An Afternoon With the Master.

Just got home and the drive home was a bit tiring.. spent the majority of Saturday running errands for friends haha (not that I mind though, hey – something to do at least).

The morning was spent at Costco because there was a few things some friends wanted so I thought I’d finally make the effort to go.

Generally the parking there is pretty terrible but it’s been much better – hyped down now?

Kind of glad none of this is for me.

Oh and yeah, topped off the trip with a Costco pizza of course (first time I’ve tried it actually).

18 inches..

Anyway the rest of the afternoon was spent at the master, TW’s place as he was helping restringing some badminton rackets for our friends. I decided to drop by and actually catch up with him and learn a bit about it as well as I’ve been a bit curious as to how the stringing machine works.

MK's racket - after the vertical strings were done.

For starters you would measure the string to be approximately “4” times your racket length, then cut the string in half (vertical and horizontal a half each).

So apparently as soon as you start setting the tension on the vertical strings, it will deform the racket frame a bit. Also I learnt that when we ask for “24lb” tension that means he’ll normally go 23lb vertical and 25lb horizontal.

Weaving the horizontal strings.

The master explained that the horizontal string had to be weaved up and under as it went through. He had this interesting technique that almost made it seem so smooth, if that was me doing it I would’ve been doing that for hours.

I explained that MK was hoping for “24lb” but he strung it a bit less than that – “If it’s not Yonex I usually don’t trust the labels as much. Too many past incidents.”

Kenshin's turn.

Was hoping to get purple (was white before) but he ran out! So we went with the next best, blue – hey, blue + red makes purple right? Let’s hope E doesn’t get mad.

Almost done!

So while he was doing this, he was also explaining to me the badminton club “culture” and “competitive” nature of club members in general. He explained that members of different clubs generally don’t get along – that goes for both players and coaches. I suppose coaches would believe in their methods of teaching.

Apparently if you leave a club to join another club you should say goodbye forever because you’ll never be accepted in your former club again. Ever.

He explained that although sometimes different club players are in the same team (eg. State / National teams), the parents usually push hard to try get their kid playing as a non-reserve. They also have strong opinions on the coach (as he / she is most likely from a club too). Seems to be a lot of pressure!

If the coach doesn’t do well in a club he / she is asked to leave too. Generally it’s set up so 1 coach looks after 1 court during training.

Done!

So I asked him a bit about coaching since it seems to be such a big part of his life. He explained that he generally coaches boys aged 11~14 at around the skill level. Some clubs group based on skill level + age, some just on skill level. The interesting thing was that he made a point about the kids being very serious – almost too serious about training and competition (even scrimmages):

“They’re so competitive and serious it’s kind of bad. They get upset and angry even during training matches within the club.”

Oh? Then he also added:

“Young girls are probably the hardest to handle because they get so upset during training and matches that they cry.”

Whoa this is some serious stuff for them. Even within clubs and their training matches they’re so competitive between each other. I also jokingly asked him if he ever had to comfort girls on court, “Haha, no! I don’t have any girls to comfort!”

Stash of different types of strings!

During his stringing I also noticed that they had a pretty large cupboard-full of string! Mind you, this is only a “band”-full each (notice the rubber band), there was still more back in the cupboard.

From memory I think they stocked.. BG65, BG65Ti, BG68Ti (master’s favourite), BG70, BG80, BG85, and BG95.. “This is all we have.” he said.

So he recommended I should try BG68Ti:

High Repulsion and Better Hit Sound 😛

Maybe next time when my string breaks 🙂

Stat sheet for the BG68Ti (FYI - BG65, the standard, has higher durability)

I asked him what’s so great about Hitting Sound in which he snickered a bit and said: “I reckon it’s just to scare people off when you smash.”

Possibly! Haha, better than your smash sounding like it came off a wood board I guess.

Many thanks for your help again 🙂

Ps. TROLLER:

Thought he was serious!

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