A mission to teach badminton and 'much more'
Badminton and much more.
That is the tagline and promise the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) is making for its SBA Badminton Academy @ ActiveSG, which will be launched in June.
For a start, there are two programmes - beginner and elementary - available for children aged 6-12 and costs $300 and $360 respectively, while an intermediate course, for those aged 8-15, will be made available later.
Both programmes will be offered at the ActiveSG sports halls in Clementi, Hougang, Jurong West, Pasir Ris and Yio Chu Kang, as well as Our Tampines Hub.
But, other than teaching children the basics of the game, the new academy aims to help them build character, and to help parents bond with their children.
"The 'much more' elements come in the form of things like discipline, teamwork and appreciation," SBA secretary general Michael Foo said on the sidelines of the OUE Singapore Open at the Indoor Stadium on Sunday. "We would like our players to be on time (for training), switch off their mobile phones and be focused.
"They will come early to set up the courts and the equipment, and help to clear the courts after training, when they will give thanks to the coaches and parents."
Foo added that courses for parents, such as nutrition, sports injury prevention and treatment, and sports photography will also be offered.
The partnership with national sports movement ActiveSG will help the academy in terms of funding, as well as support for such fringe programmes.
The beginners' programme will follow Badminton World Federation's Shuttle Time syllabus, with coaches for both programmes accredited under the National Registry of Coaches (NROC).
The academy will be part of the national sports association's overarching talent development pipeline, where more details will be revealed later.
Foo said: "We want to have this pipeline for children to learn the correct way; badminton is a sport whereby you have to teach the young the correct way from the start.
"If not, the vision of a broader-based pipeline will be destroyed at the start."
The academy will also provide job opportunities for former national players, sparring partners and coaches under the SBA fold.
Private football academies were recently reported to be unhappy that ActiveSG-operated academies are hurting their businesses. But Foo is hopeful of avoiding a similar scenario with the SBA's academy.
He said: "We want to work closely with them (private academies); some of them have very good models and court management, and some of them are ex-national players.
"We would like to share with them our syllabus and, more importantly, if they are not under the NROC, we can help upgrade and accredit them.
"We are not going to break their rice bowls, we want to work closely with them."