Summer is when countless young badminton players take the opportunity to go to foreign countries and experience higher-level badminton training. As we’re nearing the end of summer, many players close to me are returning from their boot camps, and the results are not as expected.
One of my friends returned after a two-month trip to Malaysia. We were expecting him to be one of the top players in the club, but he ended up losing to players half his size and age. It felt like he barely improved.
Another player returned from his trip to Thailand, and the results were similar to those of the friend who trained in Malaysia. There were few changes in their game. Both players were just more explosive and physically stronger, but that’s to be expected when training six times a week.
It raises the question, is badminton training in foreign countries worth it? As someone who has trained in multiple clubs worldwide, here’s my opinion on this topic.
The Benefits of Training Foreign
There are three key benefits of training in a foreign country that you should look for.
The first one is superior sparring. When you train in foreign countries, you should train with players who are much better than you. Playing against better players will reveal new weaknesses and show you how you can push your badminton game even further.
The second benefit is harder physical training. One of the things I love about training in foreign countries is that you feel the pressure to keep up with everybody and push yourself to new fitness levels you didn’t know you could achieve. This happened to me in Thailand.
15-year-old kids were lifting heavier weights than me and outlasting me in endurance, but I quickly caught up as my body adjusted to their training schedules. It permanently changes what you know you’re capable of and pushes you to the next level.
The third benefit is quality coaching. This is highly variable depending on where and who you train with. But the right coaches can teach many small things about playing badminton that’ll drastically improve your game.
Here’s the problem, though. These three benefits are not guaranteed. They are also more or less valuable depending on your current skill. For example, you might be able to go to a foreign country and play against international-level players. But that won’t help you if you can’t even contest your local club players.
If you’re looking for unique training strategies, there are tons of resources online for that. In fact, here’s a blog post I wrote detailing exactly what I did when I trained in China.
Thus, you should already be at a certain skill level to make training in other clubs and foreign countries worth it.
What You Should Already Have
Before deciding to train somewhere else, you should first ask yourself, “Can I beat everyone in my club consistently?” If you can’t, there are still players to challenge you where you are and room to improve. If you can, however, that’s when you can begin looking at new places to train and challenge yourself.
There are a few more things to consider for those looking to take foreign boot camps in countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Denmark.
The first thing is your fundamentals and technique. Can you play good-quality drops, clears, smashes, drives, and nets? Are you split-stepping in your footwork?
The second thing is fitness. Are you training regularly at high intensity? If not, jumping to the level players often train at in these foreign clubs might be too difficult.
As a Canadian, my opinion is that you should generally be in the top 25 nationally for foreign training to make sense. Otherwise, plenty of players and coaches can help you improve domestically. Generally, training in foreign countries makes the most sense for those looking to compete internationally.
How To Make All Training More Effective
To end this article, I want to leave a few tips to help you make training more effective regardless of where you train. Too many people hype up training overseas and don’t realize that if your current training isn’t helping you improve, then training somewhere else probably isn’t going to help you either.
Your badminton improvement ultimately depends on you. There are two things to remember to help make your training more effective.
The first is self-awareness. To make your training more effective, you need to know your own problems. This is the first step to getting good. Once you know what you’re bad at, work on those things until you’re not bad at it.
And if you run into a roadblock, learn to be resourceful. We’re in the Internet age, where you can study pretty much any top badminton player by watching videos. If you’re lucky to have good coaches, ask them many questions, too.
Don’t just mindlessly play. Train with intent and purpose.