So today is Sunday and if you remember from earlier this week, I found a beginners club in my parent’s town. I come to see them every fortnight, so it would be great to be able to play while I’m here. Yes, that’s how passionate I am about badminton, who would’ve thought it?
I went to my niece’s birthday party last night, so felt doubtful whether I’d be able to wake up early enough to make it for 10am today. I also spent yesterday afternoon jumping with her and her friends in a trampoline park so my legs are aching today! By the way, trampoline parks are so much fun!
Driven by the fact that I’d emailed the beginners club and that I’d told you guys I was going to go, I managed to wake up and find the club this morning. My family were shocked at the determination, they were pretty sure I’d stay in bed!
Oh my, this was a nice facility. Very glamorous. A conference centre with sports halls. It had a massive car park. Yay! I always worry about parking! The sports hall looked pretty much the same as my usual ones to be honest, but the floor felt weird. Lighting was pretty good though.
I was a bit anxious going into this beginners club on my own, where I don’t know anyone. Everywhere else I’ve played, my husband and sister in law have been there with me! Comfort blanket where art thou?
£5 for two hours is pretty good I think! I went in and introduced myself to the head coach. He was friendly. He had his two year old daughter sitting on a bench, eating crisps and watching us. So we had an audience!
Right, so when they said it is a beginners club I think they meant these people were beginners once upon a time! Half of them had been coming to this session and had playing for many years, but half were novices like me. Everyone was super nice, so I felt comfortable pretty much straight away!
The first hour, we were put in groups of 2 or 3 and were told to practice hitting the shuttlecock to the back with a flick of the wrist, but not bringing the racket down or swinging. I enjoyed this as I have been working on wrist movements.
We also practiced defending shots. I had two people on the opposite side firing shuttlecocks towards me while I tried to return them. I struggled with this. I am not very good at defending and cannot return a smash. This shows me I really need to work on defence!
The second hour we all played games with each other which was really fun! This is where the mix of good players and actual beginners came in really handy. The coach organised each game and he balanced them out so there was a weak player on each side and a strong player on each side. I started off not doing so well and was feeling a bit disappointed in myself. I was finding the floor quite slippery. Argh!
Two games in, my feet adjusted to the floor and I began to perform better. I was able to flick my wrist a fair few times, the coach was impressed! The coach was observing one of my games and showed me how to hit the shuttlecock straight down, at an angle from near the net. I don’t usually do this. As soon as he walked away, I did it and got the point. Yay! I was so pleased! I love learning something new! Why is it that the coach is never there to see when you get it right?!
The best player I’ve ever played with so far, is my husband. Today I was paired with Craig, a quiet, unassuming guy who moved like lightening. He was impossibly quick. I was awestruck!
At the end of the two hour session we played ‘around the world.’ We were split into two groups. One group forming a line on one side of the court and the other group in a line on the opposite side. You basically have to run onto the court, hit the shuttlecock to the person opposite and run to the back of their line while they run to the back of your line. Meanwhile the next person in each line has to run up and hit the shuttlecock back. You continue this in rotation until you are the last two standing. One person cannot hit it more than once before running to join the back of the line. You have one life so if you miss the shuttlecock you’re out. You have to be quick and keep moving. There are no pauses! I managed 5 rounds so I was happy! Apologies for the dodgy explanation, it’s one of those games you have to see in order to understand. It’s very fun! We were all caught up in the excitement of it!
The standard of players today was a bit higher than where I usually play, so the games were more intense. I was sweating so much! I loved it, so i’ll definitely be back!