CA Badminton: A Smashing Season

May 11, 2023 5 min read

Badminton can change like the weather—with a rally going from a summer breeze to blowing winds in seconds.

During a match, the shuttle dances through the air back and forth, setting a slow and steady pace until it’s slammed down for a point. In the blink of an eye and the whistle of a speeding shuttle—another point goes to the opponent.

Badminton has always been present at Calgary Academy, but the sport is growing throughout the student body. While CA is celebrating championships this season, the heart of the sport is the lessons students learn throughout their games and practices.

A Battle of Racquets, Shuttles, and Minds

Badminton is a historically underrated sport, only making its Olympic debut in 1992. With enough strength, a shuttle can fly at hundreds of kilometres an hour, requiring an accurate and fast reaction to return the hit.

Only when someone sits down to watch a game do they appreciate the essence of badminton, which CA coach and teacher Jonathan Weitzel describes as a “chess match.”

“I like to think of badminton as chess. You don’t want to think too many moves in advance, but you need to know where your opponent will be.”

Almost like a duel, badminton is a mental and physical game. Someone can overwhelm their opponent with strength, but a well-placed return is just as deadly. Harmony is the name of the game in badminton, and Mr. Weitzel focuses on this idea when coaching.

“Coaching is about focusing on the student’s areas of growth… Anybody can grab a racquet and hit back and forth, but what do you do when you have to send the shuttle to the back of the court, and when do you smash it?”

This year’s badminton season was successful, with students placing bronze, silver, and gold. One duo, in particular, has shined this year: the doubles team of Kyra A. and Andy J.

A Powerful Partnership

Kyra and Andy are an impressive badminton duo, always focused on how they can improve their game. They have an infectious energy during practice, pushing each other to play their best.

While singles badminton is a more strategic match, doubles are where Kyra and Andy shine. Doubles badminton allows for intensity and aggression because they support each other. If Andy misses a shot, he knows Kyra is right behind him to return it.

I like doubles because you can rely on your teammate. Your shots are straight at your opponent. Instead of thinking about which shot to play next, you can full-on attack… You can be more aggressive because you have someone watching your back.”

In-game communication is essential to their success—Andy trusts Kyra’s skill and vice versa. When Kyra calls out a shot, Andy knows to give her space to operate and get them a point.

“If I’m on the left of the court, I move a little so Kyra has space to swing… For doubles, you need to understand your teammate.”

The games throughout their season helped Kyra and Andy work on their communication and understand their roles. During a match, Kyra knows she can’t focus on a shot she misses—she has to get ready for the next hit.

“If you’re in the front and you miss the shuttle, it’s in their hands now… It’s the trust that’s really important.”

Andy and Kyra’s hard work has paid off—they went undefeated in their league championship and the Calgary Independent School’s Athletic Association Tournament of Champions for Badminton. However, if you ask Kyra and Andy, the best part of their season wasn’t the gold medals—it was the time they spent working on their skills in practice and games.

The two of them have the commitment, communication, and resilience necessary to succeed in their sport, essential skills, according to Mr. Weitzel. They don’t sweat the lost points in a match because they know they can get them back by working together, something Kyra notes is an important mindset.

“It’s only one point. At the end of the day, you can always get one back. I think our communication is really good.” – Kyra

CA Badminton Has a Bright Future

Though this season has been a success, Mr. Weitzel isn’t focused on gold medals for his students.

Whether it’s in the badminton club (with over 60 kids and counting) Mr. Weitzel runs after school along with Ms. Sas, Ms. Curran, and Ms. Parker, or the official team, he hopes to continue instilling a passion for the game into everyone who participates. In the end, what matters with badminton and any other school sports, are the lessons and skills learned.

“I just want to see badminton keep growing. I love the sport, it’s great for the students, and I’ll keep it going as long as I’m here.” – Mr. Weitzel