Finding the correct environment to improve either your own or your child’s badminton development can be tough, and so this article will aim to identify some of the most highly rated badminton schools and universities, badminton academies and badminton training camps in the UK and overseas
Best Badminton Schools in the UK
What do we mean by badminton schools? Firstly, we will start by looking into the best educational schools in the UK which combines good level badminton coaching, on the school premises, with a high quality academic programme.
School years are a key developmental time for badminton players looking to progress to an elite level. It can be extremely difficult to balance badminton training and school, so finding a school that offers high level coaching as part of their programme can be highly beneficial.
Although highly participated at recreational level, badminton in the UK is more of a minority sport at a competitive level and so high level training and coaching is difficult to find. Badminton schools are uncommon and physical education teachers are typically specialists in more traditional UK performance sports such as football, rugby, cricket, hockey and netball. So which are the best badminton schools in the UK?
- Webber Independent School, Milton Keynes - There are few better badminton schools in the UK than Webber. The badminton programme at Webber school is headed up by former England international Sara Sankey and offers a high class education alongside world-class coaching. Webber School has won numerous national schools titles and offers the flexibility to combine training and education, all in one place.
- Rishworth Independent School, Yorkshire - Rishworth school offers a badminton programme that is run by Yorkshire junior coach and former junior international Helen Calverley. The badminton academy at Rushworth also benefits from links with Durham University.
- Westgate School, Winchester - Westgate is an all-through school (4-16 years) in Hampshire, England and benefits from the use of a state of the art, purpose-built badminton centre. Westgate Badminton Centre is shared between the school and Hampshire County Badminton Association and this partnership has helped to forge the careers of numerous professional players who attended the school. Westgate School are also multiple-time finalists at the national schools championships.
Best Universities for Badminton in the UK
Universities can be the perfect badminton schools and a fantastic opportunity to combine first class education with high level badminton training and competition. The governing body for this level of competition is the British Universities and College Sport, more commonly known as BUCS, and have been organising university sport in the UK for over 100 years. Sp what are the best universities for badminton in the UK and what do they offer?
- Loughborough University Badminton - Loughborough is one of the most prestigious badminton schools in the world. The university has a rich history of sporting success, winning the overall BUCS championships 42 years in a row up until the 2022-23 season. Loughborough is the home to many national sports organisations and offers world class, sport-specific facilities. Loughborough University boasts one of the best badminton coaching teams for their elite badminton players, which includes former national coaches Dave Lindley and John Quinn, Olympic bronze medalist Chris Langridge and former world number 20, Atu Rosalina. Elite squad members receive up to 18 hours on court training per week, strength & conditioning programs and video/performance analysis.
- Nottingham University Badminton - Nottingham have been investing heavily in growing their sporting presence in recent years, with a new £40 million sports village facility. Nottingham University was also named best university in the UK for sports by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. Success has followed on the badminton court, with Nottingham being crowned the 2023 European Universities Team Champions, and picking up individual titles in 4 of the 5 disciplines. Performance coaching is led by former Welsh International Martyn Lewis and has recently been supported by former Commonwealth and European champion Chris Adcock. This high performance badminton schools programme includes both individual and squad training, strength and condition sessions, physiotherapy, nutrition and psychology support.
- University of Bath Badminton - The University of Bath is the 2nd most successful university badminton club in the country. Former Bath badminton alumni include Olympians Richard Vaughan and Hadia Hosny El Said, and many more international players including Heather Olver, Alex Lane, Angus Pederson and Molly Chapman. All training is held at the £35 million Team Bath Sports Training Village and is home to numerous Olympic, Paralympic and World medallists. The performance programme is led by head coach Pete Bush, who is a former England number 2 and has been running the badminton programme at Bath since 2005.
Best UK Junior Badminton Academies
Moving on from badminton schools in a more traditional sense, badminton academies operate separately from school and offer group or individual coaching during evenings and weekends.
- MKBA - The most successful academy in the UK in producing elite badminton talent is the Milton Keynes Badminton Academy. MKBA is headed up by former Scottish international Ross Reid and coaching sessions are regularly supported by former MKBA alumni and current England international players. In December 2021 MKBA had a national champion crowned in every single age group from U13, right through to seniors, showcasing the quality of players being produced by the academy.
- Tripp Academy - Tripp Academy is one of the leading academies in the UK and has produced over 30 national champions. Coaching is led by Manny & Ella Tripp. Manny retired from international badminton in 2003 and immediately founded the academy. Ella Tripp achieved a top 7 world ranking alongside Commonwealth gold and European bronze. Former World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson is also an ambassador for the academy.
- Wycombe Performance Centre - Based at a 6 court, purpose-built badminton facility 30 miles from central London, Wycombe Performance Centre has a history of nurturing some of the country's best badminton players. The coaches have an impressive array of high level experience with former Team GB professionals Harley Towler (Highest World Ranking:41) and Jess Pugh (Highest World Ranking:21), as well as experienced coaches Daryl and Steven Jacobs.
Best International Badminton Academies & Training Camps
The ultimate badminton schools for adults and children alike, international badminton academies allow you to focus on nothing else but badminton and can truly take your game to the next level.
Yonex Peter Gade Badminton Academy, Denmark - There is no bigger name in European badminton than Peter Gade and his badminton schools look to provide the launchpad for players to aspire to the level that Peter himself achieved in badminton. YPGA is looking to develop players between the ages of 13-25 with the potential to be amongst the best in Europe and the world.
Banthongyord Badminton School, Thailand - Thailand has become a hotbed of badminton talent in recent years and Banthongyord Badminton School has played a part in this rise. Its most famous graduates include 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon and 2023 world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn. Banthongyord is one of the most notorious badminton schools in south-east Asia that they are open to applicants of any age and standard.
Padukone Badminton Academy, India - Founded by Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone, PPBAs is one of India’s finest badminton schools, focussing on elite players. Whilst they do not provide entry level or short term programs, they have the ability to arrange this through their other centres via Padukone Sports Management.
- Tactical Badminton, Malaysia - Head coach Andrew Chang delivers specially tailored coaching programs for all ages, levels and abilities, from beginners, all the way to professional level. A short drive from the centre of Kuala Lumpur, Tactical badminton is one of the best badminton schools for flexible coaching courses and continues to receive rave reviews from former participants.
Online Badminton Schools
Online badminton schools are on the rise, and in this digital age, badminton coaches now have the ability to spread their knowledge to students all over the world.
Paul Stewart (badminton-coach.co.uk) - Paul Stewart is one of the most influential coaches in the UK. Paul has coached complete beginners and Commonwealth gold medallists so is prepared for any challenge. His online coaching club offers access to hundreds of hours of badminton lessons as well as interactive webinars and a private facebook group.
- Badminton Famly - Co founded by former World Champion Thomas Laybourn, Badminton Famly is one of the best online badminton schools, offering over 1800 videos to improve your game. BadmintonHQ is offering free trial access to Badminton Famly with the purchase of any badminton racket.
If you are looking to upgrade your skills with the help of any of these badminton schools, it may also be time to upgrade your equipment, for that little extra edge. BadmintonHQ stocks the latest badminton rackets, badminton shoes, badminton shuttles and badminton clothing to keep you on top fo your game.