Women in coaching: a profile of a Badminton coach

Maxine McCreary is a coach who works at Three Rivers Badminton Club in Donegal. She shares with us her coaching philosophy and her love for badminton.
1)      Maxine, who are you currently coaching within your club environment?
      Along with our head coach within Three Rivers Badminton club, I am coaching junior and adult players of all levels. We have various sessions which range from beginners (4 year olds and up) to intermediate and advanced junior sessions for competitive players, as well as beginner adults. I've been fortunate to gain experience from various events which are crucial for self development.
 
2)      How long have you been coaching for? When and where did you start coaching?
      I've only been playing for about five years now and I started from scratch but I was so determined to improve as I just loved the sport. I only started coaching about two years ago, when I became more involved with the junior side of our club. I started by assisting our head coach John Hunter with the junior section in Lifford and about that time I soon realised that I really enjoyed it. Each player has their own unique personality which I enjoy. I soon went on to complete my level 0 and level 1 within a few months of each other so that I could help the club more. Since starting in the junior club, I've been very lucky to gain coaching experience from other opportunities such as; assisting with the county U15 squad, Donegal Sports Partnership's Sports Ability Day, the local Schools Completion Programme and other various groups. Each event brings new challenges but also great fulfilment in its own way.
 
3)      What is your coaching philosophy?
      No matter what sport you are coaching, all sessions must be fun and a learning experience. If you take the fun and enjoyment out of the sport, then how can you expect to encourage and develop your players? We have kids from four years and up and every session must be fun for them in order to keep their focus at a high level. At the same time all the games need to encourage either badminton specific movements and also balance, co-ordination and agility. They just don't realise they're doing it as they're having so much fun.
 
4)      Have you got any coaching role models?
      As part of one of the coaching workshops we attended last year, we were fortunate to be in the presence of former Korean singles, doubles and mixed champion Lee Jae Bok; who was also formerly the Korean and English national coach. His approach and methods of delivering his philosophy of coaching/playing badminton is inspirational. His methods are easy to follow and one of the greatest messages he gives is respect on court; to your coach, your opponent, your team and yourself. It's simple but something which is so important in any sport.
 
5)      Have you got any advice for female coaches?
      To me, coaching is all about communication, respect and how you portray yourself in front of others. If this is done correctly, then what sex you are really doesn't come into it. Besides there are just some aspects where male coaches don't compare!!!