Badminton Australia Junior Falcons from across the country recently spread their wings and flew into a National Development Camp held at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy.
The four-day program covered several aspects of badminton such as match-play scenarios and technical skill development with an overall focus on helping players establish confidence and consistency on the court.
“As part of any camp it’s important that I give the players variety in their training,” Badminton Australia Junior Coach Tom Champion said.
“I covered the physical, tactical and technical aspects by using different methods to keep the players engaged. Examples of these were footwork patterns designed to emulate the length of professional rallies, consistency drills if physical errors were made and open techniques to allow players to take ownership of areas of improvement.”
Champion emphasised the importance of preparations both on and off the court.
“It’s important for athletes to make good decisions off-court that can affect their training and competitions,” he said.
“With the players it’s important to share what positive outcomes they could achieve from each session if they give 100%.
“This gives them a purpose and a goal to strive towards for each session or drill.”
The camp included junior players from a range of age groups, which strengthened the diversity of the program.
“It’s great to have these opportunities to bring athletes from different states together to collaborate and play with each other,” Champion said.
“We have players of different ages interacting together, the great thing about having this mixture of age groups allows some of the older athletes to provide sound advice to the younger players.
“It’s a format that works well.”
The timing of the National Development Camp saw several of the players build their skills towards competing at last week’s 2023 YONEX National Championships, as well as for later in the year when some will head to the United States to compete at the World Junior Badminton Championships from September 24 to October 8, 2023.
“Going into any Championship tournament it’s important that our athletes feel confident across all parts of the court,” Champion said.
“At our camps we give the players the freedom to work on different areas of badminton which we then provide feedback.
“It’s not just about doing drills then getting onto the next thing, it’s about putting into practice what they learn so that it starts to become second nature.”
In addition to Champion, the coaching line-up included Geelong Badminton Academy Head Coach Naman Bharadwaj, National Senior Assistant Coach Vountus Indra Mawan and National Development Manager Renuga Veeran.
“Big thank you to those who attended the second National Development Camp,” Veeran said.
“The coaching team was impressed with the level of dedication and enthusiasm at the camp, and we are proud of everyone’s effort and ending the camp on a high note.
“We hope the players embraced the chance to learn and continue to apply the experience every time they step onto the badminton court.
“We would also like to thank all the parents for always taking the time and being there supporting the players in their overall performance – it can’t happen without their support.”
Above all, the coaching team hoped that all players upon finishing the camp found it enjoyable and with new-found confidence.
Champion said it was important for the players to engage with new ideas to increase their ability and knowledge of badminton.
“Our sport has the potential to grow immensely in Australia and it’s up to us to make sure we keep players engaged to ensure badminton becomes a long-term interest for them all.”