NSS Students Jeremy Mark Gatt (Year 8), Martina Clark & Emily Abela (Year 9) took part in the Badminton Europe U15 Summer School Camp in Lahti, Finland from Monday 4th July till Monday 11th July 2022.
The summer school brought together 64 players from around 23 different European countries as well as a selection of high level coaches to provide a full week of training. Training included 11 on court sessions in total over the 6 days while additional, physical, mobility and tactical sessions were also included. The camp covers all aspects of badminton and provides an insight into what is needed to become an elite player.
On Day One, the players and coaches were the first to arrive at Pajulahti Olympic and Paralympic training venue in Lahti. After sorting out their accommodation and waiting on arrival from the remaining participants a Camp meeting was held to explain the format of the weeks camp ahead.
Monday evening involved a team building orienteering event to allow the players to find out where different training venues were at the facility which were followed by some fun games all together to continue to create links between the 64 players and staff coaches.
During the following day, all players were split into two different group for training to ensure there were smaller groups working with the coaches and also allowing them some free time to relax and recover. The first morning session of the camp involved some basic drills to allow the coaches to assess the standards of the players on the course.
The afternoon session involved the players working on some work in the forecourt with a focus on lifting while in the evening they learnt how to understand their positional play for a tactical benefit of being in attacking, neutral or defence positions.
On the third day, the players focus for today was looking at slicing the shuttle in the rear court, the morning session was looking at improving technique and when to play these types of shots, this was then incorporated into the afternoon session with a more tactical approach and applying these strokes to more game situations. The evening session included some free time and whole camp stretching session. Also during the morning the players who were not on court had a tactical classroom session with some of the senior coaches to understand more about match analysis and building tactical game plans.
On Day Four, the morning sessions saw the players split into small group to have more focused individual attention from the coaches working on areas of the game needed to be developed specific to each individual.
In the afternoon the players had some time off where they visited in the adventure park which was at the same training venue, spending time in the high ropes course in the trees on zip lines and rope swings. The evening session involved a camp tradition of a fun players v coaches football match.
During the fifth day, Doubles defence technical work was on the schedule for the morning session while following a similar approach and applying this technical development and knowledge to doubles routines and tactical match play application in the afternoon. The evening saw the players able to have some free time to relax or play some other sports available on the facility complex.
The morning sessions of the sixth day saw the again players split into small group to have their second focused individual attention continuing the work from the Thursday morning sessions specific to each individuals needs. The second group of players took part in a one hour yoga session before swapping over roles. The afternoon session the players worked on their shuttle control into certain areas and zones of the court through conditioned games and routines. The evening the players had a fun doubles tournament randomly drawn allowing players from over 23 different European countries to mix up and play together.
On the final day, the morning sessions saw the final individual focus session for the players in their small groups to finish off their programme from Thursday and Saturday sessions. The afternoon session was a whole camp tournament for all the players this was run in small groups and them into a knockout draw. After dinner all players, coaches and staff got together for a party to celebrate a successful week of learning new things, training hard and creating new badminton friends.
The last day the players checked out of their rooms, had breakfast for the final time in the Olympic dinner hall and took the transport to the airport.