Tradition in the Highlands & Islands has mostly been ‘Badminton season runs from September to March’
Not so now- with regular badminton camps happening over the summer, from Mallaig, Inverness, Caithness, Kinlochbervie, Dingwall, Fortrose, Gairloch the season is extending until end of May and resuming in August.
Local leisure centres are creating more opportunities for badminton to be played all year round and encouraging players through the Si2B sessions they are running.
There are so many pockets of badminton happening across the area it is difficult to keep up, from Durness to Kinlochleven and many areas in between.
Hopefully many of these players were inspired by this Year’s Scottish Open and the excellent victory by Kirsty Gilmour as she regained her singles title.
Local Sporting Achievement
Mark Mackay Caithness Badminton Association acquitted himself so well at the Veterans Tournament in Spain this year. This was Mark’s first trip abroad as a veteran and didn’t he do well, particularly in the singles.
Another well done, to Sam Campbell, also Caithness Badminton, for committing to this event every year, despite his on-going injuries.
And to Dan Travers who took his European medals with him on his travels in the Highlands, to the Western Isles Coaching Conference and Highland Badminton Squad training sessions.
It would be remiss not take this opportunity to acknowledge the commitment Dan has given to the Highland Badminton players, both at junior and senior level, travelling from Perth to the Highlands and beyond. Not an easy task driving up and down the A9 on cold, frosty and snowy days.
The badminton season in Highlands & Islands kicked off with the excellent news that 3 clubs from the area were selected to be part of this new initiative by Badminton Scotland.
Orkney, Caithness and Inverness City applied to be part of the initiative in June along with 19 other clubs from across Scotland.
This scheme is targeting beginner badminton players from the age of 7 to 13 years, equipping them with the basic core elements to provide a strong foundation for the players to build on in the future.
This involves, the clubs, coaches and players committing to working closely with and being mentored by experienced coaches working within Badminton Scotland as well as close contact with the national coaches.
Coaches have been attending workshops, looking at delivery of sessions, basic techniques, fault correction and progressive practices.
Feedback from the coaches has been very positive. The next workshop is planned for the beginning of February during the National Championships in Perth.
Although there may only be 3 clubs involved in this scheme at present, the information gathered will be cascaded to the other junior coaches and clubs within the Highlands & Islands over the coming months.
The Club Accreditation scheme has now been running for a few months and in this short period of time, 3 clubs have gained their Shuttlemark Bronze Accreditation, Shetland, Caithness and Inverness City. There are 3 levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
We expect these 3 clubs to gain their Silver before the end of the season.
The season is now in full swing, events and competitions to date:
• Western Isles held their Singles championships at the end of October
• Orkney hosting their annual tournament at the start of November
• Caithness having completed all their local junior competitions.
• Skye have held their first competition of the season
• Yell and Sandwick in Shetland have held junior competitions for both primary and secondary pupils.
• Skye and Caithness & Orkney have started their team league nights
• Barra and Shetland have introduced a ladder for both juniors and senior players.
• Nairn continue to have their adult Sunday nights in the Nairn Sports Club as well as their junior coaching throughout the week.
• East Sutherland looking for friendlies in the New Year as are, Fortrose and Nairn.
• Ardgay are running junior and senior sessions in their newly refurbished hall every Thursday night.
• Tain BC has risen again and numbers have grown on weekly.
• Fort William play their club nights in Lochaber High, on Monday nights and in the Nevis Centre on a Friday night. They are on the look- out for new members, whatever the ability.
• Orkney, East Sutherland, Western Isles and Skye are working towards their Bronze accreditation.
• Caithness have travelled to Orkney to ply the first leg of their inter county with both A and a B side – Orkney are holding a 10-2 lead in the B team but all square at 6-6 in the A team.
• Skye Badminton Association have their training nights on a Monday night in Portree, the juniors meet in Broadford also on a Monday
• Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are already training and planning for the upcoming Island Games. -discussion has taken place about organising a team competition over 2 days using the Island Games format, between all the associations, including singles, levels and mixed. Finding a suitable date and venue may prove challenging and may be better left until May time.
The set- up of the 5 Associations within the area is proving to be very valuable as they organise local training and competitions. The committee of the associations are made up from representatives from local clubs, ensuring all clubs have a say in the running of the association.
A meeting is planned in the New Year to set up another group responsible for the areas south, including Moray, Nairn, Inverness, Ross-shire.
Lochaber and Badenoch & Strathspey will also be invited into the discussions.
However it must be noted that many clubs are struggling to find a venue at a suitable time and at an affordable cost. The cost of running a club is increasing with committee members working hard to increase membership, find sponsors and access funding sources.
Highland Badminton Group, Lines of Communication
HBG continue to promote badminton throughout the Highlands and Islands, through their web page and their face book page.
Their social media sight is the ‘go to place’ for all things badminton related within this very large area and opens up lines of communication between players and clubs.
It highlights up -coming events, tournaments, coaching courses, CPD, school badminton and the successes of the many badminton clubs, associations and players from the across the region.
The committed group of volunteers organise competitions, junior squad training and meet monthly to both reflect and prepare for events.
Highland Junior Development Squad continues to meet monthly.
As well as having the experience and expertise of Dan Travers, the juniors also have the benefit of local head coach Andrew Durrand.
He gives up his time freely, always encouraging and very supportive to these young players who have travelled for hours to attend the sessions.
It is evident in many of the excellent results achieved by the Highland & Island players when they travel south to compete in regional and national events, that the coaching is having an impact on their performance.
This year, sessions are longer, ensuring more court time for players and individual coaching time.
HBG are continually monitoring the training sessions and the players, keeping close links with other squad sessions and Badminton Scotland.
Players are fully aware, that success only comes with hard work and commitment.
The season started for all the HBG volunteers in Orkney in September with the junior restricted championships at under 14, 16 and 18.
There were over 90 juniors involved in the 2 day tournament.
Players travelled from Shetland, Inverness, Lochcarron, Western Isles, Caithness and of course Orkney.
For many, they were thrown in at the deep end, not having hit a shuttle since last March.
However this did not faze them, games were fast and furious and very competitive with trophies going to all areas of the Highlands & Islands.
This was followed by the senior team event in Fortrose at the end of September. The under 15 event on Saturday 3rd November needed 8 courts as numbers were so high. The under 19 although not so busy, demanded a huge amount of court time as games were so evenly contested.
The Bonanza held in Fortrose had the Singles on Friday 7th November and the mixed and level doubles on the Saturday.
All pictures and results can be viewed on HBG web page and Badminton Scotland web page.
Smash In2 Badminton
This initiative was set up 2 years ago by BS to encourage the Pay and Play community of badminton players to come together and play as part of a group.
Players either pay at reception or become a member of Highlife Highland.
Within the Highlands there are SI2B Groups in:-
Wick – Ladies Only Thursday 8-9pm
Tain – Monday 5.30-6.30pm
Invergordon – Wednesday 8-10pm
Dingwall – Thursday 6-8pm
Fortrose – Monday 8-10pm
Ullapool – Tuesday 7-9pm
Gairloch – Monday 5-7pm
Fort William – Monday 7-9pm
Granton On Spey – Wednesday 8-9pm
Inverness Royal Academy – Sunday 9am to 11am
Inverness Leisure Centre – Sunday 9.30 to 11.25am
Alness – tbc
Ardgay – Thursday 6-10pm
These sessions come in various groups, family, over 16, ladies only, Over 55’s. If you would like a group in your area please get in touch with Jane Grant RDO Highlands & Islands (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are 5 primary and 5 secondary competitions being run this year in the Highlands. Both the Primary and Secondary team competition (2 Boys and 2 Girls) was very successful.
At the qualifier for the National Secondary Schools Competition on November 9th, it was very heartening to see so many schools take part and some for the first time in many years. An excellent attitude and work ethos from all players over the course of the competition was clearly evident.
The South Highland primary qualifier was also held in Inverness Leisure. A huge amount of effort from all – some experiencing this kind of competition for the very first time. Well done everybody.
All winners and runners-up in all disciplines will be given a place, semi- finalists will need to wait on the reserve list.
However, we still run badminton competions just for fun !!!
Orkney and Shetland will hold their own qualifiers in the New Year.
There are many after school badminton clubs springing up across the region, taken by volunteers, parents and or young sports leaders and students.
Young Sports Leaders
So far this year there has been a Young Sports Leaders Course, in Liniclate Gairloch, Skye, Alness and 2 held in Inverness UHI.
From this leaders course there has been a Big Hit festival in Thurso, Wick, Gairloch, Charleston, Bettyhill and Alness, all with links to community clubs or after school clubs.
A huge thanks to all Active School Co-ordinators who have organised the Young Sports Leaders and contacted the cluster primaries to attend the Big Hit festivals.
A very big thank you to all the Active school Co-ordinators and Community Sports Hub Officers and area managers, who have helped advertise and organise the coaching courses, from Badminton Basics, Young Sports Leaders Awards and Big Hit festivals to the CPD on offer.
On Monday and Tuesday 18th and 19th September 6 Active School Co-ordinators completed their tutor training and are now ready to deliver the Young Sports Leaders Course and Badminton Basics to their Young Volunteers. Well done everybody – 2 days of hard graft!
A workshop on Club Governance ran in Dingwall earlier in the year but unfortunately the follow up workshop on retaining volunteers failed to get the necessary numbers to run. The Disability Workshop planned for October had been re-scheduled for February next year.
We look forward to the second part of the season, with more UKCC level1 courses coming up as well as the postponed Level1+ and the re-arranged Disability Workshop.
Please keep looking at the Highland Badminton Group face book page as well as BS web and your own local social media sights for information on dates and venues.
There are numerous competitions coming up in 2019, from Yell to Barra, Nairn to Kinlochleven, Orkney to Stornoway, Inverness and Caithness.
Badminton for all – social events and highly competitive matches and tournaments.
Start loading your diaries!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
RDO Highlands & Islands