This week I skipped playing with my friends Tuesday because I was feeling kinda sick and worn down, and I wanted to be strong for my class Wednesday. And I’m glad I did because Wednesday was tough as is our new normal. His plan seems to be that we are just drilling, drilling and drilling. He’s taught me the basics, now I just need to hone them. He’ll pick up 20 birdies and say I have to smash them all, then the next 20 birdies I have to hit high and landing in the rear of the court, then the next 40 is “his choice” in the 4 corners of the net. Then back to smashes.
It’s exhausting and turning into a bit of a mental game at times because he can keep them going for a long time, often returning the birdies I hit so even if he has only 20 birdies, I hit them 40+ times. And especially when it is at the four corners, which has me running between the net and the rear court, I can get exhausted and intentionally miss just to get a respite. So that’s where the mental games come in.
I’m also naturally lazy (in life as well as badminton) and if I can hit a shot by stretching my arm out, I do it. But that is bad form as stretching and hitting a birdie isn’t very powerful. It’s much better if you can get your body behind the birdie so the whole weight of your body is behind the power, not just your outstretched hand. But to get your body behind the birdie you have to run faster and further, which, at times, I try to avoid.
So if I outstretch my hand and hit it, he shouts out “no!” and if I get behind it and hit it with proper form he called out “yes!” The funny thing is we’ve never talked about it, (the no stretching the arm out thing) I just know what he means.
So his “yes” and “no” thing really works on a psychological level. If I get a few no’s in a row, I get all down and really push myself to get a yes. And if I get a yes I feel a slight kick and pride.
So I’m basically a dog. Isn’t that how you train them? “Bad dog,” and the dog feels shame. “Good dog,” and the dog feels happy. And that’s exactly me. When he says “no!” I feel guilt. Why am I so lazy? I hope he’s not mad at me. And when he says yes (or even better “nice! or Beautiful”) I beam with happiness that I appeased him. So yeah, I’m a dog. I’m just glad I don’t have a tail to betray my feelings.
I also rolled my ankle, on of the most common badminton injuries, but kept going. The ankle seemed to be okay, but I had bruised the skin on the top of my foot. It was okay while I was playing, a slight pain, nothing more, but when I went home and took off my shoe, the pain was intense. Anything touching the top of my foot hurt like hell. Also, it got all swollen and later, black and blue. But being a jock means dealing with a little pain.
The saddest part was it was my last class for about 6 weeks. I’m finished with work until March and I’m going to travel now for a few weeks. When I come back it will almost be Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and he will be gone until late February. I’m very sad. No class for more than a month. 🙁
Despite the foot pain, I met my friends the next night and we played. Nothing exceptional happened except that my smash is noticeably better. I always called it “Baby Becky Smash,” because they are so weak, and light like a baby hit it. But this week I updated to “Toddler Becky Smash” because it’s just a tiny bit better. Those exhaustive drills seem to be slowly paying off.
As an added bonus, we have this core group from the main badminton group called “The Elites.” (The most serious of us from the big group.) One of the other girls asked if we wanted to meet on Sunday and play for a few hours, and of course I couldn’t refuse. After all, not only will I miss my class with my teacher, but I won’t be able to play with my group for the next few weeks as I travel. Sigh….