The Competition Pathway
We encourage all our young (and older) players to compete whenever possible. Not only is competing a good way of making friends and getting to know others on the competition circuit but it is a wonderful inspirational tool for most players! Without competition there is little point in learning to play a sport well. However, we do understand that not all youngsters wish to compete to a high level and therefore we ensure that if they do wish to compete at all then appropriate levels of competition are made available for them.
At our general clubs we hold Christmas tournaments within the club for all players and their family members are also invited to play. Medals are presented for winners of groups. These competitions are great fun and give parents an opportunity to see how well their children have progressed!
Cambridgeshire Junior Ladder
The Academy runs a junior ladder every year across 3 or 4 match days where all the junior players (and adult players who are associated with the Academy) come together to play against each other to progress up the ladder. These match events are in all age groups from U11 up to adults. Girls and boys will generally play against each other as there are rarely enough girls to make a viable competition for them. We also encourage those who are keen to start competing regularly to attend these matches and we also expect those that do sign up to the ladder to attend all the matches. Not suitable for complete beginners. NB: with insufficient volunteers to help run these events we are not running a ladder this coming year 2014-15
Cambridgeshire County Fun Tournaments
These are tournaments organised by the County Badminton Association and are generally in the U11/U13 age groups but sometimes U15/U17 age groups. They are to encourage more youngsters to compete who wouldn't normally compete elsewhere. The level of play is not generally very high and experienced players would not normally enter them. These are great for those youngsters who don't have a great deal of confidence and a little nervous of entering anything more demanding. Games are normally timed to 4 or 5 minutes.
Cambridgeshire County Restricted Tournaments
These tournament are, again, organised by the County Badminton Association. They are generally in the U15 and U19 age groups and restricted to Cambridgeshire players only. The standard of play in these tournaments is generally higher and you would expect county level players to be taking part so not really suitable for complete beginners.
Forza 1 and 2* Tournaments
Normally run in Essex and Kent (the closest counties) these tournaments are for children who don't play to county level. The 1* tournaments are for beginners and a great way to start your competition career. 2* players may have entered one or two National Ranking tournaments (but still not county) and therefore this level of competition will be a bit tougher than the 1*.
National Ranking Circuit
This is a complex circuit of competitions for all ages of players from U11 to adult and in three grades - bronze, silver and gold. On top of getting ranking points for participation (and success) in these tournaments players are also graded on their performance. This is the toughest circuit and we encourage our performance players to start participating in this circuit as soon as we feel they are ready for it. Usually the first season of tournaments is very tough as the competition is very strong but once players become accustomed to the level of play they set their minds, generally, to working harder to get better results. For more information have a look at the Badminton England Website: http://www.badmintonengland.co.uk/text.asp?section=2544§ionTitle=Junior+Circuit#.Uv0-LbRTrWE
There are both junior and senior circuits.
The Academy will visit France or Belgium 2 or 3 times a year to take stronger juniors and adults to compete on the International circuit. International Tournaments are run very differently to anything in the UK. For a start, juniors are able to play in adult competitions as long as they are strong enough to compete against them. We have taken 12 year olds to play and they have done very well.
The tournaments don't offer different age groups but are run in different grades from Elite down to D class. D class players would generally be adult club players and strong mid level county junior players. C class would be higher level county junior players and stronger adults. Etc etc. Elite players would be the top 50 in the country. Players would only play against others in their own playing ability category.
These tournaments will last an entire weekend and we usually go from Friday evening until late Sunday evening.