November

The Scottish Open: more than a world class tournament

Creating a lasting legacy and inspiring the next generation to take up the sport is just as important to the Scottish Open as putting on a world class show of badminton at the Emirates Arena.

Badminton Scotland’s Development Team have been hard at work throughout the tournament delivering activities for people of all ages to encourage them to get involved in badminton.

Among the activities on offer were the innovative Big Hit festivals, which introduce youngsters to the sport by highlighting the health benefits that come with playing badminton.

The festivals saw youngsters from schools across Scotland take part in sessions in the in-field of the velodrome.

And Bill Hogg, Badminton Scotland coaching and development manager, believes the festivals have provided an invaluable experience for those who have never played badminton before.

“We invite all the primary schools across Scotland to attend, we take bookings quite early before the summer holidays, all the regional development officers visit their schools,” he said.

“The Big Hit Festival is about giving kids a good experience. We train up local college students to come help deliver the sessions and we always have volunteer coaches come along.

“After the event, the kids also get the chance to go into the main hall in the Emirates Arena to watch some world class badminton and hopefully it’s an enjoyable experience.

“For some of them it’s their first taste of badminton and it’s mainly all about fun and learning some technical aspects as well, creating a legacy for the Scottish Open.

“It’s not just about the one Big Hit session, Badminton Scotland want to encourage people to keep playing the sport for the long term and we give them festival packs with information on clubs.”

There has also been a comprehensive programme of events as well as the Big Hit carnival, including coaching classes from former Scotland internationals Rita Yuan Gao and Bruce Flockhart.

Others activities have included a Club-Hit festival for badminton beginners, an adult match-play session and a Big Hit Ability session for participants with disabilities.

Additionally, there was a Coaching Conference on Saturday to prove further development opportunities for Scotland’s coaches, plus a free club development workshop on Sunday to help officials learn how to increase grassroots participation.

Bill added: “Throughout the Scottish Open week, alongside Big Hits, we’ve also had teacher training, higher skills sessions on and Club-Hit festivals in the evenings for adults to come along.

“During the weekend, we also had the coaching conference for those looking to improve their skills and there is also the opportunity to watch some world class badminton at the Scottish Open.

“All of the events that the development team put on are about coming along and enjoying the sport and hopefully enjoying it that much that they get involved after the Scottish Open has finished.

“The Scottish Open carnivals and Big Hits Festivals have been going for a long number of years and we’ve always had a good number of kids come along.

“The challenge for us at Badminton Scotland is to make sure they go from these events to their local clubs and staying in the sport for the long term.”

One of the schools that visited the Emirates Arena was Killermont Primary School and teacher Colin Henderson was blown away by the wide range of activities on offer.

“The children have loved taking part in the range of different activities and while that has been happening the teachers have also been learning through the coaching sessions,” he said.

“We were learning about how to improve our delivery of badminton so we can take it back to the school and use it in afterschool clubs and PE to teach the children.

“We’re just encouraging them to have fun and enjoy it, rather than focusing on rules and so on, and that will be taught to other staff and will then be embedded throughout the school.

“The kids have loved being here and some of them haven’t played badminton and are being introduced to it for the first time, other have played and had a chance to showcase their skills.”

Killermont pupil Rebecca Tait, 10, said: “We were going around the different badminton stations and I really enjoyed doing the netball one and also the rally one.”

For more information on how to play badminton and the opportunities available go to www.badmintonscotland.org.uk or phone 0141 445 1218.

Full results are at www.tournamentsoftware.com

The Scottish Open Badminton Championships has been staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

For more information contact Peter Dean on 0141 445 1218 or email peter@badmintonscotland.org.uk