Now we should turn to the question of education.
Many parents are not knowledgeable regarding the financial returns of badminton. Even so they may see the attainment of high success as an impossible task. Hence parents will still encourage their children into a normal education. Who can blame them? It is important to note that the average IQ is about 100. Einstein arguably had an IQ of 160 and IQ’s of 220 have been seen occasionally. If a child which has an IQ of more than about 130 is found, then you must ask is it a good idea for them to give all their energy to the simple task of hitting a ball of feathers over a net? In this case. should they make a greater contribution to the world in some other chosen field? I would always advise that if you are gifted and have the chance to follow a high-flying education in Oxford or Cambridge, then do the world a favour and drop badminton. Go and develop some miracle product such as free energy for the world!!
Many young 18 year olds may be border line with educational opportunities and badminton ability. This is the most difficult of decisions. Ideally the national association should support education by providing evening training so that part time education can be continued. In Denmark this is provided by the clubs. Even more important is that when a young player has tried and failed on the international scene there has to be an exit strategy. In the case of badminton Denmark they allow a four year education at “gymnasium” instead of three and they actively help failed players to start an education when in reality they don’t have the sufficient grades to support it!
The club system in Denmark is the major support in the field of border line players. Here the cluster principle is maintained. The players support each other throughout the age groups. Most importantly the younger players get support from the older and the older still have a good social framework close to home to play long into their 20’s or 30’s. This is called “the principle of locality”. Players who are forced to travel too far to play will stop.
Occasionally there will be problems with the national association who may have plans which don’t match the players requirements.
Who is more important – the player or the coach?
Players may be invited to a national centre 200km away and with trainers who don’t provoke the right chemistry or don’t have a background themselves which inspires excellence through their own experience. I can only suggest that if you wanted to learn to play the piano at concert level you would hire an experienced concert pianist. So why would you hire a well meaning county player to be national coach? Not all ex-international players make good coaches – but it is a prerequisite in my opinion. The only option here for you is to find a good private sponsor and arrange everything yourself. The national association has a duty to enter the events you give them notice of and private training can be arranged in many places in the world. Denmark sees a regular flow of foreign players at the various academies such as the one run by Peter Gade at Gentofte.
So in a perfect world all players would be associated with a reasonably local training center which we can call a club or a county organisation. The important thing is to emulate the Danish club cluster system. International players should play and train within this system and the county championship should be of major importance – just as in Denmark. Not to do this means that the kernel of young players from 18-25 have nowhere to go and nobody to learn from. This chain of players is basically non existent in England – and that’s why England has not won the All England since 2005. In fact many people believe that day Milton Keynes was conceived was the beginning of the downfall of English badminton. It signalled the beginning of centralisation and the end of the principle of locality.