July 1, 2022
At the start of 2022, Badminton England, in collaboration with UK Coaching, launched its Female Leadership and Performance Coach Programme, with nine coaches making up the first cohort.
The programme is designed to support the development of influential and upcoming leaders within coaching, ready to act as role models to inspire a generation of future athletes and coaches.
Now halfway through the programme, we want to introduce you to those coaches on the programme and share their story, starting this month with Nicola Cerfontyne.
Nicola, an ex-international ladies’ singles player, is currently a badminton coach, physiotherapist in the NHS and life coach.
Having started playing badminton at the age of 14, Nicola started playing in tournaments two years later and first represented England in the Quadrangular tournament.
Following completion of her A-levels, Nicola trained full time at the NBC, training with the ladies’ singles programme and competing in senior internationals until 2010, when she moved to Copenhagen to train full-time in the Danish system and be a part of their club structure.
Nicola continued to play internationally and represent England in team events, becoming women’s singles national champion in 2011 and 2015.
Unfortunately, Nicola was forced to retire in 2017 due to injuries.
We sat down with Nicola to learn more about her journey, coaching and what she enjoys outside of badminton.
How did you get into coaching?
I got into coaching because I loved being on-court and was keen to assist my coach in running sessions.
What has been your coaching journey so far?
Throughout my playing career, I was coaching alongside playing. I have worked with a variety of people from juniors to seniors, individuals to groups, county to Danish clubs, England Junior development players through to coaching at the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence. I have now been involved in coaching for 15-20 years.
How would you describe your own coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy is to do my best to help players become the best they can be both on and off the court.
What are your aspirations within Badminton?
I want to help players to develop and achieve their goals, with potential to coach on the world stage in events like Olympics and World Championships. I am also keen to create a culture which encourages a safe and social, competitive and professional training environment.
Who do you look up to in coaching and why?
There isn’t any one person I look up to as I think we can learn from everyone and develop our own style with the best of what we’ve learnt.
Having been a player and a coach, do you feel it’s important to have strong female role models for young players?
I believe it’s important for young players to see strong female role models to inspire them to push for similar roles, both in badminton and other areas of life.
What advice would you give to a club or coach looking to support the development of female coaches?
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Support that person to allow them to grow their strengths and develop their weaknesses so that everyone can benefit.
Who is your sporting idol and why?
Roger Federer. He’s a very successful athlete who is so calm and controlled and appears like a gentleman on and off court.
And finally, what is your favourite film/ TV programme?
Game of Thrones
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