Badminton Asia development officer Ian Gil Piencenaves is currently on island to prepare the CNMI National Badminton Team for the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 as well as conduct coaching workshops for members of the Northern Marianas Badminton Association.
The former Philippine national badminton player and level 2 badminton coach is actually on loan to Oceania Badminton from Badminton Asia to conduct the weeklong training and coaching course on Saipan.
“I’ll be Saipan for a week. My main task is to train your national athletes for the Mini Games and my secondary task is to conduct level 1 courses for NMBA coaches in the CNMI. [I will introduce] routines that can help them improve and provide coaching tips,” he said.
Piencenaves said it’s not the first time he has met CNMI badminton players as they already rubbed elbows during tournaments in Guam in 2019 and in 2022. Asked what’s his first impressions of the U.S. territory’s national players, he said they all need to improve on physical fitness and work on their hitting and footwork.
“But one week is not really enough. I will surely give them drills and hopeful we can do more online coaching and [for the coaches] at least get them started on how training sessions are done.”
Piencenaves also got to see NMBA’s court at the TSL Sports Complex and said it has its pros and cons. “The TSL ceiling was quite low but good to develop doubles players because doubles is mainly a lot of flat, drive smashes compared to singles which you need height of your lift.”
On the badminton venue for the Mini Games, he said once the matting and air-conditioning system at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium are installed it will even be better than the gyms in Manila.
The Butuan, Philippines native said since he’ll only be on island for a week, most of the workshops he will be conducting are crash courses based on Badminton World Federation’s coaching education program.
“What we’re doing now is like a crash course for the coaches to help them out. We’ve delivered Shuttle Time courses for PE teachers online in the past but we’re hoping to do face-to-face since I’m here. The first 10 lessons in Shuttle Time can be done even without a badminton court. So you can develop skills. You can develop physical activities for children, which is safe and fun for them that can also easily translate to developing badminton skills.”
“I’ll giving them a crash course with some modules in our coaching education program,” added Piencenaves, who said that since those courses are designed for whole day session he will just find a way to cram them into 1-2 hour sessions.
Piencenaves said he’s also quite excited with the introduction of Air Badminton, which is badminton played outdoors. “It’s good start for children just wanting to learn badminton.”
On badminton itself, Piencenaves said the sport is the fastest racket sport in the world and is the third most popular sport in the world, based on social media presence. He also noted the CNMI’s capability to fully develop the sport for locals, adults, and children, making note of the new equipment coming in, fairly good facilities, and access to development officers like himself. (With reports from Chrystal Marino)