Preparing for the World Championships

Right after we came back home from our Canada/USA tour we started a 6 week training program to prepare us for the World Championships in Denmark. We started with a “medium hard week” and last week was scheduled to be a “hard training week”. This means long lasting exercises on court, often executed in a two against one mode, many repeated exercises at the power training, long spinning sessions and a multi program on Tuesday and Friday which did not make me happy when I first saw the scheme.

You may wonder what kind of training I am talking about. For those who like to get an idea about what a training is like and who don’t mind a rather technical story I will explain below, by means of an example, the multi shuttle training we did last Tuesday.

When in the hall I start laying down the rows of shuttles. I soon find out that one, fully filled, big box of shuttles is not enough. I lay very many rows for the exercises to come:

3 x 20 shuttles are meant for the warming-up. The feeder shoots shuttles over the entire length/width of the court and of course at a rather slow pace.

Round 1

24 shuttles: high lob, straight forward smash preferably in the tramlines, move to the front field to finish off the following shuttles, move back diagonally to receive a high lob again, smash, straight forward and finish off at the net. This exercise is repeated 6 times.

24 shuttles: I am the front field player in doubles. I get one soft feed in the middle, move to my forehand side to cover my own half of the field, then the feeder shoots again two level shuttles. This exercise is repeated 4 times on my forehand side and 4 times on my back hand side.

25 shuttles: I am the back field player in the (mixed) doubles. I am constantly feeded in the back field as well as the center field and I have to shoot the shuttles over the net with as much variation as possible. Here a point of attention is to close the gap to the center field as quick as possible after a shoot from the back field. This is important in the doubles to avoid too much space between the front field and back field player. This way you can keep it a compact game.

25 shuttles: I am directed to all possible positions on court and I am constantly defending and trying to get the shuttle. A lot of twisting and turning, a lot of moving forward and backward, from left to right. An exhausting exercise causing an almost ultimate heartbeat.

18 shuttles: I am the service receiving player. I am ready at the service line and get a flick service which I smash, then the feeder gives a fast center field shuttle which I drive back right over the net which I get back and then finish it off at the net.

16 shuttles: Center field, side to side jumps. The feeder shoots, constantly changing from left to right, medium height shuttles to which I have to jump and smash them in the floor as hard as possible, all this preferably varying between cross court smashes and straight forward smashes in the tramlines.

25 shuttles: No front nor back field, better known as ”box”. In a fixed sequence I am directed from left to right. All shots have to be returned flat over the net and as offensive as possible, mostly by low powered and stopping strokes. The pace is high and in combination with the previous exercise this one is very heavy.

20 shuttles: I am front field player and I am only receiving shots which I have to return over the net from the front field. Either hard and flat strokes or soft and feeling shots.
This concludes round 1 and I am allowed a 1 minute break. Then the whole thing starts all over again till I have finished 4 rounds.

After these 4 rounds we start with the partner exercises which means that we act like we do in the doubles.

6 x 25 shuttles: without using the back court. The focus is on making fast speed from the center field to the net and return the fast presented shuttles overarm. Now it’s important that I keep on moving fast and explosively despite the acidification in the legs.

The final exercise is 4 times one minute in which you almost die. The feeders shoot a lob in the right back court which I return in the center field as a stick smash, followed by a center field medium height lob on the left side which I have to smash as hard as possible by jumping into it and to finish off the (third) returned shuttle at the net. Then it starts all over again. I do this twice to the right and twice to the left side. After the last minute ( I wasn’t aware how long a minute can be) I am completely worn out and drop on the floor where I have to lay down for a couple of minutes to recover.

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