Which player made you love badminton?

As of January 1st, 2021, the professional association of trainers in German sports (BVTDS) will receive full-time support. Daniel Stark acts as a project manager in the context of a marginal job and should help to further intensify the commitment to the concerns of professional trainers in public and in sports politics. Here the 33-year-old badminton A coach reports on his view of the "coaching life".

BVTDS: Your main job is for the Badminton Regional Association (BLV-NRW). Holger Hasse, next to Gert Zender BVTDS president and full-time managing director of the BLV-NRW, is also your two-time superior.

Strong: Correct. I have been working as a specialist in child and youth work at the BLV-NRW since 2018 and have also been employed as a weekend supervisor at the Yonex-Badminton boarding school in Mülheim an der Ruhr since 2019.

Daniel Stark

BVTDS: What tasks do you have as a specialist in child and youth work?

Stark: In the past my position was called “youth education advisor”. In my opinion, this also reflects the core of my work: youth education work at all levels of the national badminton association. I try to inspire and train multipliers for the child and youth work that is so important for the club world. The annual trainer assistant, C-trainer and B-trainer courses are my core business. I also organize leisure activities and cultural activities for young people. My newest project: badminton and church.

BVTDS: That fits in perfectly with our trainer association. What do you convey to the participants as essential skills for trainers?

Stark: I think it's important to radiate passion. It is crucial to get people excited about sport. Children in particular initially decide primarily on the basis of personality. Of course, the coaching trade is not irrelevant, but at the beginning, from my point of view, it is less important to convey content than to win children over to yourself and the sport. In this respect, in the training of trainers, I also attach great importance to addressing social skills.

BVTDS: Which competencies are you primarily thinking of?

Stark: In my opinion, being a coach is very diverse. It's a job that challenges you on many levels. One quickly deals with the teaching content in the trainer training. What should I convey to my athletes, when and how? But content needs a framework so that it can find its way to athletes. At the beginning, as a trainer, you have to learn to design this framework. This involves basic skills: speaking in front of groups, moderating exercises, leading groups and individuals. When I started being a coach I thought it was easy. But no, at first it is less about content than about 'surviving' in front of your own training group, making sure that exercises are understood, everyone stays on track and that the training runs smoothly. It starts with ensuring calm and punctuality and ends with conflict discussions with parents. So it's a real path to becoming a stable coaching personality. In this respect, I consider these competencies to be essential and see them as important content in training that ensures quality in practice.

BVTDS: You mention the versatility of the job. How did you experience this versatility yourself?

Strong: The actual main responsibility should lie in the actual training, in the training planning and support of the athletes. But I've seen myself that the coach is often the driving force behind a club on many levels. This is about travel and competition planning, organization of leisure activities or celebrations, political involvement in clubs or associations, responsible financial management. From baking cakes for the home tournament to recruiting sponsors. Boredom is rare.

BVTDS: Doesn't sound like your dream job.

Stark: I love being a coach. But it's also a job that can quickly rob you of all your resources if you're not careful. A job that offers a great learning environment, but runs the risk of becoming too much. Working at the limit, sometimes paired with poor pay, are two dark sides of the job that often enough affect the overall quality. I think it is important, also out of responsibility to the athletes, to take care not to be taken apart. After all, who would want their child to be driven home by a completely overtired and overworked trainer after a weekend of competition in Poland.

BVTDS: Do you perceive this as an institutional or individual responsibility.

Strong: Both. Of course, clients and employers have to create a high-quality framework. I believe that there has to be a rethinking in many areas towards more quality. But it is also about the self-image of each individual trainer, who also has to set limits here.

BVTDS: What about your own coaching career?

Stark: I slipped into the coaching job at the age of 14. At that time there was an emergency and my home club at the time, the Badminton Club Marsberg in the Sauerland, urgently needed a trainer for children and young people. I quickly discovered a great passion for being a trainer, which continues to this day. During my studies I worked as a professional trainer and I was particularly involved in the youngsters in competitive sport for TV Refrath and in the BLV-NRW.

BVTDS: What motivated you to push your coaching career back then?

Stark: Above all, I was always motivated by the question "How?" What is the best way to learn? How do you best teach? How do you become a successful badminton player? That's why I love this moment when a player's head “clicks”. I love to move people and initiate processes. In addition, sport brought me in contact with so many people that a very large network has now emerged that gives me a lot back.

BVTDS: Let's take another look at the professional association. What are your first tasks?

Stark: My first task was to create a survey among members and national trainers about their professional situation. The survey will run for a few more days and the results will be presented in early 2021. I will also take on organizational and administrative tasks.

BVTDS: What other goals and plans are you pursuing?

Strong: First of all, the acquisition of additional members. We need a broad base. I would like to help ensure that the work of the association is thematized in the training courses and that awareness is raised for them. This is important to me in the coming weeks.

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