Volunteer Spotlight: Frank Turnbull

Posted on 6th February 2024

By Lanarkshire Badminton

When and how did you first get involved in badminton?

Got involved in Dalziel High School at the school club in 3rd Year (around 1966) and played through to 6th Year.

Meanwhile in 1969 I joined Classon Badminton Club in Motherwell which was an active church club at the time.  Once I got married and left Motherwell, moving to Larkhall in 1977 subsequently joining Larkhall Avondale Badminton Club and still an active member of this club today.

My son Keith played in the junior section of the club and eventually moved on to further opportunities to develop his game and perform at a much higher level.  I first began volunteering in the mid-90s with the Lanarkshire Badminton Group.

What current roles do you fulfil within badminton?

Still club member and treasurer of Larkhall Avondale Badminton Club. Member of Lanarkshire Badminton Group committee and currently have the role of treasurer and tournament convenor.

Lastly, I am a member of the executive committee of Scottish Schools Badminton Union (SSBU).  Recently I was the interim Chair of Badminton Scotland and while on the board I had the role of President.

What sort of things does this typically involve?

The LBG involves decision-making and how the committee is going to support the growth and development of badminton in Lanarkshire. Initially, in the past this involved running the Senior County Team as Team Manager playing in BE SCC, roles including booking accommodation, managing finances, organising of the group, drive the team bus and fill in scoresheets.

Prior to our current involvement in the league, Lanarkshire had dropped out the league so when we re-entered we had to start in the lowest division, which is Division 6.  We progressively improved the team to the point we got to the Premier League across a 10 year period.

About 10 years ago, after retirement I got into tournament organisation, first using Tournament Software (TS) in 2016.  The busy period is the launch of the event with getting the competition live on TS, dealing with queries and promotion to recruit past entries and new players to enter.  Then you have to do the seeding, make the draw and arrange the matches. Another critical piece involves balancing the finances with venue hire and shuttles as well as the challenge of dealing with entries.

It can get very full on at times but very rewarding at the same time.  At first we had only Junior and Senior Restricted events and we have now built this up to multiple events in the season, including three Grade A tournaments for Juniors and Seniors.

With regard to my Treasurer role, we have attempted to modernise with online banking, a PayPal account and encourage online payments through TS and our website.  For the SSBU, I adopt a more strategic role where I tried provide some direction to the organisation where required.

What do you enjoy about being involved in the sport and volunteering?

I enjoy giving back to the sport that has given a lot to me and my family over the years.  Its particularly satisfying when you gain positive feedback from players and parents when running tournaments and competitions.

Also, from a personal satisfaction in organising what can be a complex event that it runs smoothly, efficiently and works financially.  Lanarkshire has historically struggled with finances and due to the efforts of the committee, its good to see we are in a better position financially in 2024.

Why did you take up volunteering?

As I mentioned earlier, it was to give something back to the sport particularly in the last 10 years significantly the sport has seen a slow decline nationally and within the Lanarkshire area.

Attempting to address this, is a motivating factor and the main reason I do this. I also like providing opportunities for people to compete in worthwhile tournaments & team events and enjoy the sport.

What skills do you think you require for volunteering?

Firstly, I think the ability to dedicate time to an organisation and doing this consistently is important.  So I guess you have to have the dedication, commitment and good time management skills to get this done.

Also, need to be able to work productively in a team environment with other people.  A bit of background or understanding of the sport is helpful.  You definitely need to be able to think on your feet and have that skillset of being able to adapt given the circumstances.

Probably the example comes to mind is during a tournament last season our laptop crashed and we lost all of the results. Thankfully Hugh Ainsley managed to reboot the computer whilst Sam Johnson & I manually took the scores.  Certainly tests your problem solving and decision making skills.

A positive learning outcome from this is we now have 2 laptops running our major tournaments – one being a backup.  This also helps to highlight any issues or errors in scores that have inputted.

What do you think the benefits of volunteering are?

I think you get satisfaction after an event is a good feeling and big reward, particularly when parents/players come up and thank you at the end of an event.

There is also the benefit of feeling part of something bigger and gain enjoyment out of knowing that I am helping support and develop opportunities for players in Lanarkshire, Scotland and further afield to play and compete.

I also believe you develop further skills in marketing and promotion as you are always attempting to persuade people to get involved in entering tournaments and representing county teams.

What do you like the most or admire about the sport of badminton?

I like that it is an affordable and highly regarded sport.  You can play it across multiple public facilities in sports, leisure and community venues.  There are courts also in all schools and badminton is popular within the schools too.

Another thing I like is given the Scottish weather that it can be played all year around consistently.  It is a sport you can play all your life and at any age or ability.  Playing regularly keeps you fit so there are many health benefits associated.

What has been your highlight and favourite memory in badminton?

I guess it would be seeing my son Keith winning the Scottish Senior National Championship Men’s Doubles events in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Further to this he represented Scotland on several occasions.  Encouraging and nurturing him to do this has been very satisfying.

I feel lucky personally to be able have played badminton from aged 14 to the present day at 72.  It was also a privilege to represent Badminton Scotland the board as President, Vice President and Interim Chair over a 7 year period.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get involved in volunteering in the sport?

Throw yourself at it and give it a go.  The sport is always looking for volunteers, so definitely get involved.  Get in touch with Badminton Scotland or ourselves at Lanarkshire Badminton Group if you want to find out more about any opportunities – visit our Lanarkshire Badminton Group website.

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