Demontration of Net Shot
I loved working with the players but, I hadn’t enough time to spend personally with each player to help them more. This was corrected in the second course. Despite having less attendees I still insisted on finding another good coach, which then allowed me to do more both in groups and on a more personal level.
And yet I still wasn’t happy. I still felt there was more we could do to help the players learn faster and lock in the new skills. So, for the next residential badminton course in March, I’ll be introducing more changes to speed up player’s development at every level.
One of the key issues for me at the outset was ensuring that we were not running the courses purely on a numbers basis. Others can do that but that’s not what is important to me.
Yes, we could have taken on 32 players as we had the space. With 8 beautiful wood sprung badminton courts to play on, it was easy to accommodate the numbers. But, could we really have given you the attention you deserve and desire? I don’t think so.
It would have been great from a business perspective to have 32 paying players on court. We could have made a reasonable profit. But, it was more important to me to establish the credibility of the coaching, sending players home with a bunch of skills and thoughts they hadn’t arrived with. This was, and still is my underlying, heartfelt goal and I won’t be tempted to the “dark side” by the lure of money.
Where quality counts…
Quality is imperative. It’s important to deliver this in so many areas relating to these courses.
1) Information provided before you arrive on the course. We’ve listened to your feedback and consider our information pack, emailed two weeks prior to the start of the course, tells you everything you need to know to find and about the venue.
2) Our communication from the first date you make an enquiry. Overall, emails are answered within 24 hours unless we’re away, so that you get the answer you require quickly. Occasionally, I’ve telephoned applicants to get to know more about their badminton needs to ensure we can deliver everything they’re looking for and more.
3) The venue. As a sporting venue, Lilleshall has it all. The main building, once a manor house, has a certain feel to it. There’s usually plenty other athletes there from many different sports e.g. GB Gymnastics Team etc. It gives a nice feeling of being in a multi-sport venue. The rooms could be better. They’re basic, but there again, most of the weekend is spent on court, in the food hall (very nice food too) or in the bar.
4) Shuttles. This is perhaps the area where we can also define quality best. Players who read my blog and forum posts know I am fanatical over shuttles. I’ve lost count of the number of brands I’ve tested. I don’t just hit them, I speed test, I test for consistency and I then dissect the shuttle to see what’s inside the base. Is it true cork or a composite and small amount of cork – it makes a difference. Having done all of this testing, I only choose what I consider to be excellent shuttles. That’s why I choose Yonex Aerosensa 40 shuttles. If we had the budget, I would buy Aerosensa 50 shuttles but frustratingly, they’re just that little bit too expensive for our budget.
As players will testify many times over, you do not pay to come on my residential course to hit lousy shuttles. I know of many horror stories relating to other residential courses where players spent too much time complaining about the shuttles.
At the end of the day, you come on a course to learn. To do this, you need to hit good shuttles. Even our knock up shuttles are in good condition and equal or better than some clubs match shuttles. This is not a boast but based on a comment by a former attendee. Some of the players commented to me how delighted they were when we opened the box of shuttles to reveal the Yonex brand.
Without doubt, aside from the cost of the venue, shuttles are the biggest cost to the weekend. And I won’t compromise. I’d rather put the price of the course up a few pounds rather than change to a lower grade shuttle.
5) The other aspect of the course that defines its quality is the coaching program itself. Whilst we cover a lot of topics over the weekend, the emphasis is always on development of skill. It doesn’t matter if we leave a few topics out. After all, it’s impossible to cover every aspect of the game in a weekend. However, we now cover less topics but go deeper ensuring each player has a more thorough understanding of the topic and has improved considerably before we move on.
6) That’s asking a lot from the coaches. And that’s why I choose my assistant coaches carefully. I look for coaches who demonstrate a keen eye for detail and have a full understanding of the techniques and mechanics needed to perform certain skills. They also have to demonstrate the right personality to me i.e. their love and enthusiasm for the game, a can do attitude and most important, they do not possess an ego with a “I know something you don’t“ attitude.