With the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 fast approaching, NMI badminton players more than welcome the training sessions they had with Badminton Asia development officer and Level 2 coach Ian Gil Piencenaves.
Piencenaves, a former national player for the Philippines who played in Badminton World Federation competitions, was on loan from Badminton Asia and was brought to Saipan by Badminton Oceania to hold a coaching workshop and Shuttle Time teacher course early this month. He also added to his schedule a series of training sessions with the NMI National Badminton Team.
“Coach Ian’s training has been extremely beneficial to us. From warm-ups to drills to cool-downs, there were many things we didn’t know or hadn’t done. There are also specific skills designed for doubles and singles play that make a significant difference in the game. We might not have known if it hadn’t been for him,” said Janelle Pangilinan, adding that although short, the five sessions with Piencenaves are critical, especially at this stage of their preparations for the Pacific Mini Games.
The regional competition that will feature badminton and eight other sports will run from June 17 to 25. Badminton matches will take place from June 20 to 25 with NMI players battling representatives of Guam, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Wallis & Futuna at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Leonard Manuel, another member of the national team, took note of the training regimen that Piencenaves shared to the squad and the techniques he demonstrated to the players.
“In the nearly one week he trained us, our team has improved significantly due to his rigorous training regimen. We learned the purpose of certain shots, essential footwork skills, and physical conditioning among other things. We are incredibly grateful with his assistance, as we move closer to reaching our peak form for the Mini Games.
Piencenaves, who is a bit familiar with NMI players after seeing them play in Guam early this year, hopes the squad will continue to follow the drills he taught them as these will really improve the players’ stamina and footwork.
“Skills-wise, they are good and are getting there as far as being ready for the Mini Games is concerned. I encourage them to push themselves harder in every training session and work more on their physical fitness,” he said.
Meanwhile, Northern Marianas Badminton Association president Merlie Tolentino thanked Badminton Oceania, Badminton Asia, and the BWF for making Piencenaves’ visit to the NMI possible.
“Coach Ian’s expertise in training athletes for high-level competitions is a big help to our national players preparing for the Mini Games. He was also able to provide training for our aspiring coaches, who will play a critical role in growing badminton in the NMI, especially at the interscholastic level. We managed to kick off our interscholastic league this year and with more coaches/teachers getting the needed training, we are positive we would have more teams and more players for next season’s badminton competition,” Tolentino said. (PR)