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Athlete of the Month: Freshman Adrian Lee

The Oracle: How long have you been playing badminton and what inspired you to play? 

Adrian Lee: Since I was four or five I’ve been playing but I got into more training when I reached eight or nine. My dad is a big fan of badminton; he’s been playing since he was young, so he introduced me to the sport. When I used to live on the East Coast in Boston, we used to go to the gym and I watched him play badminton. He’s been really supportive and encourages me to do better.

TO: When did you start playing seriously and what made you do so?

Written By Aayush Dubey

AL: When I moved [from Boston] over here, there were quite a few good coaches in the Bay Area. Again, my dad was really pushing me during elementary school to do a lot of extracurricular activities.

TO: What makes badminton different from other sports?

AL: First, compared to basketball or water polo, it’s an individual sport. You don’t get other people encouraging you and you don’t have to encourage others. It’s just you and your coach, of course. You also have a partner in mixed doubles or doubles. In badminton, you have to compete with other opponents and win points off your opponent.

TO: What do you like most about badminton? How is it and has it been special to you?

AL: I remember when I was little I didn’t like it as much as I do now. I thought [badminton] was just something cool to do since my dad kind of had me keep on going every weekend. Now whenever I don’t want to do homework or I just want to have some fun, I ask my dad if I can have a group lesson since I look forward to that on the weekends. I’ve been training with the same people since I was five; they’re pretty good friends. When you go to competitions, you get to meet new people and train in other places like L.A.

TO: How are you preparing for it? What are some things you need to work on?

AL: I train three times a week but I’m not sure if that’s a lot or too little. I would prepare by getting in a better mindset, train more at home and do basic workouts, and work more on my attitude; [my attitude] is what I’ve been trying to work on recently. I tend to get really frustrated when I don’t do well.

TO: What do you hope to learn while competing on a national level?

AL: I get game experiences. You have to be able to conquer your nerves or just deal with them. You also have to deal with competing with your friends. You can’t relent if you’re playing with your partner; you have to keep them strong and you can’t give up. Trying to do well in general helps a lot—everyone wants to win.

TO: What are the key qualities of a great badminton player in your opinion?

AL: I think you have to be very lenient with yourself and also have to push yourself. That’s my biggest problem. I get mad with myself so easily and I’ve been working on that for quite a long time.

TO: What are your future plans in badminton and what are your goals?

AL: I’m not that sure, but I’m definitely going to keep at it until I can’t compete in the Junior National division anymore. I would keep it as a recreational sport [until I’m 18 or 19], since it’s pretty hard to become a [professional] badminton player and I don’t know if I’m up to that. My goals also include, first of all, making the varsity team at Gunn in the spring. Then, try to win as many league games as possible and make it to CCS.

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