We're on our way!
Since my last blog we have had a couple more weeks of hard training with a lot of physical elements in order to build up fitness and endurance. This was followed by an excellent week’s training when two Polish players were invited to spar with us. This gave us the opportunity to play some different players and also added to some of our training routines as there was a lot of pressure provided in 3 or 4 v 2 routines etc.
It has also been nice that Dan and Ollie have been able to train in Cardiff most weeks. It’s great to have regular doubles matches and it also helps boost team morale when you are all in the same training environment (going through the same pain, albeit worse at my age!). For the last week or two, training has changed so that we taper and are as sharp as possible when the time comes to compete in Glasgow. Sets are shorter and sharper which therefore have increased intensity in conjunction with more game based training.
For the two weeks prior to the Games I have also been off work and preparing like a full time athlete. In addition to being able to add a few sessions here or there it also allows me the opportunity to rest in between sessions which has a positive effect on my performance at the next session. During this last week the Stoeva sisters are over from Bulgaria providing great training for Carissa and Sarah and the mixed.
It is now just a few days until we board the bus to Glasgow, time has really flown by! It isn’t long ago we had the Team Wales send off in Sophia Gardens where our friends and family were involved. This was a great event and in addition to a speech from the First Minister and some patriotic singing we also had a massive team photo which was like a sea of red (I hope the stands look like this in Glasgow!). We are travelling on Saturday which will give us a few days training in the competition hall as we are unlikely to have access to this once the competition starts. This time will be invaluable as I hear it’s a massive hall which takes some getting used to.
I can’t wait to get up there now, the buzz is really picking up in the press and on social media and I’m sure it’ll be a unique experience. It’s a fine balance between wanting to soak up everything that is different about a Commonwealth Games and not getting carried away. We are there to compete to the best of our abilities and nothing should distract us from our normal preparations. One of the things you will never forget about the Games experience is the opening ceremony and the hairs standing on end whilst you hear the crowd react to the team marching. Badminton’s competition schedule is not out yet but I hope that it’s kind to us so that we can enjoy this moment. That’s it for now, wish us luck! Go Team Wales!