Building the Pathway for a Badminton Champion

by BadmintonScholar


Posted on Mon Dec 28 2020


Building the Pathway for a Badminton Champion

"All in quest to find and stay in the best pathway that will take their kids to the highest level of performance in the game. Is there really such a thing as “best pathway”?"

With the sport growing in its global presence, many more parents are into getting their kids into the best of academies, under the guidance of proven coaches and taking advices from other parents who has been in the industry longer. All in quest to find and stay in the best pathway that will take their kids to the highest level of performance in the game. Is there really such a thing as “best pathway”?

There are of course many references available using athletes of other sports, tips taken from what is being said by the former and current champions and of course the self-researching that almost everyone does on literally any topic online. But again, does that really explain the “best pathway” for your child? Assuming there is such a thing, what and where are the cornerstones you need to be aware of along the pathway?

Here are some information to help you make better judgements with regards to the real progress your kids are making along the pathway to high performance in badminton. First of all, badminton is a late specialization sport. What this means is that a certain degree of physical and mental maturity is required before you can make it on the Olympic and world championships podium. An example of an early specialization sport is gymnastics. This information alone should open new doors to your approach in building the future world champion. Some of the key questions shall be:

1. At what age should your child start?

2. How much training is required?

3. What are the signs of you going off the pathway?

"One of the best guide to how much training is required is mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell using his 10 thousand hours rule. He considers a 20 hours per week work for 10 years as the benchmark for being successful in practicing a specific task"

Taking into account musculoskeletal and brain growth amongst other aspects such as how many years of proper work is actually required to be playing top level badminton, the number stands in general at 6  years old. One of the best guide to how much training is required is mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell using his 10 thousand hours rule. He considers a 20 hours per week work for 10 years as the benchmark for being successful in practicing a specific task. However, the nature and priorities of the 20 hours work each week changes every 2 years for a developing badminton player. For example:

  •          Time spend on developing badminton specific technical skills increases as the kid goes from age 6 to 16 years of age.
  •         The window of working on the ABC of Athletism (Agility, Balance, Coordination) reduces as the kid goes from 6 to 16 years. Meaning more work on these ABC’s should be done earlier in age.
  •          Complex badminton task such as playing in a tournament should be increased as the kid goes from 6 to 16 years of age.
  •          Performance based physical components such as muscle endurance, strength and power should be worked on progressively as they age.

These understandings are part of the Long Term Athlete Development models adopted in many versions by many sporting organizations for various sports. It should give you an idea of where to invest the 20 hours each week, on and off the court for maximizing the potential of your child in badminton sport. Investing in other sport and physical activities during the early years is accounted into the 20 hours weekly.  


"This may translate as happiness in a 6 year old going for his/her badminton class, confidence in your 11 year old whenever they are on court, commitment to training in your 14 year old and a face of focused connection in your 16 year old playing in tournaments."

Finally the signs that tell you you’re going away from the path; Interest and motivation of your child. Do not confuse your encouragement to them to their very own interest and motivation. Having been around the coaching industry for a humble 20 years, constantly speaking and sharing with many of my friends from all over the world that work with athletes of various sports at the highest level, this is the one thing that distinguishes the good from the great; intrinsic motivation. This may translate as happiness in a 6 year old going for his/her badminton class, confidence in your 11 year old whenever they are on court, commitment to training in your 14 year old and a face of focused connection in your 16 year old playing in tournaments. All of these faces are what tells you are on the right path and the lack of which tells you are off your path.

M. Jivananthan Nair
Coaching and Training Director
Asia Badminton Academy Malaysia

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