Silver September for Hart

Posted by Carissa Turner at 01:09 on 27 September 2017

Jordan Hart's 2017-18 season began a month ago when she competed in Slovakia and has since competed in both Belgium and Poland.

We asked Jordan to tell us about her preparation for this season and how she feels about her performances so far.

Pre-Season training is always a gruelling process, how have you prepared for this season?

"This summer I have started working with a new coach, Steve Butler has been brought into Loughborough as Head Singles Coach so my summer training looked a little bit different than usual. There has been a lot more focus on endurance and mimicking performance levels that are expected when starting there new season.
As always it was a very tough few months and I was really looking forward to getting stuck in to tournaments at the beginning of September."

Your first event was Slovakia Future Series, how did it go?
 
"Going to Slovakia was like stepping into the unknown slightly, because we were unsure if what I had been working on throughout the summer would transfer across into tournament performance so early in the season.
As a whole I was relatively happy with Slovakia. Losing out to Laura Soarosi in the 2nd round. I could see some glimpses of changes to my game but I was unable to sustain these against Laura who is very experienced, having competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last year. I returned back to Loughborough and evaluated my games with Steve so that the mistakes I made in this tournament wouldn't happen in Belgium IC."

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Belgium is renowned for being a tough International Challenge, and this year was no different. How was the event for you?

"When I saw the draw for Belgium IC I knew that I had a tough game on my hands. I was drawn against Julie Dawall Jakobsen from Denmark. Training in the run up to Belgium had gone really well so I was looking forward to playing Julie. I felt this was a good opportunity to test myself against a player that would be expected to beat me. I really struggled with the hall in the first set of my game - it was extremely fast and I didn't adapted to the environment as well as I should have.
Once settled I really felt like I was challenging Julie and that the standard of play was very equal between us. In the second set I was down quite heavily but managed to dig in and win the set.
I started off slowly in the third and gave myself too much to do and with her experience, Julie capitalised on this. Initially I was very disappointed to lose this game, but it felt good that I was seeing improvements from training hard and being super committed.
I went back to Loughborough and looked at the video of my game and applied changes I wanted to make moving forward in that week's match play sessions. I think it was really important to address these changes before flying out to Poland the following week."

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It seems like your plans worked as you had your best tournament result to date in Poland! You were seeded 4th for this event but surpassed your seeding. Tell us about your experience.

"The week of Poland didn't actually pan out like a normal week's training. The day before I flew, I graduated from university so preparation was slightly different than usual. Looking back I think it was really important to remember how well I did the week before and bring that confidence across to Poland and use it as momentum for the tournament.

My first round was definitely a shaky start to the tournament, I played Michaela Zelinkova from the Czech Republic and I drew on my experience from the week before when adapting to the hall and didn't leave things too late this time! I really got stuck in to the second and third sets of that game, winning comfortably in the end. 
My next game was a young Ukranian player, Anna Mikhalkova. I was really pleased with my performance in this game. I was really steady and got on top of Anna early on in the game which she struggled to compete with which gave me a lot of confidence.

In my third game I faced my first seeded player of this tournament, Tereza Svabikova from Czech Republic. This was a real dog fight with the game swaying backwards and forwards in momentum. In the third set I was 18-20 down. I cant really remember how I was feeling at that time but focused on each point as individual points and tried not to focus on the whole picture of winning or losing a match. I think this was a huge factor in me getting back to 20 all. Both myself and Tereza were extremely nervous. You could tell by the shots we were playing. Neither one wanting to play the shuttle out so keeping it really central and not wanting to give away the attack. I tried to stay as calm as possible which was really difficult, but even at 18-20 there was no way I was going to give up and let my opponent win. 


My semi final was against Georgina Bland, England who I have played a few times in both international and domestic tournaments. I knew the style of game Georgina was going to play would make my semi a really difficult and hard fought contest. I won the first comfortably, but I started poorly in my second set leaving myself a lot of work to do. This meant that the match went into a third set. I started well and got ahead but Georgina is a very tough opponent and didn't make the game easy for me. It was a huge relief to win 21-18 and make my first ever BE Circuit Final. 

This tournament really highlighted the importance of post match recovery and trying to manage my body and mind through the rounds. I was as professional as possible throughout the tournament but all my three sets were slowly catching up with me.
I was so excited for my final. To be in on the last day of the tournament was such an amazing feeling. The game was so close. Both sets were point for point. I really left it all out on the court but unfortunately I was unable to get the win, losing out 21-19 24-22.
Post match I was so disappointed to be so close to winning the tournament. Upon reflection I feel I have learned a lot from this tournament. I know that I have the fight and determination to get back into games I'm losing, to really dig deep when its needed and to be cool and calm in pressure situations. Also how important preparation, warm up, nutrition, sleep, stretching and post match recovery is. The feeling of being in a final is amazing and is definitely the round I want to consistently be getting to. 
My next tournament is Dutch Grand Prix where I want to test myself against higher ranked players in the world."

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Badminton Wales are thrilled with Jordan's results so far, her  steady improvement through the first month of competition bodes very well for the rest of the season.
Jordan's next international event is the Yonex Dutch Open 2017 where she faces Getter Saar of Estonia in Qualification to advance and face second seed Mette Poulsen, Denmark. We feel Jordan definitely has what it takes to win both of these matches.

For the full results from the Polish International, click here.