Your decision will depend on a number of factors, including:
- how many competitive tournaments your child wants to play
- the number of weekends you want to devote to badminton
- how far you are prepared to travel
- how much you are able and willing to spend on tournament fees and travel arrangements
There are two types of tournaments, sanctioned and non-sanctioned.
BADMINTON ENGLAND SANCTIONED TOURNAMENTS
Sanctioned tournaments are approved by Badminton England and organised in accordance with BE regulations to form part of an age group national circuit.
Entry is usually on-line; your child will need to be a Badminton England member. Most Junior clubs will register their players with Badminton England at the start of the season. However, if you have any queries in this respect, please contact your Devon age group secretary. Once you have your membership number, you will need to set up an online account with Badminton England.
Non-sanctioned tournaments are organised locally by counties and other groups.
HOW TO FIND INFORMATION ABOUT THE JUNIOR TOURNAMENT CIRCUIT
The following link takes you through to the Junior Circuit section of the BE website, which provides information about all tournaments in the 2015-16 season)
Sanctioned national junior circuit tournaments are on offer at U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19. In the U15 and U17 age groups these are divided into three categories – Bronze, Silver and Gold. At U11 there is only one category and at U13/ U19 Bronze and Gold only. All tournaments are open to anyone who is eligible, depending upon their age or grading. The circuit runs from September to February/March.
All national tournaments include singles and doubles; some also include mixed. From U11 to U17 the initial round for singles and doubles is usually played in a group format, with subsequent stages played on a knock-out basis. Mixed is usually played as a straight knock-out. Most national tournaments are seeded, so the best players do not eliminate each other in the early stages. The format varies from one tournament to another. However, the general rule is that in Bronze tournaments the basis is the best of one to 21, in Silver the best of 3 to 15 and in Gold the best of 3 to 21.
Bronze tournaments are usually a good starting point for players who are new to competitive badminton. Gold tournaments attract the top players from around the country. Silver tournaments lie somewhere in between. Towards the end of the season there are a set of national tournaments for each age group, known as ‘The National Championships’. These attract the top players from around the country.
Silver and Bronze tournaments take place over one day. Gold tournaments and the Nationals take place over two days with the semi-finals and finals played on the second day.
NATIONAL OPEN EVENTS/OTHER JUNIOR EVENTS
In addition there are national ‘open’ events for the U12, U14 and U16 age groups; these are sanctioned by BE and are open to players from any county. Many of these take place between March and June.
WHAT ARE PLAYER RANKINGS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
All sanctioned tournament results are posted on the BE website under ‘Competition’.
Ranking points are awarded at each national tournament for singles, doubles and mixed. The further a player progresses in the tournament, the more points they get. Gold tournaments offer more points than Silvers and Bronzes and U17 events more than U15, U13 and U11.
A player’s ranking is used to seed tournaments.
The BE website provides more information and includes the ranking lists for all players in all three disciplines (singles, doubles and mixed). These lists can be sorted by age group and county. They are updated on the last Friday of each month.
A player’s ranking (see below) in singles, doubles and mixed is based on an average of the 6 best sanctioned tournament results over the last 12 months.
WHAT ARE PLAYER GRADINGS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Gradings are used to identify individual playing standards and rpn from A to I (for juniors). A player will have a separate grading for all 3 disciplines. Junior Players start at I and progress up through the letters depending on how well they do in national tournaments. This is based on a calculation of the win/loss ratio at the end of each quarter. Current gradings and related rules are set out on the BE website along with more information about how they work. New gradings will be released on the last Friday of the month, every 3 months:
October – January – April – July
Gradings are mainly used to ensure that players only enter tournaments which are suitable for their ability level. For example, U13 players graded A to G in a particular discipline cannot enter U13 Bronzes for that discipline. The full list of restrictions is on the BE website.
There is also a profile for each player on the BE website which sets out their rankings, gradings and tournament results.
Devon Junior Badminton Association runs some ‘restricted’ tournaments. A “restricted’ tournament is only open to players who are eligible to play for Devon.