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December 31, 2011
So, we are back in the hall. Can't remember if I mentioned it but it is an 8 court hall with a rubberised floor. The hall is overlooked by the bar area upstairs – the glass used is that semi transparent stuff – looks normal from the bar side of things but is fairly opaque from court side.
At this point the group was split into two; one group went to the gym and the other went on court. On court we watched the players going through another grueling training session – this time looking at reactive defence. This consisted of one or two players on one side being bombarded by three or more players on the other side. The idea was to develop quick reactions and to defend effectively using blocks to force the shuttle wide. I watched Andy Ellis and Chris Adcock put Peter Mills and Chris Langridge through their paces – not quite a game – more a modified form of torture! They weren't holding back and let loose some pretty heavy smashes. The thing I focused on was the movement of the players. Chris and Andy moved as if they were joined at the hip – it was great to watch. We all talk about how important it is to keep moving but how many of us can really say we do? Obviously these guys are athletes and have the fitness levels to allow them to do this; but that doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to this ideal. Bit more time in the gym for me I think!
Here's a snippet of their session:
At the other end of the hall Gaby Adcock and Lauren Smith were burning a few calories with some 2v1 action. The girls each went on for about 2 minutes and had to defend/attack their two opponents – then they swapped over (bit like tag badminton!). Whilst off court Lauren and Gaby would catch their breath and do some exercises – then back on. What a great exercise and one I would like to introduce into my training sessions…just as soon as the defibrillator is installed… 🙂
Here is Gaby (almost dead on her feet)
This was my last visit to the hall during this trip. Kind of sad about that as I had really enjoyed being part of the training day – I could happily have spent hours just watching and chatting to the coaches and players. We have already said how dedicated these people are and, and the risk of becoming repetitive, it is probably worth saying again; they were all consummate professionals. I have always had a notion that the reason we don't win many major tournaments because our players have things too easy and aren't hungry enough. But I have had that notion challenged and modified because of this day. Without getting too political about things we are trying to compete against nations who are making serious investments in badminton and who have plenty of players waiting in the wings (you can see this in the way many of the top Asian sides change their team line ups); sadly BE is not awash with endless pots of money. Can't see that changing anytime soon. But at least I go away with a sense that we are making the absolute most out of our precious resources and the players we have on board are trying their hardest to compete with the world's best players.
So in to the gym. The players get to spend around 2 hours every day in the gym going through their individual routines. Nothing too radical here as you might expect – agility exercises, strength and conditioning etc. Nonetheless it was good to see the players working hard in the gym to improve their all round performance under the ever watchful eyes of EIS.
So that was it. Our day was over. But for the GB/England squad? Well, it was just another day at the office. 2 to 3 hours in the hall in the morning, lunch, 2-3 hours in the hall followed by a couple of hours in the gym. 6 days a week. Tired? I was and I only had to watch one typical day!
A huge thank you to BE for opening their doors to us and allowing us the opportunity to watch some really nice people work their socks off in pursuit of badminton greatness. And of course, a massive thank you to the players for being so generous with their time and a special thank you to Andy Ellis for taking this photo for me. Not often I get to feel like a star struck teenager…but I was one extremely happy chappy
March 10, 2013
Great report John.
Although I couldn't make it I do know how hard the top player work, having had the privilege of seeing the Scottish squad train.
The videos gave a good idea, albeit just a snippet, of what top players have to put themselves through.
What I would like to know from yourself and Paul is what aspects of the experience could you introduce into your own coaching sessions and was there any mention of BE running workshops for coaches.
Paul has already touched on the importance of good accurate shuttle feeding. This is an area many coaches,myself included, do not pay enough attention to improving.
Paul's last post touched on the fact that too few players practice, I think it may also be true of coaches.
With that in mind I have booked a court for the next 4 weeks to practice my hand and racket feeds and also serves.
December 31, 2011
Feeding is one aspect I will be working on myself. I am spending 5 or 10 minutes in every session I go to to practice my feeding. I am also working with a select group of friends to run private training sessions so that we can work on all aspects of our game.
In respect of my coaching I will be getting the kids to focus on the training and to maximise their effort – give it 100% – play like you want to win.
So many things to work on so just focus on the percentages – Paul has already published a self-analysis check list and this is a good place to start with building your own development plan – don't try to fix everything – make incremental improvements and incorporate them into your game.
One thing my wife and I are trying to do is make sure the “knock up” is more structured and covers all shots – nets, drives, clears, smashes and drops. Too often when someone knocks up with me they just want to go straight into blasting the shuttle to the back of the court! Also I use a lot of the drills that I have learned – you know the sort of thing – net shot, lift, clear, drop and repeat..
February 15, 2011
That's an excellent question.
There are so many takeaways from the day. The big question is what I will be able use with intermediate or even advanced players, so here goes…
1) With intermediate players the main thing for me was keep it simple and that less is more. Focus on one simple aspect and once this improves move on to the next part. Improve the player one small part at a time and structure their expectations rather than allow them to race too far ahead.
2) With advanced players this day is making me question what I should expect skillwise and attitude. Additionally, on my advanced courses I am going to use more speed work, 2 V 1, and especially zone work. Aside from that, more use of slight grip change to create angles and re-direction of shots.
3) Greater use of 3 month planning for each player I coach privately. Also to use a more consultative process. This is something we learnt from the day whereby everything is geared to players wanting to improve and therefore they are so open to discuss specific aspects of their game, how they feel about this topic. It needs a desire to be that open and so this has to be broached first to check that this isn't to come across as too intrusive.
There's lot more in terms of routines. I suppose the other big thing to take away was the quality of the shuttles. The shuttles used for multi-feeding were so good many of us would play a game with them. However, they have considerably bigger budgets for these things.
I still have more to say on this day and follow up with photos but need more time to gather my thoughts.
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