At the recent CROWNE PLAZA Northern Marianas Open 2023 and TAKECARE Saipan International 2023 Badminton Oceania sat down with Australian National Coach, Leanne Choo to find out what is the ‘why’ behind the young woman who leads the Falcons.
At the age of 32, Leanne has had a badminton filled life, representing Australia at two Olympic and two Commonwealth Games for her beloved Australia. As a coach, with her players now in the Olympic qualifying period for Paris 2024 and traveling the badminton circuits, she believes the journey to reach great heights should be a holistic one. “I remind my players to enjoy the small things along the way, such as the opportunity to experience new cultures and make lifelong friends. Results will always take care of themselves if you’ve done the work”.
Whilst only being in the role for six months, Choo has already learned many things from colleagues and players alike. She has a well thought out plan in place for how she would like to nurture and train her players, saying there is a “promising crop of young player coming through” and they are like “sponges for learning”. Changing the structure of the Falcons training has seen a more detailed program. She believes that sometimes it is better to focus on one or two things at a time and to get them right, before moving on.
As an experienced player herself, she reflects on a time that players were not necessarily encouraged or would have the confidence to “voice their opinion” when in a training and playing environment. She believes that having a voice is healthy and should be encouraged, saying of her players, “I expect them to push the boundaries and challenge me on my ideas. I expect them to be curious and never be satisfied with one answer. Good ideas can come from anywhere”. She wants to work toward an environment where everyone feels comfortable to voice their opinion.
When all the stars align, Choo believes the most rewarding part of her job is not just what happens on court. “It is watching someone get better, becoming a more confident person, a better leader, a better communicator. That is incredibly rewarding”.
Her goal is to create an environment where Badminton Australia are not just producing great athletes, but great people. When asked about goals for her players, she smiles and proudly says, “it is definitely to win a medal at the next 2026 Commonwealth Games!”.