The High Performance Training Centre has become a drain on Canadian
badminton and the sooner we replace it with a better program, the more
competitive we will be as a nation.

Our current HPTC is a drain on Canadian badminton because: 1. it
spends over $60,000.00 a year on 16 athletes PLUS over $50,000 a year
for the coach (Badm. Cda. budget 1995-96) 2. it retards the coaching
development program by removing the top players from clubs across the
country and thus prevents our coaches from growing with and learning
from their athletes 3. the athletes in the Centre spend most of their
time in Alberta thus preventing the other top athletes in their home
clubs and provinces from training and competing with them on a
frequent basis 4. we are always arguing among ourselves as to whether
or not the National Coach is 'allowed' to coach HPTC athletes in
domestic tournaments, whether or not Quebec should have its own HPTC,
whether or not a particular athlete is 'deserving' of selection to the
HPTC, whether or not team selections are biased toward HPTC athletes,
whether or not the National Coach should be on the road in Canada or
overseas with a team or coaching the HPTC group, etc.

The current national "central" training program is not a new idea for
us.  The first one was in Calgary also in the late 60's.  At that
time, it was the thought that as the biggest country in the world, we
had to solve the distance problem by bringing the best players
together to train.  Under the watchful eye of an expert coach in a
first class facility, our athletes could be catapulted into
international prominence.  Since that time, we have seen the passing
of a national training centre in Ottawa at the University of Ottawa
and a national training centre in Toronto at the Strathgowan Club.
Three centres with three sets of athletes in three cities with three
different coaches from Thailand, Indonesia and England.  The current
HPTC in Calgary (for the second time) started in 1985 after Canada
hosted the Worlds with yet another set of athletes and a new coach
from Scotland.

This most recent centralized training centre has spent well over a
million dollars since its inception; about $250,000 from the province
of Alberta and over $500,000 from the goverment of Canada.  With the
coach's salaries (1 full time and 1 part-time until last year), that
is a staggering amount of money.  So the obvious question is, how much
have we improved our standing as an international force?  In 1970 we
won a gold and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games.  In 1982 we won a
gold and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games.  In 1994 we won a silver
and a bronze and Deng Sian, a non-HPTC athlete won both of them.  In
1994 we failed to even win a medal in the team event, having won four
silver medals in a row since 1978 when the team event was started.  We
all know the Commonwealth Games is not the ultimate test for our
national team, but other measures of success like the Thomas & Uber
Cups, the All-England and World Championships show just about the same

Proponents of the current HPTC reason that the athletes would have no
place to train if the Centre shut its doors.  "They" say the funding
would disappear, the players would quit and badminton in Canada would
slide backwards.  Well, we ARE sliding backwards.  Perhaps it is
because most of the best players live in various parts of the country,
opting out of the HPTC.  Maybe if all of the best players were at the
centre, we would get better results.  But the fact is they're not, and
yet we continue to invest in a national training centre as we watch
the caliber of the average athlete there decrease.


1.      Set up Regional Training programs (Note that the word "Centre"
was not used) run by certified coaches that have a record of helping
produce athletes season after season.  Help clubs and provincial
associations develop solid training and competitive opportunities that
dovetail with national objectives and programming.  Provide these
coaches with a degree of ownership over the national agenda in their
small but significant way.  Give strength to our roots.  

2. Operate the HPTC on a part-time basis.  The top athletes, and I
mean THE top athletes rather than a few good juniors looking for
adventure, would train with any one of the coaches in any one of the
clubs across the country identified by Badminton Canada as where "the"
program was working.  Every few months, these TOP athletes would come
together at the HPTC for group training, competition, assessment by
the national coach and to receive training prescriptions until the
next session, weeks or months later.  When the athletes are not
together like this, the Centre would not be in operation.  The CENTRE,
in fact, could move at will, thus stimulating more than one regional
badminton economy and also equalizing travel costs.

3.      Modify the job description of the national coach to reflect
the above.  Our national coach is excellent working with coaches in a
leadership role.  Rather than coaching on court every day in Calgary,
he would be working WITH his Regional coaches in a team-coaching
approach; helping, guiding, planning, assessing, recommending,
leading, teaching.  Much of this could be done from a base (office)
but additional time would be needed "on the road"; actually in the
trenches with the coaches in Canada producing the athletes.  Our
national coach has much to offer and we all need to have contact with
him more frequently, especially the top players.

We cannot afford to sustain a glorified club program under the guise
of a national training centre.  The costs are too high.  It is time to
rely on our strengths as a badminton country.  We boast an excellent
coach education program and a well developed club network across the
country.  Let's put them to work with assistance from the national and
provincial associations.  

For me, even a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games is just not good

This information as posted as provided by (Gord Smith). Last update: 25OCT96.