2015 Badminton Europe Summer School in Slovenia

Posted by Rob Short at 12:07 on 21 July 2015

Summer School 2015 Slovenia 2

Welsh Juniors, Scott and Andrew Oates, recently attended the 2015 Badminton Europe Summer School in Podcetrtek, Slovenia. Here Scott recounts his experiences of the week's training.

This year the Summer School was held in Podcetrtek, Slovenia. This year exceeded my expectations and bettered my experience from last year. This year I already knew quite a lot of people there, but I made even more friends from places such as Czech Republic, Estonia and Denmark. In my view, the standard of coaching was better too.

My brother and I arrived with the Scottish players at Ljubljana airport in Slovenia, where we were welcomed and transported to the town of Podcetrtek. This journey was frustrating, as we were expecting a quick 15 minute drive to the hotel from the airport, we were then told it was a good hour and 15 minutes on a good day. This turned into an hour and three quarters which then turned into 2 hours and a half!!! It felt like we were doing loops of the same place as the whole country is pretty much countryside, even more sheep than Wales! Well we eventually arrived, to find out we were staying in an apartment, which we were buzzing off because we didn’t want to be stuck in a typical hotel room. Pretty much as soon as we arrived we went straight for our first meal. The food looked scrumptious, although the portions were only small. We had a briefing straight after that which laid down the plan for the week and also gave us an idea of who will be doing what and to see who we know. This took about half an hour which then give us time for a tour around the place, for us this was to identify where we want to relax (the Jacuzzi was my preference). 

The week started with a fun warm up, it was a dancing warm up influenced by the mighty Mike Woodward and his cheeky aerobics. This was a good way to warm up, whilst looking silly with everyone so that we were all on the same levels. In all fairness Mike was the reason why everyone enjoyed the warm ups. The first session was a physical, where we worked in all 4 corners. This was to see what standard of players there are there and for us to get an idea of how the week will pan out. The session was hard, and I could certainly feel a good 4 hours of training in my legs. Followed up by a session from the training coaches, a tactical session which was pretty fun and interesting. Already I had learnt new things about when and where to play these shots. At night we started the team tournament, with me being part of Indra’s Team Tigers, and Andrew being part of Rob’s Renegades. Funnily enough both of our teams lost, evidently not our fault, because nothing ever is. I had very high expectations for the week after this day.

Both day 2 and day 3 we were training in groups according to our standard. They assembled us into 6 groups, group 1 being the best and 6 being the lower players. Luckily I was in group 1 alongside Julien Carraggi of Belgium, Oliver Lee Nowak of Denmark and Karl Kert of Estonia. Andrew was in a strong group 4 with Mark Gannon of Ireland, Jose Rodriguez of Spain and Vojtech Sebera of Czech Republic. These training sessions were a mixture of technical and tactical which were always physical to ensure we worked hard. The weather was scorching so we sweated loads, going through at least 2 shirts a session and about 10 bottles of water a session. In between each session and lunch breaks, we went for a dip in 1 of the 4 swimming pools there to chill out and relax the legs. This was perfect as it brought everyone together and it contributed well to making new friends.  Day 4 was more of a relaxed day, we had our usual 4 hour training in the morning, in which half was doubles related practices and a few games, and the other half was another doubles physical session. A great way to start the “relaxation day”. After this we ate our lunch and headed straight to the water park. Quite possibly one of the best days I have had, I made so many friends going down all the different slides allowing us all to bond together. For the last hour, the whole group chilled in the hot pool and wave machine pool and had some great conversations about our experiences. Already we are planning when we are going to see each other next! After that we looked forward to kicking the butts of the staff coaches in the traditional football game, in my eyes we won but it was typical that, yet again, they get a penalty in the last minute of the game to “win” 3-2. The two goals coming from me, which were absolute screamers!!!

Day 5 was our last full training day, the ordinary 10 hours. The first session was a mixture of specific doubles shots and a last physical session from the staff coaches. This was hard after the week of training, although my legs felt good after them being relaxed from the water park. The afternoon session was taught by the training coaches, where we got 2 excellent sessions from two brilliant coaches. As well they were appreciative of our hard work even after the week of training. Putting in 110% does have its benefits!!! We left early and decided to have a last dip in the pool. Which again was such fun as we played volleyball. Which led to the night's session which was to finish the team event. My team won 7th place, Indra’s mighty tigers!!

Friday was the individual tournaments, where I was second seed but I could barely move this day. The tournament was going well until my opponent in the second game was cheeky enough to scrape 17 net chords, 11 being winners and hitting the line a good 5 times. This drew the week of training to an end with a party to be the perfect send off.

The party was class, I was the DJ and lead dancer… even my brother asked me to teach him a few moves!! It was buzzing all night and it gave us all a chance to remember what a great week it had been and to say our sad goodbyes.

Overall, this camp has been fantastic, quite possibly the best week of my life, I made so many new friends and worked extremely hard. I recommend this camp as it brings out the best of you and it helps you gain valuable experience of working with new people. I would love to go again next year.

Thank you Eddie and Badminton Wales.

Scott Oates