During my ongoing PhD journey, I have the amazing opportunity to talk and collaborate with coaches, athletes, parents and key stakeholders all over the World (from 24 countries to be exact). It is an amazing and very humbling experience. It shows me how little we understand of all ingredients making the badminton player, the badminton community and what defines success in the context of cultural differences, which are sometimes hard to comprehend.
However, one topic which always comes in is "the System". Some coaches, think of it as the "Matrix" - a limitation to what you can achieve if you don't have it. Others, consider it a "must-have" and the only way a success could be achieved.
No matter, what we (or you) think about it, there is one thing which is worth understanding. The idea of systemised development brings a conception that everything is connected to everything. In a way, I can make a conclusion that "a system" always exists regardless of do we accept or like its results.
In some cultures and societies, there will be very little awareness of what the holistic, overall system produces at each level. In other cultures and societies, the effect of the system at each level has to be controlled to an extreme and people are non-stop looking for a "recipe" for producing a consistent "success".
The most interesting for me, as a coach who has had international level success in the youth department more than in the senior department, is understanding an element I have not seen in the same way before: the coach.
Let me explain. Of course, the coaches are a key instance within each level. However, what a successful coach looks like in each society is a very different topic. A coach, who is able to deliver consistent results within their cultural, and political environment is a kind of a "political leader" with very good domain knowledge but also very strong leadership and management capacity. Also, a coach who might be successful in one cultural environment, might not be successful within another environment.
It might sound very logical, but it not always is that easy to evaluate. Most organisations are looking for coaches with proven results (from another environment) and not always considering the adaptation the coaches will need to do in order to achieve similar success in this new (environment). Due to their internal political situation, they might ignore the coaches who have been the reason for their success for the past generations.
Very few coaches Worldwide have a track record showing results within different environments. However, all of them show very strong leadership and management skills as well as very well based overall badminton knowledge, although within each development skills assets (like mental, physical, technical and tactical skills) they might not be the best.
So whatever you prefer "fully controlled" or a "completely uncontrolled" system, the key coaches delivering the success look to be a "project-manager" type of coaches*.
Those with a high level of understanding, great leadership and management skills can navigate the political changes and challenges in their favour.
*This is a current, not final for my research conclusion. As there is a huge level of depth in all talks, interviews and data processing, I will evaluate this in time and update this article.