Covering all bases: Coach education, player development and AirBadminton resort launch

Pictured: Robbie Thackham and The Edgewater Resort and Spa staff play AirBadminton on the beach

In late January, our Coaching and Development Manager, Robbie Thackham, took advantage of the quarantine-free bubble in operation between New Zealand and the Cook Islands to lead a Pacific Coaching Course, deliver a player development camp and launch AirBadminton into The Edgewater Resort and Spa.

Firstly, the Pacific Coaching Course was delivered to a total of 11 aspiring coaches across the week, with four women and seven men upskilling. The course bridges the knowledge gap between qualifying as a Shuttle Time teacher and the more extensive experience required for the BWF Level 1 Coaching qualification.

Since inception, the Pacific Coaching Course has aided over 62 coaches across the Pacific (14 face-to-face and 48 via online components) in obtaining the knowledge to assist their nation’s qualified coaches to train their respective national squads and player development teams.

The Cook Islands currently has five BWF Level 1 coaches (Thomas Manea-Ngauru, Ngaoa Ranaginui, Hebrew Tom, John Taulu and Eric Gamez) and will receive additional support across their ever-growing programmes thanks to the development of Pacific qualified coaches.

Across the same week, 26 players from tiers two, three and four of Badminton Oceania’s Player Development programme benefitted from the expertise of Robbie Thackham, who led coaching sessions to cover various techniques and tactics of the game. Particularly for the players in tiers two and three, the training aims to prepare players for a level of competition that is stronger than what is currently available in country.

It was a pleasure to join the aspiring coaches and players in the Cook Islands who continue to show great enthusiasm for growing the game across the country. The coaches can now assist the BWF Level 1 coaches with confidence and every time I meet the junior players, I continue to see their improvement. The next step for them is to take advantage of the international tournaments as border controls start to ease throughout this year“, says Robbie.

Find out more about the Player Development programme here.

Meanwhile, another benefit of the trip was the opportunity to launch AirBadminton in country at The Edgewater Resort and Spa.

AirBadminton was officially launched in Guangzhou, China, in May 2019 and began a global rollout in 2020. The outdoor version of badminton aims to inspire more people, to play more badminton, in more places, while hosting the physical, mental and social health benefits of playing badminton.

Halted by the growing presence of COVID-19, member associations have gradually acquired the resources to increase AirBadminton participation. This will be bolstered by Badminton Oceania’s plan to include AirBadminton in the activities on offer across Pacific resorts, starting with The Edgewater Resort and Spa.

Robbie Thackham joined The Edgewater’s General Manager (Franz Staufer) and several staff members to show them how to set up the courts which uses an outdoor net and line set (with different dimensions to traditional badminton), alongside the rules which are unique to the game.

Following Robbie’s training, the resort was equipped with two AirBadminton sets (also used to host the recent 2022 Cook Islands Beach Games) to encourage tourists, guests and local player to play AirBadminton across their beachfront facilities.

The Edgewater Resort and Spa is also the official accommodation provider of the Oceania Masters in Paradise 2022 (a masters badminton tournament), which will feature AirBadminton as part of the social events.

To follow more development of badminton and AirBadminton in the Cook Islands, follow the Badminton Cook Islands Facebook Page or visit

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