I’m a keen learner and sometimes go see my old coach for a social game so he can tell me what I’m doing wrong. One time I popped by one of his regular places, he arrived late and couldn’t play for long because he had to coach. So I volunteered to help feed shuttles to his young students because I wanted to be involved and wasn’t especially interested in social games.
Fortunately he agreed. The kids were super cute. Samuel was 7 years old and Georgia his sister was 12. We did a few forehand and backhand drills and I noticed what shots were easiest for Georgia and adjusted my throwing. It was good for improving my accuracy. I quietly thought “she has so much potential, I hope she’ll become a great player.” Georgia’s a left-hander and she will rise to the top if she’s keen to learn. There aren’t many female players in badminton and even fewer left handed female players.
I wish I’d taken photos. There were shuttles lying everywhere, like a carpet of shuttles. The kids were just happy running around and hitting shuttles to each other. The parents came round to make up tubes of shuttles for us. It felt comfortable and homely. Later they asked “so you’re assistant coach?” I shook my head and smiled, “No I’m just helping my old coach.” The kids liked me, perhaps because I was younger and prettier… Nevertheless, my old coach appreciated the help because he had time to observe and correct their technique as I fed shuttles.
There were lots of social players watching as they waited for the next game. They looked at me curiously, but I have no idea what they thought.
Training/coaching was a refreshing change from social games, competitions and organising. My original plan was to play with a group of friends but this was much better. I felt proud to be on the coaching side. I’m a student of the sport and being able to give back to the game was rewarding.
Afterwards at dinner, my old coach told me that becoming a coach changes your perspective of the game. You recognise your opponent’s weaknesses because you’re constantly noticing what your students can improve. You also become more accurate when feeding shuttles because you become conscious of where you’re hitting the shuttle. I enjoyed the experience. I told him being a coach assistant was fun, but there was nothing to fear from me setting up a school. I’m still a learner.