HELLO I’m “BADMINTON” - A real game.

  • By rbentley
  • 19 Oct, 2016
When just prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics I Googled the USA Olympic Team I found that the sport of Badminton wasn’t even mentioned on the Wikipedia site. It caused pause as to why the US knows so little about badminton, the second most played sport in the World.

Don’t get me wrong, badminton is popular in the US too, just not in the same way as in so many other countries around the world. Mention badminton at the office water cooler during the summer months and the response will be, “Yeah, I play badminton, in fact I played last weekend at my sister’s barbeque”. So badminton as an outdoor sport played in the backyard or at the beach is well known. Badminton as an athletic game isn’t. Why? Perhaps the adage “Out of site out of mind” applies. If you have only ever seen backyard badminton you have no appreciation for “real badminton”. The badminton that requires athletes to have verticals comparable to the best verticals in basketball or volleyball. The badminton that is defined as being one of the most aerobic of all sports. The badminton that requires cat like reflexes. Real Badminton where the top players have millions of dollars of net worth. The game where at 2012 Olympics the men’s singles final between China’s Lin Dan and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei was the second most watched event at the Olympics only behind that of the 100 Meter final with Usain Bolt. That is the “Real Game”.

The real game is also a game for life. From age 6 to over 60 people are active in badminton. It’s one of the few games that lasts a lifetime. Most players from team sports such as Football, Basketball, and Hockey evolve into playing new sports as they get older such as Golf, Tennis and now Pickleball. A number of years ago Julius Erving aka Dr.J one of the greatest basketball players of all time was asked upon news of having a new grandson whether he would be a basketball player? His response was “No! He will be a golfer.” The response is puzzling. Here you have one of the greats in basketball and he doesn’t want his legacy to be carried forward into another generation. It evokes an immediate WHY? His response was “That’s where you end up anyway.”  

Badminton players unlike so many other sports are able to stick to their sport for life. Sure, the jump smashes don’t have the same “air time” however what is lost in the vertical is made up in “craftiness”. All the “old” players have at least one or two crazy skill shots that are good for a point or two against any team other than a world class team.

It’s the real game that is now being played at ClearOne.  

Next time you will be sipping a cool one at the water cooler and your friend mentions he played badminton you can give he a “wink” and say have you ever played “Real Badminton” and then invite him to come to ClearOne Sports where you can see real badminton played and give it a go yourself. Perhaps you may be inclined to add to Wikipedia and help the rest of the future US Olympic Watching Public get to see a game that they once were a dominate nation in.

The US has only not medaled at the Olympics’ in three sports: Ping Pong (Table Tennis), Handball and Badminton. As viewers turn in and watch the game and as networks beginning to carry the sport the US may well start educating the “water cooler aficionados” to the sport of real Badminton and ultimately producing a crop of athletes dedicated to badminton and finally bring home some medals.  

For now you can come to ClearOne and see high performance of “Real Badminton” played in person. We offer daily training and have more than a few budding stars that may well in future years bring home medals for the US.

By rbentley 18 May, 2017
Watch the Avengers movie and at some point in time Captain America will instruct the Hulk and say “Hulk Smash! What are they playing badminton? No they are saving the World—badminton of course would be way more fun! However, if you did get to play a doubles game of badminton with the Hulk you would certainly want to say the same thing. You would have him smashing all the time. And with him smashing you would win every game even against a team that included other Superheroes. Or would you?

Assume for a moment that all the superheroes had a badminton match - who would win! Okay, let’s exclude Superman - seems like unless the racquet was a special Yonex edition of Kryptonite, everyone else would have no chance. The Flash would simply be too fast. So let’s assume it’s a badminton match of “lesser” heroes, the Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, Captain America and the like. For my money it goes to Spiderman. No question that the Hulk would have “One Hell of a SMASH” and win every point he got a chance to smash. Batman, of course has cool gadgets and would make good use of them for sure. It would be interesting to see all the gadgets in play between Batman and Iron Man. But for my money the winner has to be Spiderman. He embodies the skills of the quintessential badminton player. The Hulk would not be able to master the delicate finesse and net shots - after all he is called “The Hulk” not “The Delicate”. Iron Man would simply not be nimble enough. Batman wouldn’t have time to put his gadgets to use. So it’s Spiderman that would win the day.

Badminton is a game that requires excellent eye-hand coordination and razor sharp reflexes. It also provides an excellent aerobic workout and is a great game to incorporate as a cross training benefit. You also need that “sixth sense” (read Spidey sense) to anticipate the fakes and misdirection that is ever present with high level badminton.

Top badminton players are able to hit the shuttle at up to 200 mph. (That would be one of the more delicate shots for the Hulk.) They leap to jump smash and have verticals as high as a top volleyball or basketball player. Aerobically a singles game in badminton is more demanding than a top game in tennis. At the end of a game with Spiderman, I’m pretty sure he would state, “With increased skill comes increased challenges”.  

Badminton is extremely popular most everywhere. Badminton can lay claim to being the second most played sport in the world. It’s hugely popular in Asia and Europe. The lack of popularity in the US is starting to change and change rapidly. There have been a number of new badminton facilities recently throughout the US. The popularity is due to a number of factors. Badminton is a game that is quick to learn and easy for the whole family to “bat” it around. (Hmm, maybe I should reconsider Batman…no, sticking with Spiderman.)

Players new to badminton find that they can quickly learn to hit to each other and have entertaining games almost immediately. Children can easily play with mom and dad. Once basic skills are learned the game becomes increasingly challenging. Challenging to the point of needing all aspects of your Spiderman skills including the Spidey sense to help react to shuttles flying around the court. With rallies that can go for upwards of 100 strokes and require jumping and leaping to cover 375 sq. ft. of court space you do truly need all of Spiderman’s agility and speed to play the game at a top level. All of these skills can be put to good use at the ClearOne Badminton Centre in Orlando.

So regardless if you have been recently being bitten by a radioactive spider or not, come and test your own Spidey Senses and give badminton a try.

Also don’t be surprised if we see the next Stan Lee feature film or comic book has his Superheroes having a game of badminton to the death. The command “Hulk Smash” will take on a whole new connotation. Still, when you are sitting with your friends make sure you bet on Spiderman.
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By rbentley 19 Oct, 2016
When just prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics I Googled the USA Olympic Team I found that the sport of Badminton wasn’t even mentioned on the Wikipedia site. It caused pause as to why the US knows so little about badminton, the second most played sport in the World.

Don’t get me wrong, badminton is popular in the US too, just not in the same way as in so many other countries around the world. Mention badminton at the office water cooler during the summer months and the response will be, “Yeah, I play badminton, in fact I played last weekend at my sister’s barbeque”. So badminton as an outdoor sport played in the backyard or at the beach is well known. Badminton as an athletic game isn’t. Why? Perhaps the adage “Out of site out of mind” applies. If you have only ever seen backyard badminton you have no appreciation for “real badminton”. The badminton that requires athletes to have verticals comparable to the best verticals in basketball or volleyball. The badminton that is defined as being one of the most aerobic of all sports. The badminton that requires cat like reflexes. Real Badminton where the top players have millions of dollars of net worth. The game where at 2012 Olympics the men’s singles final between China’s Lin Dan and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei was the second most watched event at the Olympics only behind that of the 100 Meter final with Usain Bolt. That is the “Real Game”.

The real game is also a game for life. From age 6 to over 60 people are active in badminton. It’s one of the few games that lasts a lifetime. Most players from team sports such as Football, Basketball, and Hockey evolve into playing new sports as they get older such as Golf, Tennis and now Pickleball. A number of years ago Julius Erving aka Dr.J one of the greatest basketball players of all time was asked upon news of having a new grandson whether he would be a basketball player? His response was “No! He will be a golfer.” The response is puzzling. Here you have one of the greats in basketball and he doesn’t want his legacy to be carried forward into another generation. It evokes an immediate WHY? His response was “That’s where you end up anyway.”  

Badminton players unlike so many other sports are able to stick to their sport for life. Sure, the jump smashes don’t have the same “air time” however what is lost in the vertical is made up in “craftiness”. All the “old” players have at least one or two crazy skill shots that are good for a point or two against any team other than a world class team.

It’s the real game that is now being played at ClearOne.  

Next time you will be sipping a cool one at the water cooler and your friend mentions he played badminton you can give he a “wink” and say have you ever played “Real Badminton” and then invite him to come to ClearOne Sports where you can see real badminton played and give it a go yourself. Perhaps you may be inclined to add to Wikipedia and help the rest of the future US Olympic Watching Public get to see a game that they once were a dominate nation in.

The US has only not medaled at the Olympics’ in three sports: Ping Pong (Table Tennis), Handball and Badminton. As viewers turn in and watch the game and as networks beginning to carry the sport the US may well start educating the “water cooler aficionados” to the sport of real Badminton and ultimately producing a crop of athletes dedicated to badminton and finally bring home some medals.  

For now you can come to ClearOne and see high performance of “Real Badminton” played in person. We offer daily training and have more than a few budding stars that may well in future years bring home medals for the US.

By rbentley 01 Nov, 2013
The ClearOne Sports Centre opened in 2012 to a recurring theme from badminton players of “where are you?”. The Centre is at the back of a large warehouse that was somewhat hidden by trees and commercial road work in the front. The Centre also had no street signage. That’s not because the marketing department uniquely thought signage for a business was a bad idea but rather that the city's rules for installing signage and the massive road construction project on John Young Parkway precluded getting a sign installed when ClearOne opened. This made finding the entrance challenging, particularly in the evenings.

Often the centre’s phone would ring and we could pretty much predict the next line it went something like, “I’ve been driving around trying to find you guys, where are you?” After some explicit directions they would eventually find us. Upon entering there was often a gasp, “WOW! This is impressive facility, but boy you guys sure are hard to find.”

The road work was eventually completed and sign installed. Step One of marketing 101 was now complete. On to Step Two.

Step Two was introducing training through our Head Coach Hendry Winarto. Hendry came to ClearOne after coaching in Spain for close to 8 years. With a flair for badminton that is prevalent in all top Indonesian players and his fluency in Spanish, he was a natural fit to head up the coaching of badminton in Orlando. We now have dozens of students training multiple times a week and we offer classes from “Kids Beginner” to “Super Elite” six days a weekTick, tick. Two Steps down and now the Step Three and that was to create awareness outside of just Orlando for the sport of badminton. Enter the Yonex USA International.

In early 2013, after discussions with the organizers of the Miami International about creating a new tournament in Orlando, ClearOne met with Yonex executives from Japan and the USA and the idea to host what would become the Yonex USA International was hatched. About 9 months later (that’s just how long a new baby takes) the Yonex USA International 2013 launched. It was in badminton terminology a “Smashing” success with 96 players from 11 countries participating. The U.S. dominated the results taking 4 of the 5 gold medals.

This event attracted major local media coverage and awareness throughout the badminton world. ClearOne and the Orlando destination was now on the map. Prior to the international tournament ClearOne hosted the Southern a regional tournament that attracted players from as far away as Texas. College teams from Canada have also trained at ClearOne.

The badminton world is now aware of us. And now of course we are continuing to expose all of Orlando to the sport of badminton.

So three easy steps to International awareness. Well not totally easy....it required a lot of hard work from the staff at ClearOne and most importantly the support of the badminton community of Orlando and Florida. The International tournament simply could not be hosted without the dedication and commitment of the close to one hundred volunteers that have assisted us on this event. Many thanks to the players, officials and fans for your support. And I guess that actually concludes Step 4 which was recognition.

ClearOne will continue to grow and offer more and more to the badminton world and eventually train the next US and possibly World Champions. Go Keira! Keira is Hendry and Maria Winarto's darling baby girl who at 9 months old already has the patented backhand grip of her dad.

Step Four, Other sports? Yes! ClearOne has become so much more than what started as a badminton centre as we have added the sports of Ping Pong (Table Tennis) and Pickleball. The Central Florida Table Tennis Club uses the centre to offer recreational and high- performance Table Tennis 4 times a week. And not to be outdone, Pickleball now uses the center every day of the week. Pickleball is very popular with the over 50 crowd, however, you may be surprised to learn that it was very popular with all the kids camps that were run at ClearOne during the summer and even played at a few schools. We often have players as young as 7 playing on a weekly basis.

So 4 EASY steps completed that have taken many hours of time and commitment from all the staff at ClearOne. Our future looks very bright and I in particular look forward to the completion of Step Five the crowning of a World or Olympic Champion that was trained at ClearOne. Go Keira!

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