Badminton: SBA joins ActiveSG to launch academy in June

The SBA will be partnering ActiveSG to expand its academy. There will be six centres at the launch in June.
The SBA will be partnering ActiveSG to expand its academy. There will be six centres at the launch in June.PHOTO: SINGAPORE BADMINTON ASSOCIATION

After a trial run of its academy for the past year, the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) is now set to expand the initiative to teach young shuttlers the sport.

The SBA Academy will partner ActiveSG and launch from June 1 at several locations across the island, imparting the basics of the sport to budding shuttlers aged six to 12.

Six centres are earmarked for now (Clementi, Hougang, Jurong West, Tampines, Pasir Ris, Yio Chu Kang), with the Singapore Badminton Hall at Geylang a possible addition.

Led by certified coaches on the National Registry of Coaches, the academy will use a syllabus launched in 2012 by the Badminton World Federation, the sport's world governing body.

While the programme will impart fundamental skills, SBA secretary- general Michael Foo emphasised that it also aims to inculcate in athletes essential values such as discipline, teamwork, nutrition, as well as knowledge about sports injuries.

He said: "It will offer a very structured programme from the beginner to the higher levels.

"There are ways of building trainees' character through sports, in this instance, through badminton."

SBA chief coach Chua Yong Joo hopes that young shuttlers will be able to get their priorities right through this academy.

He said: "A lot of focus (now) is on how to win at a young age, when the kids should be learning the fundamentals and learning how to train.

"This will allow the children to have a more holistic development.

"We will also be able to create a better platform for coaches' education."

SBA technical manager Jiang Yanmei, a two-time Olympian for Singapore, said the programmes will be conducted in three-month blocks.

The SBA Academy is one of five academies and clubs that ActiveSG plans to introduce this year in its bid to encourage greater participation in sport.

Frisbee, floorball, hockey and martial arts are the four other sports that have been selected for the year.

They will join a list of three academies - basketball, football and tennis - and an athletics club that were launched last year.

An Outdoor Adventure Club was also launched in January.

But unlike the other sports, the SBA academy will largely be spearheaded and helmed by the association itself.

"We were still at the drawing board stage when we started the academy," said Foo, noting that partnering ActiveSG will bring with it more resources as well as sports science backing.

He added that it will offer an avenue for current and former national players to coach after they hang up their rackets.

More crucially, the SBA intends for the academy to serve as a pipeline for future talent for its national intermediate squad and national team.

Said Foo: "It will definitely be in line with our youth development programme.

"Eventually, the academy will go towards high performance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline 'SBA joins ActiveSG to launch academy in June'. Print Edition | Subscribe