Badminton Wales led the way for Disability Badminton from 2000 onwards, staging the World Disability Badminton Championships, the first 4 Nations leg and pulling together the 4 Nations working group as well as developing a Disability Coach workshop that is still evident today. However, since 2008 there has been no structured Disability Development programme in Wales.
Badminton isn’t currently a Paralympic sport; however, a strong application for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will determine its fate in December 2014.
This proposal for Badminton Wales is based on initiating a Disability Development programme throughout 2014, so that if the sport does achieve its goal of Paralympic status, then Wales will be in a position to have players that could potentially make selection. Regardless of Paralympic status, the sport will have the makings of an ongoing established development programme.
One of Badminton Wales' main goals should be to produce a player(s) capable of and eligible for selection for the 2020 GB Paralympic Squad. The Disability Development programme will form the foundations to build upon this and the structure to identify and develop players, with this goal being the ultimate end objective.
2014 – The future
In order to kick start the development of Disability Badminton in Wales the following proposal is designed to initiate a stage by stage programme, through working with Badminton Wales' strengths and ultimately establishing a long term sustainable Disability Development programme.
Currently, Disability Badminton in Wales has a low profile and yet the Federation of Disability Sports Wales (FDSW) has an excellent profile, with medallists at the London 2012 Paralympic Games creating news on a regular basis. This, in turn, encourages public involvement and interest.
The proposal is to follow the path below: (Phase 1)
1. Badminton Wales makes a statement of intent to initiate the creation of a Disability Development programme across Wales. This should be profiled on the web, capturing the attention of all coaches, players, clubs, Local Authorities, NGB Development Officers, Disability Development officers as well as known Disability agencies. In the first instance, this statement should attract people who would be interested in the project and to ask for their 'support'; and consequently this will provide our workforce. The timescale for this would be March to April 2014.
The content, passion and desire of this statement/letter is of the utmost importance and should be devised and developed by Badminton Wales' CEO and endorsed by Badminton Wales board members. Badminton Wales' ownership of this proposal for the future development of the programme is essential.
2. Once an interest is expressed, from individuals, local authorities, etc., it is vital that they are immediately communicated with in order to ascertain what they can provide and to what level they would like to be involved. Name, contact details etc., are maintained on a data base and information gained from these individuals will shape the plan for the programme. A follow up article or profile should be created and distributed as above. The timescale for this would be May 2014.
3. Establish a Disability working group; consisting of the individuals that expressed an interest, a representative from Badminton Wales, representatives from Local Authorities, etc. This group will be active, and can coordinate and develop the plan, both working independently and collectively. The timescale for this would be June to July 2014 once interest is expressed and the level of commitment to the programme is established.
4. Development and delivery of a Disability Workshop, designed to raise awareness and educate coaches on how to set up groups/hubs and to utilise their current coaching skills. It is anticipated that delivery of the workshop will be between July and December 2014. The venue would be based on information obtained above.
5. The Cardiff Disability Club; is this the only Disability Badminton Club in Wales? Open communication with the club would be very important and the establishment of a Club Development Plan would be key. Efforts should be made to identify coaches to assist which would, in turn, increase the number of players. This club can be profiled separately to the above, in an attempt to create the first 'Hub' for Disability Badminton in Wales. Funding can be sourced through local funding avenues and a separate plan of action developed with the current staff.
At this stage, with the information gathered and expressed interest from various parties, it would be appropriate to step back, discuss the possibilities, identify the potential and develop realistic aims, with regards to Local Authorities or regions across Wales. It should be clear where the focus should be, who should be involved at each stage and what can be utilised to implement a plan of action.
At all times, communication and profile is essential; people must see that Badminton Wales is driving the project and individuals involved must feel part of the plan.
Outline ‘Long Term’ Targets
• A Welsh Player is selected as part of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics GB Squad.
• Two to three Disability Hubs in Wales, with four to six (disability specific?) coaches operating at each. Clubs will be set up using appropriate local grants with support from their Disability Sport Wales Development Officer. Help to obtain this is essential and Badminton Wales should be seen to be providing this support.
• Coach Education needs to be developed and sustained; stage a one day Disability workshop (highlighted above) appropriate to where the need is, with a minimum of one per year. Request profile of the workshop through various avenues and presentation at the Coaches Conference. Invite Volunteers and parents to attend the workshop as well, to maximise the impact.
• Stage the 4 Nations Event as usual in Cardiff in September. Increase the profile of this event and invite local partners, individuals, coaches, and players etc. to attend, support or volunteer. Host the first Steering Group Meeting alongside the
4 Nations Meeting. Additionally, use the Welsh International to stage a Disability 'Open' day (Jubilee Hall), including an exhibition match, with players being able to watch the main event.
• Current players and new players of a high standard need to be channelled and supported into a 'squad' programme, and Wales should look to establish a National Welsh Para-Badminton Squad. This will be excellent profiling not only for the players but Badminton Wales as well. As these players may be stretched across Wales, coaching support should be sourced to provide regular training, or allow players to be involved appropriately in mainstream programmes and all players should be monitored.
• Cardiff Hub – assist and develop this club – Think BIG. This club could be the South East Wales Centre of Excellence for Disability Badminton.
• Create a Disability Working group to oversee programme, and ensure every individual is active within it.
This proposal has been devised by Lyndon Williams and Leanne Brown. It is in the early stage of development and is open to suggestions and discussion.