Dear Canadian Badminton Player,
I hope you have a purpose or ultimate goal in the sport. Should you have a partner, I really hope that you have the same goal deep down inside, and not what is superficially said on the surface.
I hope you understand that there will be people who respect what you do, but many will never understand what you have to do to get there. There will be many others who pretend to be like you, but some will only reach a fraction of their potential because they are too busy enjoying their time with other distractions. They make excuses instead of taking responsibility; they are filled with only words, and never corrective action. However, there are those who share a mutual spirit for mastery, and it is best to stick to these people and help each other succeed.
I hope you understand that many times things will be self-directed, with little managing and little coaching on the road. At home you may be fortunate to have access to the services you need, but you also need to be proactive in attaining them. I hope you understand the difference between coaches and what each can offer, with foreign coaches offering the best technical and tactical coaching, while you may need to look elsewhere for physical development, nutrition, and general life skills. Remember, you are on your own most of the time.
I hope you understand that you are competing against countries that have more support, even in smaller countries. Those countries still have a coach that travels with them and a team to train with. Perhaps they even get funded to some of those trips. I hope you understand that your funding will be divided against 12 selected National Team members in Canada, and that you need to be on the National Team to be eligible for Sport Canada funding. I hope you understand that only 5 players will receive that Sport Canada funding each year, and just because you may be top best in your event, it doesn’t guarantee funding. I hope you understand that funding often doesn’t go to the best internationally-competent players, but simply to those who win Nationals.
I hope you understand that is a long and arduous road ahead, but if you really want it, I hope you understand that all you can do is to do your best. If you place your priorities upon your badminton goals, I believe that you have a good chance of getting what you want. I hope you understand that you are the underdog in this sport and nobody really expects you to win, given all of the disadvantages that you face. I hope you understand that you must compete with players who have better funding, better training, better coaching, better management, better resources, better almost everything… except one thing.
I hope you understand that you need to have a better attitude to succeed. If you have the attitude of the underdog, then you understand that although your opponents have better circumstances, it is beyond your control. You can only look for opportunities to grow and you can grow to be fearless, because there is really nothing to lose. There is only everything to gain.
I hope you understand that not every Canadian player is the same, and you must set yourself apart from the others who are only there for show. These players look for success without putting in the efforts required from a true Canadian player, either believing that what people do in other countries is enough, or making the excuses that they will never be at the level of other international players. When this happens, they do not develop the mental toughness that a true Canadian player needs, and often results in them playing in a state of fear during competition. Because they are only there for show, they will be fearful of losing, which will greatly affect their performance. There are those who make excuses and find distractions, because if they do not succeed at Canadian badminton, there are already many alternatives lined up for them. The spirit of the underdog involves having nothing to fall back on, and going at it all-in, which differs from these other players. By having a Plan B, it becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy in that they never achieve their Plan A, and inevitably fall for Plan B.
I hope you understand that the truly successful underdog Canadian player will get their Plan A, and will be successful in achieving their other Plan A’s in life. I hope you understand that if you can truly work to achieve your goals as a Canadian player, you can do practically anything you want to do in this world. You have learned to make the most out of every opportunity (to grow, not to be distracted), how to take care of yourself, and how to win and to learn from your failures. Perhaps you may not get the same level of respect as other athletes in competitive sports, but deep down, you know you don’t need the approval of others to achieve your goals.
I hope you understand that you have all my respect, my gratitude that you continue to put life in the sport in Canada, and I wish you the best in your endeavours. I truly understand what you have and will go through, because I’ve been there myself. Additionally, there will be people out there that truly want to see you to succeed and support your journey all the way. They respect your cause and will be your fans for life, because they respect you for what you are trying to do, even though you might not be winning. Forget those who only jump on the bandwagon when you succeed.
Know your purpose, keep fighting, and achieve mastery. Winning is only a side effect.
All the best,
Toby (Version 2.0)