Nathaniel Culiat SA 21 U 111085
Actions speak louder than words. I realize this when I was given the chance by my badminton varsity friends that had their training last Saturday, February 16, 2013. I learned about their training since my friend, who is also my key informant, messaged me first if I’m interested to join their badminton club. Their training is every Saturday. However, I decided to first watch how they have their training before deciding if I am to join.
Upon arriving at the venue which is named BBC or Batangas Badminton Center, a few players were already having a go on the courts. Some of them were playing singles or doubles category. The persons inside the venue were around 7. Out of these 7 persons, 4 boys were the ones having a go on the courts. These boys were running from the back to the front of the court and vice versa, smashing every time the shuttle is returned high, and faking their shots to make the opponent have a difficult time guessing what could happen next. The remaining 3 were girls. They were sitting on the benches, preparing training equipment like shoes, clothes, and racquets or fixing their selves by putting a ponytail, powder, and doing some stretching. Also, placed on the benches are the players’ bags labeled with Yonex, Head, Dunlop, or Carlton. For the most part of the day, what I can hear are shuttlecocks hitting the string bed of the racquet, shoes screeching on the floor signifying a good floor condition which is not too slippery, and most of all, the cheers, laughter, and teasing of other players which will surely make the training a bit distracting but fun. It’s fun because it can only mean how close the players with one another are – no intimidation, no inferiority, no feeling of being left out, and awkwardness is almost non – existent. The place does not smell with sweat of the players but perfumes and body sprays are more prominent. For tactile memories, I can see players showing sportsmanship like shaking other player’s hand. In addition to this, I got hit by a shuttlecock when I returned it wrong to the opponent’s side of the court. I was planning to perform a drop but the shuttle bounced a bit high from the string bed giving the opponent the opportunity to perform a net kill.
In order to fully feel how they really train, I stayed with them from 8:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon, since that’s the time when they finish. Being known by my friend as an enthusiast, he let me join their warm up.
The warm up consists firstly of jogging around the 3 courts 15 times. I thought 15 times was just few, but it’s not. I was already catching my breath around the 7th lap. During the12th lap, I stop jogging and started walking. After jogging, next up is stretching from head to toe to condition body muscle. Footwork follows afterwards. The team captain started putting empty shuttlecock tubes on the court. These tubes will be guiding marks on where to pass to practice the skill “drop.” After having my turn, I feel my heart pumping really hard then my vision became blurry. I was having a high blood pressure since the experience for me is new. My high BP lasted for about 5 minutes then I went to the next set up. This time it was for practicing smash. Sadly, another high BP erupted and I have to take a rest again for another 5 minutes. Fortunately this was the last high BP instance during that day. The next course for footwork is accomplished through the use of shuttlecocks placed under the net. In here, skills like drop, smash, and cross court are practiced in one go. Players move around the court performing drops and smashes while making the shuttle move across the court. This set for warm up lasted for about 15 minutes. The players were then instructed to take a rest for 5 minutes. After the 5 minute break a new course was set. This course has different parts, like back stretch, curl – ups, push – ups, more smash and drop training, backhand stroke, and jogging. All these will be taken by the players. The players have one minute each part then after that they will move on to the next until they cover all parts. The team captain then again instructed the players to take another 5 minute water break after a full rotation on the said course while he arranges match ups for single and doubles category for a mini tournament. I joined the mini tournament as well. I picked a random paper to determine what category I belong. Luckily, I get to be in the doubles category. I really like doubles since I won’t be exhausted too much compared to singles. Unfortunately, even in doubles I felt exhausted since our opponent always sends the shuttlecock at back making me do all the chasing. In the end, me and my partner lose to a more skilled and experienced opponent. Despite getting tired and having a high blood pressure, playing and training with the sport is really great not to mention the fact that I meet a lot of new friends I can hang out with while training.
Most of the players were a bit shy to approach me during my free time except for my 3 close friends in the team. Some of them were very respectful when talking to me even if these people are very loud when it comes to other players. These respectful players use the term “po,” “opo,” or “kuya” when having conversations with me. On one hand, I feel a little awkward and on the other a little surprised since I feel that our ages are not that far from each other. Therefore, I decided to tell them not to be too polite because for me it does not really matter for the meantime.
In connection to how I performed, my key informant commented that the way I execute drop was wrong. He said that mine was too low and that it should be level or higher with the top part of the net. However, the comments were a little positive when it comes to backhand and smash executions as stated by my key informant.
My presence influenced the players since I noticed that they can’t focus and play properly. One evidence is when we lose, since, me and my partner’s playing style is not compatible.
While watching the players when I was sitting on the benches and waiting for my turn, I thought that what they’re doing is easy – that the court is small, I can actually chase shots easy since my reach is long, and the fact that the techniques were easy. Unfortunately, I was proven otherwise. I learned to be more cautious in what I think. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Furthermore, experience is really the best teacher.
The knowledge about the training was thanks to my key informant. If it was not for him I would not know that even a certain club already exists. It was also thanks to him that I know where I can have improvements regarding the way I play the game. Moreover, now I can finally learn more about the game by actually training with them since I’ll be joining in.
The advantage of participant observation is the actual experience that a person can have. Participant observation gives a researcher first – hand information about the event making the facts more reliable and straight. It can also provide changes in perspectives and ideals about the event or topic. Socialization and gaining friends also come along with participant observation.
For me, a questionnaire and an interview are better suited if the work to be done is a formal one. Furthermore, it is a way to get more respondents if a researcher is lacking time unlike in participant observation. Though, for me, these methods provide a not so accurate feedback and a second – hand information since the researcher is not actually present when the event took place.