How I became a professional badminton coach at age 60

I feel very glad and honoured to have Coach Tan Hock Peng as my guest today. It’s my privilege to get to know him and we at Badminton Bay were thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed. Read on to find out how he ends up being a coach for the wheelchair bound badminton players.

I first met Coach Tan when he came to our badminton rackets center to look for badminton rackets. I was not sure if he was the guy who called earlier as he sounded like a young man on the phone and I certainly did not expect a silver-haired man in his 60’s standing there. At about 5 feet tall, this man has more muscles than any man his age that I know of.  He walked and talked like a young man (seriously..)

He was looking for some specific rackets, so i thought, this guy knows his stuff… And yes, he’s a coach with deep knowledge about how a racket should feel, how light or heavy it should be, and the list goes on. He bought some Apacs Feather Weight rackets and left. That was not the last time he drops by our office. He became our friend. He’s not in his 60’s.  He is 72 .


Coach Tan was featured in a local newspaper for his contribution in teaching the disabled.

Coach Tan Hock Peng was born in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur. At 72, he is still leading a very active lifestyle. When most people his age are either spending time at home watching TV or playing mah jong, this avid badminton coach loves teaching children, adults and even wheelchair bound badminton players to achieve their best in badminton.

Tan loves almost every game of sports from football to badminton. After playing football for sometime, he found that it’s harder to find people to play with. Therefore he switched to badminton as it’s easy to play, better if trained.

For Tan, nothing is more fun than being serious in sports. He took up badminton at age 12, played more seriously at 15 where he and his friends would play at their rich friends’ houses as rich people normally had big playing area with badminton courts just outside their houses. They used to play when the wind is calmer at night under fluorescent lights as well as stars.  There was no commercially available courts at that time.

Tan never stopped playing badminton until one day when he was 60 years old, he decided to coach badminton. He went for badminton lessons from recognized coaches for a year before going for coaching program because he thought this would improve his own badminton skills and techniques. He still learns and trains with his personal coach weekly to maintain his form and skill.

Tan started coaching players who are confined in their wheelchairs 2 years ago, when he read about their plea to look for a new coach in a newspaper.  He then took initiative to find the group. Tan soon found out that these youngsters have potential to become national players, therefore he pursues and sets up special coaching program for them. With this, 2 of the players stood out and Tan paid more attention in their progress with the help and advise from Malaysian Paralympic National Coach Mr. Moe Chin Kiat and his assistant.


Relaxed Tan : Posing in front of Badminton Bay office entrance

Besides badminton, Tan is also a self-taught herbalist. At the age of 52, he took a 3-month crash course to study plants and herbs at a local university. He became an associate student in Chinese herbal studies. That’s when he started his business in chinese herbal.

He stressed that nothing is too late for anyone including and especially badminton. At his age, he is still very alert, has good reflexes, strong joints and muscles, more fit than many people, has less health problems and passes his medical examination with flying colors. Being active will contribute to more health benefits one could imagine.

Tan very much encourages people with sedentary lifestyle to start playing badminton as it’s an easy way to exercise and to get out of your own confined space. People who work or play games in front of the computer are no different than people on wheelchairs if they are not moving around enough.

Tan adds that in order to be able to enjoy healthy lifestyle to the fullest, everyone should start being active and at least pick up badminton. He thinks badminton is better than any other games and is one of the best sports around.


The line of great participants in the recent tournament held in August 2016

Some people think that they would succumb to injuries when playing badminton. Tan’s opinion is that if you do these 4 steps, injuries will stay at bay.

Firstly, one must be fit enough before starting on badminton. By starting with some fitness training prior to badminton training, it would very much help to prevent injuries. Coach Tan would normally devise and include some fitness training for his protégés  before badminton training.

Secondly, get doctor’s advise before starting badminton to check fitness level.

Third is the warm up session which is very crucial. Stretching your joints and muscles would prevent any sprains or tear.

Lastly, using the right racket based on own’s needs is also important.  Vibration and shock is a gradual but major cause of injury especially to the shoulder, arm and wrist if racket’s weight and string tension is not taken into consideration.
To find out what string tension is right for you, click HERE.

In a nutshell, if a player plays with good badminton practices with a knowledgeable coach, risks of injuries can be reduced further.

Tan teaches wheelchair bound players every Wednesday and is very thankful to have some volunteers working so hard with him. One of his volunteers got so emotional when she looked at the wheelchair bound players trying so hard to reach the shuttlecock. They have to put in much more effort in order to achieve what a normal person can. It’s an eye-opener for his volunteers as well.

Tan constantly looks for volunteers to help.  What’s good about being Coach Tan’s volunteers is that they will have a chance to get free coaching sessions with him.

One of his upcoming projects involves coaching kids with autism and down syndrome.
All the best to you, Coach!  May God bless you with healthy body to continue contributing to our society.

Newspaper coverage on the special tournament

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