Development

(Photo: BWF)
Humans of Shuttle Time: Natasha Tyler
Date: 9/14/2023 9:59 AM
Published by : BWF
Meet Natasha Tyler, a Shuttle Time Tutor in Wales.

Childhood Days 
I grew up in England. My family had always played badminton. My grandparents were members of several clubs in the 1960s, going on to join the committee. Both of my grandparents were in the top divisions of their league and were qualified coaches. My grandpa went on to become Chairman of the largest league in England for many years, and would coach on weekends. They raised my mum to play badminton (who again played in the top division and at county level) and then there was me! I grew up in a household where sport was a priority and teamwork was championed. 

Earliest Memories 
I remember my brother and I hanging around the back of so many badminton courts when we were growing up – my mum used to take us along when she played, and when we were about 6 or 7 we were given rackets and allowed on court! I was terrible to start with. My brother was a lot better, but don’t tell him I said that!
I remember it looked like so much fun. People always seemed to enjoy themselves on court. I also remember it looking a lot easier than it was, but that might be because I had little legs!

Relationship with Badminton 
I stopped playing for a couple of years until I was about 13 and my family moved to Wales – my mum started a club in the local town and it became my friend circle. The friends that I have made through badminton are the friends that I have had longest, and it doesn’t matter how separate our lives grow – we get back on court and it’s like nothing has changed. The same is true of the international badminton scene – you see the same people around the world (players, technical officials, the tech teams, the coaches) and they’re old friends. Badminton builds a real sense of community.
It became a real source of self-confidence for me as well – I started coaching ten years ago, when I was 16, and it has taught me so much. It’s taught me to communicate, to read body language, to know when people need cheering on and when they need space. When I step on a court, wherever I am in the world, I find a piece of home. 

Memorable Events 
My favourite event of the year is the Welsh International. Working on the organising team is such a buzz, and you meet some incredible people. Last year Peter Gade was in attendance as a coach, so my friends and I were trying (and failing) not to stare. We have an awesome team of technical officials in Wales as well, and I love seeing them arrive at every event – they usually bring snacks with them, but I promise that’s not the only reason I love them! 
I’ve worked with some fantastic groups in development as well – we’ve had the chance to get people from all kinds of backgrounds on court, and I love seeing people light up when they try the sport for the first time. We had one occasion when a group of kids came for a tester session, and they had never played before, but they enjoyed it so much that they stayed for an entire tournament in the afternoon. They kept playing as well – I’ve run a couple of Shuttle Time courses for them since, and they’re developing into really, really good players!
And closer to home, we have one court in our village hall. Each week we get local kids coming to play, and then older members of the community use it another day. It’s absolutely awesome. 

What Badminton Means 
A friend once said to me that badminton is infectious – it gets into your system and you can’t get it out. That’s what badminton is to me – it’s my friends, it’s my work, it’s my fun, it’s my way of giving something back.

What Makes Badminton Different 
Badminton is so cool because it has very few boundaries. All genders can mix up and play together, all ages can play together. If you have a lot of people who want to play, great, you have a club! If you only have a few people then you can play singles – it’s just as much fun either way. It’s possible to get better quickly, and badminton gets more fun the more you play. It’s also possible to play it indoors (which makes it really well suited to the awful Welsh weather!) and outdoors at a BBQ or event.

Developing Badminton in the Community 
My previous role as a Shuttle Time National Coordinator, we have had the pleasure of putting badminton into many different communities within Wales – including areas of rural deprivation, urban areas, ethnically diverse areas and areas facing poverty. Each of these initiatives brought its own rewards, but they all have a common theme – we have the opportunity to bring people together for a shared experience, the opportunity to introduce them to a sport that they may grow to enjoy just as much as we do, and the opportunity to celebrate their own successes. In all of these, we have seen people leaving with smiles on their faces. It has been the most rewarding job. 

Impact of Shuttle Time
Shuttle Time has given schools in Wales the chance to expand their sporting programme to include badminton and bring it to a wider audience. We have been able to train teachers across the country to use the resources, and this has resulted in lunchtime clubs, after-school clubs, and a surge of popularity in our schools competitions. We have loved every course that we’ve run. We’ve also implemented Shuttle Time into community groups and enabled at-risk adults to enjoy the sport for the first time. 
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