The past three days have been intense, rewarding and motivational. My legs tingled as I reminded myself that with each grip, each drop of sweat expelled and whenever my senses went into overdrive in an attempt to focus to return the shuttlecock, that this is a step in the right direction to help more youngsters realize their true potentials.
I’m often reminded by cynics that in Jamaica it is difficult to get anything done without “links” or close contacts in any organization. Sometimes their statements prove to be true but in other instances the opportunity tends to present itself in a rather timely fashion without any difficulties, hesitation or “contacts”.
The Clarendon Youth Information Centre has been opened a little over 8 months and significant impact has been made in the lives of young people throughout the parish. One of our biggest concerns were to get adequate academic and sports programmes in place for our members. Badminton was recommended as a sport that could be ventured, but the lack of resources to obtain even a starter kit was out of reach and a letter was sent to the Jamaica Badminton Association, pleading our cause.
I visited their Facebook page and read about a Shuttle Time, which is a worldwide venture aimed at making badminton a more popular sport in the western world, since it was already popular in Asia and some parts of Africa and Oceania. I had a slight hunch of optimism but I waited for things to unfold.
A few days ago an email came in that there was a Shuttle Time training session for teachers and coaches that it would be intense, balanced and certified. Who doesn’t love certificates? However, that wasn’t the best part of the news. The Jamaica Badminton Association in Association with the World Badminton Federation and the Pan American Badminton Organizations decided that starter kits would have been provided!
Free training, free resource materials and training done by professionals? This sounded too good to be true. And true it was, teacher’s manual provided was so simply worded that the most complicated of moves seemed to magically transform into the simplest of techniques. It provided background, theories as well as the aim of each activity and sought to explain the techniques, tactics and practicality of the game in today’s Jamaican society. The game is high energy and seeks to work out both mental and physical capacities. It being a non-contact sport thrilled me, as the thought of mischief makers tackling in practice gave me the chills. It is pretty flexible, as it can be played indoors and outdoors and it seeks to engage both sexes.
The lesson plans were quite detailed and contained numerous activities to help strengthen students’ skills. The activities were fun and simple while managing still to cater to the more technical aspects of the game. Each activity is also linked to a YouTube video which explains the purpose of the activity along with live demonstrations to help with accuracy. In the span of three days, I believe the participants moved from pre beginners and beginners stage to intermediate. Yes we were that good!
President of the Jamaica Badminton Association, Robert Richards thanked the participants for their efforts. Richard Gregory Wong and Dr. Audley Astwood told the participants how proud they were of the twenty member group.
The Clarendon Youth Information Centre thanks the Jamaica Badminton Association for their contribution to youth development and for their promised continued support in making Shuttle Time a success.