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  1. #239
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
    At the German Open GPG currently playing....

    does anyone know why Michelle is paired up with Grace Gao for the WD, and not her regular partner Alex?
    I believe Bruce has since team up with Phyllis Chan and show some petty impressive results in the rescent Pan Am Games.

  2. #240
    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    @towbsss please accept my sympathies for your loss.
    A small part of your grandmother's legacy is the pride of a nation.
    We are all grateful to her, for being.

  3. #241
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    Thanks guys! Much appreciated!

    For an inside scoop on the WD partner mish mash, Grace began training at Lee's Badminton probably almost a year ago. It seemed a little weird, but I guess she wanted to work with a coach that is closer than Korea, and maybe because she's a female coach as well (pure speculation). Either way, it was pretty much an intention that she was to move to Toronto in September after the Olympics, where she is now. So, I pretty much figured things out last May because after we qualified for the Olympics, Grace was doing a lot of backcourt work. It seemed quite silly to me, because it's not a favorable position for us in the mixed and to not fine tune the things you are good at to make them better seems... weird. Especially when preparing for the event you've trained 4 years for, but hey, maybe she'll do better in Women's Doubles... it's only the Olympics (yes, a little resentment). Then it clicked, and I realized that they (Michelle & Grace) will probably end up playing together down the road. Joycelyn also decided to do a partner switch and paired up with Christin Tsai. Unfortunately, the odd ones out were Alex Bruce and Phyllis Chan. Ironically, they were the ones who came out on top in both the Pan Am Championships and our Senior Nationals! Not sure what the long term outlook will be for them all, but I'm pretty sure Joycelyn/Christin and Michelle/Grace will be the contending teams in the future.

    However... we can't write off Charmaine and Nicole. It would be really interesting to see a match up of the new teams against them. Perhaps we might get a match up at the Peru International in April?

  4. #242
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    Toby: any particular reasons why our cdn players still play multi-disciplines?

  5. #243
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    Damn. Too bad Michelle had to face WYH today :/ Tough draw, would've been nice to see her (or more Canadians) compete tomorrow. I thought she might challenge WYH (and it looks like she did), but at 21-17, 17-10 I have my doubts about her turning it around...

  6. #244
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    I can only speculate on why Canadian players play multiple disciplines based on my own experiences and observations. It may not be true for everyone, but I think I have a good idea why:

    The two biggest reasons are value (as in $$) and the other because we get to pick our own partners. The first reason is simple, because a lot of people have to pay their own way to compete, they might as well get their money's worth on the trip. It is rare to see us play just one event usually, but it seemingly works out because we are only trying to maximize whatever experience we can get. For example, I enter Singles or Doubles sometimes just to get a bit more time on court. I have really no aspirations, but I guess you never know. Perhaps it would be better to just focus on one, but most people don't want to take that risk. Another reason is to maximize chances of funding, because not being the top in one event may give you a chance to be top at another; or being top at 2 events gives you more of a chance for funding by preventing others from getting that funding. It's a tough system but if we can't even fund the best players in each event, it probably will lead to this kind of 'hoarding' if it's possible.

    The other reason, picking your own partners, it's a weird one. We get to make our own partnerships and Badminton Canada really has no say. They don't even make formal recommendations either, so there is a great deal of independence for Canadian athletes. There are pros and cons, with the pros being that you can play with whoever you want, and the cons could be that any dream team that may be theoretically possible will probably not happen. With some competitiveness between provinces or even an East vs. West coast, it is more likely that partnering will happen in the same area if they are genuinely serious about competing. We also have what I sometimes refer to as the "but they asked me first" type of contractual obligation. It's almost like some teams form just because someone 'asked first'. Commitments tend to be usually a year long due to the funding process and you're better off playing with someone you've been playing with, regardless of how performance goes. There really is no policing of teams even if partnerships may not be the best for Canada. That gives more freedom to the players, but perhaps that will cause more long term problems if the players can never find a good team combination. Partnerships don't usually last more than one Olympic cycle, but I guess it's just the opportunity cost of playing for extended periods of time in Canada. You'd be fortunate to break even and it would not be sustainable for more than a couple of players to really excel at one time.

    Actually, one more reason is to increase chances of Olympic qualification. For example, if a player is second in the Olympic run, they can choose to go for another event. It's always about QUALIFYING, never so much about doing well at the Olympics. It's a shame that a country can only use 2 continental spots for Doubles events. It's a fair rule, but there's always a good chance that someone might not get to go even if they technically 'qualified'.

    Anyway, hope that kind of answers your question.

  7. #245
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    Is there a chance of the match between Wang Yihan and Michelle Li being recorded? I want to see her play Li Xuerui =P

  8. #246
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    Thank you so very much, Toby. I'm sure many of us appreciate your taking time away from your personal things at this moment, to think as clearly as you do, and then write it all down without much mincing of words.

    It has been asked before, and I recall you answered it as best you could, but it won't stop a nut like me ( ) from asking again: are we any closer to rationalising things for Badminton Canada? Is there any hope of (a) financial stability for the national team/members/association and (b) a sign of some youngsters really (no, but really) pushing you, uh, "established" guys for your place? It would appear to me that regeneration of players at the national level isn't happening at the pace where genuine hope can be held out for the situation in say, the next 5 years. Please tell me I'm totally wrong!

    Would a central training model be helpful? Do you think it can be done, and if so, where would you say it can happen?

  9. #247
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    It's hard to say of course, but I'll give you my thoughts. I could blog about it later but I have some time now haha. It depends on many factors and I can't really say how it is for other Canadians as I've been so fortunate to learn from KDM, but it will depend on coaching quality and experience. If the coaching quality is not there, then more experience is needed. I would say I was fortunate to get the higher level coaching to save on tournament experience but it won't be the same with some of the younger players. Young players have no idea what it's like at higher levels and until they see and experience it for themselves, there's a long way to go. It's kind of like the big fish, small pond idea. As big as Canada is, the pool of players is quite tiny. It's tough for Badminton Canada when there is little funding because players don't want to play domestically because it's a waste of money, although it is the only way for some younger players to see the stronger ones. For example, I was the only one to go to Toronto for the Ontario Elite from BC this year. Central training would be incredibly difficult because nobody wants to leave home and definitely nobody wants to meet in the middle either.

    Also, players are more or less quite selfish in that they constantly have to worry about their own training. I don't blame them because some are funding their own way, but the upcoming juniors miss out. It's like there is a small cake and although everybody wants a slice, there isn't enough for everyone. We could share maybe, but not everybody is willing to. As players govern thenselves, there is always a bit of ego on the line. Same goes with coaching. Everyone wants to produce the next best player so sometimes you can really get "player hogging" and extreme biases. Sometimes it's the reverse and some players are just treated like the others. Regardless, everyone is out to do their own thing and wanting to make it big with their own idea. If that continues, we won't get very far at all.

    Coaching quality makes a big difference. I find there is a lot less detail when coaching and players get lumped into groups. Groups have to also do the same things, but that's the way it is. Make most people happy. But if most people only play Nationally, then what does the International player do? What if your coach use to coach internationally but not anymore?

    There are some younger ones doing really well. Nyl Yakura and Christin Tsai come to mind, as they have had more international experience than most. They have tough disciplines though... I guess we'll find out soon enough!

  10. #248
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    thanks for your insight It was really eye opening to hear it from a current top level player's perspective.

  11. #249
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    Toby, got another question for you. (Not sure who else is in the same boat in terms of pairing)...but how big of a difference to the chemistry did you feel between yourself and GG when she was in AB to now that she lives and trains in ON. I mean obviously you guys are experienced enough with each other to still gel, but has the fact that Grace is now in ON played any sort of difference to the level of competitiveness you are on court? I'd imagine the knife edge is pretty sharp at the top level so just curious from your perspective as to what sort of adjustment you've had to make.

  12. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borbor View Post
    Toby, got another question for you. (Not sure who else is in the same boat in terms of pairing)...but how big of a difference to the chemistry did you feel between yourself and GG when she was in AB to now that she lives and trains in ON. I mean obviously you guys are experienced enough with each other to still gel, but has the fact that Grace is now in ON played any sort of difference to the level of competitiveness you are on court? I'd imagine the knife edge is pretty sharp at the top level so just curious from your perspective as to what sort of adjustment you've had to make.
    Wow, I am so sorry for not getting to this question sooner. I guess the email notifications died at some point and I haven't been on the forums for a bit. The easiest way to answer your question is with the truth. Honestly, there is no chemistry. Zero. And that it why we may be pursuing other partnerships quite shortly. Every player has their own goals, and I believe good teams need to sync up their goals so that they are heading in the right direction. Ever since Grace moved to Toronto to work with Jennifer, I don't think she has done any training with mixed, and I have confirmed it with a few sources from Ontario. As it is a new Olympic cycle, and perhaps she is eyeing the next Olympics, she is working hard to improve her backcourt work for doubles. Whether it is what she wants to do, or what her coach wants her to do, is up to speculation, but the fact is that she is not training her front court very much, if at all.

    As a result, the competitiveness is much less as I can't expect her to perform her mixed to the level she once did. Her doubles is improving, but again, despite her backcourt improvements, it is still not favourable for her to play in the back when we play mixed because we don't practice together and the backcourt in mixed is much different than in women's doubles. Sudirman Cup will be our last tournament together for now, as we have already withdrawn from the World Championships.

    However, hypothetically, if we wanted to keep our level high and still compete together despite training in different places, a team should try to set some yearly goals and keep a good line of communication to see how progress is going. The goals should be communicated to respective coaches and they must also agree to allow the athlete to do work toward established goals. It's a lot tougher when you play multiple disciplines and your other partner is there, but if they also play another discipline (*cough* Women's Singles *cough*), that may be a good time to work on your respective discipline. If there is a will, there is a way, but unfortunately, we had neither goals nor communication. Now it will be interesting to see what happens.

    Personally, I am training mostly Men's Singles, as my court coverage should improve for doubles, and I can get a taste of how to play singles. If I want to come back and coach after I retire, it would be nice to be a bit more well-rounded, and competing in Singles has been quite an eye opener. And, training the younger players (e.g. Benny Lin, Christin Tsai) is rewarding in itself, because sometimes, you realize that it's not always about you.

  13. #251
    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    @towbsss in your opinion (and not to put you on the spot ) if you were to single out a handful of young players with real potential, who would you give the nod to?

    OR if you'd rather not, what in your opinion is the regeneration potential right now, with the bunch of young and really young players we have? And how far do you realistically think they can progress in the next say, 10 years? As importantly, what will they require to be able to fulfill their potential?

  14. #252
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    My thoughts and feelings have adjusted, and I think the biggest factor is on how healthy our young players are. We have some good young talent but I don't think it's good to see the younger players already suffering from injuries. Health is probably the only advantage that we may have over other players to compensate for a skill difference. Sure your opponent may be stronger than you, but they are playing injured and can only function at 80%, so you might have a chance if you can play at 100%. It doesn't help if you are actually more injured than your opponent. Traditional training from overseas coaches comes from a much greater variety of athletes. The ones who get injured early are weeded out. With limited numbers in Canada, it makes little sense to do the same thing because if your players are injured, that's it. Coaches need to work with their athletes more on strength and conditioning, and also injury prevention. That's how I look at future potential in Canadian badminton. Otherwise, players who get hurt will be more likely to stop prematurely.

  15. #253
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    But as you've pointed out earlier, there are many reasons for not having a centralized coaching facility. That being the case, it becomes so much more difficult to be able to establish a set of parameters for national or national-eligible -and junior- players to follow for strength conditioning, periodic health checkups and measures, and more importantly, to enforce the procedures and conditions...

  16. #254
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    I agree, it's not an easy task, but sometimes you have to use other resources. Canadian Sport Institute (formerly Canadian Sport Centre) operates in different provinces and is a valuable resource for athletes. AthletesCAN also functions to help athletes in areas where their NSO may not be able to do anything for them. There are resources that are available to those who seek them, and that coaches should understand their level of expertise. If a coach is not well versed in strength and conditioning, it'd be best to refer athletes to someone better. The key is prevention of injury, as one of the greatest predictors of re-injury is a previous injury. Again, as there is no centralized coaching facility, everyone will generally have their own coaches. I don't think strength and conditioning can be enforced, but should be highly recommended. It's like going to the massage therapist or physiotherapist as maintenance, versus post-injury. Athletes function much like cars. Regular maintenance is probably the best, versus going to get things fixed after there is a problem. Holding off on maintenance until the problem becomes too big to handle seems all too common.

    So here's the clincher: who do you feel should be responsible for developing proper strength and conditioning? The athletes themselves? The coaches? The PSO/NSO to provide it? Outside sources? Everyone will have different thoughts about this. Personally, I think it's up to the athlete, but it would help if they get direction from their coaches. How can you honestly try your best, when you're not even physically at your best?

  17. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by towbsss View Post
    ...

    So here's the clincher: who do you feel should be responsible for developing proper strength and conditioning? The athletes themselves? The coaches? The PSO/NSO to provide it? Outside sources? Everyone will have different thoughts about this. Personally, I think it's up to the athlete, but it would help if they get direction from their coaches. How can you honestly try your best, when you're not even physically at your best?
    It is one thing to expect a 18 year old competitive badminton player to know how to train properly to avoid injury. But I have seen U12 and U14 players with one, two or even three joints strapped/ braced! At that age, they could not have been expected to know how to avoid injury, themselves. As you said, when a body part is injured once, it is forever prone to injury again. Those kids may be doomed to a short career before puberty is even done with them.

    In a badminton backwater, like where I live, the coaches are volunteers with variable knowledge of training. It would be helpful for Badminton Canada to supply access to straightforward guidelines/tips for coaches, volunteers and players on the best exercises and training for kids of various ages to prevent injury --especially for those who live far from the superior resources of places like Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. FIFA has widely promulgated a knee injury prevention program for all levels of soccer/football to use. If Badminton Canada would do the same, that would be great.

    ___

    P.S. Towbsss, I really admire your comment about enjoying giving back to the players whom you coach. You may have learned that "it's not all about me" , but there is still plenty of reward for "you" in seeing the difference you make it others. Keep being an inspiration!

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