Posted on 23rd October 2020
Roger Mills, previous Scottish National Coach in the seventies, has sadly passed away earlier this month.
Tribute written by Daniel Travers
Roger was an All England Mixed Doubles Champion in 1969 partnering the Great Gillian Gilks.
We (Scottish team members) had the pleasure of being coached by Roger in the early years of our careers.
Roger was a positive influence on all of us from the moment he took on the role of “Part-Time” National Coach in 1976 until 1980.
He showed all of us just how important the role of the coach would be in athlete development going forward. We can remember his fastidious attention to detail when making technical presentations at Inverclyde summer camps, and how, for the first time, we received fitness testing, detailed training plans and game plans for individual matches. The Glasgow Herald quoted him stating that the “1978 Scottish Commonwealth Games badminton team was the fittest ever to leave our shores.”
He was very involved in Scotland’s highest accolade to date the winning of a Bronze Medal in the 1977 World Champs in Sweden. (Joanna Flockhart & Billy Gilliland)
Billy talked about the draw they had – “decent draw and although Roger did not accompany the team, he provided game plans for our first two matches followed by daily faxed strategies for each match after that.”
Roger even called Billy in Sweden the night before their semi final and gave valuable insight on how to approach playing Talbot/Gilks, his former teammates.
The point is that it wasn’t just a job to Roger. He genuinely took an interest in his players and often went ‘above and beyond’.
Ray Stevens (England Internationalist and respected World over) always talked to us about athletes needing to be ‘students of the game’. Roger was the first coach who quizzed us on badminton history and also the first one we remember working with us on video analysis. All of these techniques are common practice in today’s game but Roger Mills was ahead of his time and we were all the beneficiaries of his expertise.
He helped so many Scottish players change their mind sets and become better players than they ever would have had Roger not been involved in their development.
Despite his focus on excellence and attention to detail he had a lot of humour about him and those close to him would know this. He was quick to let you know when you had let yourself and your country down but also quick to praise you when he felt it was deserved.
Scottish Badminton owes a great deal to Roger as do so many of the players who went on to represent our country in the years after he left.
We thank you for the opportunity to pay our respects to Roger who was one of the biggest influences on our early careers. We are sure we speak on behalf of a huge number of both senior and junior players who competed during his time in charge and in the subsequent years ahead when he was always there to listen at the end of a telephone.
He is a sad loss to the Badminton World and an even bigger loss will be felt by his wife Susan, his son and his two daughters.
Badminton Scotland extends their condolences to Roger’s loved ones during this time.Go Back