After our experience at the RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman Award Ceremony, Charles wrote an email on behalf of himself and Katherine, to inform the chairman of the RJR Sports Foundation, Mr. Gary Allen of our experience. Charles received a phone call from Mr. Allen within 30 minutes of sending the email to apologize for our experience and that he will launch an investigation to find out what happened that night. I just want to comment on how professional and personable, Mr. Allen was in handling the matter in such a prompt manner. Although badminton is not a big, well known sport in Jamaica compared to other sports such as athletics, football or cricket, Mr. Allen's response demonstrated that he and the RJR SPorts Foundation have an appreciation for all sports regardless of status.
It is with mixed feelings that we are saying good bye to Jamaica today. It has been a wonderful 11 days in this beautiful tropical paradise. Despite not being able to tan on the beach or swim in the ocean, we have met many wonderful people on our trip which include many raising stars in the sport of badminton! It never ceases to amaze me the amount of talent there is in Jamaica. I truly believe that with the right plans and programs in place, Jamaica can and will become a power house in badminton on the world stage. The athletes have the drive, dedication and strength to achieve great things. What is missing, in my opinion, are the resources necessary to help these athletes develop into the stars that they are. Badminton may be seen as an individual sport for some, but to me, badminton is also a collective sport. One cannot improve and thrive without the support of others. People are needed to spar with, to compete against, and most importantly to encourage and motivate each other to push harder and to lend a hand when we are down. In order to develop athletes and foster their development and growth, one must look at the entire program along with the individual athletes involved. Development of a sport should be holistic, current and relevant to adapt to the changes that are taking place around us.
With that said, I hope everyone who participated in our training clinic or came out for the exhibition had enjoyed their time as much as we had enjoyed ours. We look forward to coming back to Jamaica for future projects. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments about our programs or badminton in general, we are more than happy to assist in any way we can. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take Care Jamaica and we shall see each other again in the near future!
The day has finally come for the Clash of Champions! After months of preparation, the exhibition signifies the end of our debut in Jamaica. For the exhibition we had about 150 people come out to support the events. These people included some past All Jamaica Champions, JBA council members, CBA board members, participants from our training clinics, parents of our participants, people from Kingston and Mandeville (thank you for taking the time to drive to Kingston to take part in our exhibition)! We also had a raffle draw to help raise funds for the foundation and people were supportive by purchasing tickets which got them a chance at one of our draw prizes which included two top of the line Li-Ning racquets!
Thank you everyone for making it a huge success! The exhibition featured our founder, Charles Pyne along with 3 other current and past All Jamaica Champions Gareth Henry, Garron Palmer, and Bradley Graham. Online voting was used to help determine which two champions will face off against each other. After more than 1000 votes, the match up between Garron Palmer and Bradley Graham was in the lead heading into the exhibition with a whopping 397 votes. After a round of live voting using a decibel metre to measure the cheering of the crowd, Garron and Bradley's match was still in front. Two singles matches were played with the first singles match featured Charles Pyne and Gareth Henry and the second singles match, our main event as voted by the public was between Garron Palmer and Bradley Graham. Then the champions played a doubles match of the team of Charles Pyne and Bradley Graham (the two old man) against the younger team of Garron Palmer and Gareth Henry. All matches went to three sets and the four put on a spectacular show for the audience which showcased their athleticism, speed and power.
All in all, the night could not have been successful without our group of extraordinary volunteers: Kibwe Smith, Ruth Williams, Kemar Valentine, Kareem Chin, Kerrie-anne Tucker, Kathryn Prendergast, Kathrine Wynter, Jemarey Gordon, Demarley Edwards, Toni-Ann Lyew, Shelby Stephensons, Willroy Myles, and Oshane Morgan. Also, a big thank you to our directors Chris Zacca, Richard (Gregory) Wong, and Kingsley Ford for all their hard work over the past few months!
THANK YOU ALL!
While we were having breakfast and networking, we were hoping to find someone who could give us a ride down to Mandeville. As you will remember from yesterday, we had a leaking tire while we were in Mandeville and was told by the mechanics that it would not be advisable to drive back to Mandeville in the car's current condition. We called a few friends to see if we could convince them to come down to Mandeville with us or to borrow their car, but unfortunately since it was such short notice, everyone already had plans. As a group, we decided it was best for us to cancel our afternoon session in Mandeville. Charles then made the difficult phone call of information Ranger of the change in plans. To all of the participants of this afternoon, we are truly sorry that we could not make it down as we heard that many of you were looking forward to it. We hope you had a great training session without us and we will for sure try to make it up to you guys the next time we are down.
In the evening we had a dinner that was hosted by the JBA to thank Charles for his contribution to the sport. It was really nice to see some of the national players that Charles used to train and play with at international tournaments such as the Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games and Championship. These people were Alya Lewis (who coaches some of the junior players), Kristal Karjohn, Christine Leyow-Maine, and Bradley Graham (it was also his birthday today). This dinner certainly gave Chris and I a glimpse of the badminton world in Jamaica. Then after the dinner, some of us headed over to Wyndham for some cheesecake at the recommendation of Kerrie-ann, who was with us for dinner. We were so glad she recommended Wyndham to us because the cheesecake was so good!!! We ordered Rum & Raisin Cheesecake and the Red Velvet Cake. It was heavenly and we also had a small taste of the Red Velvet Cheesecake which was drenched in rum..... *drool*
Now it's time for bed as tomorrow is the Clash of Champions and there's still lots to do!
We ran 3 sessions at DC from 3:30-10pm with a half hour break at 5:30pm. DC has two courts in its gym and for the first group we had about 20 people who were beginners. We were at first wary of how we can fit so many people on court but with the creativity of our coaches and help from the participants we were able to maximize our court space. We went through some basic drills with them involving net shots, drop shots, and clears and the participants learned so quickly that by the end of the session they were doing drives amongst themselves. Then for the 6:00-8:00pm group, we had 12 intermediate players. With this group, we did basic drills with the addition of drills that involved movements such as utilizing basic footwork to do drop and net shots. Once again, the participants are very quick to learn and very receptive to what we are sharing with them. The last group (8-10pm) we had 12 advance players. With this group, we put them through a grueling warm up which involved a lot of footwork and then put them through drills that involved a lot of movement. Everyone worked hard and pushed themselves!!! We've seen many talented players and there are some future stars in our presence!
We concluded our day at 10pm and cannot say we were looking forward to the drive back to Kingston especially with the knowledge that the tire can burst at any minute. So needless to say the drive back was both exciting and scary at the same time. I must say I am very impressed with the driving skills of the people in Jamaica because I don't know how they can manage to drive on roads that are barely big enough for two cars without having to slow down and dodging pot-holes at the same time when there's an on-coming car on a winding road on the mountain. There were a few occasions where I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw an on-coming car and the road did not look like it was big enough for the two cars. Kudos to all the drivers and especially our driver Charles, who was extremely tired after a long day of coaching and driving for an hour to get us back home safe.
Our feet are sore and we can barely keep our eyes open but we had a great time coaching today. Off to bed we go and tomorrow will be our last day of training clinic in Mandeville, hopefully we can find another car to use!
I have to apologize that some of the pictures are not great because of the lighting at DC and this amateur photographer does not how to use the camera beyond point and shoot to compensate for the lighting.
Tip of the day: When going to the net, remember to point your toe in the director you are going to prevent injuries.
Today is the start of our training clinic in Mandeville. Mandeville is a city about 89 km away from Kingston which is about an hour's drive. We began our drive to Mandeville around 1pm after enjoying some absolutely to die for stew peas by Ms. Lorna. The drive was nice and the beginning part of it reminded me of driving in Toronto with the highway, as we got off the highway, the road was much more narrower.
We did three sessions today. We met up with Howard Ranger (aka Ranger), who is the Jamaican National Coach for the Junior Team and he runs many of the coaching programs in Mandeville. Ranger helped us in setting up all of our training clinics in Mandeville. We started at Bishop Gibson High School, which is an all girl school. We did a two hour session there with 12 girls. Then we had a quick dinner break at a local restaurant where we enjoyed oxtail, tripe and beans, and baked chicken. Then we were off to North Caribbean University (NCU) for our evening sessions. We ran two sessions, 6-8pm and 8-10pm. The NCU's gymnatorium is a 5 court facility with wooden floor. We had close to 40 people come out for one of the session and sometimes as the session went on, we noticed the group was getting larger in number as more people dropped by and joined in. It was great to see so many people interested in the sport.
Tomorrow we start again at 9am at NCU. We want to thank the Baileys of Mandeville for taking us in tonight and giving us a place to stay so we don't have to drive back to Kingston and back in the morning. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us and also Sean Wilson, who came out to NCU to personally escort us to the Baileys at such late hours. We really appreciate the hospitality shown to us by the people in Mandeville!
Tip of day: Proper warm up and cool down are necessary for injury prevention!
We started off the day by visiting some family friends and relatives of Charles and then it was back to the grind. Today is our last day of running training clinic in Kingston. We ran our usual two sessions (4-6pm and 6-8pm) and most are returning players from previous days. For the first group we worked on overhead shots and drives and we ended at the end with a little team match. The second group, we started off by playing Diamond (8 people per court and players are not allowed to hit the bird twice in a row) and then we put them through some multi-shuttles drills for skills and speed. We also ended the session by playing a team match which got everyone in high spirits cheering for their fellow team members.
We had enjoyed our time doing the coaching clinic in Kingston tremendously and we hope that everyone who came out had a great time as well. We will be off to Mandeville tomorrow to start our 3 day training clinic there.
Tip of the day: Keep your racquet up!
We have just gotten home after completing the second day of clinic. Once again we ran two sessions from 4 to 8pm which saw many returning players from yesterday plus a few new players. Today our focus with the first group was on backhand shots and some net play. The second group we focused on their overhead stroke and net play. Everyone put in great effort and we can't wait to see many of them return for training tomorrow.
Side note, Charles, Chris and I did manage to enjoy part of the beauty of Jamaica. We went out to Hellshire, a popular hangout spot for the locals on the weekend, for some fresh fish and some sun. Unfortunately we didn't have much time and therefore wasn't able to jump in the water but we are hoping to make some time later on in the week. On the bright side, the fish and festivals we had were absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!!
Tip of the day: For a backhand overhead stroke, remember to get your elbow above your shoulder and ear.
Today is the start of our first training clinic. The day started off with sunshine (which isn't much of a surprise) and temperature around 30 degrees. Charles and I spent the morning relaxing and doing some administrative work to finalize the details of the training clinic. At 2:00pm, we headed over to the airport to pick up Chris and filled him in on the details of the clinic. We headed over to the Chinese Benevolent Association of Jamaica (CBA) around 3:30pm to set up for the training clinic. We were met by our other board members/coaches Greg Wong and Kingsley Ford.
For the first day, we ran 2 sessions - 4-6pm and 6-8pm and we had 25 participants of different levels come out. Everyone worked hard and we had a great time coaching them. We worked on basic strokes and shots with the first group and worked on shorter swings (stick smashes) and flat shots with the second group.
Tip of the day: The bigger action of your stroke, the larger the margin of error.
Today started off with Charles and I back at Constant Spring Golf Club assisting with a training session that ran from 10am - 2pm. We assisted with some of the drills and played a few games with the players. It was fun to mingle with them and get a sense of where they are at to help us plan our upcoming training clinic.