So the 2018 China Badminton training camp finished last weekend and it could not have gone better. Everything worked out, everyone got a ton of training and playing, and everyone left both healthy and happy (though very exhausted which was the plan.)
There were three participants, Kin, Jack and Toby, and they were great. I mean, any old weirdo could have signed up, but these weirdos were fun, nice, easy-going and really into training. We all got along easily from day one and ended up hanging out even when we weren’t playing badminton.
They really liked the courts. Initially they were surprised at the casual feeling of the courts. People come in all times of the day and just watch badminton, or sit and chat with each other or whatever. Since the courts are literally open all day, and my coach and Lao Zhang Ge (the old guy who sits at the desk) are always there, there is always someone to talk to and people with a short break from work often come in and hang out for a bit.
“It’s kinda like a home,” said one of the guys. “It’s really nice.”
And they loved my coach, and he loved them. The first day was a bit formal (and my coach kept forgetting their names. Like Chinese names are hard for foreigners, English names are hard for him. He kept whispering to me “what’s his name again?” as he couldn’t remember the pronunciation) but soon after they were best buddies. Most conversations had to happen through the translator since two of the guys couldn’t speak much Chinese, but you don’t need to speak the same language to be able to convey friendship and training was more fun because of the camaraderie between them.
And they liked his coaching style too! They liked not only his technique, but the way he explained everything and the reason behind things. Honestly, that was the most gratifying part for me. I love my coach and think he’s the best but you never really know if it is because the coach is good or because you just click for some unknown reason. Having these three guys all give rave reviews about my coach made me feel like a proud mama.
The translator, my student Jeffrey, did a great job, always standing next to the courts and whispering the English as my coach was speaking the Chinese. Yes, I could have translated myself, in some ways I would be more suitable as Jeffrey doesn’t play badminton and doesn’t know the theories behind the words, but I had so much going on I wouldn’t have been able to give it my full attention. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Also, I chose Jeffrey because he is a f
And the badminton side of it all was more intense then even I expected. Our training was exhausting in 40+ degree heat and humidity (over 100 Fahrenheit), but almost every night these guys were raring to go back. One day we had training from 9-12. Then my coach offered more training at 5-6pm which they took him up on, THEN they continued to play from 6 until late (they finally left the courts at 10pm that night.)
After the first few nights I stopped going to night play because I was just too tired. I was still tutoring and doing some other things in the afternoon so I couldn’t rest as much as they could, and I’m like 10 years older than most of them, and I can play there anytime, not just this week, and….Well, perhaps I should just admit defeat gracefully. They outplayed me.
It really could not have gone better. But don’t take my word for it, check out a little video recap I made of our week.
Now the big question…will I do it again? To be honest it was a lot more work than I had anticipated and these guys were all easy going and competent (they found their way on the buses and arranged dinners and called taxi’s themselves). If they were needy at all it would have been a lot more work. I was also kinda stressed all week that something bad would happen and they would get hurt or lost (just my own paranoia, not because of anything they did) so I had trouble sleeping and when I did I had weird dreams.
But the first one is supposed to be the most stressful right? So hopefully later ones won’t be. My coach also had a really good time meeting the guys and he really wants to do it again (and hopes the original three come back to visit him). So I think I probably will? The small group was perfect and I think a bigger group would be too much trouble, so next time I’m gonna cap it at 5 (instead of 10 like I had originally said.)
I might do 2 sessions because there were several people that wanted to come but couldn’t make that specific week, so perhaps next summer I’ll do two different week-long slots? Anyway, I need a long rest before thinking about it seriously (and I have a year to do it) but if this is something that interests you please let me know.