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First Experience with Secondary Sports

I had my very first experience with secondary sports over the last year.  I’ve been acting as assistant coach to the senior badminton team.  Over the last three days, our badminton players have been participating in our city (Windsor, Ontario) tournament.  Coming up in the next few weeks are local, regional and provincial tournaments.

The current badminton coach asked if I would help in out with supervising the badminton practices.  Since he is a good friend of mine, and I like what he does with the students, both in and out of class, I agreed.  Little did I know that practices would be every Wednesday and Friday mornings, from 7am to 8:20 am, from early October into late April!  However, this turned out to be a good arrangement as it fit within my normal exercise routine times (this meant I would not have to give up too much family time after school).

I have never been involved in secondary sports before, either as a coach or participant when I was a high school student (way too many years ago).  I did play badminton for fun in graduate school with a few members of the Chemistry department once a week.  I was not athletic by any means in high school, but I do like to stay in shape now (to keep up with my 5 year old son!).

I quickly found out how little I knew about coaching.  However, my friend was very helpful in ‘coaching’ me along, and I have learned quite a bit about coaching a badminton team, what to look for, what kind of drills to run during practice, and most importantly, how to have fun with the kids.   It didn’t hurt that the students attending the practices were all fantastic individuals (you tend to draw only the cream of the crop, as only those students will give up that kind of time at that particular hour of the day on a regular basis).

Today the city tournament (the first of three seeding tournaments that determine which students will attend the all-Ontario championship tournament) ended, and both our junior and senior teams took the team titles for the 8th straight year.  Many of our players also placed within the top three of their divisions!

I learned a lot about the game of badminton and what to watch for to help coach the students in between games.  It was a true ‘immersion’ experience, watching game after game over 8 hour periods.  Many of our more experienced players helped coach the newer members, and I listened in, soaking up as much as I could.  They all knew I was there to learn, but they still came to me for advice from time to time, making me feel very good indeed.

I am very proud to have been part of this experience.  It has taught me that anyone can learn something completely new (even if they are in the second half of their career), if they are committed to immersing themselves into the experience.

I wonder what my next immersive experience will be….

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One Response

  1. I recall playing badminton in high school. I thought that it might be a nice easy sport to play rather than basketball or football. NOT! I can’t think of a sport that is more demanding on knees, ankles, and raises the ol’ cardio quicker than a competitive game. It’s a lot different than smacking a birdie over the clothesline and back.

    Congratulations on getting involved with it, JLB. It’s great when teachers get more involved in things that are of interest to students.

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