Training in Tough Times

Hi Everyone!

Considering how many of us are stuck at home I have decided to write a short series of posts about what I have learned about training. This will in no way be a comprehensive list, but hopefully it helps add some clarity and purpose to training, for myself and for those who need it.

I will hopefully post a few home workouts that I am doing, and some more specifics about badminton training. You can follow more of that journey on my youtube.

First off I am very blessed at the moment to still be able to train once a day at Sweaty Training.  The rest of my training I am doing at home.

Let’s talk about training in tough times. Tough times can be several different things. Tough because of circumstances – being self isolated at home due to a virus for example. Tough mentally – uncertainty due to lack of competitions. Taking hard losses recently. Even seeing the end of the season can make it hard to train like you need to.

Before we go too much farther we should define what good training looks like. Good training, or training well is training with purpose, effort, consistency, and intentionality. It means following your programs day in and day out, putting in max effort when you need to, and resting when you need to. It means showing up to training with purpose and goals in mind. I will talk more about each of those things in the following posts. But for now that is our definition of good training.

Tough times.

I would consider the current world situation a tough time for all athletes and all people. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future. People are separated physically from their support groups. And access to the regular training environments are limited.

 

How do we train with purpose when there is uncertainty about every part of life, including upcoming competitions?

The answer I have come to is insanely simple. Our weaknesses are still there, no matter what is coming, and those need work. As athletes our bread and butter, our strengths, are still there, we need to keep them sharp. So the answer is, our purpose hasn’t changed. Uncertainty doesn’t change our immediate goals of improvement. If anything uncertainty allows us to narrow our vision to the very next step. To the next 1% of improvement to be made.  Don’t look too far ahead. Look at your program, the next steps that need taken, and get to work. Wether we get to compete in four weeks or fourteen the days between still need to be stepping stones towards improvement.

We know what needs done, and we know where to put our focus so that we can stay motivated on the next steps. That leads to the next question.

 

How do we train intentionally and with focus with limited access to equipment?

This will vary with every person and every situation. The core of the answer remains the same – willpower and creativity.

Willpower.

We have all heard the saying, “Where there is a will there is a way.” While an overstatement perhaps, it remains a strong sentiment that I hold to. Things are not impossible, but they may need rearranged or rethought through. For example. If you are trying to increase max strength with nothing but body weight you may find a lot of limitations. But if you are trying to increase strength to gain speed then you will find work arounds to still increase performance.

Creativity.

Willpower requires creativity to be successful. It may require more research and problem solving to make use of your willpower, but eventually you can find different ways of doing things. The biggest part of this that I have found helpful is to look at what other experts are doing, or even ask for personal help from experts.  There are often ways of doing things that are either less convenient or efficient to do the same thing you did at the gym. Just because it’s not used daily doesn’t make it not effective! To sum it up – seek out advice and look at problems from different angles. Use that willpower to keep looking for answers!

 

To sum it up: Use uncertainty to refocus on the next step towards improvement. Be determined and creative in finding solutions to take the next step.

Tough times call for tough people, and that’s what sports is all about right? Training is becoming a tough person.  Competition is just being the tougher person.

 

Cheers everyone, stay safe, determined, and creative.

 

Kevin Barkman

Covid-19 and The Life of An Athlete

It has been awhile since my last update. A lot has happened, to me, but also in the world at large. 

I am currently in Manitoba where I can train at Sweaty Training with a lot of precautions (only one person in the gym at a time, everything cleaned every sessions ect). 

My big event, the Yonex Canadian International Challenge which was going to happen the end of this month has been postponed indefinitely.  As have many other events. I am really disappointed to not be competing of course. But I believe God does not do anything without purpose. I am taking this time to improve my fitness and hopefully create some online content that is useful for upcoming athletes. I know that my fitness and past injuries have been holding me back a lot. So this time is a great opportunity to improve myself. I will attempt to share this journey of fitness and self isolation with everyone, and hopefully others can learn alongside me as well!

IMG_5030

I appreciate everyone who has been supporting me through this time. Obviously the loss of work is tough for everyone, including myself. 

IMG_4889

I pray all of you stay safe. These are tough times, but as we all know, tough times show the real us, and help define our future selves. Let’s make the most of this unique struggle/opportunity and keep pressing on as individuals, as communities, and as a world as a whole!

Onward and upward folks. Heads up, hands washed, and smiles on. 

Kevin 

GoFundMe

Youtube

2019 BWF US International Challenge

HI Everyone!

Merry Christmas! I am home visiting family for Christmas and enjoying it greatly!

California was great despite some tough losses. I learned a lot and showed I can compete with the best. It is time for some rest for Christmas and then putting in the hard work before nationals!

I moved up in ranking in Mens Singles from 368 to 305 which is a good move up!

If you want to watch my matches or even some of the other great matches of the tournament check out my  Youtube Channel

For more results and scores check out the Tournament Software

If you would like to support my journey in badminton – my ability to coach and lead the next generation, and my pursuit of competing at the best level you can donate at the following links: GoFundMe   Buy Me a Coffee.

Thank you for all your support!

Arrived in California!

Hi!

I haven’t been home much for the past few months, but I just arrived at my last tournament of the year. The Yonex K&D Graphic USA International Challenge in Orange California.  I am in the main draw in all three events. I play against Belgium in singles, and Chinese Taipei in both doubles and mixed. 

Due to recent financial challenges I am not playing the Toronto Open in January, so this is my last big tournament until the National Championships in February. 

I am very pumped to play. Had a few tough matches in the past few weeks, and some good training. I am on the right track and excited to take steps forward. 

You can follow the draws here : https://bwf.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament?id=32085A06-7D4C-45E1-AF4E-989B57508B92

And I will be uploading my matches here : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI8834Clt301lNPF6l9-BQg?view_as=subscriber 

You can help support me here on Gofundme : https://www.gofundme.com/f/kevin-barkman-hope-through-sports

Thank You everyone for your support! 

Onward and Upward! 

Training

Training is always tough. Sometimes you get worse before you get better. I feel that these days. I have been spending a lot of time working on certain skills, but finding myself playing with less intensity than I want. It takes time for those skills to become solidified and habitual.

However, with a few tournaments under my belt I am feeling more confident and comfortable playing again.

I qualified for all three events at the Yonex K&D Graphic USA International Challenge. I am playing doubles with Imran Wadia and mixed doubles with Isabelle Rusli. But before that I am playing the Yonex Alberta Elite Series.

Thanks for your support!

 

 

Support me here:

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kevinbadminton

https://www.gofundme.com/f/kevin-barkman-hope-through-sports

Adversity

Adversity

Hi Everyone!

First of all. Thank you to each of you for your support! I couldn’t stay in badminton without your help and support!

Guatemala international has come to an end. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to compete. I won my first round and lost in the round of 16 to the number one seed and eventual winner  Kevin Cordon. 

IMG_2655

In mixed Isabelle Rusli and I made it to the quarter finals where we lost to the number 2 seeds and eventual winners from Brazil. Imran had to withdraw from our doubles due to an unfortunate wrist injury.  

IMG_2619

I am very thankful for the opportunity to compete in Guatemala. I improved on last years performance as well which is fantastic. I showed that I am playing at a higher level than before and winning matches internationally for which I am thankful. There is still a lot of work to do to challenge the top athletes in the world. Every day I get out and I work towards that; Improving the things I am weak at, and strengthening my assets.

CF6AADD1-A1F5-4F3E-9B91-B82EAA32ED89

I am back in Calgary for an Alberta Series tournament and then Atlanta Elite Series is next! 

A lot of people have asked me about my withdrawal from this past Prairie Elite Series  tournament in Winnipeg. It was a tough decision, but one made carefully with lots of input from doctors and coaches. Since my hamstring pull at the US International, I have had minor bugging knee issues. Due to that and various other factors, everyone decided it would be best for me to pull out and focus on the Guatemala International coming up in two weeks. It was a tough call as the Prairie Elite is the first tournament of the Canadian National Elite Series circuit. However, I need to stay healthy and keep improving, which can’t happen if I am injured. I am so thankful for the host of professionals helping me make these tough decisions.

IMG_2582

My dad returned from safety stand down (a gathering of high-ups in aviation to discuss safety) and brought these words of wisdom “Glad to be here.” It has taken me a long time to wrap my head around the ramifications of such an outlook, but this week it really hit me: I AM glad to be here, and that changes a lot. Let me explain.

Badminton, like all sports, is tough mentally. There are huge ups and downs that come with wins and losses, good performances or devastating injuries. Training at this level means pushing my body to its limit quite often. I did not begin this journey in the greatest shape- I had a broken leg and ankle that needed recovering from last year. The battle forward has been full of minor setbacks, but also great improvement. It is not easy, and it’s not easy to stay positive while fighting off injury and making tough calls about competing. However, I am continually reminded that I am glad to be here, and that makes all the difference.

“Glad to be here” is an outlook that doesn’t make excuses; it  acknowledges the huge blessing it is to be where we are. It makes sure that we use every moment to the best of our ability to move ahead. Being glad to be here means not getting hung up on adversity, but instead being thankful for it.

The last year has been full of adversity as I decided to pursue badminton full time. (That doesn’t mean I don’t work other jobs, it means I try to be involved in badminton as an athlete and a coach as much as possible). I broke my ankle, took a long recovery, dealt with minor related injuries, like a pulled hamstring and knee injury, missed work and training, and struggled through finances. Yet when I look back I am thankful for every struggle. Through the injuries I have found a great group of people at Sweaty Training who have my back, and continue to help me get my body ready for world competition fitness. I started coaching and training at Gao Badminton and have been extremely blessed by the club and by Coach Gao and Coach Grace Gao’s help. They have walked me through getting in court shape and coming up with a long term plan, while giving me the daily on court training I need to make forward progress. Dynamic Chiropractic and Sports Therapy in Steinbach has also generously given me a sponsorship and worked with me in my recovery and in planning the next steps of training to avoid more injuries.

I have learned a lot about training, about building my body up, about rest, recovery, and diet. None of that would have happened without adversity.

I am glad to be here. Thank you for joining me on this crazy journey, and for continuing to support me through it all.

If you would like to support me, check out the  GoFundMe or contact me about sponsorship opportunities!

Onward and upward!

Kevin

IMG_2596.jpeg

Spokane Shuttlefreaks Badminton Camp!

HI Everyone! 

Quick Update before the Yonex Canada Open starts tomorrow. I am currently 4th in qualifying and will play Tuesday morning. Later today I will have my first practice in the venue! Here is a link to my match last year at Canada Open against Heo Kwang Hee of South Korea. I have come a long ways since then, and I will keep moving ahead!  

The past week I had the privilege of helping coach a badminton camp in Spokane WA for Shuttlefreaks. Four days of helping kids improve and working with great people! This year Shuttlefreaks ran the camp apart from the Spokane Parks and Rec as we had done in previous years. This meant less advertising, and less revenue. However we had 21 kids which was more than enough for the number of courts we had rented. The kids improved a lot. The focus of the camp was on the foundations of badminton, as well as being self disciplined and being respectful to ourselves and our teammates through the way we focused, worked, and treated others. 

IMG_0539

Thank you to all of you making this badminton journey possible! 

Onward and Upward! 

Kevin  

GoFundMe

Brazil and Provincials

Hi Everyone!

I am writing to say thanks for investing in my badminton journey and success. The past 6 weeks have been a time of good forward motion and growing returns. Thanks for investing– here’s what I’ve been doing!

Brazil!

c337030f-b402-49c0-82b7-4d629487aa92.jpg

I spent three weeks in Calgary training and coaching at Gao Badminton in April. They have graciously sponsored all my training which has been a huge blessing. To prepare for Brazil International Challenge  I trained both with the group and many private lessons from Grace Gao, a former Olympian. From Calgary I flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil and got a ride to Campinas where the Brazil International Challenge was held.

46924951975_4df25ed704_o

I got there on Tuesday morning, checked into the hotel and went to practice. I stayed with Kari Gunnarsson from Iceland as well as B.R. Sankeerth from Canada. We practiced together Tuesday and Wednesday morning before I played my first match Wednesday evening at 5:30. I lost the first set but won the next two, progressing to the next round. I played the second round half an hour later and ended up losing in a hard-fought, two set game. I battled some calf cramps but other than that played well. That Friday I flew back to Calgary, picked up my car and drove to Manitoba!

47841533631_8d5308a884_o

Manitoba Provincial Championships

At the Manitoba Provincial Championships I played all three events. Mens singles, Mens doubles with Ryan Giesbrecht, and Mixed doubles with Mélanie Curé. I made the Mens singles final, but lost to Thien Vo in the final. I won my doubles final with Ryan Giesbrecht, also against Thien and his partner Chris White. In mixed, we lost in the quarter finals to the eventual finalists.

The Mens singles final was a great match, and one where I felt I played to my full current potential.

I am improving my game at a great rate, for which I am very thankful. Coming back from the injury has been hard, but it has also helped me refocus and I believe I will be stronger than before.

46907618785_d51d798be1_o

two weeks I also finished my fitness testing and body composition with Sweaty Training. I have made good progress since the injury. We are looking at increasing the rate of progress now that my ankle is healing up more. I also got a new off court program with this in mind, which I am very excited about.

33952585768_f3da94fe93_o

Thank you all for your support!

Gratefully,

Kevin Barkman

If you would like to donate you can do so through GoFundMe