In continuation of the monthly stories on Shuttle Time-supporters, the turn has now come to Estonia. Its national association started implementing Shuttle Time not that long ago, more precise in August of 2015. Badminton Estonia was founded in 1964 and joined BEC in 1992, and is a rather ‘young’ badminton association.
General Secretary of Badminton Estonia Renna Unt shared that one of the development goals for Badminton Estonia is to popularize the sport all over the country. And that Shuttle Time has had a great impact on Estonian badminton, in helping them reach that goal.
A great method to achieve an increase in players, is by introducing it for children in schools. And Shuttle time as a very good first step to introducing badminton as a school sport while also providing a basic knowledge about the sport:
“With Shuttle Time we witnessed a real interest from schools and teachers. But of course, transforming this interest into the growth of players in the clubs takes some time. Shuttle Time has definitely opened the possibility for many children to try badminton.”
Badminton Estonia has been practicing Shuttle Time for just more than one year, and already has 143 teachers who can teach it in the schools. They were educated at one of the six courses Badminton Estonia organized during 2015 by four Estonian Shuttle Time-tutors.
“We are hoping that some of the teachers who have participated in the Shuttle Time project will become more interested in badminton and will want to pursue in getting the first level of coach education as well, and start acting as badminton coaches in sports clubs next to their school”, Renna Unt continues.
Many of the teachers who participated in the project were from smaller cities or villages, and Shuttle Time has contributed a lot to developing the possibilities of playing badminton in every sports hall and school in Estonia.
In the right direction
In terms of coach education, two tutors have passed Coach Education Level 1. Furthermore, there are 45 licensed coaches in the Estonian national coach certification system, and Badminton Estonia is planning to integrate the BWF Coach Education Levels to the national coach system, to raise the level of badminton coaches.
It does not sound like much, but for a young and rather small badminton nation with only 1.3 million habitants, it is a great start. It is difficult to practice the sport when there are very few coaches to train players, but with the new wave of Shuttle Time teachers it is going in the right direction.
Badminton Estonia is planning to continue with Shuttle Time until they have encompassed at least half of Estonian schools. At the same time, the association is thinking of new activities that can build a bridge from Shuttle Time to getting new coaches and new badminton clubs and thus increasing the number of players who regularly play badminton.
Although Shuttle Time focuses on schools, the media’s attention towards the project has helped to raise awareness among youth and their parents as well.
When the possibilities within Estonia are below average compared to the best in Europe, Badminton Estonia is making a clever move by take part in international cooperation with other member associations. Raul Must, 28, Estonian men’s singles player, for example, have trained with BEC scholarships at the Certified Training Centre in Odense, Denmark. He qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and is playing tournaments all over the world.
Furthermore, Estonia is a loyal participant at the BEC Summer School, where they send players to the project. They are engaging in the possibilities that BEC are offering them, and their continuing effort will without much doubt be beneficial for Estonian badminton in the future to come.