When I read a tweet that Metea Valley badminton was starting tryouts this week, I thought to myself, “What could badminton tryouts entail?” So I hopped in the car and headed down to Eola Road. Walking into the auxiliary gym, I was immediately surprised by two things, the first one being the detailed level of the tryout.
“We have them run to begin with. They stretch every day.” said head coach Matthew Long. “Then we have them hit the main four shots that we do. We have them clear, drive, drop and smash. From there, we go into footwork.”
“There’s definitely a lot more skill involved than people think. We do certain stretches because they work specific muscles” said Girija Vaidya. “You have to know a lot of specific stuff past the general that a lot of people don’t know about.”
The second thing I noticed was that unlike other sports, the participants just seemed more reserved, a little more quiet.
“Some of the things that maybe these girls don’t have a lot of experience in is a competitive athletic atmosphere” said Long. “In terms of school work and music, they are experienced. They’re as tough in those realms as you can find. In terms of an athletic sense, they just don’t have that edge that a lot of athletes in other sports would.”
Docile as it is, this atmosphere is as competitive as any.
“We do cut girls. We have about 55 to low 60’s that come out” said Long. “We have over 55 today and we take it down to around 40 girls.”
By the end of tryouts, several cuts will be made. In fact, between 15-20 girls won’t make the final roster. Proving badminton is much more than just a fun game you play in gym class.
From Metea Valley, Charlie Edward or Naperville Sports Weekly.
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