(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Ingo Kindervater: A great place to be
Date: 8/24/2020 11:54 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
From Germany to Scotland. Meet the man in the driving seat of Scottish badminton. 

Ingo Kindervater was an accomplished player for Germany, with two European Championship bronze medals in men’s doubles. Following his retirement in 2013, he finished a degree in Economics before becoming National Doubles Coach for the German Badminton Association. 

It is always interesting to know whether players have a clear vision of what they will do post-career. For Kindervater, when asked if he knew that he would move into a coaching role, he responds. 

-No, absolutely not. While playing I was also pursuing a degree in Economics. Even though I always prioritised the sport I still made sure I was progressing with that degree as much as possible. I studied at the open university in Hagen that was luckily very flexible, and I ended up with the German equivalent to a Master’s Degree and wrote my thesis in the field of Behavioural Economics that I found very interesting. I had always pictured myself somewhere in that area after my career but then Badminton Germany offered me the position and spoiled all other plans. 

Last year, Kindervater became Head of Performance with Badminton Scotland. For the vast majority of national coaches, an offer is made to acquire their services, and then they make the move to the country. For Kindervater however, it did not actually play out in that order, as he explains.

-A few months before I took on that role, my wife and I had already moved to Scotland for private reasons. Badminton Scotland was looking for a new Head Coach/Head of Performance at that point and I couldn’t stop myself from applying for that position and here I am. Possible other plans were put on hold once again but I’m very happy with that decision. What can I say, I love the sport and Badminton Scotland is a great place to be involved in.

Challenges I enjoy having
Scotland is a small sporting nation, who embrace the underdog role in many sports, including badminton. This feeling may be a little different from the experience in Germany.  Discussing the main differences between the German and Scottish setup and the new challenges that come with the position, Kindervater states. 

-I am sure every national team has a slightly different setup and style and it was actually a great learning experience for me after roughly 20 years in the German setup to get involved somewhere new. 

-But the bigger differences are probably to be found in the wider picture and how the sport is set up around the country. In Germany, you can, for example, find a stronger club structure that enables a lot of players to pursue the sport at a young age and that offers more opportunities to stay involved with the sport, something that Badminton Scotland is looking at strengthening too. For me, the new challenges are around a way bigger area of responsibility, but those are challenges I enjoy having.

We have a lot of potential
Badminton Europe has written several articles about the young talent emerging in Scotland. This together with the first women’s team medal at the European Women’s Team Championships this year, which was Kindervater’s first major success with the national team, is the future looking bright for Scotland?

-That’s the goal. I believe that we have a lot of potential in our very young squad and the latest success is hopefully helping to further grow the belief in what we can achieve.

Kindervater knows too well that the psychology underlying all the work and hard training is just as important to work on. This will be his way of leaving his mark on the young talents coming through, as he says.  

-It’s all about staying as eager as I’ve gotten to know the players, coaching and support team over the past year to keep putting in the work and remain focused, and then we’ll find out about the rest early enough.

Another major target on the horizon is the Olympics. Scottish players have a unique hurdle towards this goal as they also need to compete with players from England and Wales to book a seat on the plane to Tokyo. Commenting on how this looks from his point of view, Kindervater remains focused on the goals he has laid out for his players. 

-It is a bit of a unique situation indeed but nothing that changes anything about the approach that I have mentioned in the last answer. We are more than happy to focus on our own progress and find out about the rest.

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