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June 8, 2019
As part of UK Coaching’s Coaching Week, we have celebrated the fantastic coaches who help to make Surrey Sports Park a thriving hub of sporting excellence.
Our fifth and final subject is SSP Director of Badminton, Hayley Adcock, a former full England international who reached the last 16 of the All-England Championships, was ranked in the world Top 20 for Mixed Doubles, and twice coached Team GB at the World University Games.
What is your coaching philosophy?
It really depends on the group of players that I’m working with, but I’m a firm believer that you get out what you put in. I always like to encourage a professional and safe environment. I also think that time-keeping, the intensity of the session, preparation and, of course, effort levels are really important.
I like to make sure that my players don’t just work on their weaknesses but also make sure they work on their strengths, because those are their biggest assets. If we only concentrate on working on their weaknesses, then actually they start to lose their strengths, and by working on them it’s their biggest weapon on court.
Players are sometimes almost too coached, and it’s really important to encourage their own flair, their own creativity, in the exercises that we’re doing, and then that hopefully comes out in the games.
What do you think makes a good coach?
The biggest thing for me is being able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, and to work on your weaknesses as well. I think having an open mind, listening to your players, and being able to adapt to the different players that you’re working with is really important. Motivating players, creating a comfortable and safe training environment that they feel comfortable in, because you’re only wanting to get the best out of them.
I think you can learn something from everybody you work with, and no matter whether it’s in your sport, or whatever walk of life it might be. I always think that it’s really important that you can learn from everybody and not be shut off to other opportunities.
In that, do you think the art of coaching is largely universal, and that coaches can learn from contemporaries in different sports?
Absolutely. It’s only when you get into the nitty gritty of the technical and tactical side that it becomes specific to your sport. I feel that to be a good coach you need to be open-minded, to see that everything relates to everything else.
Is there any coach who has particularly influenced you, and what was it that made them so good?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible coaches. My dad (Alan Connor) being one of them! But I’m going to have to say that my first ever club coach, Mike Cripp, was fantastic. I worked with Mike from the age of six to 15. It was my club coach but I also did some one-to-one sessions with him and he was just so patient and knowledgeable and just created an environment that made me want to train and work harder. And for me the most important thing was making sure he got like the basics right with me and encouraged me to develop my own style of play which I think is key in that grassroots stage because then you can develop the rest as it comes and as you need. But to start with the basics getting the basics right is key to any sport.
Book a place on one of Hayley’s Junior Summer Camps running during July and August – click here for details