Weekly Update #3

Every week I recap how my week in badminton went. I play three days a week: games with my regular group on Tuesday and Thursday and class with my teacher on Wednesdays. 

This week, I had a lazy weekend. Well, not lazy, I saw Anna Karenina performed by a Russian ballet troupe, partied with my Frisbee friends and had meals and fun outside, but I didn’t do anything active. My weekends usually include a hike, some sport or some all day adventure outside. But not this weekend. At first I thought it was good. I was exhausted from last week and thought rest was good. But then by Sunday I felt bad. While a day of rest is good I know I should stay active during the weekend to increase my overall fitness.

Anyhoo, Tuesday badminton was great as usual. Even greater because there was a guy who hasn’t been for awhile. He was surprised when we played together and he said I had improved a lot. He also said I was much skinnier and since I am not at all immune to flattery it was a great day.

Wednesday was my class. The first half was a big fail. My teacher is trying to teach me how to move around the court faster, especially to the back corners. You don’t just run to the back, but rather there is specific footwork. Your right forward legs needs to kinds spring back while your arms and chest kinda open as you bring your racket up (I call it “blooming like a flower”), then you sort of sideways hop, and when you hit the birdie your body should move so your right leg (which is back) should move to the front. Then, you kinda “bunny hop” towards the middle to prepare for the next shot. (Bunny hop is totally the wrong word to describe it, but I have no idea how else to say it. Basically you spring forward, your feet remaining in position, just your body jumping towards the center. I feel like a bunny hopping all around the court, so that’s why I say it like that.)

When he hit it to the back left corner I had no problem. I seemed to naturally end in the proper position for a “bunny hop” to the center. The back right corner? I was a mess. I could never do the right footwork, so we drilled it again, and again and again. I kinda got it sometimes but I screwed it up more often than not. Sometimes I think I bore my teacher, my ineptitude making him do boring drills, with the same constant critiquing of my same constant mistakes. (As he hit birdie after birdie he finally just kept yelling “yes” or “no” based on if I moved my feet right or not, giving up on trying to correct me. He knows my brain knows the right way, it’s just my dumb feet don’t behave.) Sorry teacher!

Then we worked on my serve. I have a good serve, taught to me by my friend Xiao He, but it’s a one-trick pony. If a player is not familiar with me, or not that good, I can give them trouble. But it’s the same, every time, and several of my friends use it against me. They are totally prepared for it, and return it in a way that I can’t get it. It drives me FUCKING CRAZY and is my total weakness.

So, my teacher taught me a proper serves (for doubles) and I’ll need a bit of practice but it seems to be working okay. Also, when someone serves to me, he taught me the proper stance to return (left leg forward, both arms out in front, racket up)

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Kinda like this, though my teacher makes me put my left hand up higher and I kinda point at my opponent to get the right position.

Now this stance works really well, and I found I can return the serves much easier and physically, this isn’t hard. But see, in this, the left leg is forward. In pretty much everything else in badminton, the “standby” stance, is right leg forward. So my right leg gets a lot more of a workout, and as such, the past few weeks, my right hammy has been killing me. But it’s gotten a lot stronger and hurts less.

But after class with my teacher my LEFT leg hammy (and ass) got so sore! The next day I was hobbling about. I know soreness just means I am getting stronger, but I really thought I was past that point. Oh well, guess not.

Thursday badminton games is traditionally the worst. My body is so tired by this point from both the weeks work and so much badminton with no break. I basically have one good game, then proceed to fall apart, missing even simple shots. But this week I did much better! Sure, I fell apart, but not until about 9:15, which is more than halfway through the night! (We play 8-10pm.) Thursday is just me apologizing to my partner for most of the night, but this week I didn’t start apologizing till much later. I’ll consider that a win.

I’ve lost a bit of weight this week, but not at the rate I did the first week. In total I’m down 3kg. But like I said before, losing weight isn’t a goal of mine, getting fit is. I must be building a lot of muscle so if I don’t lose a lot of weight it’s okay.

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