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07-04-2002, 05:03 PM #1
The Constraints and challenges of badminton players/lovers
Yesterday at the end of our training session, we were all given this piece of letter from the Canterbury Badminton Association (the governing body of the province which we play for) congratulating us for representing Canterbury..which is a good start..and then BANG! And I quote "as part of funding for your accomodation and training and shuttles, please have ready $200 to be paid to your team manager by next week". *sigh* I wasn't like surprised. I've always known that there is a training fee, and u pay for your own accomodation when u go away in competition, but still, I felt like I had to swallow a brick down my throat! And that got me thinking..
Isn't it amazing, that you can love the game so much, play it, and even try to excel in it, to the point of representing your school,club,province, etc. I dunno about the rest of you, but I find sometimes your love for the game really get tested when faced with various constraints, especially financially. A couple of Malaysian girlfriends of mine who are currently studying in Christchurch, (ex-malaysian state players, who would probably kick arse if they play for us) refuse to play on the basis that they can't afford to PAY to PLAY! They actually find it humourously ridiculous given that they're actually get PAID to play for their respective states back home. Btw, the girls' main objective coming to Chch is to study, and so therefore, badminton is not a priority to them. So I find that because badminton is not a major sport in NZ (unlike rugby, cricket or netball) the sport gets no funding and backing from the government and therefore, players have to pay for playing competitively either by fundraising or through their own wallet Even national players have to pay for their own flights (and sometimes accomodations!) if they want to go play in tournaments overseas, even though they're representing NZ! A couple of them have already given up of trying to keep their competitive days going due to the costs and plus, often, their employers wouldn't want to give them any time off to play in tournaments! And I haven't even begin to touch on the financial constraints that we face in terms of badmintion eq and apparels! I know some of the upcoming junior players are not even sponsored! A lot of them gave the sport up once they find that they got other things they have to pay for first b4 badmintion, like funding their studies etc. So I think it's such a waste to lose young talents..all this is really sad!
Also, we have coaching problems..not enough good coaches at the provincial level and above. Our current coach is an ex-provincial level and well..there's only so much he can do. I know that the national players are coached by a Chinese former national player (can't remember her name..Li Fan I think), but other than her, that's it..the rest of the coaches are pretty mediocre The provincial players from the North Island on the whole get better coaching, training, facilities and funding their South Island counterpart (Canterbury is in the South Island). So because we're kinda far away from them, the distance between our level of play and theirs are also beginning to become further and further. Currently, Canterbury who is in the Wisden Cup Division One league (inter-provincial league), is probably one of the weakest teams. Hehe, we'll be lucky to get a point against the national players. That's how bad the gap is.. So basically, coaching and funding for badminton here in NZ is really bad.
What about the rest of you out there? What are the major obstacles you guys face that is threatening your love for the sport? If you're playing competitively, what constraints are you facing that can perhaps at times, make you think twice about playing competitively? And often, for the amount of time, effort and money you put in, do you think it's worth it? If you do, why?
For those of you that are lucky enough to have sponsors and fundings either locally or nationally, count your blessings
This food of thought has been served freshly to you by
aDeLiNa, who's feeling a bit dejected and sad today
P.S Btw, Any top level players, ex-national players, current national players, top level coaches out there reading this..I just want to point out that NZ is a beautiful country and you would just love it here...so would you please come and coach us? :P
Last edited by adelina76; 07-04-2002 at 05:09 PM.
07-04-2002, 11:24 PM #2
My main problem is lack of formal coaching. There are simply no real coaches that live within an hour-and-a-half drive. Sure, I had an informal coach teach me the basics like strokes, but he wasnt a "real" coach, if you know what I mean. On junior night, he was mainly there to supervise kids playing badminton. Many of the skills I have learned are either from other coaches at tournaments, training camps, or here at BC/BF. I've even showed my coach a few things that he now uses! The best players in my club say that they learned everything from watching good people play in tournaments when they were younger.
I play in the Central Ontario region, which many know is not a strong region in Ontario compared to Western, Toronto, etc. The only good junior player COBA has right now is the Allard boy, who won juvenile doubles with a guy from BC at nationals in 2001. I won triple crown at COBA Juniors for U16 this year, but I wouldn't make it to quarterfinals in provincials except maybe in doubles. COBA Juniors isn't even counted for provincial ranking points! The reason is because COBA is trying to encourage more high schoolers to play, so players are not required to have an OBA card to enter.
So, coaching is my main challenge to playing well at a provincial level. I'm not even going to consider going to nationals. My best bet is to attend as many tournaments as I can and practice, practice, practice.
07-05-2002, 08:04 AM #3
In order to stay motivated for competition, there must be a steady balance between the time and money spent on one hand, and the pleasure gained by playing on the other hand.
Of course, this balance point is different for each person, but even when you can afford and are willing to spent much time and money, there is a risk of meeting the man with the hammer, saying : what are you doing, is badminton that fun ?
Therefore, in order to stay away from the hammer man, try to influence one of the two aspects in such a way that it suits you. Sometimes this is difficult, because many factors cannot or are hard to influence, such as training evenings, competition schedule, membership fees etc.
In all those years of badminton (well, that is over 17 years ( starting at a 12 year age) from which I played 15 years competitively) (bonus question : how old am I? ) one time I was thinking about quitting competition was when my knee began to hurt more and more. Due to workouts, the knee improved a lot and hopefully this is not an issue anymore.
Another factor I think may stop me playing competitively is time. 4 years ago, I changed employer, focussing more on the job. I was afraid this would affect my pleasure in going to training sessions, but it turned out positively. I still had time to go to the training sessions, and I enjoyed it even more, from that time ;o)
But you never know, maybe in the future when I have to travel more to work.
In order to stay happy and keep away from the hammer man, I think there are some important things :
- Recognise loss in pleasure at an early point.
Depending on the aspect you dislike, you may change it and thereby solve it. At a club for instance, playing the same matches against the same people all the time can affect pleasure. Making other combinations, motivate others to join, to become at the same level etc. may improve pleasure. If there are problems between team members, talk it over !
- The costs and efforts must be clearly specified for people who start to play competitively / change clubs.
Knowing that one has to pay a higher membership or one is expected to join every training session, those are things you ought to know before your name is on the list. Adelina, I can imagine how you feel having to pay $200, not knowing how much you had to pay exactly before you got the letter. And… from wat I understood, your name was already on the list! Probably, If you knew the exact amount before your name was on the list, you wouldn’t have started this threat, right ?
- Make sure you have a good time.
Enjoy it, do not focus too much. For a professional this may be different, but for the most of us mortals, becoming world champ is not an issue. Winning is fun, but make sure you enjoy your play, even when you lose.
Things I like playing competitively :
- Some people I play with are good friends who I also see off-court.
This makes it fun travelling and spending time together.
- The ability to improve by playing different people all the time.
Yes, after 17 years of play I still have the feeling that I want to (and can) improve. Actually, last 2 years were my most fanatic years.
- Team spirit.
Regardless of winning or losing, a good team helps eachother focussing on the enjoyment of the game on itself. Happily i always joined nice teams.
- Every season is different
“It’s like a box of chocolats : You never know what you gonna get”
Personally, I think playing competition is worth the effort and money, because of above points.
These were my thought for the moment, to summarise in a few words : make sure you have some quality time !
07-05-2002, 08:33 PM #4
Finding a place to practice has always been my biggest issue, and it's getting worse as time goes by. I can play only one evening per week without having to drive at least 60 miles one way.
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