Denmark’s head coach Kenneth Jonassen said the most important aspect of a coach is to protect the interests of the players and support them in achieving their best level.

In a recent episode of Badminton Unlimited, Jonassen said the Covid-19 pandemic has changed every facet of the game, from teams to venues to the absence of tournaments to the lockdown protocols and everything.

He said the team was gearing up to the busy January schedule where the players had to be at their best. Every Danish team member was being tested every week to maximize the efficiency of the training camp.

Jonassen: “Every week we’ve been testing all the national players, and players who come from the outside who are from the club level joining the national centre. Coaches and staffs are being tested weekly, just to make sure that nobody within the system brings it.

“In some ways, badminton also needs to move on because I don’t see the world changing or the virus getting under control anytime soon.”

Men’s team in transition?

With big names retiring from the team, an obvious question was the strength of the team. Jonassen said that his team still had world-class players and that the team still boasted players with a lot of experience.

“There are also players with quite a lot of experience and half of the team was in the team when Denmark won back in 2016 (Thomas Cup) or more than half but again younger players are coming in. They’ve all heard the stories or how it went back then.”

He said that the change was a natural step in the course of time and that “it would be great to have the same group of players for 10 years but it’s not realistic.”

I am a badminton coach, not a player.

Being a former player himself who played the shadow of Peter Gade, Jonassen believes in what he is doing as a coach and that his identity as a coach outweighs as a player.

“As the chief head coach I have to face it (struggles of the players and the team), and I have to protect the players and shield them from what I termed as unconstructive criticism.”

Outside voices.

Jonassen: “And in modern days with all the media platform…everybody has an opinion and it’s gonna be voiced somewhere. If I were to change something because of a comment made by anybody then I could constantly change and I wouldn’t trust myself, I shouldn’t be in the job.

“I seek advice from a certain group, a few former coaches, with my colleagues and other experts on different areas. I’m pretty set in stone when it comes to what I believe in and how things should be done with responsibility.

“As one coach you can’t do it all, you got to trust the team and not be everywhere all the time…give them the respect they deserve. Guide them if you see something but trust everybody around you doing the job that they are put in to do.”