The life of a coach is nomadic, and the life of an athlete is more so. I have been traveling a lot since I returned from Jamaica mid March. In fact I was home less than twelve hours after landing from Jamaica before heading up to northern Manitoba to OCN. The next weekend I was in Thunder Bay playing a fun tournament and making contacts for future clinics and coaching. From there I went to Minneapolis to play a tournament. I did okay there making semis in both singles and doubles and winning the mixed consul. Two days later I was on the road to Calgary, where I am now.
Minneapolis came quickly on the heels of the other trips. It ended up being a great tournament and I got to test my on court training and fitness. The training with Sweaty Training really showed as I was able to compete in three events without crashing. However, I made a lot of mistakes and struggled with some of the shots that are my bread and butter. This makes me even happier to be working these days with Gao Badminton in Calgary on my on court game.
I am excited to be working on the on-court part of my game with Coach Gao and Gao Badminton as well as helping coach the team. The opportunity to train and coach is huge. Gao Badminton has been generous in their support of me which I am very grateful for.
I am continuing to work with Jeff at Sweaty Training to improve my fitness and strength. There is always a gym nearby and always work to be done!
Brazil International Challenge is coming up the first week in May and I am hoping to be playing my best by then. The draw is tough this year and I am only in the qualifying draw this time.
Thank you to everyone for your support!
Onward and upward!
I have some exciting news! This week I joined the Sweaty Training team thanks to a generous sponsorship by Sweaty Training. I will be training under Jeff Eides, the founder of Sweaty Training. Coach Jeff is a renowned strength and conditioning coach who graduated from University of Winnipeg. Coach Jeff has worked with everyone from enthusiastic youth athletes to professional athletes. I am very privileged to work under him as I recover from my ankle injury and move ahead to the next competitions, nationally and internationally. This is a huge step for me as an athlete. Proper strength and conditioning is a key part in any athletes development. It is a foundation I need in order to improve my performance, as well as to continue training without injury.
I will be proudly representing the Sweaty Training team as I compete nationally and internationally, as well as when I coach.
I want to thank Jeff and Sweaty Training for the opportunity! I am excited for what comes next.
In other news, rehab for my ankle is coming along well. I am able to hit the gym a lot these days, and I am on court a fair bit working on skills, and very controlled footwork.
Thank you everyone for your support!
Going to the LA for the USA International tournaments is always a highlight as I get to see family from my mom’s side. But it is also a great opportunity to catch up with my friends from Pan America and Europe as most of them enjoy coming to the USA. This year had result highlights as well as I made the quarter final in Men’s Singles. I knew before leaving for LA that the tournament was going to be hard for me because the draw I had was really tough. I played the number two seed of the tournament from Peru in the first round. Daniel La Torre Regal is a great athlete. I won in a tough three set match. After losing the first quite badly I pulled my game together and fought to a win in an exhausting hour plus long match.
In the second round I played a fellow Canadian. In the first set I came from 20-18 behind to win, only to lose the second 26-24 after having a game point at 20-19. I was able to really push forward, using my physical game to win the third. However, early in the third set I slipped quite badly and smashed my heel. In the adrenaline of the match I felt only minor pain and pushed through it. However the next morning I was barely able to walk. I did all I knew for recovery, and went to the tournament doctor to get cold spray and everything possible before my quarter final match. I attempted to play through. Sadly after the first smash it was apparent I could not move without extreme pain. I played through the match to avoid the fine for withdrawing, (which I was later found I was misinformed about) but was unable to put up any kind of fight.
The ranking points I earned should put me between 280 and 290 in the world. I should find out this coming week. A first time breaking 300 in world in men’s singles! It is still a long ways to go to top 100 which is needed for Olympic qualification. But as funds comes in I will continue to play tournaments and gain ranking, and see what comes next.
Being in Manitoba has been a hard transition in some ways. Training hasn’t always gone as planned, but I thought it was the next move for me. There have been some huge positives from the coaching side including working up north on reservations. On the training side I have run into some obstacles. I have been focusing on improving my fitness– the 1% I have control of now. Both my matches ended with my fitness being a key component to finishing out the three sets. It is a neat confirmation that I am moving the right direction.
I am doing all I can to get my foot to heal, while coaching this week in Winnipeg. Next week I head to Calgary to coach for Gao badminton.
If you would like to support my journey you can email me, or donate at the GofundMe set up to help me.
Thank you to everyone helping and supporting me!
One of the great privileges of being a coach is going into remote places to help jumpstart athletic programs. We got to do this in northern Manitoba.
We took a small plane in and landed on a gravel airstrip many hours late of our scheduled arrival time. We were met by the head of education. We got to talking right away and he said something fascinating. He said, and I paraphrase, “sports gives kids freedom. And beyond that it gives them skills and identity to move ahead in life. In a hopeless world sports gives kids opportunity and skills. Sports has saved this community,”
Sports has the ability to give kids hope through opportunity to go places, get university scholarships, and it gives positive attitude and identity. One of the huge positives of sports is giving kids mastery of something and the ability to learn. Those skills reach far beyond sports. Many impoverished kids struggle to find identity, or opportunities where they can succeed. Sports becomes something to focus and thrive at while also creating opportunities to get out of town, meet people, and open up new opportunities.
Playing professional badminton on the international circuit while coaching kids gives me a unique opportunity to share my own experiences and motivate and inspire kids to pursue their callings, wether in sports or someplace else. Hope is about holding onto the idea that things can change. Sports is all about creating change, in yourself, and in your teammates.
Day two of Spokane’s Parks and Recreation Badminton Camp just came to an end. I am of course tired, but also some what excited by the kids and their enthusiasm about badminton life in general. Their whole lives are ahead of them and they are just starting to explore what they could do with them.
It’s always inspiring to coach kids, though often a huge challenge at the same time. Many of the kids at the camp knew very little about badminton, so while sharing the love of the sport was great, it was often hard from the logistics side to cater everything to both those more advanced kids and those who were picking up a racket for the first time. But that’s what coaching is all about isn’t it? Drawing out the best in each and every one of the kids you have, no matter their goals, or skill level. In the end, coaching and teaching is seeing potential in people and working hard to draw it out and build and develop skills and tools to help each kid reach their potential, and whatever their goals may be.
Today there was a kid who obviously had a talent for following instructions well, and was super attentive and focused, he didn’t like the fun games or the playing, but I knew he when he did drills that he would listen carefully and never need to be told anything twice. Who knows where that focus and attentiveness will take him? Or one kid who was a kind of social peace keeper and really good at talking with people and engaging even the shyest kids. Badminton is another way to help him develop those skills, whether he uses them in badminton or some other place it life, it’s a tool and gift worth noticing, encouraging, and growing.
There is a good chance none of the kids at the camp will be Olympians, or represent their country internationally. Though you never know who you may inspire to take it to the next level. At the end of the day I hope each kid learns a little more about badminton, and a lot more about working hard, interacting with others, and focusing and building skills for success.
Coaching isn’t training, but sometimes it is a good inspiration for me as I seek to chase my own dreams and reach my own goals.