The USAB Board of Directors held a Listening Session at the Southern Open, at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina October 9-11. 2009. At-Large Board Member Fred Coleman and Athlete Board Member Ruth Menchaca spoke with over 40 of the 155 players, met with the Region Board of Directors (of which Ruth is a member), and were available at the tournament dinner. We spoke with people from Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach, Orlando, Miami Lakes, Charlotte, High Point, Greensborough, Chattanooga, Cary, Durham, Wilmington, among other locations.
- 1) Places to play - everyone wants more places to play and more hours. Facilities vary in quality from quite good to very marginal. Rents are sometimes quite high. Negotiations with officials of school systems and Park/Rec departments vary from cordial to difficult.
NEED - More badminton dedicated facilities
Information on negotiating strategies that have worked for others
Model programs with school or park/rec departments
- 2) Coaching - most players were happy with their own access to coaching to improve their own play, but indicated a desire to have better opportunities for the next generation of juniors to play and learn right from the beginning. Would like to see summer camps, clinics and academies that would feed into future opportunities.
NEED - more coaching for Juniors
- 3) Social Life of Club -One of the important thing that draws people to Badminton besides the pure pleasure of play, is the enjoyment of the people that you get to spend time with. This needs to be recognized and respected.
NEED - Do not make badminton into just a business
- 4) High Level Tournaments - People are glad that their Open rotates to different sites, but wish that USAB did outreach and site development to bring the major Adult and Junior Tournaments to all regions
- 5) People commented that it is important to see the people who are at the top of USAB. They expressed thanks, and invited anyone from badminton
Officialdom to just drop in and play at their club.
- 6) National Growth - A variety of people said that the Office and Board needed to seek funding from sponsors to develop Regional and National Training Centers, to increase international camps for Junior and Adult players, to create coaching manuals and resources, to develop "Clinicians" who could advise on how to start a program, and mentor new programs, to have more low cost and give away goods to get the USAB name and Logo out in public, to develop a Collegiate Program to assist in creating local, regional and national competition.