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Place on court for all players

The Scottish Schools' Badminton Union is abandoning knockout tournaments to avoid players travelling hundreds of miles to a national tournament to be involved in only one match.

Tournaments at under-12 level are now played in pools with competitors going on to take part in a graded knockout event. Players are guaranteed at least four matches and will find their own level of competition.

At under-13, under-14, under-15 and under-16 levels, competitors play in divisions of eight and age-group tournaments are played as a series with rankings based on form in previous tournaments. The top four and bottom four compete in separate pools. Competitors are not knocked out and emerge with a ranking.

At the same time there is a harder edge for players who aspire to international level. Two invitation doubles competitions a season will act as preparation.

Former Scottish national coach Allan Campbell left the Scottish Badminton Union in November saying that he felt the future was bright. The schools body is a vital feature of the game's revival and there are hopes of a return to the halcyon days of 1979-80 when 659 schools were affiliated.

In 1995, 178 secondary schools and 224 primary schools were affiliated and 30 individual pupils. Last weekend's Royal Bank secondary championships at Meadowbank attracted almost 500 players.

Royal Bank's sponsorship since 1972 is one of the longest running in Scottish sport. Awards have been introduced for players who do not expect to win tournaments but want tangible evidence of improvement in their game.

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