So in 2018, our group coach has come back from holiday and our training seems to be better than ever! The sessions are more intense and I feel like I am getting so much more out of them. Yay!
Our warm up this year is very different too. We run on the spot on just the balls of our feet for a few minutes. We then do the stroke for the overhead shot from the back line of the court and quick step to the net. Once we get to the net, we lunge towards the net, then quick step back while looking up to see our pretend shuttlecock and where it may land – we do this continuously at a fast pace for a few minutes until we break a sweat. This not only warms us up, but is such good practice for when we are playing badminton.
There were 8 of us at the session yesterday. Our coach split us into two groups and gave each person in each group a number from 1-4. I was number 1. The number 1’s practiced the overhead shot next to a wall so that we couldn’t move our arm out to the side or swing it. We had to have our left hand out in front of us, racket behind us, looking up and we were to move our racket leg forward while bringing our racket down. I felt like Ussain Bolt when he does his famous pose!
My coach marked a point on the wall that my racket had to pass through. I had to also make sure that I followed through with my racket so I was supposed to bring the racket all the way down. Me and the other number 1 had to do this next to the wall while the other numbers did their relevant tasks, which I will come on to later. This task may not be the most glamorous or everyone’s favourite, but I really enjoy it. I threw myself wholeheartedly in to it and practiced it until I was sweating with concentration. I really wanted to get it right! Our coach stopped by to see what I was doing and seemed to be impressed. I wasn’t following through with my racket though, I kept stopping it early so he told me to try to bring it all the way down. More sweaty focus!
After about 10 minutes he asked us to swap. So the number 1’s became number 2, number 2 became number 3, number 3 became number 4 and the number 4 became number 1.
I moved over to one of the courts where one person was feeding shuttlecocks just over the net, one person was pushing the shuttlecock over the net, trying to make it topple over, very close to the net and the person on the opposite side of the net was lifting the toppling shuttlecock to the back of the opposite side’s court. I hope that makes sense!
So as I was now number 2, I began feeding the shuttlecocks over the net so that they were very close to the net for ‘net shots’. The way I fed them, was with the same movement I was using with my racket, but this time I was throwing a shuttlecock at the end instead of moving my racket. I was quite good at this!
Next it was my turn to lift the shuttlecock while another person fed it over the net and someone else attempted the net shots. I wasn’t too great at this to be honest. Needs work! When it was my turn to attempt the net shots though, I did pretty well, making most of them topple over right next to the net. I find this difficult to do in a real game though, because I’m not always in the right place!
For the next task. our group coach showed us a new type of shot. We held our rackets a bit higher up the handle than usual and then did a sharp little flick of the wrist downwards. Our rackets were supposed to bounce back so we’re ready for the next shot. This was for a high impact net kill. I found it a bit strange at first. We all lined up to practice this while our coach hit shuttlecocks to us one by one across the net. The first time I got a few. The next time I did it, I managed to get them all, but some were better than others! I love learning new shots! I need to practice this a lot though because it felt very alien!
The last task we had was an individual one. Our coach was mixing up the shots, he wanted us to be in the ready position, hit an overhead shot the Ussain Bolt way and then move quickly to the net for a net shot – he repeated this so many times until my legs felt like jelly. He shouted out ‘Good!’ to me whenever I did the overhead ‘shot’. I was trying to remember what I did at the wall and he seemed pleased with my form, but then he would should ‘be ready!’ each time I missed a net shot. By the second time I did a lot better than I expected and was getting the majority back. Being ready is a key thing I need to work on!
In other news, I have been told I don’t move enough and need to be lighter on my feet. So, I have ordered myself a skipping rope to help me get lighter on my feet. Watch this space!