What is your background in Badminton?
I started playing badminton aged 6, as my dad ran the local junior club. I got my first England junior cap aged 10 then progressed year on year. Aged 18 I won all 3 events at the U19 Nationals (being the first male in 28 years to do so). I turned professional aged 19 and only retired recently. I won 2 National Championships and numerous internationals during my playing career.
As a badminton coach – I got my level 2 coaching badge aged 18 and have been coaching ever since. I have always had an interest in coaching and helping others. When I was training in Liverpool, I would assist my coach with a session before training in the session after. I have coached a wide variety of ages and abilities. At the end of 2020 I opened my own coaching business, Wolfenden Badminton Academy. This involves coaching in person as well as online services.
What do you find most rewarding about being a Badminton coach?
The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing players learn, improve and develop. Both with their badminton skills and also as people. It is very satisfying to see the players enjoying the sport.
What are the main benefits from playing Badminton?
Badminton of course Is a great sport/activity to help improve your health and fitness. It is actually a very physically demanding sport – so playing for any length of time will be of huge benefit to your health. It can also help with mental health. Taking part in physical activity can make you feel good, which in turn can help your mental state. It is also a very enjoyable sport and can be very competitive! Additionally, I have met so many friends from playing. They are very different people, from different backgrounds and they will be friends for life.
Personally – I will always feel better after doing any sort of exercise, even if I didn’t feel like it before I started.
How important do you see sport activity in everyday life?
In my life – sport activity is so important. I really enjoy lots of different sports (especially watching Liverpool FC ! ) Sport and exercise keeps me healthy and generally a lot happier as a person. Of course everyone is different , but I think getting some sporting activity in everyday will hugely help your health and well-being.
How can people get into sports such as Badminton ?
Badminton is a very accessible sport. In most sports halls in the country, there are badminton courts. I think a lot of places also allow you to rent equipment. You can book a court with the sports hall and play socially with friends/family. If you are looking for clubs and competitive badminton – Badminton England has lots of information on clubs in your area to join. Badminton is becoming more popular in schools and this is a great opportunity for children to give it a try.
What are you 3 tips for someone new getting into Badminton for children?
My first tip is just to enjoy playing! It is a great sport, so just give it a tr , and have fun .
Secondly, I would say to try and find a club local to you. Clubs are a great way to play regular badminton, to learn from other players, and to meet new people!
Finally, to be open to learning and trying. It is a hard sport, so it takes time to improve. Don’t worry about failing/making mistakes, that is how we learn and improve.
What do you see for the future of Badminton?
I see badminton growing and becoming a bigger sport worldwide. Each year, more money is being put into badminton at the top level and bringing in bigger crowds. It is also being televised a lot more, with BT Sport showing some of the big events live. I just want more people to pick up a racket and participate, and for more people to appreciate the sport.