March 2023, Articles

Badminton benefits from access to HPSNZ Performance Life coaching

A number of HPSNZ aspirational sports are benefitting from access to the Performance Life coaching team and Performance Life lead, Chris Arthur, says involvement with these sports is an important means of helping them take the next steps on the journey to break into top level international sport.

“Athletes, parents and coaches all need to understand how to make changes if they want success in high performance and Performance Life coaching helps individuals and their support networks navigate the challenges needed to maximise their performance and wellbeing in sport and life.”

Badminton NZ is one of five aspirational sports which has embraced the chance to access HPSNZ’s Performance Life coaching team through a series of workshops for pre-high performance athletes and their parents, and coaches.

HPSNZ’s Performance Life team has run three workshops in recent months for Badminton NZ involving coaches, younger athletes and their parents, and, most recently, a group of 20 Under 19 athletes who have been identified as potential high performance badminton players.

A number of common themes run through the workshops says Chris.

“Because of the age of these pre-high performance athletes, it is important they and their parents know that a dual career is possible.

“Young people can have a greater career and sporting success but at times they will need to dial up one and dial back the other.  They can have it all but not all at once.  They need to plan out any time critical sporting competitions alongside career or study deadlines.

“To achieve in sport and life requires a decision and honesty to know whether they keep doing what they are doing or whether they need to do things differently to achieve different results.  High performance sport is a marathon not a sprint, so we emphasise the importance of enjoying the journey.”

The role of coaches in the wellbeing journey is also critical.

“As part of the development of individual performance plans (IPP), coaches need to know how to help athletes grow as a person as well as an athlete.  For example, they need to know how to empower athletes to make decisions, communicate their individual needs, build character and take responsibility for consequences of their actions; all important life skills which impact performance as much as technical and physical aspects of their sport,” says Chris.

Badminton NZ high performance manager, Rikke Siegemund, is unstinting in her praise for the Performance Life team’s impact on the sport.  “We currently have no world class athletes and not a lot of knowledge within our team about what it takes to be a high performance athlete.

“We have targeted 18 to 20 players to move up to high performance level – a big task for one person within our sport.  To have Chris’ expertise to navigate the important topics of sport/life balance, energy management and the wellbeing wheel has been eye-opening.  And importantly, my time with her and watching her work with our people has given me new tools to use going forward,” says Rikke.

Challenge is a word Rikke uses to talk about the impact the Performance Life coaching workshops have had on coaches and players alike.

“Chris challenges our coaches in the ways we normally operate and gives us ideas on how to make positive changes.  She also challenges players to take ownership of their development if they want to achieve their sporting and career goals.

“To have experts like Chris talking with players, coaches and parents makes a huge difference to a sport like badminton.”