TWO mid-week sessions have been re-launched to help promote badminton in Kirklees.
Working with Badminton England’s development officer David Dewey and Huddersfield coaches, Kirklees Active Leisure are keen to encourage involvement for all existing and potentially new players.
The sessions are on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and will be run like the very successful Sunday Kirklees Independent social badminton club.
Helen Calverley, a qualified coach along with current co-ordinator Freda Gee, will be on hand to welcome people and provide help and advice.
The first session next Wednesday is free and then they’ll be run on a pay-and-play basis (£3.75).
Sport and activity manager Lee Yarker explained the thinking behind the move. He said: “The Huddersfield Sports Centre’s agenda is ‘more people, more active, more often’.
“Working closely with Badminton England and local coaches in developing awareness of the sport recently, it has been recognised that this is a sport that appeals to everybody.
“We already cater for players at peak time, and this is frequently capacitated. We would like increase participation across the variety of players recognised and develop and create badminton provision for our off-peak customers as well.
“Pay-and-play sessions are a way to help us achieve this as the sessions provide badminton games without the need to arrange someone to play with. They are informal and prove to be great social sessions.
“By continuing to work with Badminton’s governing body, Badminton England, and local coaches we can provide the correct sessions for the spectrum of players identified.”
A ‘no strings’ session co-ordinated by Level 2 coach Jade Hidred is another being marketed and developed to increase participation.Š
The session – supported with a proven national structure and a marketing strategy from Badminton England – is held at peak time (5.30 to 6.30) on Wednesday evenings. This is also a pay-and-play session, providing game play with access to coaching tips, and provides individuals with the opportunity to play the sport, or to even just have a go.
Around 11,000 people nationally are involved in ‘no strings’ badminton and the programme hopes to generate 20,000 new players by 2013. People of all abilities can take part.
The ideal is to try and replicate throughout the week the success of the Sunday sessions led by Jays coach Hayley Smith.
Hayley said: “The scope for badminton is huge in Kirklees, the work so far to promote and profile the sport is now starting to pay dividends and the momentum has to be kept going.
“The recognition and support of the Huddersfield Sports Centre is a welcome advantage. With the help of the key leisure facility providers, the promotion and provision of badminton has to increase participation.”
Huddersfield Sports Centre stages Huddersfield Eagles junior matches on Fridays, while the Jays advance junior group also train on Monday evenings. Plans are afoot to develop junior provision further and at other centres.
Promotion of primary-age badminton, disability badminton and the formation of a new singles league will soon be on the agenda.Š