All you need to know about Worcestershire Schools Badminton Association
The Worcestershire Schools Badminton Association is essentially the Worcestershire junior county badminton squad.
There are strong links between the junior and senior associations, and junior players go on to represent Worcestershire at senior level, often while they are still juniors.
Every year, around June, we hold trials, and our coaches select the squads for the following season. Anyone who lives or goes to school in Worcestershire, and is the correct age, is eligible to enter.
We have 4 squads
- Under 11s - training is held on Friday evenings.
- Under 13s - training is held on Sunday mornings.
- Under 15s - training is held on Sunday mornings.
- Under 17s - training is held on Sunday afternoons.
There are between 16 and 24 players in each squad.
Lorraine Cole, selects children from all 4 squads to attend development squad training on Wednesday evenings.
Training is from September to Easter every year, although the Wednesday session continues until the week before the trials.
We enter teams from the under 13s, under 15s and u17s in the shires league. Counties are put into groups by the league organisers. Coaches select four girls and four boys from each age group to play matches against the other counties in their group. The winners and runners up attend the shires league finals at the end of the season. Coaches will select the strongest players for matches, but that may change over the course of the season, so players are encouraged to keep working hard to try to get into the team.
Every Easter we send a team to the Inter Counties Tournament, which is held at Nottingham University over 4 days. The best 5 girls and 5 boys, regardless of age, are selected for the team. Approximately 42 counties from all over the UK enter the tournament and it is an incredible experience.
Our under 13s and under 15s enter a scaled down version in November each year called the team challenge.
We also take approximately 24 players to a residential badminton training weekend in Derbyshire every February half-term. They play lots of badminton but also take part in team building activities.
The association is run by parent volunteers. Every year new parents are asked to help with the many tasks involved in the running of the group. It is an enormous amount of work!
We are very lucky to have some great coaches. Our head coach, Lorraine Cole, is a former international player and has represented England. She currently coaches the England Under 19s as well as being head coach at Birmingham University.
Legendary England player Simon Archer coaches our under 15 and under 17s whenever he is available. He won a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympic Games (the first ever Olympic medal in the sport), silver and bronze at the World Championships in 1999, was European mens doubles champion in 1994 and 1998, won 10 Commonwealth medals between 1994 and 2006, including 4 gold medals, 15 National titles – he even won the Worcestershire restricted tournament a few times! He was awarded the MBE in 2003.
We hold our own age group championships every year but we also host national tournaments in each age group, which put Worcestershire on the map and are a valuable source of income, as we do not receive any funding and are totally reliant on the fees we charge our players to cover our costs.
We encourage our players to play at least 3 times a week, enter a minimum of 3 JCs a season, and if possible, have some individual lessons. Once they become under 15s, we advise them to try to join an adult club which is very good for them, especially if they get the opportunity to play league matches. However, they have to be able to hold their own against adults, and not all adult clubs are willing to accept juniors. The best thing to do is contact clubs near you, or ask one of our coaches for advice.