This is my wrist in its natural habitat albeit with an Arsenal pen forced on me by my boss. So last night I went for my first group coaching session. On the drive to the leisure centre, the coach stepped out from behind a parked car holding a box full of shuttlecocks, luckily I was driving over a speed bump so I stopped in time. I was thinking to myself, well that would be a great start!
We started off the session by running around two courts in sideways leaps facing one direction then another. This reminded me of PE lessons at school and I felt a bit silly but it definitely warmed my body up.
Once we were warmed up, the coach showed us how to hit a backhand shot. He asked one of the guys to feed him shuttlecocks and then he demonstrated the shot. It looked rather quick and efficient. I have never even attempted doing anything like it so I started practicing while watching. His racket would complete a full semi circle in the air – mine did not look the same!
When it came to my turn with the coach, I hit a few back. I don’t think English is his first language so even though he instructed me to change something I was doing a couple of times, I could not understand what he was saying so I just carried on swinging my whole arm like a neanderthal and hitting the shuttlecocks back. He then came to my side of the net and started throwing the shuttlecocks up in the air for me to hit with my body and face facing away from the net and my racket out to the side. Finally I understood that he wanted me to flick my wrist and not move my entire arm. This changed the shot drastically! Suddenly it looked a lot more graceful.
The next thing I had to focus on was not letting my wrist snap back but following through until finally my racket was also completing a semi circle. It took a little while to get there but once I did it felt really good. When he said I was getting it right I felt elated and wanted to continue trying to get it right! Sweat was pouring down my neck with the concentration of holding the racket at a particular angle, high up and to the side which felt completely unnatural to begin with but I had a huge silly grin on my face each time I flicked my wrist and hit it correctly. There is nothing like positive feedback to motivate you!
I learnt so much more in my session last night as the coach had lots of wisdom to impart but my lunch break is almost over so I have to go. Part 2 coming up soon!