Three recent initiatives in places as diverse as Suriname, Cook Islands and Norway serve as examples of innovative approaches to grow badminton, particularly among student communities.
In Suriname, the implementation of Shuttle Time at public locations and schools has driven interest in badminton, with the Suriname Badminton Association reaching out to 461 children through the school programme.
In Cook Islands, the lack of indoor stadiums has traditionally hampered the spread of badminton in the Cook Islands, but with the increasing popularity of AirBadminton, infrastructure has ceased to be a limiting factor.
Meanwhile, Badminton Norway is reaching out to several universities in the country to implement the Shuttle Time University course, aiming to reach every student in the country who aims to become a PE teacher, thereby enabling the further spread of badminton.
Suriname: Importance of Public Locations
Given that badminton has limited popularity or recognition in Suriname, the SBA has focused on schools and public locations, particularly where badminton is not popular. Apart from the encouraging response among schoolchildren, the Shuttle Time team were also able to engage the interest of around 100 people by conducting the programme at public locations.
The project was first conducted on 3 September 2022, and has been held three more times, at four locations: Lelydrop Sports Complex, Cederboom School, Bernardorp and Nabawischool. Overall, the Shuttle Time project has been well received by participants, particularly children. Parents also were enthusiastic, and sought out suggestions on further development of badminton in their area. Some of the participants reached out to badminton clubs and are now active badminton players.
SBA found that the key to engaging participants in Shuttle Time has been to explain the programme to all the stakeholders, exciting schools and neighbourhood communities. Shuttle Time has been successfully implemented at two schools and two public locations.
Cook Islands: Thriving Outdoors
Shuttle Time has thus ridden on the back of AirBadminton’s popularity, and Shuttle Time Youth Leaders are helping deliver Shuttle Time lessons at locations such as Tereora College, the biggest college in the Cook Islands.
The best examples of Shuttle Time delivery are at three schools in Rarotonga – Titikaveka College, Akateimia Imaanuela School and Te Uki Ou School – which do not have indoor courts, so sessions are all outdoors using AirBadminton equipment.
In many school settings Shuttle Time is delivered outdoors, usually on grass fields at school.
The project focuses on secondary students earlier in the year and on primary students later in the year. During April and June, the secondary students train for the annual Secondary Schools/National College tournament. This involves eight schools, with the Shuttle Time workforce delivering two-three sessions per week to boys and girls aged between 11 and 14.
Later in the year (October-November) the focus is on primary schools in the lead-up to the annual National Primary Schools tournament. This competition involves nine schools, with the Shuttle Time workforce delivering the same number of sessions to boys and girls aged between seven and 10.
Norway: University as Stake-Holder
The focus on the university programme is due to the interest in badminton in Norwegian schools over the last two years. Shuttle Time Norway is therefore working directly with schools to make the university course a part of the school programme, enabling the familiarisation of the course to every potential PE teacher.
The first university that took up the programme was the Ostfold University in Halden; to reach out to every student within the PE programme, four courses of Shuttle Time were required to be taught, so that they could be implemented during the spring, when practical sessions are conducted in schools around the area.
Given the positive response it has received, Badminton Norway has now reached out to six more universities.
The interest began with a Shuttle Time Teacher course in Halden, with the school expressing interest in the programme to reach out to a greater number of children. The university course in Halden enabled Shuttle Time Norway to reach out to at least 400 children in a year. The goal is to continue this with other universities and get a “badminton movement” going, so that badminton can become a sport for everyone.