By: Ruth Menchaca
On September 26, 2009 the USAB Coaching Department organized its first meeting since 2006. The department is composed of regional coaching directors, coaches, coach educators, and sports and technical experts representing the five USAB regions. In attendance were Fred Coleman, Arthur Zhu, Alex Mathew, Victor Hirano, Ruth Menchaca, Watkins Fessal, Wendy Carter, Abi Bautista, and Andy Gouw (Absentees were Richard Shingles and Andy Chong). Special guests for the Saturday morning session included USAB Board Chairman Dick Dubose and Dan Cloppas and Peggy Savosik from the National Office. All were happy to learn that Mohan Subramaniam had rejoined USAB to help revamp the coach and athlete development structure in the US.
Saturday's long but productive 10-hour session, began with Mohan speaking briefly about the meeting that took place in 2006, making notice that one person who will be missed from the Coaching Department was Michael Gamez, Region 3 Coaching Director. This same date of our meeting marked exactly one year since Mike's passing. It was such a coincidence! We then dived right into topics such as forming regional coaching groups and maximizing the Railstation System for coach data management. We also revisited the badminton community in the US and looked at how it is linked to the athlete pipeline and also how the new look coach development pathway would fit in. We also determined the resources needed from USAB, its members, and ourselves that will help put our plans into action. The guest speaker, Christine Bolger, from the USOC Coaching Department discussed ways to help our sport grow through coaching via technology, state programs and current available resources. We ended our evening with a group dinner at the Olive Branch with all the coaching department members, and Dan Cloppas and Peggy Savosik from the National Office.
Sunday included more meetings that, for some, lasted well into the evening. We finalized the responsibilities of the Regional Coaching Directors, set immediate and one-year goals for regional and national athlete and coach development activities. We ended the meeting by listing expertise that each of us brought to enrich the team, ranging from IT, sport science, writing, finance, program development, conference organization, schools and clubs, junior and high performance athlete as well as coach development and much more! With this type of energized group, it is very realistic and optimistic to say that we are on the right track to motivate and assist the talent within the US badminton community.