There are many less active “walking” varieties of dynamic sports which have sprung up relatively recently, the most long-standing probably being walking football which is thriving nationwide with hundreds of venues and teams. This tends to be male-dominated just as walking netball attracts mainly, if not exclusively, women. There are of course no walking golf/bowls/darts/snooker variants!
Walking badminton (virtually unknown and untried at the moment) could easily be played by men and women and as a result is a much more appealing and attractive proposition. It could prove extremely popular and become widespread, once certain general principles and activities are established.
Who could participate in walking badminton?
- Over 50s
- Those with limited mobility
- Overweight and obese people
- People with disabilities and/or rehab groups
- Nervous novices not used to activity
Why would people wish to participate?
- Satisfaction and increased confidence and self-esteem through learning a new skill
- Health reasons (e.g. to lose weight, gain increased flexibility, improve general health etc). Patients could be referred to a group by GPs, practice nurses etc
- Make friends in a new, supportive group and combat loneliness for those living alone or feeling isolated
- Gateway sport for subsequent more strenuous activity – not necessarily badminton
What kind of rallying activities would be undertaken
- Individual keepy-uppy, initially using plusballs
- Rallies against a wall using plusballs
- Co-operative rallies in pairs and small groups using plusballs
- Co-operative rallies using fleece (woollen) balls
- Co-operative rallies using slow shuttlecocks
- Once the majority of the group can maintain a rally then a group could move on to more recognisable and competitive badminton activities. For more ideas consult Racket Skills for Beginners – Twenty Lesson Plans
What kind of equipment would be necessary?
- Mini-rackets, wooden bats, plusballs, fleece (woollen) balls, slow (splayed out) shuttles, normal shuttles, pop up nets, throw down lines. (Plusballs supply most of these items).
Where could sessions take place?
- For early sessions (and perhaps for the duration of a complete course) a badminton court is NOT necessary – just adequate space in:
- Sports halls and activity studios
- School gyms and halls
- Community centres and church halls
- Residential nursing homes
- Spaces in hospitals, physiotherapy centres etc
What elements should be coached?
- Correct grip
- Importance of racket angle
- Service action
- Hitting consistency
- Prolonging rallies
- Types of hitting – push, tap, whip etc
- Simple footwork and movement – forwards, sideways, backwards, lead foot etc
Who could deliver such programmes?
- Badminton coaches
- Sports and Activity Co-ordinators/Leaders
- Experienced players keen to start a group
- Fitness professionals with an interest in coaching racket sports
*Guidance would need to be given to these facilitators.
What happens next?
We will assess the viability of walking badminton as an activity for area/regional/national introduction and take-up, based on results and feedback from pilot schemes and experimental sessions.