Junior Falcons recently travelled to Thailand to attend the Badminton Oceania Player Development Program where they visited world-class training facilities and competed in an elite tournament.
The Junior Falcons and coach representing Badminton Australia Tom Champion spent the week training at the Banthongyord Badminton School in Bangkok before they competed at the BAT YONEX Pathumthani Junior International Series.
Champion said it was a fantastic opportunity for the Australian athletes to have a glimpse into life at one of Thailand’s most elite badminton academies.
“Our players were very excited to have the chance to train at Banthongyord’s world class facilities, which naturally brought on some nerves,” he said.
“However, they embraced the challenge of daily three hour on-court sessions followed by two hours of physical training. Both their minds and bodies adapted fantastically after a couple of days.
“Everything was great. The coaches were all very welcoming, which ensured our players were a part of it all and helped them get straight to work.”
One of the most eye-opening elements of attending the camp for both Champion and the players was seeing how international players approach training programs.
“The culture and mindset brought to the court by the Banthongyord players definitely stood out the most,” Champion said.
“Every session they are early, start their own warm up and conduct the same routine together as a team.
“The moment they step on court their intensity performing drills or competing against their teammates is just like a tournament, but as soon as they’re off the court, it’s back to the supportive and motivating attitude of each other.
“Cool downs all conducted together and done properly each time. The mentality that each Banthongyord player brings to each on-court and physical session allows them to get the most out of it and make great improvements to their all-round game.”
Following the week at Banthongyord, it was then time to put the experience into action at the BAT YONEX Pathumthani Junior International Series where there were players from across the world in contention.
View all the results here: https://bwf.tournamentsoftware.com/tournament/18e3f9e4-73b2-4482-9c0b-0d8976f2c850
Above all, Champion said it was a highly memorable opportunity for both himself and the players.
“We are all extremely grateful for the experience and proud to represent both Australia and Oceania in one of the best badminton nations in the world,” he said.
Badminton Australia National Performance Manager Brent Miller said the Program in Thailand provided critical learning lessons for overall player development.
“These opportunities are very important for the development of our athletes as they present the chance to compete, train and socialise with players that they don’t usually have exposure to back in Australia,” he said.
“The ability to not only train but also compete was a great opportunity to develop different key areas of their game.”
Miller said the focus for the players was to now bring back the newfound knowledge to their training programs in Australia.
“We hope each athlete brings back their own individual learning lessons and can share these with their clubs, states, and fellow Falcons,” he said.
“On an individual level the new skills are both technical and tactical, but also the experience of traveling and playing on the international stage for many of them was their first event overseas.
“They now understand what it takes to perform at this level and can take responsibility for themselves.”