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HOLDING COURT – Youth Invasion

Written by Asuncion Badminton Center on . Posted in BX Magazine

by Kennie Asuncion

I believe you will all agree that it is noticeable from last year’s results of our local tournaments that indeed our younger players have slowly found their way to placing in the top of our roster of badminton athletes. The tryouts for the composition of the national team have a lot of young faces but, of course, it had to be since the PBA (Philippine Badminton Association) set rules that allowed aspiring national wannabes to be below 25 years of age. That is why everyone looked forward to last year’s year ender national open because it allowed former national athletes and practically anyone who wanted to win different titles join the tournament.

It was a delight for a badminton enthusiast like me to see a lot of young kids play in their own age groups. I am proud to see more competitive kids in the badminton scene. Though some of the looked over eager and I only fear that they burnout faster than they could be able to maximize their skills and so I can only hope their coaches and parents work hand in hand to ensure that these kids still enjoy what they do and not be too pressured at such a young age. However, I must say that the highlight in my opinion would be the men’s singles title. As we call attest that men’s singles is very very tough and in all honesty it is the event people are excited to watch. Seeing Antonio Gadi or better known as Toby age 19, slowly climb up the ladder to be the youngest men’s singles title holder was a sight to see. He is a very young and passionate athlete who knew what he wanted to achieve, very composed, very focused and he surprisingly won most of his matches in straight games. But I must give credit to all who participated whether they were former national team members or present ones because they all played their hearts out and the games were a lot of fun to watch. The Ladies’ Singles is also won by a young junior by the name of Gelita Castilo. She is showing a lot of potential and she is only 14 when she won her ladies’ singles title. Her single final match was an exciting match to watch as she played her fellow teammate Malvinne “Poca” Alcala. Up until the last part of the 3rd game, you couldn’t tell who was actually going to win it. It was a very tight match and both were looking exhausted but Gelita managed to stay more consistent till the end. These young badminton players will definitely be at the forefront of our national badminton squad in the near future.

As an older player to the younger new generation players, there are quite a few things I’d like to share. Since you are all at the beginning of your careers, do remember that passion and dedication to the sport is key. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a lot of sacrifices. It’s not to sat that you cannot enjoy your youth but you definitely have a different life than the rest of people your age, learn to balance things. You should know what your priority in life is and the best exercise of being the best is doing everything in your capacity to achieve what you want. Whether you actually get to your goals or not, you will definitely be better in all aspects of your life. Another is to not let your achievements get to your head. My dad would always remind us to stay humble because in his words, the people you meet on your way up to the top, will the same people you meet on your way down. We all know for a fact that you can’t win every time all the time and so be a nice person so people will always remember you at your best. Respect all players, especially the senior athletes, because believe me, there are a lot of things you learn from them both in and out of the court. Be picky and wise enough to know which role model has led a good and praise worthy in and out of court attitude. Last but not the least, have fun playing. After all, it is the enjoyment that kept you staying and training for the sport.

CRAMPS: The Painful Truth

Written by Asuncion Badminton Center on . Posted in BX Magazine

by: Jose Raul C. Canlas, MD

Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend badminton player, chances are, you have suffered from muscle cramps at one time or another. Muscle cramps are no laughing matter. For one, they are really painful and can debilitate and sideline an athlete for as long as a day.

How do you prevent cramps? What’s the game plan to defeat muscle cramps?

First, understand what causes cramping. Muscle fatigue, salt loss, and dehydration – all three acting together – play a role in muscle cramping. Cramps are particularly common in badminton players because of excessive sweating. After doing a sweat test at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, we found out that badminton players lose 5-8 liters of sweat per hour of play. This is the highest rate among all sports; football players lose about 3-4 liters, while basketball players lose at the most 5 liters per hour of play. In losing this much sweat, players also lose sodium chloride.

Sodium is necessary not only to maintain blood volume but also to help nerves fire and muscles work. Sodium depletion short-circuits the coordination of nerves and muscles as muscles contract and relax. The result can be muscle cramping.

Players in organized sports usually practice everyday. They are usually dehydrated after practice and will only rehydrate during practice the next day. So they don’t actually realize that they are starting practice dehydrated. And the deficit increases as they practice.

Scientific process requires athletes to be weighed before and after the game. The amount of weight loss aids us in determining the amount of fluid that needs to be replenished.

Rehydrate after practice and the provide the players with the basic requirement of 3-4 liters during the following day’s practice.

While sodium loss and dehydration are the main causes of muscle cramping, there are other causes. Magnesium and potassium insufficiency may also cause cramps. Professional medical testing may be necessary to determine the actual cause.

Eat a balanced diet and drink the best beverages before, during and after every practice or game. For badminton players and professional athletes, a sports drink with enough electrolytes is necessary for hydration. In hot and sweaty weather, it is vital that athletes choose the right fluids to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes, most importantly sodium, to help prevent muscle cramping. Water, which contains almost no sodium, is not the best choice as your only drink in hot, humid playing conditions.

If you suffer from cramps during the game, you can stretch the muscle and ice it down a little. For professional athletes, is it quite difficult to get back to the game once muscle cramps have set in especially for badminton because it is quite a short game and there are no player substitutes. So the best game plan is to avoid cramps.

Angelu de Leon: No Angel on Court

Written by Asuncion Badminton Center on . Posted in BX Magazine

Angelu de Leon’s love affair with badminton started because of a love affair with a badminton afficionado.

Her boyfriend was playing badminton regularly with Kennevic Asuncion and some friends and Angelu was merely a saling-ket, a cheerleader and spectator, always ready to lend the bf moral support.

After weeks of going to the court and doing nothing else, Angelu was finally persuaded to try badminton. She got hold of a racket and after a few shots, she got hooked.

That was three years ago. Today, with the bf already an ex, Angelu still plays regularly with friends. Unlike other who were into badminton because it was the “in” sport and everyone was doing it, Angelu’s love affair with badminton continues and is still going strong.

“Badminton is my sport,” Angelu says. “It’s a sport where I can still talk while playing, socialize with my friends, and be my competitive self.”

Angelu’s may be one of the most beautiful faces in show business, but make no mistake about it, she is no angel on court. A self-confessed trash talker, Angelu plays mostly with guys.

“I prefer playing with guys, kasi ang mga girls, di ba, medyo emotional, madaming mapiko. E ako, I’m very competitive, I trash talk and I don’t have any qualms hitting the shuttle straight into my opponent’s body. And besides, it feels better to beat guys,” Angelu says with a chuckle. So competitive is Angelu that in almost one year of playing with the same group of friends, she says her team was only beaten once. That means that they only paid once for the court fees and were always treated to free dinner.

When asked whether her guy friends give her some slack on the badminton court, Angelu defiantly says, “no way! They do not treat me like a lady and play against me like I’m one of them. And I won’t have it any other way.”

Her hard-hitting moves and competitive nature weren’t without a consequence. She suffered a minor knee injury during one of her games. But she isn’t cowed.

“I won’t give up badminton because of a minor injury. I’m tougher than that.”

Besides, badminton gives her too many positive benefits. Like her leaner, sexier body.

“I lost twenty pounds in four months. Regular badminton, diet and a lifestyle change did it for me.” Angelu adds that she researched the best diet for her and didn’t prescribe to a quick-fix diet.

“A diet that works for someone may not necessarily work for me. So I googled and researched my body type, my body chemistry and from there, formulated my own diet. I do not advice everyone to do it, but hey, it works for me.”

It works beautifully, indeed. Angelu looks so good and so young that she landed the pivotal role of Dingdong Dantes’ schizoprenic girlfriend in GMA 7’s hit show Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang.

“I wanted to go back to work, but I feel I’m too young for mother roles,” she says and adds proudly, “now I’m back to girlfriend roles, at girlfriend pa ni Dingdong.”

Her revitalized showbiz career means more taping schedules. Does it mean less time on the badminton court?

“I usually play every Mondays and Thursdays. But I have M-W-F tapings now for Babae. It’s a good thing my friends are willing to shift their playing schedule. I guess they’d miss me on court and would want a chance to beat me,” Angelu laughs.

Angele de Leon may play different roles on screen, but she won’t pass the chance at playing her favorite role – a trash-talking, hard-hitting, competitive badminton player.

Pinoys Can Excel in Badminton

Written by Asuncion Badminton Center on . Posted in BX Magazine

by: Kennie Asuncion

As a young child, I always remembered hearing my dad speak of why we Filipinos can excel in badminton. I guess I believed him then because I was young. As I grew older and started competing internationally, it felt like a long, hard road to get to. But as time went by, I must say, as an adult, with my own free mind and thought, with my experiences, I do believe Filipinos can excel in Badminton!

Why? Simply because Badminton is a sport that doesn’t require a certain criteria. You don’t have to be of a certain height and weight to excel. Needless to say, we all know our neighboring Asian countries are proving it. Although, it’s the world’s fastest racket sport, anybody and do I mean anybody can excel in it, as long as they understand their body structure, know their strengths and address their weaknesses. Badminton is game for the physically and mentally fit people. It’s not all about strength, yet a combination of both is hard to perfect. It can also be looked upon by recreational players as a total workout.

Let me just add, that badminton’s most costly investment would be the shuttles. Other musts like rackets and your whole gear and rubber shoes can adjust to your budget. An expensive racket doesn’t always mean it is better. For me, I always hold the racket and get a feel of it before using it. I like my racket a bit on the other side as I fell it suits my style and game play. And though there are a lot of expensive rackets, there are also cheaper ones that are good.

I strongly feel that we have a large group of new and more talented young players whom I really look forward to cheering for in tournaments in the near future. I would just like to remind these kids that they need to be very patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight. If you really love the sport and have that desire to be the world’s best, you need to be prepared for a lot of hard work and a lot of stumbling along the way. But you’ll know what I mean when I say no matter how long and tiresome the road may be towards victory, there will be a lot of lessons along the way that will surely benefit you as a person. And whether or not you actually reach your final goal, there will be a lot of small victories along the way that make you say all the hard work was worth it.

On the other hand, I do believe a good coach is essential in an equation the has success as its outcome. Proper motivation and knowing what your player needs help make the journey to get a Gold a bit faster.

So what are you waiting for? Now is the only time to start going for your dreams. No excuses, no ifs or buts… and your training regimen. The road to anywhere starts from where you are. The Philippines is waiting for the FILIPINO World Badminton Champion.

The ABCs of Proper Grip

Written by Asuncion Badminton Center on . Posted in BX Magazine

by: Coach Nelson Asuncion

Good day my badminton players. Welcome to your first day of training.

If you wish to be a good badminton player, it is very important that you know all the basics. If you start playing with good fundamentals, you will find it easy to learn more complicated moves. In badminton, as in all sports, muscle memory is the key. If you start using improper moves, then those can easily become bad habits.

Perhaps the most basic in badminton is the proper grip. Afterall, the racket is your extension. And a good, comfortable grip is the start of your successful badminton career.

So take a hold of your racket and follow these steps:

Step 1: Hold the racket handle with your thumb and forefinger

Step 2: Slowly close your three other fingers around the racket handle

IMPORTANT: Never grip the handle too tightly. There must be a space between your palm and the handle.

– Hold the racket with the side of your thumb touching the handle.
– Hold the racket at the middle of the handle. By doing so, you can easily move your racket without the base of the handle hitting your wrist.
– You are using the proper grip if the side edge of the racket frame is pointing towards the ground and a straight line is formed your arm down to the racket.

– Do not press your thumb against the handle.
– Don’t hold the racket at the uppermost part of the handle. This will constrict your wrist movement and may even cause injuries.
– You are using the wring grip if the face of the racket is pointing towards the ground and your arm does not form a straight line with the racket.

Practice the proper grip on and off the court. Once you get used to it, gripping the racket the proper way will be second nature to you.

Remember, perfect practice makes perfect!