COMEBA camp in Malta

The camp started on 26 November with National Academy training. The focus was on timing of movement and fast feet which involved lots of ladder work. After more footwork players were then challenged to come up with and apply tactics for specific shots.

This training camp set the tone for the week with focused training from the beginning and lots of laughing along the way.

Day 2 was on attacking shots from the FH corner. It started with Agility tag which lead to many of the less flexible players being stuck in the starting position.
After the warm up the players practiced the rear court attacking and making sure all their shots look the same so they are more deceptive.

Day 3 was the first day in schools and it started at Stella Maris college where all students got a taste of badminton even if the net was not the correct height, and trying to play over it would have been far too challenging!

For many this was the first time they had seen a shuttle and badminton rackets so by the end of the day they had all learnt a bit more about badminton and hopefully we will see some of them in clubs soon.

In the evening we were back for training at the national training academy where we worked on the found the head footwork pattern and hitting attacking shots from this corner. Conditioned games then allowed them to apply what they had learnt over the last two days.

Day 4 was in Kirkop school, it gave James a chance to see the brand new sports centre in Malta (it is so new it was being officially opened the next day).  Again not many of the children had played badminton before so we started with the basics but in one day over 100 more children had tried badminton.
At the academy we worked on doubles formations and making sure to keep the attack. Some pairs were reluctant to keep the gap as small as possible so they were put into the harness with a bungee cord to keep the gap small. This proved both effective and very entertaining for everybody watching.

Day 5 started in St Michaels school which turned out to be the most experienced at badminton and already all the students had tried badminton. This meant that we were able to try some more advanced shots and during each lesson there was some real progress made by pupils.
At the academy the players got a fitness session which they had all been desperate to do! Although there were not many smiles during the session by the end they were all very happy to have been through the session. It will also give them an idea of how hard they need to train to compete with the top badminton players. Lucky for all the players if they forget any of the session there was a film crew there to record it, so they would be able to watch it back on TV.

Day 6 had its session during the day, which was different this time as James was teaching older students at the Malta College of Arts Science and Technology. Instead of teaching them how to play badminton we focused on how to teach badminton so if they find themsleves in schools they will be able to coach beginners. Along with trying some of the coaching ideas themselves they also got into playing competitive games by the end.
At the academy we focused on controlling the net and not too much on the movement, which was good because many were a bit sore in the legs still after the fitness training from the day before. Once they had warmed up and could move we focused on how the position on court after playing a net shot is important to force the lift.

Day 5 was back at St Michales school but this time with much younger students who did not have much experience of badminton. However many of them showed great potential and even asked the PE teacher if they could stop learning football in PE and take up badminton!
At the academy for the last session we focused on more tactics for singles and singles defence, and tried to apply everything we had done over the week. By the end, all the players and coaches had felt like they had trained hard all week and learnt lots more about badminton. Then, everybody could spend the rest of the season working hard on the topics covered in the week.

The camp had some media coverage and in addition to be broadcasted as part of a sports TV programme called "Zona Sport" on 10 December, there was an article on, which can be found here. One on is here, and one on the Malta Independent is here.