The Badminton Performance Centre for England, is this good bad or indifferent? and will it stand the test of time? My thoughts in answering these questions are blogged about below:
A Performance Centre is there to create a standard model of excellence through Badminton within the whole of England. The idea and model for the Performance Centre is excellent and will encourage more players into the sport, looking to identify and start the Children earlier and encourage them to take on Badminton as their main sport. It also has a good strong pathway in the coaching with laid out plans. All aspects are recorded, documented and monitored, all coaches are highly qualified with lots of communication between Parents, Players and Badminton England.
There are two pathways for a Performance Centre; The Club and The Performance pathways. In the Performance pathway, the Children are encouraged to play or train at least three hours per week and enter ranking competitions. This it is hoped will produce County and National players. The Club pathway allows the players to come and enjoy the game and play to a good Club standard and play or recieve coaching once per week.
This is a bold long term plan, the work involved from both the Performance Centre staff, Children and Parents is high. At the present a significant amount of work is done by volunteers, this I believe is unsustainable and the Performance Centres will not be able to survive past their initial 3 year funding grant. I cannot see the volunteers labouring through the paperwork for no reward therefore the Performance Centre numbers are likely to be reduced by a good third in the early days, however the ones which are left will be strong, well run and good for the sport.
Good, bad or indifferent? The Performance Centres should produce some excellent players, they will up the game to a very high level but all the Performance Centres will need the support of the Parents and sponsors like Forza to achieve excellence.