My First Competition!!

Next weekend I have my first badminton competition (that I didn’t organize)! Woot! Woot!

Ironically, one of the foreign teachers told me about it, not my badminton friends. He had a local friend who told him of the local “international friends badminton competition.” I immediately wrote to my badminton group and asked if they knew about it. None of them knew it was “international” but several of them had registered. (Which made me a bit mad. Why hadn’t any of them told me?! So, I yelled at them, heh heh.)

It’s only men’s doubles and mixed doubles and I asked my usual partner to play with me. We signed up and then he realized he couldn’t play with me. He had already signed up to play with another girl. (I’m not jealous. *sob*)

So I asked my Taiwanese friend and we’re gonna play next weekend! Jimei, the district I live in, has so many badminton players they are broken up into groups. Because I live in the college, I’m supposed to play with the “yin ting” group. But its the largest group, and competition is the fiercest. Since I’m new to playing with them, and to pad out another group I think, the organizer changed me to the “cen dong” group so we have a better chance of winning.

My mixed doubles partner

My mixed doubles partner Azhi. He’s way better than me.

It’s held at a court in town, owned by a friend of my coach. These courts got destroyed in the typhoon and the owner has spent months repairing them. He just re-opened this weekend. So it will be a place I am not too familiar with, which is nerve-wracking.

I also have no idea how the tournament works. Over Taiwanese sausage and drinks my partner tried to explain to me how the system went. But I was dealing with not only a language barrier but a education barrier. I know NOTHING about how competitions work unless they are the standard bracket style ones like the NBA play-offs. This one isn’t.

He tried his hardest and kept saying, “Ni dong ma?” You understand? I just kept shaking my head. The only bit of information I did get was that the first place winner is the person that never loses. But second and third place winners are based not on winning or losing the games, but on points. So if we lose a game, we aren’t out of the running and still have a chance.

It’s a game run by the government badminton association and cost a mere $1.50 to enter. We get all the court time, shuttles and a shirt included!  What a bargain.

The free shirt might be ugly, but it's free!

The free shirt might be ugly, but it’s free!

I got the schedule and the name of our first opponent. I don’t know them personally but I asked my coach if he did. He said he didn’t, but he knows all the high level players in the district and they weren’t experts so we have a chance. I asked a badminton friend who works in the same school as me and she said she knew them. They are a married couple and probably about the same level as me and my partner. Game on.

Badminton opponents

You’re dead meat Cai Miao and Wu Gui Sen! (I’m team A4. A1 is our first opponents.)

A few months ago I was talking to a friend who went to college for sports. We were talking about competitions and how I feel nervous playing just for fun with strangers, so of course a competition would be worse.

“How can I not be nervous during a competition?” I asked him.

“What’s the goal of your first competition?” he asked me.

“To win?” I answered unsure. He shook his head.

“Your first competition is overwhelming. You can see people, watch their skill, see new styles. There will be lots of experienced people who are better than you. The goal of the first competition is to have fun.”

So I’m taking his advice and if we lose, we lose. No biggee. I’m just excited to be taking this next step. And hopefully work towards more competitions and someday even winning them. Wish me luck!

P.S. This competition also has a writing element. While my Chinese writing isn’t up to the same level as my English (I hope, haha) I can’t let an opportunity for writing pass me by. So I wrote a short essay for it. This is it. If you can read Chinese please don’t laugh too much at my Chinese writing.

Badminton essay part 1

Badminton essay part 2



  1. 艾伦

    Good Luck Becky! I am also a badminton fanatic living in Nanjing. I started playing in 2014 in North Carolina and my husband jokingly always tells everybody that I was the best white woman player in our group.back there…haha..I was the best because I was the only white female player in our group. Everybody else was Chinese including my husband. My first competition was last April. So much fun!

    1. Becky (Post author)

      Why stop at best white women? My coach and group are convinced that I’m the best American player ever because they basically have no respect for the American national team, hahahha. How was your first competition? Did you do well?

      1. 艾伦

        My first competition was intense. Our baby was only 9 months at the time and still woke up 3 times each night and we are both just slightly over 40 so we aren’t spring chickens either…. so both my husband and I were playing on half empty tanks. But despite that, our team of four came in 3rd place in the tournament. My husband and I played mixed doubles, husband played men’s doubles, and I played women’s doubles(I really am horrible at women’s doubles. I am much better at the front of the court than in the back) so that was our weakest link and the 2 other team members played men’s single and women’s single.

        1. Becky (Post author)

          Third place is great! Congrats! Because my partner is a young whipper snapper at 39 he drags me down to the “youth” level. But maybe I should hope that my opponents recently had a baby and are running on a few hours of sleep. 😉

          1. 艾伦

            hahaha. Thanks! It was a surprise to get third so you just never know. There was a little luck involved for us as we still have a lot of room for improvement. Maybe you can put some video up on the blog from the tournament? It would be great to see you and your partner in action.

          2. Becky (Post author)

            Actually my coach and I talked about having people film me playing not for a video persay, but more so I can see what I look like when I play. My coach is always on me for not getting “low” enough in the ready position and I always yell that I am. But then I saw a small video of myself as someone was just filming the courts and I realized that I was basically standing totally straight and tall, and not at all in the crouched position I thought I was. So maybe! Haha. If a friend comes to watch I might ask them to film it. Thought I would be nervous to watch it…

  2. 艾伦

    I wish I had some video of my progress over the past 2 years so hopefully you can get some even if you don’t want to share it!

    1. Becky (Post author)

      My coach has actually been taking some wechat “sight” videos for the past few months and I’ve been saving them. Last week we were working on position, and he was hitting me birdies from across the net and I finally stood in the exact right position. Neither of us had a camera or phone or anything with us, so he held up an imaginary camera to his face and pretended to take a picture while saying “picture!” I thought it was the funniest, most random moment of the day and I have no idea why he thought to do that. Maybe he’s keeping a secret video track of my progress, hahaha.

  3. 艾伦

    Inquiring minds want to know…your first pick for a partner who already signed up with another girl…how did they do? That is great to have those little “sight” videos from your coach. I am jealous that you get to train. I really need to get some training in each week but I don’t have time anymore. We try and get to the courts earlier to do some training but the courts fill up fast. We are trying to come up with a plan as I need to improve several things that I used to be better at (like actually getting back quickly to get a birdie served over my head so i can smash it, or I am not going to lie. at least touching it with the racquet would be nice haha) when we had time to train. Baby makes it hard to fit it in right now.

    1. Becky (Post author)

      The tournament was actually over a few days with different teams playing on different days. (There was several hundred people all together.) So he played the weekend before and also got 5th. So maybe 5th was my destiny, haha.

      And yeah, it’s too easy to just get to the courts and play. My coach is always telling me to practice my footwork by myself at night but there is always people to play, and I feel kinda stupid practicing the footwork by myself. Sometimes I go early and do it in the dark, but more often then not I am lazy and just wait for my class to practice it, haha.

      I hate the high back serves too!

  4. CN

    Hi Becky,

    I’m enjoying your blog on Badminton. You are lucky to be coached, Here in US there aren’t any, I wish there was. I would improve my game oh well. I saw your comments on video taping and there is a fantastic book you should read, It was written with Tennis in mind but applies to any sport.
    The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance Paperback – by W. Timothy Gallwey

    1. Becky (Post author)

      I haven’t heard of that book, but thanks for recommending it. I’ll check it out!

      Can I ask which part of America you play? I heard California has an active badminton scene but I haven’t heard much about other parts of the country. Do you have enough people to play with? Can you find courts to play at regularly?


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