A visit by Team England badminton star Marcus Ellis has inspired students at Elizabeth Woodville School to get on the ‘Roade to Rio’ in new SmashUp! badminton sessions.
SmashUp! badminton, a new initiative which is giving pupils of all sporting ability the chance to get active in a fun and sociable way, is proving a smash hit following the visit from Ellis, who is ranked in the world’s 20 and is in contention to play for England at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
The weekly session - which features a music playlist set by pupils, 16 big hitting badminton challenges, no dress code and no formal coaching – now sees over 35 pupils get on court.
Ellis got the shuttlecocks flying at the first Elizabeth Woodville SmashUp! session by running a badminton masterclass, including a smash challenge and giving pupils the chance to ‘beat the star’ on court.
Afterwards he said: “I started playing badminton at just 6 years old at a local club so I know just how important it is to build a love of sport at an early age.
“It is fantastic to see so many pupils want to get on court and be able to inspire them to want to play more is an amazing opportunity.
“SmashUp! is an exciting new way for pupils who don’t look forward to group activity in PE or play in school teams to shine and make their own mark in school sport.”
Elizabeth Woodville were one of the first schools in the country to join up with BADMINTON England to run brand new SmashUp! badminton sessions.
The sessions have also attracted a large number of girls keen to enjoy the benefits of badminton as a way to keep fit whilst having fun with their friends.
Alex Dunn, who leads the sessions at Elizabeth Woodville School, said: “SmashUp! is vastly different from other sports clubs offered at the school and has made a big difference to the after-school programme at the school.
“There is such a desire to come along and get involved in the popular team challenges on court that we are seeing pupils who play other sports regularly now want to swing a racket.”
Elizabeth Woodville School are one of over 570 schools across England putting on weekly SmashUp! badminton sessions as BADMINTON England look to inspire young people to pick up a racket and enjoy the nation’s favourite racket sport.