Big hit – Pick up a racket this September

Just over three weeks remain until the start of the Big Hit, a weekly celebration of all badminton that will take place from September 13-17.

The Big Hit is part of England’s ‘Now is Now’ badminton campaign, which focuses on encouraging members to return to the field while introducing the sport to potential new players and highlighting the great work of clubs across the country to reopen in the wake of the pandemic.

During Big Hit Week, facilities up and down in England will open their doors with access to a range of family events, outdoor badminton tournaments, social evenings, and even just the chance to hit the ball with a friend.

Whether you’re new to the game, a former player who has been inspired to retake the racket, or a longtime fan who can help inspire a new generation, there are a number of options for everyone to help develop the game.

And as the holiday of activities gets closer, we’re considering some of the reasons why you should get involved next month, with participants from different parts of the country offering insights into their experiences.

This week we are focusing on offering badminton to enjoy, and Blackburn Badminton League secretary Claire Banfield cited the inclusiveness and accessibility she has witnessed over more than 50 years of her involvement in the sport as two of her biggest draws.

Claire, whose main club is Westholme BC, said: “Whenever I look at various sports centers, I always see people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

“They just like to hit the shuttle back and forth over the net, forcing their opposition to run around the field.

“It’s easy to get into the sport – once you’ve mastered the service, you can play and get into the playoffs. I know some people are worried about the lack of eye-hand coordination, but really anyone can play our sport and I would encourage them to give it a try. ”

Twenty percent of badminton players are over the age of 54, while 44 percent are women, emphasizing that this sport suits everyone.

Such social benefits associated with badminton are also evident to Anna Collis, a former English international youth star and founder of SMASHIT Sports, who has been offering badminton coaching since the age of four.

Anna, from North Hertfordshire, said: “One of the main advantages of badminton is that you can play singles, doubles and mixed, so it’s really a social sport. It’s really good in terms of meeting new people and making friends.

“It’s also a very good exercise. People may be surprised at how good a workout it is. It’s not just running on a treadmill – it’s another type of cardio workout, which I think is a lot more fun.

“Badminton is a great way to stay competitive, stay fit and active and take advantage of off-field benefits, as well as give yourself time and enjoy the social side of the sport.”

Playing badminton can bring great rewards in terms of mental and physical health, with regular lawsuits that reduce an individual’s chances of coronary heart disease, depression or dementia.

Newcastle Medicals secretary BC Helen O’Donnell is engaged in creating the club’s new junior department, and shares the belief that badminton is a sport that offers a unique level of enjoyment on and off the field.

She said: “Badminton is great for fitness – you don’t realize how hard you work alone.

“There’s a great sense of community and you use different muscles and build them in every session – you can see improvements after every session. It is a constant progress, but also with that sense of community.

“It’s all-encompassing and I think we had a lot of people especially for our club who showed up as beginners and then played for teams.

“They’re doing well, helping each other, giving advice and bringing it all together.”

Claire added: “Because of the pandemic, some players may have tried new things because they could not access the pitches. But I am confident that the power of badminton will bring them back to the sport.

“It’s fun, it’s competitive, it’s social and it has huge health benefits – it’s brilliant.”

If you want to find your nearest place to play, contact inclusion@badmintonengland.co.uk

Find out more about England’s badminton campaign ‘It’s time now’ here. If you’re a club or coach looking for ideas on how to get involved in the Big Hit, visit the Resource Center here.

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