The South Pasadena High School coed badminton team heads into its second season hoping to surpass last year’s subpar performance. Although the team qualified for CIF last year, it was only able to win two out of its nine games, a record which the players strongly believe they can improve upon.
“This year, our goal as a team is to reach the CIF-SS semifinals,” junior Michael Wu, the creator of the team last year, said. “My individual goal is to win the CIF-SS Individual Men’s Championship.”
One strong disadvantage that the team faced last year was its lack of experience. Badminton is the newest sport at SPHS, as last year was the team’s debut season. Other schools in the league, such as San Marino and Mark Keppel, have had badminton teams for many years, and have therefore developed their badminton programs further than South Pasadena has.
“In order to make up for our lack of experience, we need to work hard and be persistent,” Wu said. “Also, this year we have developed an enhanced way of training which we hope will help us develop our skills.”
In order to implement the new training method, Wu split the players into two groups, the A team and the B team. The A team, similar to a varsity team, consists of twelve players who will get the majority of the game time. The rest of the players make up the B team and will act mainly as backups. These players are expected to make the A team next season. Despite this split, the A and B teams are not completely separated, since they still practice and train together.
The main reason for splitting the players is to allow for greater training efficiency. Last year, the team had 34 members and three courts, each of which could hold only six players. This led to a drastic decrease in training time, which the players clearly suffered from during the season. With this year’s new system, and a reduction in the number of team members, practices are much more organized and beneficial, as each player gets more hours of training and exercise.
This new and improved practice method could not come at a better time. The team heads into the 2016 season with its work cut out for it, facing many of the same opponents who beat them last year. Nonetheless, the players remain determined.
“We always encourage people not to give up, even if they are facing some extremely good players,” Wu said. “We encourage and expect them to perform even better when they are facing opponents above their level.”