George took up coaching when through injury realised his playing days were coming to an end. Since then he has undertaken a number of coaching courses, obtaining his Pro License through the Malta Olympic Committee. George hopes that the Maltese team will give determined performances and hopes that the time and effort put in will yield good results. In his free time George enjoys swimming and photography
Name: George Camilleri
Tell us a little about your background either as a participant or a coach?
As a coach:
I started coaching in 2011, when it became apparent that my playing career was coming to an end, due to age- and injury-related issues.
In July of 2011 I attended the annual Badminton Europe Summer School in Madrid, where I was exposed to the top coaches and junior players in Europe. Here I obtained the Badminton Europe Level 1 coaching diploma, and from then on I did not look back.
Once back in Malta, I immediately started coaching in the Badminton Malta Junior Academy as well as in my club (Shuttles Badminton Club). I also endeavoured to improve my knowledge and expertise by attending a number of courses, both hands-on and online.
Last year, with the help of Olympic Solidarity through the MOC Coach Academy Programme, I completed my Pro License certification under the supervision of Professor Dr Tibor Kozsla from the University of Physical Education (TF), Budapest, which is the largest, most comprehensive institution for education and training in sport and physical activity in Hungary, with a long history of Olympic champions alumni.
This course has enabled me to gain a more rounded knowledge spanning all facets of coaching, including nutrition, psychology and exercise physiology. This is undoubtedly helping me in giving my athletes the best preparation possible for the upcoming ISF World Championships.
How long have you been involved in badminton?
I have been playing badminton since 1992, i.e. for around 25 years. I have been coaching for around 5 years.
Apart from their athletic capability, what do you consider when recruiting members for your team?
I feel that it is important for an athlete to have the necessary motivation to better themselves. Without this, no player can become a champion, even with the best talent in the whole world!
What are the biggest challenges you face as a coach?
Obtaining enough court allocations is problem in Malta, although the situation is improving a lot lately. I also encounter problems when scheduling training programs since typically, most of my athletes will be preparing themselves for the ‘O’ Level MATSEC examinations, resulting in reduced time for training sessions. Also, Malta being an island makes it much more expensive for my athletes to compete abroad than it is for their foreign counterparts.
What are your expectations for the team for the upcoming Championship?
I do not have enough information on the other teams to be able to predict a final placing. Having said this, I expect my players to perform to the best of their ability with determination, skill and honour, and hopefully they will achieve the results that they deserve for their efforts and endeavour.
If you get the chance to coach a world class badminton player, who would your choice be?
I would love to have coached former Danish world number one Peter Gade. I guess I would also enjoy coaching current Japanese world number four Kento Momota.
My favourite player of all time is Indonesian Taufik Hidayat, who I regard as one of the most gifted badminton players ever.
Do you like to play any other sport other than Badminton?
I enjoy the occasional game of squash, which I used to play regularly until a bad knee injury in 2004. My favourite sports outside of badminton are football and waterpolo, both of which I used compete in on a national level.
Things that you like to do while you are not playing Badminton?
I enjoy computing, swimming and photography.
Your status? If studying/working what/where?
I am married to Vanessa with one child, Luke, who is 11 years old. I work at Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c., managing the Software Development team.