Paulo Pinheiro is Guernsey’s new Badminton Development Officer.
The 41 year old Portuguese national moved over from the Faroe Islands in November where he had been working in a similar development role with a range of clubs and organisations.
‘I like the mentality and culture here in Guernsey,’ says Paulo.
Paulo was previously national champion in Portugal in his teenage years before becoming a coach after University.
‘I was lucky enough to work with the National Coach for Portugal for a few years and then decided to try it on my own and moved to the Faroes in 2017.’
Paulo is working on two different pathways with the younger players; those who just want to play socially and then those who want to take their badminton more seriously and form part of a development squad.
He wants to ensure that those who want to have fun can just turn up and play.
‘We have lots of young people who are talented and keen to learn badminton but there is currently a gap between our quality players who compete in competitions such as the Island Games and our younger players.
‘I am trying to fix this and have lots of things planned.’
Paulo is based at the Rohais Badminton Hall and wants to encourage more people to just turn up and play.
‘It’s a great facility. It’s awesome to have our own space.’
As well as supporting the development of players Paulo is also planning to improve opportunities for coaching.
‘We are going to be trying to fill the gap between the number of trained coaches and the number of people who want access to coaching.
‘We will be having someone come over from Badminton England to run Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses so hopefully we can also create a development pathway for our coaches,’ says Paulo.
Paulo is keen for Guernsey to be recognised as an individual country by the Badminton World Federation so that the island can compete in European and World competitions.
‘The Isle of Man is currently an associate member of the BWF and we are just waiting for a response to see if Guernsey can do the same.’
Badminton already has some promising young players regularly beating older players in local and inter-insular competitions. Paulo wants to see as many young people as possible trying the sport.
‘Having talent isn’t everything. We have really keen kids who want to learn and train and that’s the most important thing. Talent comes with the work that they put in.
‘It’s a physical sport and you need to be hugely fit but you don’t have to be really strong. You need speed; you don’t want to get too many muscles or be too heavy. You need to be evenly balanced and have great eye coordination and reflexes.
‘If you watch a high level game, as soon as one of the players stop moving you can see he is going to lose the point.’
President of the Guernsey Badminton Association, Daryl Tapp, is looking forward to working with Paulo.
‘We are very pleased to have secured the services of someone as competent and professional as Paulo. He has settled into the position very quickly and brought a fresh wave of enthusiasm to the role. We are already seeing the benefits of his efforts with more junior engagement and participation in numerous junior and senior events and initiatives,’ says Daryl.