Good morning from Hong Kong!
Sophia, Dylan, Nina and I departed from Ireland on July 10th and have been in HK staying with Matthew Cheung and his family for the past 11 days. It has been an experience never to forget!
Important to state that we came here to train and also do some sightseeing and have some downtime, different to that back home, so I guess you call this a ‘Combo’ experience!
But let’s just focus on the Badminton. We (Sophia, Dylan and Mathew) have been training in different clubs and the first thing we noticed is the so called ‘weakest player’ is good! Technically they are very good, but fitness-wise they are all exceptionally fit.
Players who are in their mid to late teenage years are very strong, especially the men who have the power to take the shuttle down when they choose to.
That said, some of these players are so accurate they just keep the bird in playmaking you run from one side of the court to the other at ease, but this comes from their technique and great footwork.
They can play under hot and humid conditions for hours and hours, like a ‘battery hen’.
Coaching from a WR Player
We felt we served a good apprenticeship when we were coached by Yip-Pui Yin, who just come back from playing the Indonesia Open, going down in three tight sets to the world’s number 18, Mia Blichfeldt in a match which lasted 67 minutes.
When I spoke to her and asked her if she was disappointed, she said
‘yes of course I was, but I was also happy with my performance as I made my opponent stay 67 minutes on the court – this is progress’!
What a great attitude to the worlds number 38 player, and former number 8, who is aiming for her fourth Olympics.
Yip was impressed with what she saw among our players and so asked the Head Coach of the Hong Kong Youth International team if they could train with their players for a week, and her request was granted.
Yesterday we secured entry to the HK Sports Institute where the best HK players in the world train. We watched TANG Chun Man & TSE Ying Suet train – oh wow!
A typical training session
There are 16 courts in two rows of 8, all air-conditioned like an ampi-theatre. Our players trained for 3 hours.
First was a practice session which lasted 90 minutes. Then the HK players when into the gym to do light weights and other stuff for 45 minutes where our players got some coaching. This was then followed by 45 minutes physical, something they keep to the end of this session to push their players.
The one thing I discovered is that no juvenile or youth player can get into the HK Sports Institute unless you’re good enough. It’s that simple!
They have to keep their place their by good tournament performances. They have tiered levels, this is Level 3 and there are five levels. Only the best of the level 3 are taken/chosen to play in tournaments.
The average Level 3 players train three times a week at the Sports Institute, three and four hours a day on some of the days
During the school breaks and summer, these players also train two additional hours in the morning. Apart from these three days, they also train themselves in other places three other days a week, with one day’s break.
They are totally strict on the standard
If your not good enough you simply cannot get in and less players will be there if the standard is not there. When you in….. you get all your training, tournaments and accommodation free – That’s the prize!
The one thing our players have is a great passion to play an desire to win, and this was pointed out by their coach, so we take this as a big plus!
Anyway time, to train again to day another venue called -V-Motion, so must go!
To be the best you must want it most, believe in yourself, and get yourself into the right process and structure if you’re good enough