December 13, 2022
On 21 October, Special Olympics coaches, volunteers, teachers and badminton experts gathered in San Antonio, Texas to kick off three days of Shuttle Time activities. Designed to support the teaching of enjoyable, safe and inclusive badminton, participants took part in one of two workshops – Shuttle Time Tutor and Shuttle Time Teacher.
The workshops, organised in collaboration with BWF, Special Olympics International, and local hosts Special Olympics Texas, attracted 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 Shuttle Time Tutor. The workshop qualifies participants to deliver the Shuttle Time Teachers course to other coaches and volunteers, so that they can deliver Shuttle Time activities to athletes in a variety of settings.
“The Tutor Course was intense and I’m 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 strong high school Unified Badminton programme 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 at the USA Games and teams from SONA to compete at the World Games,” said Meg Bowman, Shuttle Time Tutor participant and Special Olympics Arizona badminton coach.
Day 3 was spent with local volunteers and teachers, who learned the basics of badminton and skills to coach athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, using the Shuttle Time curriculum, which includes 22 free lesson plans in 25 languages. Click here to download the Shuttle Time resources.
The workshops are part of a joint effort to continue to grow the sport in North America. Earlier this year, as part of this effort, badminton was included as a demonstration sport at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Florida. Athletes participated in AirBadminton inside their village throughout the Games.
“We’ve 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,” said BWF Head of Continental Development John Shearer.
Special Olympics Texas is keen to sustainably grow the sport and lead its continued expansion across the country, with plans to add it to its Winter Games in February.
“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.” – Chad Eason, Special Olympics Texas, Senior Director, Games & Competition
Badminton will have its largest presence at a Special Olympics this June at the 2023 World Games in Berlin, Germany, with over 200 athletes from over 60 countries competing.