In the past, we used to jump into any tournaments that came our way just to give the boys the so called “competition experience”. It came to a point where we had enough of being just another bunch of early exits. Over time, we started to pick and choose tournaments that were on a more “level playing field”. This works for the boys because they gradually began to progress into semi-finals and finals. This built confidence in their game.
Of late, what were trending in the market were “group format” tournaments as opposed to the conventional “knock-out” tournaments. The “group format” was not so brutal as budding hopefuls can get to play all their round robin matches even if they lose them all. Whereas in “knock-out” tournaments, they would not stand a chance.
Except for some rare decent tournaments, majority of the private junior tournaments do not conduct draws using seeding system. Consequently, depending on the integrity or ignorance of the organisers, top players were doom to fight it out in the early rounds. I have seen to the utter dismay of parents, a cluster of state players were all grouped together in the top quarter of the draw. The organisers may be using these tournaments to promote their brands but this is as close as they can get to state players extermination.
For regular tournament goers, just one look at the draw, you will more or less know how far the boys can go. The badminton fraternity is small and for the discerned, it does not take much effort to predict with fair accuracy, who would eventually end up in the final. I used to conceal the draw from the boys especially against an overwhelming opponent although I knew that was not the correct approach. They should know who they were up against so as we can guide them to approach the game positively. Be that as it may, it could be quite daunting having to play against opponents whom they have lost time and time again.
Sometimes, despite preparing the boys adequately for tournaments, there is also no guarantee they will perform to your expectations. They are after all still boys with irrational emotions. So you cannot expect them to stay on top of their game in every tournament like the invincible Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
As a parent, watching your child battling it out especially in contests that goes into deuce is not for the faint hearted. My emotions would oscillate from satisfaction to disappointment, excitement to despair, ecstasy to agony, all in one weekend. Having said that, badminton tournaments were something I always look forward to in the weekends as well as spending quality time with my boys and family. The tournament arena also presents a conducive opportunity to meet the acquaintances of other parents, coaches, enthusiasts who were equally passionate about the sport we all love, badminton.