Wednesday, July 17, 2024

6 Ways to Survive and Enjoy University Badminton : part 2

How to survive the 1st year at a Badminton Univesity
This is the second part, its all about how to prepare and survive
The advice will help you to prepare for Year 1 and some specific advice on enjoying the 1st Term
Term is a short period of time only 10 weeks long but there will be plenty happening on and off court
The better prepared you are the more enjoyment and success you’ll have
University BadmintonIf you haven’t read part 1 click here 6 Ways to Survive and Enjoy University Badminton 

It is all about what to expect and will give you advice regarding

  • The University expects
  • The 3 S’s – Sport / Study / Social
  • How its different from home
  • the smiles, tiredness, and illness
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How to survive the 1st year
1  The workload will be different
2  Prepare your mind and take care of it
3  Be sociable, but stay realistic
4  Practice before you go – Learning to string, cooking, washing, kit, meal prep
5  Advice  from others
6  The essentials – alarm clock
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1 The workload will be different

BadmintonandyThe 1st Term will stress you!

It’s very easy to double the amount of physical training you will be doing.

I would expect that there will be at least 2 or 3 days a week when you be will be expected to do 2 sessions, either on the court or a court/gym combination.

You will also have the opportunity for individual on-court sessions plus a running or gym programme to follow.

Look at your weekly log now (are you using a training diary) and work out how many hours you are currently training.

What does a weekly programme at Nottingham University look like?

Badminton andyMartyn Lewis the Badminton Director has shared this programme

When I spoke to Martyn about the programme, he asked me to remind you of the following

  • the programme is a summary for 4 groups (A, B,C,D)
  • each group can have different session plan that will vary in content and intensity
  • all groups are expected to turn up on time and work hard
  • gym S&C work is required, the University needs you to stay healthy and injury-free
  • there are also individual or small group sessions on top of this plan for some players
  • Nottingham University uses as many as 4-5 different coaches who are spread throughout the groups
  • the overall aim is for you to improve, succeed in your studies and to perform well in BUCS
Listen to advice from the Nottingham University’s Badminton Performance Director Martyn Lewis
Click here to hear what he has to say about life at Nott’s University for a Badminton player

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2   Prepare your mind and take care of it

BadmintonandyDuring the 1st Term, many people can feel overwhelmed.

I recommend that you use your love of Badminton as an anchor.  Something that feels familiar, brings you instant enjoyment and allows you to have a moment without too many new experiences filling your head.

So much will be different you may feel you have landed on a different planet.  It is true to say that “Planet University” can really challenge you in ways you weren’t ready for.

You will need a structure! 



Eating and sleeping will help

Yes, of course, this sounds obvious, but it’s very true.

Without enough sleep, your body and mind will feel stressed, be weaker and eventually cause you issues. Try to get a good 7 – 8 hrs sleep in the week, then sleep even more at the weekends.

Eat 3 to 5 times every day.

If you have increased your training it’s very important to keep fuelled.  Learn how to prepare your meals in advance.  Jump to point 4 below for suggestions on cooking, shopping and meal preparation.


BadmintonandyCandle burning

There is a saying that you should never burn a candle from both ends.  Imagine how you’d feel if you went out most nights until 2 am then had early morning training from 7.30 or even 8.00 am.  You will be expected to turn up for training and perform.

It’s very difficult, almost impossible to max out on these 3 : Study, Sport and Social.  However, it’s not impossible to do all 3 if you focus on 2 of them and allow the other to be a part of your Badminton University life.

It’s up to you to decide which of the 3 you will want to spend time, energy and money on!

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3  Be sociable but stay realistic

Badminton andyDuring the 1st Term get to know your Teammates and be sociable with them.

You will get many opportunities to meet lots of people: those in the Badminton environment, on your course, in your accommodation hall and around campus.


You can’t be friends with everybody.

My recommendation is to work hard at getting on with those in your immediate training group, 2 or 3 from your course and 2 or 3 from your accommodation.  If you are self-catering it is even more important to be sociable in your kitchen area.

Talk to the people you see on a daily basis.  Obvious I know, but it’s easy to try and talk with everyone yet at the end of term 1 not have any close friends.

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4   Practice before you go – Learning to string, cooking, washing, kit, meal prep
I recommend that you become an expert at the next 4 essential skills
University BadmintonLearn to string

If you are playing at least 4 times a week you know that you will break strings.  Learning to string will not only save you money (around £10 / restring) it will also ensure that your rackets are ready to play.  I’m sure that the stringers at your University will be busy and they can’t always be relied upon to get your racket back to you on time.

Why not buy a string machine before you go

You can find a new one (not electronic) for between £300-£400.  That’s only approximately 30 restrings before you break even.  I guarantee that you will do that within the 1st year at University.  If you do restring for your friends then you will recover your costs even faster.

If you don’t want to buy your own machine, then hopefully the University will have one for you to use

Prepare by taking a few 200m reels of your favourite string and a bag on new grommets


If you are reading this and your cant string, then learn how to, it will save you £££££

BadmintonandyCan you cook?  I don’t mean just buying ready meals and using the oven or microwave!

Practice at home before you go or if you are already at University then buddy with someone who will teach you.

Use Facebook sites like click on the image to go straight there



Meal prep

BadmintonandyWhy not buy a slow cooker and learn how to prep your meals for after training.  Then you can walk in and start eating even at 10 pm at night.

Click on these images for recommendations and recipe ideas

Cook things in large batches and then freeze individual portions in your old Chinese take-a-way containers

Washing your kit

BadmintonandyBadmintonandyAnother obvious thing to learn is how to do but it’s essential.  Wash your kit every day or 2, don’t leave it a week as the smell will drive away all your friends.

Buy one of these space-saving clothes dryers and get into the habit of washing your kit late at night and drying it overnight.

Click on either of the images and go straight to Amazon and place your order for one of these compact dryers

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5   Advice from others

I’ve asked my friends for their advice on how to enjoy and survive the first year of  Badminton University

They’ve been there 🙂  This is what they had to say

  1. The secret to enjoying the first year is to take every new experience you can, make new friends, sleep, eat and smile.
  2. Phone home more than you think you should.  well at least twice a week
  3. I found it hard to balance my studies with sporting commitments, I ended up being snowed under with work!
  4. Attend morning sessions, get into the coaches good books!  It was so hard to wake up but the benefit was huge.  I’m certainly not a morning person, but I went training!
  5. Try to take coaching qualifications, the Uni will probably pay.  They helped me later in life.
  6. Get a part-time coaching job, the money and experience really helped me!
  7. It took me a while to understand the value of eating healthy food.  Get into he habit of buying and eating healthy instead of buying McDonald’s and takeaways
  8. You must buy an airer, especially for the amount of kit you use, as you will have to wash regularly
  9. I got injured a lot in the first two years because I didn’t do any gym training. When I started gym training it transformed my court training.
  10. I went through phases of more or less no court training just physical when I had exams. When I didn’t have exams I did three sessions a day and worked 20 hours a week to earn money.  In hindsight, I could have got more from my training but I did too much work at the same time so I was always tired.  I became ill as I didn’t get enough rest.
  11. There are good opportunity’s at university is to learn from other sports.  When you are in the gym watch how others train (especially if you are at a university with other high performing sports)
  12. Try to play tournaments while you are in a good training environment and well prepared. It’s hard to do this in later life. 
  13. Play the BUCS Team events and encourage your Badminton University to try to enter the European University Championships because it’s a fantastic experience
  14. Only now do I realise how much I enjoyed my time playing, studying and training.  It was a fantastic 3 years.  I wish I could do it all again 😉

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6   The essentials – alarm clock

BadmintonandyGet an alarm clock and use it! 

Waking up late and missing training is not acceptable.  Waking up 15 minutes before training is also not a great idea. The result is often feeling ill during the session or throwing up!

You can also use it for those essential afternoon naps.  Yes, I am recommending that you learn to sleep for 30-40 mins in the afternoons but remember to wake up.

Relying on your phone’s alarm is often not enough. Take a look at this monster vibrating alarm.  It’s not only loud but it can vibrate through your mattress!  It comes with a recommendation from someone who likes his bed ?

Click on the image now and place your order.

Please share with someone you know who is at a Badminton University now. Maybe there will be some advice here to help them.

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Is there anything that you’ve read that has helped or you disagree with then please send me an email.
How would you help someone survive Badminton University stresses?
I’d love to hear your views

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