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Fast badminton – NBL

Fast moving badminton – NBL Fixture Birmingham Lions V. Surry Smashers

National Badminton League - Birmingham LionsThe fixture promised to be fast moving and action packed. Last night I was one of several line-judges in the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham watching the last home league game for Birmingham Lions. The Lions took on the Smashers from Surry. Birmingham needed to win only one of the 5 disciplines in the match to go through to the finals day on Sunday 8th May. This is already in my dairy as I intend to be on the lines watching some fabulous badminton.

Last night I was lucky enough to line judging 4 out of the 5 games (not bad aye!), then watch the fifth game from the behind the scenes, but Birmingham Lions had already done what they needed to do.

Mens singles always a fast games, saw me on the side line, with a large group of the audience behind me being youngsters and their parents that I know. I was under no pressure to make sure I got all of my calls right. I did not want youngster/friends/fellow badminton fanatics saying I got the call wrong…………….

Out of all the calls I made throughout the night, most of them were no doubt ‘clear calls’ except one side line call in the mens singles. Carl Baxter produced another fast smash and the shuttle travel cross court to Toby Penty’s forehand. Travelling at several mph and my first speedy reaction was to put one arm out for the IN call BUT……..the cork landed OUT. So from a single arm movement to raising the second arm to synchronise with the first arm movement to create the wide arm span single for OUT and shouting the corresponding word ‘out’ seemed to take an eternity. All eyes and the cameras on me……..the look on the umpires face said it all. Thank god I got it right, did not want to be overruled sorry ‘correction’ the shuttle was out.

For those badminton fanatics out there it is a great way to watch badminton close hand. Find out more at Badminton Line Judges Association of England (BLJAofE). In addition or alternatively why not become an Umpire (BUAofE). Just volunteer.


First Para badminton experience

Confusion for Para badminton players……………!

Sunday 29 June was an early start at Loughborough University for the Para badminton players. This was my first line judging duty for sometime. I was looking forward to experiencing a Para badminton tournament as I had heard so many good things about them. The atmosphere was relaxed but quietly competitive. Competitors from all over the world were warming up to get on court.

Para badmintonA little nervous as it had been a while since my last line judging duty on to court I went to call the side line for mixed doubles wheelchair event. In oar of the player’s movement around the court, mastering racquet and wheels, with body positions I never seen before I messed up my first call. The shuttle was clearly in. My arms went out but NO call. Spectators, umpire and players were certainly for that I apologise. I was so embarrassed and muttered to myself to concentrate more on correct calls rather than allowing myself to get engrossed in the game. Needless to say that was the only mistake I made during the day.

If you fancy a spot of line judging the take a look at the website for  BLJA of E. It is a sneaky way of seeing great badminton close up.

For the results  and more information on Para Badminton click HERE.


Direct planet hit for youth theatre group….!

Birmingham Youth Theatre presents Return to the Forbidden Planet

Tonight at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham I witness a great performance by youth Scott Jennings. He took the lead role in the Youth Theatre’s production as Captain Tempest of the starship and a fabulous job he did to. Congratulations to the entire cast  as they sang their hearts out to give the audience their moneys worth (Great value by the way).

I amassed how Scott learnt the script of by heart, including the words to the songs and the dance routines. I would like to say that he gets moves and his energy to dance from playing badminton every Wednesday evening. Alas I doubt it. Youth is very much on his side. (Details of his badminton session can be found HERE).

Birmingham Youth Theatre have two more shows to produce tomorrow (including the matinee) if you are interested then tickets can be booked on line HERE or HERE. Alternatively check out the next production which is ‘The Snow Queen’ scheduled for November 2014.

Birmingham Youth Theatre

Birmingham Youth Theatre are always looking for talented young performers. So if your child shows talent and wants to gain some experience then contact Melanie Flint on 07972 095863 ans see their website. Auditions for the Snow Queen will be happening soon.

Return to the Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Plant production by the Birmingham Youth Theatre.

After attending the last production of Miss Saiygon (details HERE) by the Birmingham Youth Theatre are now presenting the ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham. The Forbidden Planet production is in May and tickets can be purchased through the Birmingham Youth Theatre box office HERE. Young Scott Jennings a social badminton player in North Birmingham at Kingshurst Academy.

The cast and the production team behind the scenes are all members of the Youth Theatre group.  With Miss Saigon being a big hit don’t miss out on your ticket so book early and take advantage of the special offer that is running throughout February.

My last day line judging at the Copper Box.

Day 3 and my last day – Line Judging

It’s a late start on my last day as a line judge. With a lie in, well I still made a cuppa for my roommate and I (a little too early, sorry Mum Pammie). Then eventually turned over and had another hour. Breakfast was humming will some off the ladies off shopping. Pammie and I stayed in the room and I took advantage of the time to do a few blogs (Ashton men’s match report plus others). So a leisurely start to what will be a long day, estimated finish time of 20.00 depending on how many games go to three. Settled in to my new role as line judge I was enjoying the experience. Along with seeing what goes on behind the scenes to provide the public with a flawless program of games to watch is, I must say very interesting.

For those of you who play badminton I recommend experiencing a bit of line judging. Why not do the training (See HERE for details on Line Judging)? Then volunteer!

My last day of line judging went well. Did not do that much ‘swimming’ so was pleased with that. I got to officiate Caroline MARIN from Spain (Results HERE), in my next life can I be her  please or just 20 years younger. Perdersen and Rytter Juhl, ladies doubles (if they say it’s out I won’t argue) quiet frighteningly a strong pair, well they are the number 1 seed in the tournament. Next on court with Ellis and Van Rietvelde (England and Scotland) pair and I momentarily lost my concentration slightly (forgot to sit down simultaneously with my colleagues) as a young voice in the crowd behind be me shouted  ‘come on England’ and then corrected himself by shouting ‘Great Britain’. My last match on my last day was ladies singles Wang V. Vignes Waren, not quiet the finish I would have liked as the next court saw Oliver and Robertshaw win in the third (details HERE) getting the crowd roaring. My Last day saw England success

Last day continued

Not over till the fat lady sings. Although all of the line judging had long ended, Badminton England had masses of work to do altering the arena for the next day. Remove courts, more seating out and all the computer next work needed fixing.  It was all hands to the wheel (or court in this case). Many hands make lighter work, so we left the arena at 11.00 (play finished at 9.00), underground back to the hotel. My new found friend (travelled by car and proceed tot he bar) called my to inform the 6 of us on the train that the bar would close before we got back. So with pre-ordered drinks waiting we would be able to quench our thirsts (thanks BE). So with an early start on a long journey home, bed was welcome on my last day.



More line judging

Day two of line judging as yesterday I was broken in so to speak.

Line judging

Photo by Alan Spink – Action Photography

First up today Warwickshire lad Rhys Walker, how apt, as I coach the Under 13’s Warwickshire juniors at the Birmingham cell (not going to be biased then). Position 4, meant I was responsible for mopping the court, nice! So on several occasions I was called on court, for Rhys to tap the area where he wanted me to ‘mop’ (did not think my line calls were that bad as I could not see the sweat on court). Hey ho he lost in two.

Next duty was Rajiv Ouseph (4th seed) V. Vitaly Konov. I did very few judging calls the first game as Rajiv was my end of the court and he won. The second game my hand signals were called upon to give me more practice, much appreciated thanks Rajiv final score 2-0.

My third duty was mens doubles, English pair CHENG and McCARTHY v China Taipei pair HUANG and LU. Having been told the mens doubles are a little on the fast side I was very nervous. A few wobbly hand gestures starting to indicate in but ended up out (swimming again) and the game was over. Sorry lads.

The last duty for me was Mixed (my first of the discipline). Both pairs RASMUSSEN/GREBAK(DEN) V. SCHWENGER/NELTE (GER) were young. What a game! I was extremely nervous as both sets of coaches where next to me in the last game. I had my fingers crossed that all of my calls would be easy. Thank you guardian angels for looking after me. No difficult line judging calls required. Sailed my second day of line judging, what will tomorrow have in store?

Event news HERE.

Fancy a spot of Line Judging for Badminton

Line Judging at the London Grand Prix 2013

Having played badminton for several years, I fancied doing something else to do with badminton. As I am already a qualified umpire and a member of the BUAofE I thought I would go a little further and become a line judge and am now a member of the BLJAofE.  Line Judging

Well having done the training today was the day I would put my Line Judging knowledge/training into action. I travelled down to London last night, to share a room with Pam (another Line Judge). Turns out she has 20 years experience and was full of information and assured me (several times) that my first time would be a doddle.

At breakfast Pam kindly introduced me to a few of the other line judges and Suzanne helped me with my traveling arrangements on the London Underground. After arriving safely at the Copper Box Arena pointed me in the right direction for accreditation and uniform. Well the rest of the crew were just as helpful.

Before I could say ‘ssssmoking ssshutles’, I’m lined up ready for my first time…..! Mens singles Sridhar (India) V. Tian (China) I was a little nervous to say the least (these two men would be waiting for me to call in or out!). My first Line judging call was a trembling arm raise for IN and throughout the almost two games I did two other IN calls and one very loud and arms extremely wide OUT. As it happened the game was cut short due to Sridhar retiring (full details HERE).

My third game with a familiar face for an umpire (Rizvan through Warwickshire County) I am in position 8 to the right of the Umpire and the shuttle lands all eyes are on me and I knew the shuttle was out but a single arm goes out (to signal IN)…! I quickly change it by pulling my arm back and raising the other arm to signal OUT. Phew got it right without the Umpire over-ruling me. I was later told this movement was referred to as ‘swimming’, not certain why breast stoke would be used in badminton.

All in all I survived my first experience line judging with mens and ladies singles with only one bout of swimming. Why not try it for yourself see BLJAofE.

Primary Schools

Frightening facts about ‘Obesity rising amongst the leavers from Primary Schools’.

Are Primary Schools doing less exercise with the children? A recent article published in ON MEDICA tells us more about Primary school leavers and National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) by Public Health England.
Full details can be found HERE. It is interesting but having been working with schools for three years I have never heard of this before. Have you? Statistics and Poll details HERE.

Is there something the schools can do to help with Obesity? Can they/should they employ outside coaches to deliver different aspects of physical education and sport?  Of course I (stef the badminton coach) am going to suggest badminton as one of those sports mainly because after playing it is school it can be played at home in the back garden or at the local sports centres by hiring a court.

Do you think your child ought to play more sport in school? Would you like to participate in badminton with your child?
Contact Stephanie on or call 07976 814036.

Customer Service

Have you ever received GREAT Customer Service………………………..?

Today I did.

MAD Customer ServiceMick Davies of MAD Computer Solutions and WEB MANIA deliver an ‘OMG Customer Service’. Having been hard at it all day on my laptop, I turned it off as I had to get ready to go out to work (sports attire ready to coach badminton at a local Ladies only session in Birmingham).

Long story but I need to get in touch with the members URGENTLY as I turned my laptop back on I found nothing……… All the files had mysteriously disappeared. It was a frightening moment having not backed up my computer that day.

One phone call (out of normal working hours) to Mick at MAD Computers a quick conversation with a ‘try this’ solution and I was back up and running. That is what I call great Customer Service. I would recommend MAD Computer Solutions to any one wanting/needing IT Support.

All that is left to do is say a big fat THANK YOU for great Customer service. Keep up the good work.



Badminton On Fire

Badminton at West Midlands Fire Service – Dudley Station

What a way to spend Saturday night! How better that playing badminton in a Fire Station, with Fire-men?

How and Why was i doing this? Long story short, read on…………
The Green watch at Dudley Fire Station are about to start working with Emma Homer (a community volunteer) who represents a group called Wrenna, Priory, Green Youth United (WPGYU). Green watch are running a couple of badminton sessions where two different age group of kids visit the Fire station and play badminton with the fire fighters.

As a badminton coach I agreed to lend Dudley Fire station some racquets and donated the shuttles so that the sessions can take place. It is unfortunate that I can not support the two sessions Green watch have got scheduled in person (I am so disappointed).

So earlier tonight I called in to drop the racquets off at the Fire Station and got roped in to playing badminton. Must thank Carl, Richard, Mick, Lee, Adam and Tert for some great games and their hospitality. Good luck for the sessions and will look forward to finding out how they went. Wishing you every success.