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Club Spotlight: Badminton Club

Lauren Tompkins, senior and club member prepares to play a badminton game. Club leader and senior Mark Lee said that badminton is a sport that requires a lot of agility.

Mark Lee, club leader and senior

When did you start playing badminton?

I started playing badminton six years ago with my dad. He has been kind of an inspiration. He used to live in Malaysia. In that country badminton is really important, so he’s kind of taught me, and that’s why I know a good deal about the sport.

What level do you play it?

Well, I do play at some clubs, and I played at a tournament before. I was beaten by the nation’s best 10-year-old.

So what would you say makes badminton special as a sport? What differentiates it from other sports? 

Well, it’s different from tennis mostly because the rackets are lighter. And it’s also really fast-paced; you’ll have a birdie going back and forth across the net at really rapid paces, especially when you’re playing doubles games because two people can cover the space faster than one person can. And so you can get a lot of action, and it’s really fun to watch as a professional sport. I also think it’s interesting because it requires a lot of agility and just like being able to move or stop and move in another direction really quickly in order to cover all the space on the court.

So you’re saying it’s fast-paced. What else do you think is it that makes the sport so fun?

I think that kids just enjoy trying at the beginner level. I think kids really enjoy the hand-eye coordination practice of trying to hit the birdie with the racket, and I think there’s a certain amount of comedy that goes with it when you don’t hit the birdie. I think that that makes the sport really fun at that level. And I think once you start getting better, you start enjoying learning the different types of shots that you can do: you can do a clear shot, a drive, or a net shot. A clear shot would be like hitting it all the way to the end of the court. The drive would be hitting it just straight on and trying to get it as quickly as possible to the other side. And then there’s the net shot where you’re trying to get it as close to the net as possible so that the opponent can’t hit it. So I think that’s also an aspect of the sport that kind of makes it more dynamic and more interesting to play.

What are some benefits that come out of badminton?

It’s definitely good for your health. I would say that as an IB student, I don’t get to go out and do a lot of exercising and stuff all that much because I’m usually studying. But badminton after school on Fridays is a good way to end the week and de-stress because sports do that for people. I would also say it’s definitely good for making friends because it’s a pretty low competition sport and pretty much anybody can come in and just kind of have a go at it. I think that that is something that is a positive for the sport right now in the school.

And what’s your favorite thing about badminton?

Oh, man. I think I like being able to make decisions while I’m playing. And also, it’s just really fun playing with different people, like I’ve met a lot of the different people at the club that I play. And it’s interesting how they each have different playing styles. For example, they’ll serve from different spots on the court, and it’s fun to see how different people approach problems. It’s fun trying to kind of solve or figure out another person’s playing style so that you can beat them in a match. I think that’s one thing that makes it an interesting sport.

Why do you think it’s so underrated?

In the United States, it’s definitely not as popular of a sport as football or soccer. I think maybe there is a stigma that the sport is not competitive, so people who are into competitive sports don’t go there; that’s not their first pick as a sport. As a result, the fame or “clout” that the competitive players bring to the sport isn’t always there with badminton. That’s definitely not the case in countries like Malaysia because that has happened. But in the United States, I feel like that hasn’t happened yet. And so that would probably be the reason.


Tell me about the Badminton Club.

Well, right now we have a gym space that can hold a good number of nets. We’ve just been doing round-robin competitions. So you have a bunch of nets set up, and then if you win on a court, you move up to the next court, and if you lose, you go down to the previous court. We’ve been trying to integrate a couple of teaching methods. So on the first day, we showed kids how to grip the racket, and we’ve been trying to show some other skills, like how to hit the birdie and how you’re supposed to hold the racket above your head in a certain way in order to hit it right. Also moving forward, we were thinking about creating another club that meets up on some other days that is specifically for badminton training. Right now, we have the Badminton Club as just for fun, but there are some kids who would also like to focus more on the training aspect of it. And so we were thinking about doing that as well.

 What types of levels play and how many people are there?

We have a lot of people right now. It’s like 60 people; it is unbelievable. At first, it was like 30 people, but it’s been growing since. I feel like people have passed by and they’ve been like, “Oh, that looks really fun. I’ll try checking it out.” There’s also different levels of people. I’m a coach, so I definitely have a bias in this, but I would say most of them are at a beginner level; they don’t play competitions, and they’re just trying to figure their way around the sport. But I definitely see that there’s opportunity for improvement. I can see people are interested in the sport.

And why was the club started?

So the two leaders that started the club wanted to start it as a recreational, fun activity, kind of like intramurals. So that was their mindset behind it. Also, it was to just have fun and hang out after school.

Why do you think people should join the club?

It’s a fun club. I mean, the sport is really enjoyable. You get to meet new people. It would be beneficial for your health. Especially since it’s after school, it is beneficial to help you de-stress after school and before going and doing homework or going home.

Do you have any plans for the club?

We were thinking about doing that other group where we would do specific training. And perhaps we were thinking about bringing in a professional player, maybe somebody that I know to teach kids. Maybe we could pull some money to possibly pay for a tournament or pull some money in order to go and practice at a club with other players. That would be something that we might do moving forwards.

And is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you would like readers to know?

For those interested, we would ask kids to bring their own rackets. We could also use some more nets.


 Casey Danubio, sponsor of Badminton club 

When was the Badminton Club created?

The Badminton Club was created about two months ago. It’s a student-led organization, and Daniel Tian is the founder of the group. He reached out to me and asked me to be a sponsor.

What is the atmosphere of the club?

It’s super relaxed. It’s very fun. We’ve had a great turnout. We’ve had anywhere from 30 to 50 students show up to each meeting. We play at the fieldhouse, and we typically have like eight to ten nets going at a time. Everybody has the resources that they need, like the birdies and the nets. They’re all up, and it’s just really chill; it’s really fun. We play some competitive games, sometimes other different things, like where they’ll move from group to group or net to net like King of the Court and things like that. But it’s very relaxed, and it’s just very inclusive.

So why should students join the Badminton Club?

I think they should join the Badminton Club because it is a really fun group of kids. It’s very easygoing and laid-back. You don’t have to be the most athletic person in the world, but you’re able to go and meet some new people, get some exercise, work on your hand-eye-coordination, and just have some fun after school.

What do you think makes badminton such an underrated sport?

I would say probably just having access to all the equipment that’s needed and space to play it. If you don’t have a gym like we’re lucky enough to, you’d have to be outside to do that, and the weather would be limiting with that. I just think that although a lot of people think about it as a competitive, fun sport, we’re hoping to expand its popularity here at Carmel High School.

So you’ve been saying how it’s such a fun sport. What do you think makes it so fun?

I think that it’s interactive. You know, you can have one person on your team and you’re playing against two people, or you can mix it up and have more people on each side. And everybody’s involved; you know that the birdies gonna come to you at some point. And there’s a lot of movement; there’s a lot of action, so it’s not boring. And it’s also something that’s very manageable and easy to learn and do.

What is your favorite thing about badminton?

My favorite thing is how competitive it can get and how much fun it is. I hear everybody laughing when they’re playing. When I play with them, it’s super fun and chill, and we’re laughing and having a good time. So I think just the interaction.

What are your plans for the club this year?

Our plan is to just keep consistently meeting every other week. I know that they had hoped to maybe have it weekly, but we would need another sponsor for that, so we’re kind of looking for another sponsor potentially. But yeah, just have the club keep growing and have it be as inclusive and fun as possible.

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