On 21 October, Special Olympics coaches, volunteers, teachers, and badminton experts gathered in San Antonio, Texas to kick-off three days of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Shuttle Time program. Designed to support the teaching of enjoyable, safe, and inclusive badminton activities, participants took part in one of two workshops—Shuttle Time Tutor and Shuttle Time Teacher.
The workshops, organized in collaboration with the BWF, Special Olympics International, and local hosts Special Olympics Texas, included participants from across North America, including Texas, Arizona, and California, as well as Caribbean countries Aruba and Barbados.
The first two days were spent on the Shuttle Time Tutor workshop. The Tutor workshop qualifies participants to deliver the Shuttle Time Course to other coaches and volunteers, so that they can deliver Shuttle Time activities to athletes in a variety of settings.
“The BWF Shuttle Time Tutor course was intense and I am so grateful for the experience. Badminton is my passion and I can’t wait to share Shuttle Time with coaches and teachers in Arizona. We have a very strong high school Unified Badminton program statewide. As we involve more coaches and equip them with the Shuttle Time curriculum, I expect this sport to grow exponentially. Our ultimate goal is to see Badminton competition at the USA Games and then teams from Special Olympics North America (SONA) to compete at the World Games.”
Meg Bowman, Shuttle Time Tutor participant and Special Olympics Arizona Badminton Coach
Day 3 was spent with local volunteers and teachers, learning the basics of badminton and skills they need to coach badminton to athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, using the Shuttle Time curriculum, which includes 22 free Lesson plans in 25 different languages.
The workshops are part of a joint effort to continue to grow the sport in North America. Earlier this year, as a part of this effort, the sport was included as a demonstration sport at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Florida. Athletes participated in AirBadminton inside the athlete’s village through the duration of the games.
“We have seen tremendous growth of badminton globally through our partnership with Special Olympics International. The SONA region is an area where we wish to grow badminton and workshops like this one are an important part of our strategy to achieve this objective. Our focus is on investing in people locally and providing them with the training, resources, and equipment to allow them to introduce badminton at the local and state level. Our ultimate goal is to see badminton as a highly participated sport within the Special Olympics USA Games, and together with our national partner USA Badminton, we believe we can make this happen. I would like to thank Special Olympics Texas for their excellent hospitality and organisation of this workshop; and all the participants for their energy, enthusiasm, and open minds.” – John Shearer, Head of Continental Development at Badminton World Federation.
Special Olympics Texas hosted the workshop and is keen to sustainably grow the sport and lead it’s continued expansion across the country. They are looking to add it to their upcoming winter games in February.
“It was an honor to host the Shuttle Time Training in Texas. The opportunity to meet and hear from coaches all around the globe on how to implement, get more interest, get competition support and overall, hear about the sport of badminton from other parts of the world was extremely beneficial to not only the coaches who were trained, but the staff and volunteers who will help grow the sport within Texas. We look forward to future opportunities for our athletes worldwide in the sport of badminton.” – Chad Eason, Special Olympics Texas, Senior Director, Games & Competition
Badminton will have its largest presence ever at a Special Olympics World Games this June at the 2023 World Games in Berlin, Germany, with over 200 athletes competing from over 60 countries.