Keeping One Step Ahead creates opportunities

Julie Carrel believes the training of Badminton Oceania's administrators at Federation level is crucial to the future of the sport in the Pacific. 
Carrel, previously the Event Manager for Badminton New Zealand and now Chief Operating Officer of Badminton Oceania, says there was a clear need for administrative upskilling. 
"We've trained players and coaches consistently but we had never trained our managers or administrators so there was a gap of expertise for administrators in how to manage players at events, hence the Keeping One Step Ahead workshop," said Carrel. 
Keeping One Step Ahead is a two day workshop is a Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Women in Badminton (WIB) inspired programme that brings together 16 participants from around Oceania in an intensive workshop for the next two days.
One of the facilitators of the workshop is Marianne Loh and with the Oceania region spread out across a geographic area bigger than continental Europe, she says the rare opportunity to spend valuable time together exchanging ideas and comparing experiences is crucial.
"The contribution across the room has been fantastic each individual has a variety of experience including one who has been at an Olympics plus various other international events.
"We've got those who have managed at a local and regional level as well. Its especially important for our region because knowledge sharing is crucial considering how far apart we live from each other.
"We have a lot of expertise in the room from a lot of countries that we can share and the best practices that people bring to the table is something we can all learn from," Loh said.
The workshop also leads into next week's Oceania Mixed Team Championships and Oceania  Men's and Women's Team Championships.
Loh says the intense schedule is perfect for ideas and discussions to blossom new ideas. And the workshop locale is the perfect environment to focus on all things Badminton.
"The Pacific Island Player Camp makes everything we do in Keeping One Step Ahead relevant to us. Having the course in a Badminton venue first of all is good and the camp makes us focus a lot harder on our roles and how important they are.
"We as team managers and administrators set the scene for players so they are comfortable in their environments and also they perform at their best regardless of their goals," Loh said. 
Loh added that in the early session it became clear improved administrative processes would be important for participants. 
"We had Donna Trow from Badminton New Zealand present policies on documentation. Its so important for Federations to have processes in place before going into a tournament or an event because you're managing risk involved.
"Part of the reason we've called this course Keeping One Step Ahead is that you're planning for the unexpected. You're trying to be one step ahead of the rest," she said.
The final day of the Keeping One Step Ahead workshop is set down for tomorrow and Loh believes the opportunity for participants to set-up bilateral meetings is one of the important benefits of the meet.
"The networking is also vital the sharing of everyone's experience is going to be part of the offline discussions - we can ask what are the good things we're doing and what are the things we can improve upon," she added.
Over and above the discussions, Loh said the involvement of convenors and coaches with successful Badminton careers at the elite level such as Carrel and Tracy Hallam provided road signs for those aspiring to grow a career in the game, on court or off.
"These role models are ambassadors of the sport because essentially they are the ones who influence the next generation of players, as do the administrators who are at Keeping One Step Ahead.
"When the workshop ends, its these people that can deliver to their countries and regions and build a pathway and opportunities for others to follow. 
"You don't need to follow a certain pathway to develop just as a player, you have different opportunities in administration and governance opportunities, too," Loh said.


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