Is there going to be a 2023 training camp?
Sorry, not this year. While China has opened, and foreigners can travel into the country, they haven’t started issuing regular tourist visas yet. As of this update (March 2023) they haven’t given a date when they will start issuing them again, and as it takes several weeks to get the visa, I don’t want to plan something and then have the visas not available in time. Also, I haven’t seen my family in 6 years so this summer I am going to prioritize a trip back to the US and won’t have time for the camp. So see you 2024?! Fingers crossed!
Since I am an American who lives and trains in China (and speaks fluent Chinese) I have had many people approach me to help them find training. So I figured what the heck and decided to arrange a week long training camp for foreigners who wish to train and visit china. Allow me to introduce to you…Dragon Badminton Training Camp!
9-Day Adult Badminton Training Camp in China!
Everyday training will be three hours from 9-12 in the morning. A week is not a long time but you can expect to make noticeable differences in your technique. The coach will work on your weaknesses but if there is something you would specifically like to work on, please feel free to tell them on the first day and they will focus on it. Otherwise the coaches will focus on technique and also game strategy.
Training will begin with a group warm-up for 15-20 minutes that will stretch you muscles and get your heart beating. Then you will break into groups or 1-on-1 to work on various techniques with coaches. (This is not a rote training where you hit clears for 10 minutes with a partner and then change to drops for 10-minutes. This will be more deliberate practice where the coach will give you immediate feedback on poor technique and continue to work with you until you improve.) The last 20 minutes will be for some group body conditioning (cross-fit style), cool-down and stretch.
This camp is not for total newbies. Since you are coming all the way to China I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. The coaches will assume everyone has a basic understanding of the game. You can consider yourself beginner level, but you need to know the rules of the game and badminton terminology.
One of the biggest hurdles with training in China is the language. The coach can’t speak English beyond a few words. So you will have student helpers to assist you throughout the week. During training they can help translate thoughts and ideas from the coach. Also I (Becky) will be there and can help translate too.
Your student helpers will be available to you all week outside of training. In addition to translating the coaches they can help you with tasks in China such as telling you the location of a shop, or helping you translate something. You will have their contact information so anytime you have any questions or difficulties you can call or text them and they will do their best to help. The student helpers are my actual student, English majors from the local university, picked by me based on their high English level and helpful nature. Of course if you want to learn Chinese while your here the student helpers could be your teacher as well!
Lunch will be delivered to the courts from local restaurants and eaten together immediately after training. Eating is one of the best parts of traveling, and the areas food will blow you away (it’s very different than what you might be used to–and much tastier). There will be a variety of dishes to chose from and we’ll avoid ordering any of the super weird stuff unless majority wants to try. 😉 (Let me know if you have any allergies.) After lunch the shuttle bus will bring you back to your hotel where you can rest and relax or go out and explore.
After Training (with optional night playing)
The afternoon and nights are free for you! You will be pretty tired, especially after a few days, and rest is important. If you want to explore China I, and your student helper, can recommend places to go and tell you how to get there. Xiamen is one of the top tourist destinations in China, with mountains and beaches all with a quick taxi or subway ride, and has many interesting and unique places to see. July is the hottest month in Xiamen and expect the temps to be upper 30’s (90’s) and humid. So afternoons would be best spent taking a break and relaxing after badminton. Then wait for the late afternoon to go out and explore on your own.
Of course if you haven’t had enough of badminton, you are welcome to join evening play with the locals. Coach Lin is head of Team Xiong Feng (my club) and on club nights you are welcome to join him and his club play. On other nights there are other clubs you can easily play with. Be warned—not many locals speak English beyond “nice to meet you.” But they will be very happy to play with you. And everyone is fluent in the language of badminton. 😉 Thanks to coach Lin’s generosity night playing will be included free!
Saturday: Arrival. Met at the train station or airport by your helper/translator for the week. Check into hotel.
Welcome dinner to meet everyone
Sunday: Meet at lobby at 8:30
12-1 lunch at the courts
1 Return to hotel
Afternoon and evening free (with option to play with the courts club in the evening)
Monday: Training Day (Same schedule as above)
Tuesday: Training day!
Wednesday: Rest day! Important to prevent injury.
Optional travel day to Gulangyu.
Gulangyu is a UNESCO world heritage site and the top tourist attraction in Xiamen. Nicknamed “Piano Island” it is the former home of the British during Xiamen’s colonial past and filled with crumbling old mansions as a reminder of the past. Rung with beaches, this car free island has rambling paths and alleyways and a small village brimming with local snacks, cafes, cute shops and a famous piano museum. Spend the day on the beach swimming or photograph the crumbling mansions now overgrown with ivy and time. Your student helpers will guide you around the island and help you with ordering food and buying things. (This trip is optional and not included in the price. You must pay for it yourself but the ferry ticket is only $10 and food isn’t expensive.)
Thursday: Training day!
Friday: Training day!
Saturday: Morning free (you’ll need to get your own lunch). In the afternoon we will have training and then a Competition! Use what you have spent the week learning, team up with a local Chinese players and compete against others. Medals to be awarded.
Then we will have one final dinner together as a group.
Sunday: Go home. Your student helper will send you off to the airport/train station.
All training and game play will take place at Xiong Wei Badminton Courts, a new facility built and owned by coach Lin. 14 courts, with side lighting, dark walls and a black draped ceiling allow for space and excellent visibility of the shuttle. Courts are green flooring which lie on a wood on top of concrete to ensue the courts are firm, but springy enough to avoid any knee injuries.
Courts have free wifi, large bathrooms with showers (hot water), changing rooms, stringer and stringing machine available at all times and a small store in which you can buy cold drinks, grips, shirts, towels, knee, wrist elbow and other braces, shoes and rackets. Basically all the necessities of badminton play.
The courts do not have air conditioning. Xiamen is a sub-tropical location and July temps are regularly in the upper 30’s to 40 degrees Celsius (90’s to 100) and humid as heck. You will sweat….a lot. Bring enough clothes for you to change several times a day. (Don’t worry, both hotels have laundry.) The coaches office has air conditioning which you can take a break, but in general be prepared for hot weather and make sure to drink plenty of fluids (cold water, several brands of sports drinks and fruit juices are available for purchase).
My personal coach I write about all the time on my blog and owners of the courts. Basically the best coach ever (IMHO)
Watch videos of him play here and here.Founding member of the Black Ants, formerly Xiamen’s top badminton team
Winner of numerous gold and silver medals throughout the years (too many to list here.)
Specializes in singles.
Can only speak Mandarin with a few words of English.
Depending on the number of participants the coach might ask some of his assistant coaches to come and help him. They are university top ranked players.
This is an adult training camp and participants must be 18 years of age or older! If there is a younger person wanting to participate please contact me. It could be doable but they would need to be accompanied by a guardian. This is not intended as a summer camp for kids, but serious younger players could be considered.
You will be located in Jimei district, in the north of Xiamen city, less than 10 km from the airport. (Fun fact: Xiamen is one of only two cities with an airport in the downtown area. Nowhere in the city is more than 20 km away from the airport.) Jimei is a traditional part of the city with hidden temples, amazing food and friendly locals. There are also plenty of foreign restaurants and western food (such as Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, Mexican, Greek, thai food etc). Your hotel will be within walking distance to a mall with brand stores such as H&M, McDonalds etc. Jimei also has a subway stop so it is easy to go into the center of the city from there. We will give you a map and explain the local area when you arrive.
There are also many massage places in the area around the courts and your hotel in case you want to relax your tired muscles. An hour long foot massage at a nice place will cost about $20 with a full body massage a little bit more.
Xiamen city is an island and has a large amount of nature for such a small place. The outer edge is ringed with beaches and the inside has mountains and parks. A subtropical climate Xiamen is has a reputation for green and healthy living with plenty of palm trees and sun. The world’s longest elevated bike path is in Xiamen, as is miles of coastline optimized for running, walking and biking. The ocean breeze keeps away China’s infamous smog and Xiamen is among the top 10 cities in China for best air quality. (Average air quality is AQI 49, equal to Charlotte, North Carolina in America.)
Xiamen is directly across from Taiwan and within a few hours from Hong Kong and Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton). Aside from the airport Xiamen has many high speed train lines that can connect you quickly to all parts of China if you would like to continue your traveling after the training camp.
As an ocean side city, Xiamen is famous for seafood. Crabs, fish, shrimp, muscles etc you can be sure Xiamen’s seafood is fresh. If you dare you can even try one of Xiamen’s specialties, sea worms in jelly. But don’t worry, if you are not an adventurous eater there are plenty of more common foods including noodles, rice, veggies and lots and lots of amazing mouth watering street food.
With Xiamen’s close proximity to Taiwan there is also a lot of Taiwan culture, especially with the snacks. There is a small Taiwan island, called Jinmen/Kinmen just a quick 30-minute ferry ride from Xiamen if you want to experience Taiwan but don’t have much time Jinmen is a great day trip. (Be aware you’ll need a separate visa for Taiwan).
Prices are also cheap compared to other major Chinese cities. An hour long taxi drive will cost you less than $20 and a bottle of water is .30 cents. For just $10 you can get a delicious meal at a nice restaurant. For street food you can eat like a king with $3.
Western food and goods aren’t cheaper than normal though, with luxury good (like iphones) most are even more expensive than most countries due to high taxes. If you’re interested in shopping China is a good place for things like tailor made suits and local products, but not good for Prada and what-not. Jimei has two Starbucks but a coffee will be $4 + dollars, similar to back home.
Xiamen is one of the, if not THE top city in China for badminton. Amateur players are at a higher level than other cities and Xiamen players tend to win nationwide competition. Taiwan players come over here to train just because of the high level. We are very proud of our badminton love!
Here is a website that lists more attractions and what to do in Xiamen.
Included in the price:
8 nights Hotel
Court and shuttle fees
Daily evening club play
Transportation to and from the courts from your hotel
Student helper/translator available all day
Snacks at court
Health insurance (Must have!)
Dinners (except the first and last night)
Drinks during training
This is not a professional travel company and I am not a professional tour guide. This isn’t even a money making venture. This is something I am organizing because I have been asked many times if I can help people find training camps. Even in China adult training camps are rare (most are day camps for kids) but as an adult myself I know how important training is. And why not mix badminton with travel? That’s the best of both worlds.
This is a sport which can lead to injury and as I am not an official travel company you are required to have travel insurance yourself! This is non-negotiable and I will need to see some sort of confirmation of insurance before you can play. There will be warm-ups and cool downs everyday and you should take breaks when you need it, but it is impossible to eliminate all risk of injury. Let’s all be safe.
This is the health insurance company I use when I travel (World Nomads) but any company is fine.
Not all hotels in China allow foreigners to stay there (they need to be specially registered). For some reason, the few budget hotels near the courts that allow foreigners to stay there are more expensive than the 5 star hotel! I like to offer two options (both a nice hotel and a budget hotel) to make the price cheaper, but this year it wasn’t possible. Good news is the 5 star hotel is super nice and not expensive for the amount of amenities you get.
Xiamen North Bay Hotel
The top hotel in Jimei and rated 5 stars. Sits right on the water! This hotel has many amenities including bar/lounge, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center with weight room, restaurant, spa and a big breakfast buffet included in the price. Each room has a balcony with garden view, soundproofing, plenty of space, room service, TV, air conditioning, wifi, large western bathroom with tub and amenities like slippers, bathrobes, toiletries etc. A big breakfast buffet is available for purchase (not included in the price) with many choices of both western and Chinese foods.
The hotel has a trip advisor “certificate of excellence” and is the #1 hotel in Jimei and #4 in all of Xiamen city. It is also in walking distance from a lively food street and big Wanda mall. It’s in the area of the courts but not walking distance so we will provide a car to bring you to and from training every day, though if you wanted to play at night you would need to make your own way via taxi or bus. Also rated “best value” by booking.com.
So how much will this set you back?
Hotel single room: TBA
Double occupancy: TBA
All prices are in US dollars. Payment will be done through paypal with 50% due at time of registration and 50% due one month before. Cancellations with a full refund are allowed until one month prior (June 4th). Cancellations after that will incur a 20% cancellation fee.
If you have any questions, or want to sign up email Becky at: chinabecky(at)gmail(dot)com and I will respond quickly. Registration will close June 4th, 2020, or when we reach 10 people, whichever comes first.
We all get busy and have other priorities in life, but for one week you can forget all that and spend a week in a foreign country playing and training badminton with other badminton lovers! The whole purpose of this is to unite badminton lovers with coaches and dedicated time to ourselves so we can focus and make improvements. Basically just a fun time eat, breath and sleep badminton. Plus, when you go home you can brag to your club members that you trained in China, heh heh.