International Women’s Day recognises women who continuously strive to achieve their professional and personal goals in all spheres of life.
According to the International Olympic Committee, just 14 per cent of coaches at the Tokyo 2020 (Summer) and Beijing 2022 (Winter) Olympic Games were female. The BWF Development team has throughout the years, actively promoted coaching as a career option and developed appropriate support programmes to help address this gender gap, as well as guide athletes manage their retirement from elite competition.
One former player to benefit from such programme is Monika Radovska, who graduated from the BWF Level Three Coaching Course after making the switch in 2014, when she discovered the Level One Coaching Course. The former women’s singles and doubles player became a scholar of the course in June 2022 and hasn’t looked back since – coaching beginners is now her second job.
“If one can teach and pass knowledge to youngsters, then consider coaching,” said the Latvian. “The profession of badminton coaching is about giving, teaching, mentoring, advising others and constantly learning yourself.”
Level 3 is BWF’s highest Coaching Course, aimed at very experienced coaches with a good understanding of their national systems. Through a combination of theory discussions and on-court application, the course gave 15 participants from Europe the chance to challenge their preconceived notions about coaching.
In-depth discussions about how players enter and progress through a national system, as well as how to work with players who make it to the elite level, were also covered by the candidates and tutors to support top performance.
Radovska, who reached a career-high world No.107 with Ieva Pope in women’s doubles, acknowledges playing professionally equipped her with lifelong aptitudes.
“I’ve learnt many skills over the years from developing my organisational and communication skills,” says Radovska. “Variety is a keyword in badminton. It’s both an individual sport and a team sport, an intellectual game, where one has to think and make decisions. The technique is quite versatile too, there’s a huge range of shots that makes the sport amusing and entertaining while being a complex one.
“If you are passionate about badminton and want to share your knowledge – then go for it. It’s good to have a clear vision of what you want to do, make a plan and work hard for it. Unsurprisingly, badminton is the universal recipe for lasting happiness.”
Grateful for the opportunity to remain in the badminton family after retiring in 2020, Radovska is now keen to promote coaching as a career to women.
“BWF has been great, launching programmes for everyone to enter, especially women. Badminton is accessible to any age, level or background and it’s the same for coaching.”