The senior girls badminton team dominated in a recent friendly match against Oak Grove held in the gym, winning all of the matches played. On the other hand, the intermediate girls team struggled in the friendly, losing nearly all of their matches.
But the players still have more opportunities to improve their game. Instead of having the passage for only two months at the start of every year and then ending it right after the tournament, badminton is now a year-round passage; giving the students more time to improve their skills and technique.
“If badminton continues for the entire year as a year-round passage, we will have a better team and will do much better in inter-school,” said Mr. Ajay Negi, coach of the badminton team.
This is Mr. Negi’s first year as a badminton coach, and he has a big task ahead of him, having to coach all three divisions: junior, senior, and inter teams for the boys and girls section.
Due to a lack of facilities, all 6 teams practice the sport on Monday and Thursday evenings in the gym. At the same time. Mr. Negi has also added an extra day of practice on Tuesday mornings this year for all the team members who wish to further improve their skills in the sport.
“For one person, focusing on all these 6 teams would be really impossible,” Mr. Negi said.
As an alternative, Mr. Negi asked two of his best players from the senior teams, Khush Patel, Class of 2019, and Ngoc Ngo, Class of 2019, to be his interns. Additionally, he asked Mr. Gordon Singh, Upper Years piano teacher to help him out during practice, allowing four coaches to divide their attention between the six teams.
“The interns don’t focus as much on their own skills as they do on everyone else’s,” he said.
Because their roles as interns restrict them from getting practice in Passage time, Patel and Ngo practice two to three times a week with Mr. Negi individually to practice their skills.
After talking to the Oak Grove assistant coach, Ms. Anuratha Sharma, it seems as if Woodstock does not give the students enough practice time as according to her, the players who she coaches only get 2 hours of practice a day.
Aside from the number of practice hours players put into badminton, Mr. Negi also believes that to actually win against these schools, the sports programme will have to train students and extensively build their hand-eye coordination from early on so that by the time they reach the inter and senior levels in their respective sport, they will do very well.
“For any sports program to flourish, you need to catch students as early as you can. Students from grades four to sixth grade should be coached and trained for sports. That is the perfect age to start any game,” he said.
Photo by Seoyoung Yoon