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Fernando Rivas - A future based on Youth

© BWF+

Spanish badminton has come a long way in the last 10 years and with Carolina Marin becoming World Champion in August and Beatriz Corrales brewing up a storm on the International scene, Spain is in an enviable position of having two of Europe's top female shuttlers a role models for the foreseeable future.

Behind every great player there is a great coach and Fernando Rivas has been the man behind the success story of his two star pupils and to whom much of the credit must go to for the change in fortunes of Spanish badminton.

Rivas has been involved with the Spanish national set up since 2004 where he started immediately after the Athens Olympic Games. After obtaining a degree in Sports Science Rivas decided that the normal route to top level badminton coaching was not for him and decided to broaden his horizons in a search for knowledge.

"Before starting with Spanish federation in 2005 I had spent 5 years away from Spain. After getting my degree in Sports Sciences I decided that I needed to go further with my education and knowledge on badminton. I chose a different path than usual mainly not following badminton courses but doing research applied to badminton under a postgraduate framework. That took me to France, Germany and Holland where I changed my vision of the way of looking at many things."

It was not all plain sailing in those early days as a different outlook on coaching coupled with a reluctance from his peers to accept him played heavy on fledging coaches' mind.

"The situation I encountered at the Spanish national center in Spain was a group of "veteran" players (Jose Antonio Crespo, Sergio Llopis, Dolores Marco) and some new comers like Pablo Abián, Yoana Martinez. It was very difficult to get the confidence of them because I had never been a better player than they were, I had always been beaten by them back when I competed in nationals. Second of all, the reigning approach in Spain was the Chinese style. Before I came there was a Chinese coach who left a big legacy in the veterans and they did not seem to be willing to embrace a more comprehensive and proactive approach. If you combine the previous two factors with the fact that I had no experience in high level coaching... that made it extremely difficult to me to be able to work and make the changes I thought were necessary to aim higher than we were used to."

Rivas also had a different opinion on the existing training methods and systems and encountered much resistance as he set out to stamp his mark on the internal set up.

Lees de rest van dit artikel op de website van Badminton Europe.

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