Masters and Veterans Age change- discussion:

Last updated 30th June 2018

Current Ages:

Masters – 35+
Veterans – 50+
Super Vets – 60+

3 x Options:

1.     Lower Ages:
Masters – 30+
Veterans – 45+
Super Vets – 60+

2.     Add New Category:
Junior Masters – 30+
Masters – 40+
Veterans – 50+
Super Vets – 60+

3.     No change

NOTE:  Some comments below are from players and are not necessarily those of their Association


21 May 2018:  Initial email sent to all Associations

We have received a request to alter the ages of Masters and Veterans from 2019

Masters minimum age to be lowered to 30 years and Veterans to 45 years
Super Vets to remain at 60 years

This provides a competition pathway for Seniors once they reach 30 and keeps them playing

30+ events will also be added to the NZ Masters National Championships

Please pass this suggestion to all your teams and invite feedback

Badminton NZ will be asking for a formal response from each Association by end of August 2018


25 May: From an Auckland player:

I strongly disagree with the change to 30 years from 35. I don’t see a major issue with dropping the 50 year old bracket to 45 year old. Although some of my points below are still relevant so would not agree, but could be convinced if the overall consensus was that it would benefit badminton overall.

The reasons I disagree for the 30 years is as follows.

1.      There is a very large difference in playing ability between a 30 year old and 35 year old. This could potentially have a very disruptive effect in team selections for Masters. For some regions if there are a lot of new 30-34 players entering masters, then existing players who are likely to have been playing for many years could miss out on team selection all together. So this would be a big negative for retaining older aged players. If a region does not have many new entries of 30-34 then the first competition after the change could become very one-sided between younger players and existing age bracket players. Again this could be negative for retaining players in future years.

2.      For the World masters the minimum age is almost always 35 years. So it doesn’t make sense to have a different minimum for NZ. For example any players from NZ competing in World masters competitions have less chance to play together to build combinations as they will more likely have been playing with younger players during the season.

3.      A lot of 30-34 year olds would still be good enough to play Division completion, so they already have competition that they can play to give continuity between youth and masters. Surely it is best to work on better pathways from these Division competitions to the masters competitions if this is not happening. It is unlikely that 30-34 age group would play both Division and Masters. So if they play masters then it is not going to grow the number of players playing badminton overall.

1 June – from Waikato:

Just an update on responses received so far with regards to the below. There is, so far, absolutely no support for lowering the Masters age to 30 and it would from listening to people have a reasonable detrimental affect n players still wanting to play Masters. However, the suggestion that has been floated quite a bit is that if the age were to be lowered to 30 then why not introduce 10 year age groups as per the below:

Junior Masters: 30-40
Masters: 40-50
Vets: 50-60
Super Vets: 60+

I’m not quite sure whether introducing a Junior Masters group and effectively putting the “Masters” age back at 40 years old (what it used to be) how that will impact on current team make-up and whether there would be sufficient players in the 30-40 bracket especially females. I think it would be a struggle for associations to find teams for that age group but I could be mistaken. If I would apply that to our current group of masters players here at Waikato and think about who might be available to play in a Junior masters category then I can’t really get to a full team. The fact that especially females are hard to find now will be compounded if we go even lower as most females in their early thirties are in the early stages of motherhood.

4 June 2018:  Following a request for further information:

From Paul Shirley Waitakere:
1. Masters/ Vets has now stalled and is in need of refreshing. There are currently 42 masters and 39 vets teams playing inter association (Nth Island) in 2018. I would think that 5 years ago, there would have been roughly the same number of teams, and yet the yearly population growth in New Zealand is around 50,000- 70,000. The question therefore is why badminton is not growing at an inter association level.

2. If you look at team results in 2018, it is a fact that a number oft teams are being propped up in masters with vets and super vets players. This however, can be attributed to older players maintaining their fitness to a later stage in life. However, the warning signs are there that these are the same players now for a number of years, once they have gone then Associations will come under pressure.

3. By giving players a choice, they can if they so wish still play senior inter association or masters or both. By having more teams playing and players involved Association win by having more affiliated players, better club scenes, while BNZ is financially better off through the collection of team fees, everyones a winner

4. If we look at a couple of examples, Wellington and Wellington North, and let me say to those Associations that this is a personal opinion, and i dont wish to offend, but i have watched their development of masters and vets with interest over a number of years. In Wellington Norths case as one example they have a top former player in Chris Lee, a very keen badminton player, who Im sure they could have built a top masters team around. I will venture to say that he will never play masters for Wellington North now, why, because they have found themselves short of players and steadily slipped down to division 4, why would he want to play. On reading results, and i will stand corrected, i see Leck Tam now plays masters for Wellington, as Chris probably will, Leck Im 90% sure represented Wellington North? going back in time.

Wellington vets, are in 2018 a very strong team, with a number of players playing exceptional masters badminton in division 3. For whatever reason in regards to vets they are now in division 4, obviously it will now take them 4 years to get to division 1, and thats only if there is no hiccup on the way, had the age qualification been 45 they would already be there with a top team, this is what the badminton competition needs.

5. You need to make adjustments for the game to advance, Im lucky in being involved at the grass routes level for masters and vets. Going back to immigration in NZ, if we lowered the age group and kept the early stages of pool play within central home regions we would double the number of teams playing, is that not what we want. In the main i have found Asians do not like travelling, they make up the majority of the badminton family. Its therefore possible to pull more players into our sport by lowering the age. By doing so and playing regionally the finalists could all meet at a central point (Taupo?) to decide winners of each division what a way to finish the year.

6. NZ Masters Championships, numbers are steadily in decline, once again go back 10 years and see how many new faces are playing in this tournament. Change is required

Being involved in other sports, i note they are all changing age groups, and ways of attracting players, why not badminton. Give players a choice

6 June 2018:  From a Waikato player:

Just wanted to record that I am against the proposed lowering of the masters age to 30, and the other 'knock on effects'.  

I do not agree that players between 30 and 35 need a 'competition pathway' into masters - there is plenty good badminton available via the divisional set-up, and other avenues, if they want to play.  If they don't want to play division then I suspect they'll give up regardless.

I've heard it suggested that players don't want to have to drop down a division as they start getting older, so would rather play masters.  Shame - sorry, but at some point we all have to accept that we're not as good as we once were - that's not a reason to create a new age group just for those players.  What happens when the 25 to 30 age bracket players start becoming the 'old ones' in division badminton, do we just make masters over 25 so they can keep playing in a higher league?

To force a 44 year old to play against 30 year olds is just a bit ridiculous.  If there are enough 30 - 35 year olds who can't hack it in division, then give them a 30 -35 league all of their own, but leave the masters and vets alone

8 June 2018:  From an Auckland player:

Option 2 seems fair and good option. Otherwise it wont be competitive. Hope all agree on this one.

22 June 2018:  From a Manawatu player:

It is my view that we lose many skilled young players between the ages of 25 to 30. So I am very much in favour of the change from 35 to 30 at Masters level.

The reason is that most of them no longer want to or are fit enough to play singles. Often the long hours of training for singles are not possible. Without it they know they’d be disappointed with their game and probably become injured quickly. The inability to train is usually the result of increased commitments at this age such as work, study, families, relationships etc.

However many of them would play doubles and mixed in Masters. Most them are just hanging out to reach that age so they can join up with the juniors they spent years playing with. Unfortunately, while they wait to be 35 we lose a number of them to other sports that seem more flexible.

Surely keeping these players who are passionate about badminton is our goal.

27 June 2018:  From a Waikato player:

If they want to keep playing there already seems to be opportunity and cannot see how dropping/adjusting the age brackets necessarily changes that. ‘Masters’ is just a ‘title’.

My thoughts as follows:

1.      Some players are still playing at quite a high level at 30-35years

2.      For representative play the senior divisions currently provide a competition pathway for many levels of ability – 5 levels (divisions 1-5). It seems to me that if the player numbers are there then associations will enter more teams.

3.      A,B,C,D grade level competitions run by the regional associations also provide regular opportunity for competition (again across a broad range of ability).

4.      ‘Stratifying’ players too much by age (in this particular age range) I think would also be detrimental – I believe that having slightly older (mature maybe a better word) players alongside younger players has some benefits (for both parties).

5.      No thoughts on Vets age adjustment (actually I feel too young to be playing Vets!)

The only benefit that I think there would be is on a social level in terms of more likely to be playing with and socialising with players of a more similar age - compared to senior div and graded competitions which can have a large range of player ages.

I think there are some other factors that also have some impact around this 30year age as well – it is the most common age for young children so if ever there was a time for player absence (time and financial pressures) then it is likely to be then.