A Home Badminton Session

A Home Badminton Session

I wrote out this short simple footwork session for a few of my students, but realized it may be helpful to others as well. I encourage you to try it and let me know how it goes!

First off, why footwork?

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Footwork is a few different things, but in large part it is a skill. Something that needs practiced and perfected. There is a physical and fitness element to it, as in all sports, but it is foremost a skill. The timing, rhythm, foot position, hip position etc are all critically important.

Whenever you do footwork you should give yourself specific skills to work on. For me during my footwork today I was working on the timing and push off my left foot. Watching my hip position and the timing of bringing my racket foot in towards the split step.

Footwork Session

Warm Up – 2 rounds

10/side low lunge with reach

25 low squats

50 jumping jacks

 

Footwork    30 seconds rest between each set 20 sets of 20 corners

5 sets of 20 front 4 defense corners 

5 sets of 20 late back court to late front court

5 sets 20 2 corner defense 

5 sets of 20 defense and back court

 

3 rounds fitness

5 Pushups

10 supermans

10/side bird dogs

10/side banded fire hydrant

50 skipping rope or pogo hops

10/side lateral lunges

 

Core 3 rounds

15 hollow rocks

25 Russian twists 

20 plank shoulder touches

20 superman planks

 

You may notice that all the footwork for this session is defense position footwork. That was done on purpose as the goal was timing the push and finding that hip position in defense. I did my session in the grass. But you can do it in your garage, basement, living room, driveway, anywhere you can find space!

Don’t forget to stay low and push with the non racket foot, don’t pull with the racket foot!

If you have questions please comment below. Or tell me how your training is going during this period of physical isolation!

Onward and upward

Team Spirit – Help Others Help You

Team Spirit – Help Others Help You

You won’t improve alone. You need people to help you, and you need them to improve too. 

The last few posts I have talked a lot about personal development. I want to take that a step farther and talk about team development, and why I think we all need a team with us, and behind us.

You can do a lot of work on your own. If you are really smart, you can do quite a large portion of work by yourself. In the gym, outside, even footwork. It is hard to go beyond just putting in work if you don’t have people behind you.

Having people behind you can look vastly different depending on your level, and your access to professional advice. As a junior athlete, and my first few years out of juniors I did not have a consistent coach that I worked with. From a very young age I made it a habit of connecting with coaches and athletes wherever I went. The majority of my years as a junior athlete I created all my own training plans and led my own practices. This meant that I relied heavily on the advice of other coaches and athletes.  I would ask a load of questions every tournament. Talk to athletes, ask how they trained, and what they thought my biggest weaknesses were. I asked coaches how to improve and what I should fix before the next tournament. I created a network of people who helped me.

As I have improved and moved into international competition I found that I need a lot more input and the improvements were much smaller and more precise. Both on and off court. I am very thankful I found professionals to help guide my improvement. That is a story for another blog post. I began working with Gao badminton for my on court and Jeff at Sweaty Training for my off court training. Now I have people behind me, supporting me. But that is only half the story. The title includes the word “Team” and that is the critical next step.

You need good teammates to help you train – and you need them to be improving with you.

On court especially you need to have good people to train with, and compete with. You need people who will push you, feed you quality drills, and keep you accountable for always doing your best.

Having good teammates means being a good teammate, and fostering the kind of culture you want to train in. You want someone to feed you good drills, stay focused, and keep the quality high? Then make sure you aren’t slacking when it is your turn to feed. Do you want constructive criticism, and positive engagement? Make sure you are being constructive and positive.

Being the teammate you want to have around has other positive side effects. If you are focused during your time feeding drills you will find yourself improving more. You will also have teammates who are improving and helping push you more and more.

Improvement is multifaceted. There are a lot of things you do on your own, but there are also things you need other people for. It is important for me to be the kind of teammate I want around. It helps everyone, which in turn helps me.

Onward and upward folks!

Let me know what you think, and your own ideas for train in the comments.

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Training With Purpose

Training With Purpose

Training With Purpose: get the most out of your training.

 

I recently read a tweet thread about the difference between training and what they called fitnessing. The idea was that training has distinct goals and progressions, while simply fitnessing is just putting effort out without a goal. While this is very true with fitness training, the idea follows through all of training. 

Do you know what your goals are? Do you know the purpose behind each drill? Is everything you are doing progressing and pushing you towards your end goals? Showing up and putting work into training mindlessly will soon leave you stagnant and without improvement. That is not what any athlete wants. However it is easy to get into a routine of just showing up and putting the work in and not being mindful of progressions and purpose in each drill.

These can be tough questions to answer. I have a few things I have learned over the years that help me stay focused on the right things and progressing in the ways I need to be.

First, listen to your coach. As simple as that sounds it is actually really important. A good coach will have purpose and progressions built into every workout and every practice, but often the athlete doesn’t pay enough attention to the coach and just does the drills put before them without paying attention to the specific purpose of the drill. Listen to your coach and if you don’t understand the exact purpose of a drill then ask!

Once you talked to your coach, listened to the purpose, it is your turn to make sure the planned purpose plays out. Make sure your focus and effort follows the specific purpose. If you are doing max effort sprints with a full rest, make sure you are both putting max effort in and taking your full rest. If you are doing an on court front court endurance isolation make sure you are focused on consistency and endurance and not hitting tight or fancy shots. Keep your focus on the purpose!

Know your end goals.¬†It is hard to train without knowing the end goal is. End goal is a broad term. It can mean both the end goal of a specific drill or exercise, or it could be your long term improvement goals. We talked last post about processing and thinking over those goals. Now it is time to keep them in mind while you work. This means taking responsibility for your own training. If you are working with a coach make sure you are talking to them. Don’t blindly show up at training – know your weaknesses and strengths, and work together with your coach to know what those are and what you will do to train them. Knowing these things does several things. It helps you understand each practice better and focus your efforts and understand the plan your coach has. It also allows you to visualize and spend your own time working ahead. In times such as the current self isolation it allows you to keep training and making improvements even when you can’t see your coach daily.

Make sure you are working towards your goal every day!¬† You have talked with your coach, outlined your goals, and processed your trainings through training journals ect. Now it is time to make sure every day you do one thing to push ahead. I have found it much easier to follow my plan and work forward when I have the goal of doing one thing every day. Not everything every day, just one thing. ¬†I know that personally I need to get stronger, and increase my endurance, but I also need better defense. I don’t try to do both things, I focus on one. This session is strength and power. Next session is defense. Keep it precise and focused. Keep it consistent. Do something everyday!

 

I hope you found this helpful. Lets keep at it folks! Onward and upward!

If you have any ideas or questions for future posts or youtube videos comment and let me know!

Thanks!

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Training As a Lifestyle

Training As a Lifestyle

Training As a Lifestyle – the basics of living and training well

Last week we talked about training during tough times. Today we will follow that up and talk about training as a lifestyle. If training is part of your lifestyle it will be much easier to continue during tough times. I will also go over some key things that help me in my training lifestyle.

 

ATTITUDE / PERSPECTIVE

Every day is a chance to make progress. A little progress. A little step forward. This perspective and attitude is key to being positive and taking the opportunities that come your way. If you are daily seeking out ways to make small improvements you are well on your way to making training a lifestyle.

GET ENOUGH REST

No amount of training is can help you improve if you are constantly tired. For a couple reasons. First your training intensity and quality will go down due to physical and mental fatigue. Secondly, your body needs rest in order to recover and rebuild stronger. Getting enough rest is often a hard discipline to master. It may mean leaving places early to make sure you get to bed on time, or it may mean skipping on that last game of call of duty. But in the long run getting enough rest is important for improving and also for injury prevention. I have found this to be a struggle, but a worthwhile effort in making those small daily improvements.

EAT HEALTHY

I have found that I can make big gains in performance with some daily discipline. I started small. Skipped the soda, drink water. Skip the chips at dinner. These easy steps will help keep your body healthy. You can increase performance during training by being careful how close to training you eat and what you eat. Don’t eat within two hours of training, and drink enough water. Of course you can get far more detailed and be more and more careful. But the three big things are:

  1. Skip the sugar and junk food – soda, chips cookies ect.
  2. Drink lots of water. More than you think you need too!
  3. Eat enough protein and enough veggies.

 

TAKE TIME TO PROCESS

Training takes a lot of physical effort, but also a lot of emotional effort. Often times I have found myself in a rut with training and life. Taking time to process what is happening is really important. Processing includes tracking whats happening in training and life. Keep a calendar or training journal and write down when you train and what you do. I am very visual so I find a calendar is really helpful. At times I noticed that my strength training was lacking despite feeling like I was at the gym all the time. Other times I looked at the calendar and noticed I hadn’t had a rest day in over a month. Those trends take time and energy to notice but are key to continuing improvement.

The other side of processing is going through training and life thoughts. Perhaps you feel discouraged because of lack of progress in a certain area, but after taking time to process you realize that you are spending too much time in a certain area of training or life. I have often found when I take a step back to look over things that my discouragement is unfounded. Other times I have looked at things and realized that changing a small part of my training such as my warm up would effect my whole session in a positive way. Take time to track and process your training! Don’t walk blindly forward, take the steps to be intentional!

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you found it helpful!

 

Check me out at Youtube  and GoFundMe !

 

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

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. 

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

Onward and Upward! 

Kevin  

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Thank you all for your support!

Gratefully,

Kevin Barkman

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

Hope and Sports

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,”

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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.  

 

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Lilac Tournament

This past weekend was the Spokane Lilac Badminton Tournament. It was a great tournament with a real highlight being the participation of Olympian Toby Ng. The Spoksman review wrote up a great article on the tournament as well which can be found here.

In the end I lost to Toby in both singles and mixed doubles finals, but won the men’s doubles with him.

I love the atmosphere of small tournaments. Everyone was friendly and relaxed. The competition was great, but at the end of the day we are all friends.

Eric Lee and all the volunteers did an amazing job of organizing the event and keeping it running smoothly.

Since the US Open I could see an improvement in strength, which was an encouragement. It’s always encouraging to see some things moving forward. I thank Workoutanywhere, Rundlefit- Justin and Jessica Rundle for those improvements. They have been great working with me daily to improve my physical game. There is still a lot to be done, but forward motion is the first step! My shot quality was quite low this tournament due to not having much on court training recently, but hopefully I can move forward with that as well. One step at a time.

Toby is always a great athlete to learn from and after our matches he gave me a lot of great advice to help me move forward. Key number one: don’t show emotion to your opponent. When you do, you feed their mental game, giving them an edge. I have a lot to work on before my next event. I am excited to be back at training.

My next event planned is the K&D Graphic USA international tournament on December 14-18, if possible. If you want to help me get there check out my gofund me page here

Thanks to all my sponsors and the individuals who are making this possible.