A group of 16 young people from West Lothian’s Coaching Academy have been busy delivering 5 badminton Big Hits Festivals to approximately 250 school pupils from across central Scotland.
The Big Hits Festival is a badminton skills and activity festival incorporating 10 stations for participants to work through and build up their skills. Over the course of 2 days, the Coaching Academy’s young people delivered to pupils from both mainstream and ASN schools, providing them with valuable experience in working with young people with varying abilities.
Young leaders in sport
In the lead-up to the festivals, the young leaders received a 6-hour Young Sports Leaders Award training session from Badminton Scotland. The course educates secondary school pupils on how to coach, how to organise festivals, and how to officiate competitions. Pupils who complete the course also gain skills that can be used across other sports and aspects of life and can progress via various pathways in coaching, officiating, and volunteering.
Graeme Young, Active Schools Coordinator in Bathgate, said:
“Through receiving this training and then having the opportunity to work with so many
new people from different schools, the young people have really developed their leadership skills and we’ve seen a big difference in their confidence.”
The young people were also tasked with delivering a session to a group of pupils with additional support needs. This challenged them with a situation in which they were required to make adaptations to their coaching, the activities and the equipment. Graeme Young said:
“This experience will only benefit them going forward as it took them out of their comfort zone initially but they all will be able to look back on the experience positively and use it in their future coaching.”
A royal visit
After a successful 2 days of Big Hit Festivals, the young people were then given the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness Prince Edward, who is the patron of Scottish Badminton. The Prince was able to witness the festival in full swing and engaged in many discussions with the young people about their personal experiences in the sport, the festivals, and what they had learned throughout the process.