Badminton Asia Development Officer, Ian Gil Piencenaves, recently joined Northern Marianas Badminton Association (NMBA) to prepare their team for the upcoming Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, while conducting coaching workshops for members of their committee.
The former player and BWF Level 2 badminton coach is collaborating with Badminton Oceania to assist with player development and coach education, travelling from his nearby resident country (Philippines).
“I’ll be Saipan for a week. My main task is to train 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 NMBA 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 hopefully we can do more online coaching and [for the coaches] at least get them started on how training sessions are done.”
After his week with NMBA, he will travel to Guam to run a similar training session for the players, where he is also familiar with the badminton scene. Three months ago, he delivered a Shuttle Time Tutor course as part of the MA Grants, where he upskilled teachers from Guam and NMBA so they could return to their local communities and schools to get more rackets in more hands.
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.
The Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games takes place from 17-25 June 2022. Follow Badminton Oceania on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest information from the tournament.