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  1. #1
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    Default Is 5 years of age too young for formal coaching?

    Our eldest son completed 5 years this September (I bought him a Carlton junior racket the Christmas after he'd completed 3).

    He has occasionally hit with me since the time I got him a racket, but in recent months has begun to show more interest in, and seems to derive enjoyment out of, playing badminton. I am seriously contemplating enrolling him in formal coaching classes at the club I normally play at.

    The coach at the club told me today that he typically advises waiting till the kid is at least 8 years old, but that he'd be ok with seeing how my son copes for a month (this was after I told him that my son had been taking karate classes for a couple of months).

    Still, I came away a little doubtful after the conversation and I wanted to get the opinion of folks on here. Do you think 5 years is too young for formal coaching?

    Thanks much in advance for all your replies!

    Best,
    Ragu

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    I think 8yrs is the magic number where kids have better motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination required for badminton. But every kid is different.

    At 5yrs old...it's probably more "play time" than it is lessons. I guess it depends on how the lessons will be taught. Is the coach more patient with young ones? How long are lessons?

    I'm waiting for my kid to turn 6yrs (currently 4yrs) before enrolling into lessons.

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    5 years is probably too young BUT more importantly you have to be careful what you are teaching the kid. If they grow up learning the wrong stuff, it will be really hard to correct or fix them later on. So, WHO is teaching them makes more importance than when they can start.. (just my opinion)

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    CanucksDynasty,

    Thank you for your response. I understand your point about the "general" age that motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination begin to manifest themselves meaningfully.

    Quote Originally Posted by CanucksDynasty View Post
    Is the coach more patient with young ones? How long are lessons?
    I don't know the answer to that one, although based on my limited interaction with the coach and the assistant that stands in for him, I'd hazard a yes. As for play time, the assistant was quite clear that the initial emphasis would be on developing fitness.

    Lessons are an hour long (Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays). I'd expect my son to be in a group of roughly 20 other beginners.

    Best,
    Ragu

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    I might be way off with this statement but isn't it possible that if he starts training seriously at that young of an age wouldn't it be possible that he burns out eventually?

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    It sounds like structured play time with beginner's basics. I'd say if your kid is interested, then go for it. If your son is not interested, then it's just a waste of money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malayali View Post
    So, WHO is teaching them makes more importance than when they can start..
    malayali,

    Fair point, and having never been formally coached myself, I understand the importance of learning to play the right way. In fact, that's the single biggest reason why I don't want him learning anything from me.

    The coach has the credentials: represented Tamil Nadu state as a player, produced decent players at our club, and from talking to a couple of long-time club members, teaches right.

    Best,
    Ragu

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    i started playing tennis at age of 5, formal training when i turned 6.
    i personally think it all depends on your boy! if he's motivated and wants it, he may go to training classes. of course, you should take care that the training is really suited for kids, so not just boring technique things, but some technique, some fun playing badminton, some other athletic things for the kids to develop their general athletic abilities (e.g. some soccer, throwing balls, some funny running competitions in groups, some coordinative things, you name it...).
    so it's important that it's a training for kids rather than putting him in an adult beginners group (despite that should be very obvious for you, i still say it...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by |_Footwork_| View Post
    i started playing tennis at age of 5, formal training when i turned 6.
    i personally think it all depends on your boy! if he's motivated and wants it, he may go to training classes. of course, you should take care that the training is really suited for kids, so not just boring technique things, but some technique, some fun playing badminton, some other athletic things for the kids to develop their general athletic abilities (e.g. some soccer, throwing balls, some funny running competitions in groups, some coordinative things, you name it...).
    so it's important that it's a training for kids rather than putting him in an adult beginners group (despite that should be very obvious for you, i still say it...)
    This is very sensible. I have a three year old that picks up a racquet and demands to play. I throw a few shuttles for her to hit overheads, teach her the backhand grip, ask her to throw shuttles into a bag. I correct her grip but don't make a huge issue of it. Her concentration is actually quite good for such a young age but I don't push it.

    I think the good thing is that the 5 year old is with other beginners. One hour session is not too long and three times a week is very good. As a parent, who plays, I think a key is to remember to be patient in development. I see some children who are less coordinated but enjoy the game and some with better body coordination with a smaller concentration span. All develop at a different rate.


    If you go through the profiles of some of the England players, some of them state they played from 3 years old.

    I have also just picked up the junior learning pack from Badminton England. I haven't been able to go through the content comprehensively. A quick flick through the pages shows me that the programme for kindergarten level, i.e. 4-5 year olds, isn't always focussed on the shuttle. They play games and exercises to improve agility and movement. There is a lot of content and structured in presentation.

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  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by decoy View Post
    [...] if he starts training seriously at that young of an age wouldn't it be possible that he burns out eventually?
    decoy,
    CanucksDynasty's summary of these sessions are appropriate. So, I am not as worried about burnout as I am about the risk of injury.

    Best,
    Ragu

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    Just make sure you get the child a REALLY HEAD LIGHT, FLEXIBLE junior racquet and string it around 15-16 lbs, use BG65 (durable and soft feeling) .... it will help to minimise any possible wrist and shoulder injuries due to racquet. Also get a proper children size badminton court shoes with lateral support - these are the basics.

    I am sure there are other brands but the racquet I have seen is the Yonex Nanospeed 100 JUNIOR.

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    _Footwork_,

    Thank you for the note on your personal experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by |_Footwork_| View Post
    i personally think it all depends on your boy! if he's motivated and wants it, he may go to training classes.
    I agree completely. The reason I am considering doing this now is that I can sense that something has changed in the last couple of months with respect to his interest in badminton. He really seems to want to play and he does seem to enjoy it. I haven't really pushed him into playing, although there might have been a nudge or two.

    Quote Originally Posted by |_Footwork_| View Post
    so it's important that it's a training for kids rather than putting him in an adult beginners group (despite that should be very obvious for you, i still say it...)
    It's a fair point. He will likely be the youngest in his group, but the others should still be kids.

    Best,
    Ragu

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    Cheung,

    Thank you for that considered response. The idea of having your kid throw shuttles into a bag is an excellent technique builder, not to mention fun for the kid too. I intend to have my son try the same and see if he likes it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheung View Post
    As a parent, who plays, I think a key is to remember to be patient in development.
    I agree and I am conscious of it. At this stage, I am not really looking for anything other him enjoying his time on the court and picking up some good badminton habits at an early age.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cheung View Post
    If you go through the profiles of some of the England players, some of them state they played from 3 years old.
    I'd have figured 3 years would have definitely been too young. Shows what I know!

    Thanks for the note on the junior instruction pack from Badminton England. I am unlikely to see one anytime soon:-).

    Best,
    Ragu

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    maxout,

    Thank you for that helpful bit of advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by maxout View Post
    I am sure there are other brands but the racquet I have seen is the Yonex Nanospeed 100 JUNIOR.
    This is only available at a store which isn't particularly close to where I live. So, I'll hopefully be able to go get it this weekend. If anyone has other junior racquet recommendations, please post.

    Shoes have been a problem. The only store in my area that carries badminton shoes for juniors does not have any at his size. I'll keep looking.

    Best,
    Ragu

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    Another exercise we get the 3 year to do is stand a tube of shuttles up and try to hit it by throwing a shuttle. To practice hitting the tube, you can ask your son to serve the shuttle to hit it. It might take 30 serves to hit it (place it at 2-3 metres and gradually increase the distance when he gets better at it.)

    They love it when it falls down....

    I don't think specific badminton shoes are too important at this stage. Get ones that are good for indoor courts will be sufficient. They quickly grow out of shoes anyway so unless you have another younger child who can use the shoes later, you might really be wasting a bit of money.

    Buying badminton shoes can be used as an incentive later i.e. "wow, you are getting really good so I've decided you deserve a new pair of nice shoes".

    Racquet recommendation. Not much to say but shorter length racquets at this age is more important than a specific brand or strings or tension. What I look for is to learn some agility and some basic strokes. Just practicing the hitting point is important. i.e. on an overhead, hit at the highest point possible to create a good habit. Don't expect full length clears, smashes or anything powerful - that doesn't happen until 9-10 years old when physical strength starts catching up.
    Last edited by Cheung; 11-02-2012 at 04:06 AM.

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