Last night me and my husband went to have dinner with his friend, Aaron and his girlfriend. I knew that Aaron has had a high profile badminton career, but I didn’t know quite how much until I started talking to him yesterday!
He was the Brunei under 18’s champion for two years and he played for Malaysia! I know, amazing right?! His skills don’t just stop there, he cooked us some amazing Malaysian food last night too! He cooked delicious charred chicken noodles, squid, fish in a scrumptious sauce and rice with a chilli and anchovy paste. Not to mention the delicious chicken in a creamy sauce cooked by his girlfriend! I loved that! I was all ears while I chomped on the gorgeous food.
We learnt all about the best bits of fish to give to your guests in his culture and the bits that are considered rude to give. He couldn’t believe that we usually throw the head away!
His dad loves fishing so he is superstitious about flipping a fish. It could mean an upturned fishing boat, so whatever you do, don’t flip that fish!
Aaron and my husband have been thick as thieves this summer, bros if you will! For this reason, the plant I picked to take over with us for dinner was the ‘Bromelia‘ get it?
Of course, once my tummy was full, I fired every question I could think of at Aaron. Mind you, I thought of these questions while my husband popped into Sainsbury’s to buy dessert!
So he started playing when he was 12 years old at a normal badminton club. His favourite moment so far in his badminton career was when he was 13 years old and he beat an 18 year old national player! Are you thinking what I’m thinking? He learnt a lot in a year and must have had a natural talent for badminton! From that spectacular performance he was picked up for nationals!
Aaron plays both singles and doubles, but prefers doubles because of the faster pace and the adrenaline rush.
I asked him what type of shot is his favourite. He said it’s a flat drive during a counter attack. His style is more defensive rather than attacking. He loves it when the opponent thinks they have him, but he turns it on them!
Of course I asked the all important question. What is more important to him – racket or shoes? He said shoes of course! If he had to choose one, it would definitely be shoes. Even if he borrowed a racket, he’d be OK!
I asked Aaron what he found most difficult to learn in badminton. He said the half smash for singles, fast drop shots for doubles, but especially spinning net shots. It’s so nice to know that he didn’t find everything easy and that even awesome badminton players like him found some shots difficult to learn. Maybe there’s hope for us all!
Aaron’s worst injury to date has been a lower back one, which was from several months of repetitive overhead jump smash training in Malaysia. A mysterious bright blue injection and then a corrective injection and infra red light treatment later, his back is much better! He had to stop playing for a year though! Unfortunately he has had to adapt his overhead smash so that he doesn’t aggravate his back. The smash feels a lot slower to him now, but I bet his opponents would beg to differ!
When I asked Aaron what his biggest regret has been in his badminton career so far, he said it was his arrogance after winning championships. This meant he didn’t go to training and people began catching up with him. I found his honesty so refreshing!
I asked him what his tip would be for budding badminton players. Yep I wanted to know for myself, but for all of you too! He said, rather than waste time jogging on a treadmill to improve stamina, use that time practicing footwork on the court. That way you’ll be improving your stamina and your footwork! Makes perfect sense! Also, he said to practice your footwork fast, not slowly because if you practice it slowly, you can get stuck in quite a slow pace. Interesting! I will definitely treasure these useful nuggets!
After dinner, we moved over to the couch, where he showed us how to string a racket. My husband has been breaking rackets nearly every week since badminton season started!
Look at the concentration on Aaron’s face! His method was so cool. He strung it all by hand, then used his stringing machine to tighten the strings. I gave it a go too!
He has a signature move. Can you spot it on this racket?
He always leaves a space at the bottom. This is how you know that Aaron has strung the racket!
Interesting fact? He started playing tennis before he started playing badminton. Weather conditions got in the way so he moved over to badminton… and that is the story of the guy with many talents!