They say success in team sports doesn’t just come down to having the best individual players on a team. It comes down to playing as a team, e.g. co-operating with people who may have different skills, styles or abilities. And I learned that teamwork requires good planning, communication and leadership.
My team didn’t have the opportunity to meet each other or prepare before the tournament. So I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived on Monday morning, driving 36 km across Sydney to reach the newest badminton hall in Sydney. NBC Seven Hills was developed to service the local player community in North West Sydney and this corporate team tournament was its Grand Opening.
The tournament organisers used Li Ning A300 shuttlecocks, our team tshirts were Li Ning 2016 Chinese National Team laser cut t-shirts and EZ Box was our corporate team.
It was exciting to see a special guest at the grand opening, World No. 1 Zhao Yun Lei! She came for a visit to watch the tournament and sign autographs. She’s quite tall in person and looks superfit.
We were first up in the group stage and our first opponents were Zealcon. Everybody found it challenging to play our best form. I played mixed doubles with a cool guy called Cedric who I hadn’t met until we were on the court to warm up…not ideal. It took a while to understand each other’s positioning and style of play so the first mixed doubles game was a tie. The guys lost both men’s doubles and the girls won women’s doubles. Our team lost 3-1 and tied 1.
The second opponents were a group of players sponsored by Sun Yat Sen University. The team lost 2-1 and tied 2. Cedric and I won mixed doubles, and the other matches were either close ties or losses. We had some good players in our team but our group underperformed as a whole. And this was to be expected, given we didn’t practice together and many of us hadn’t met each other until the morning of the tournament. We didn’t make it past the group stage, however, we still had fun.
What food we ate: fruit, Mcdonalds (everything was closed on a public holiday), and the spit roast by the tournament organisers was genius.
What we brought: badminton gear, food, chairs and water (The bubblers hadn’t been set up yet when we arrived.)
What could be improved: have practice sessions, better communication between pairings, united team spirit, and technical skills. Location-wise, the courts were meant to be ready 2 months ago but they weren’t ready. The flooring was decent and there was lots of natural lighting. However, the site still looked like it was under renovation when I got there and there were dead insects and dust around the court. The toilets didn’t have locks, there was no signage and the shower was missing a partition for privacy…I checked with other people and they gave the courts mixed reviews.
Overall, it was a bit disappointing to be knocked out in the group stage but realistically we knew we couldn’t win. There were teams that completely outclassed us in team rapport at least. But on the positive side, I made some new friends, watched some great rallies and got a free awesome t-shirt. Win.