited the venue and met beforehand, it was decided not to limit numbers, as the venue, with two courts and a viewing gallery, could accommodate all-comers. The coaches had experience of running events for a wide range of numbers.
Funding - Application was made to the Landford Community Partnership and South Wiltshire Area Board, for joint funding of the estimated total cost of £250. Both applications were approved in full. A report was requested after the event. The greatest cost was publicity, (£70 for flyers). Hall hire was £20. Other costs included catering and travel. A full account will be rendered to the funding bodies once all costs are covered.
Publicity - 500 flyers were displayed at the venue, the local shop, on local noticeboards, and in ‘satchel post’ at the local primary schools. Flyers were also distributed by current players to their friends and contacts. It was designed, including imagery from the Sports Partnership, to indicate that the event was for young people, but no set age range was specified, so as not to deter other novices from attending. The same consideration applied when deciding not to ask people to book in advance.
Timing - The session was organised to run for an afternoon during the half term holiday. A 1pm start and 4pm finish was agreed with the coaches. The final hour was set aside for the presentation to John and Pauline Hauting.
The Event - Participants started arriving from 1pm onwards, and by 1.30pm there were twenty people taking part. By the close, this has risen to 22, the final number. In addition, several current and former players arrived to witness the event, and congratulate the Hautings.
The coaches’ input was designed to be inclusive, and keep all participants involved and learning, no matter their age, size, gender or previous experience. Short periods of verbal instruction and demonstration were interspersed with organised games involving everyone. Apart from two short breaks for rehydration, all the participants were active throughout the three hours, with many continuing to practice their newly acquired skills right up to the 5pm deadline.
Conclusion - The Free Badminton Try-out Day reached its intended audience, and identified a significant local unmet demand for badminton coaching for young people and novices. It demonstrated the importance of qualified expert coaching, support from the sport governing bodies, and good local facilities.
Recommendations - Planning should begin immediately for the provision of local, regular badminton coaching for young and novice players.
- This event would not have been possible without the help of:
- Graham Belbin and Helen Higgins, Accredited Badminton Coaches
- Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership
- Landford Community Partnership
- Badminton England
- Landford Village Hall
- Badminton Tuesday group players
- John and Pauline Hauting
- Jos Platt
- Dick Dickson
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