Félix is the 2010 Pan Am U17 Badminton Champion, and the 2015 Senior Provincial Champion. Since he began badminton at the age of 7, he has distinguished himself at the provincial and national levels in the U13 category. In preparation for next season, Félix tells us about his love for the game, the importance of mindset in badminton, and what sport has brought to his everyday life.
Näak: How did you get into badminton?
I started playing with my dad and my brother when I was 7 years old. I didn't really like it at the start so I stopped! I started playing again when I was 8 years old, and I haven't stopped since! During my junior career, I would train in Gatineau with the regional club. My dad really shadowed me during those years. For the last 4 years, I have been living in Montreal and training here for my senior career.
Näak: What are your trainings like?
A badminton training is lots of plyometrics (agility, speed), because you must train your muscles in a dynamic way with jumps or quick feed exercises. In addition, I do lots of routines to develop technique and precision, as well as a few matches. A routine is a predetermined sequence of hits between multiple players.
Näak: Do you play doubles too?
I mostly train in single, and it has been this way for a few years. I used to play doubles and mixed, because it is recommended to pursue all three disciplines as long as you can to develop different aspects of the game. However, this year I dropped the doubles, so I will only be playing single or mixed, which will allow me to be a little more rested during tournaments.
Näak: How important is mindset in badminton?
Very important! Badminton is very tactical, so you have to be very psychologically present in the game. You prepare the start of your points, you find your opponent's weaknesses, you control your emotions, it never ends!
Näak: What kind of player are you, what are your strengths?
My main focus is on consistency and fitness. I make few mistakes, so the exchanges last a long time. I make the opponent move, and I can impose my pace. I also have a reputation for being mentally sound all the way to the end, which fits well with my game.
Näak: What aspect of your game would you like to improve?
I would like to add power to my game, both in my legs and in my hits to the back of the court. In 2016, you need power to undermine your opponents, which I am still working on. In terms of my legs, I've always worked on endurance, so I'll have to add speed.
Näak: What role does nutrition play in your preparation? What do you eat before, during, and after a competition?
During tournaments, I sometimes play up to 10 games in one day. I need to make sure I am full before the tournament, and I always have bananas, nuts, and good bars during the day to keep my energy high. I love eating Näak bars in the middle of my training, or in between games when I'm competing. The taste is great and I don't feel overly full after eating one.
It's important to have your schedule in mind to know when to take bigger meals. To recuperate after a tournament, I often eat a large meal full of protein like a big meat lasagna with lots of cheese!
Félix eats cricket powder-based Näak bars to fuel his trainings. Click here to find out why Félix chose Näak, and what his favourite flavour is.
Näak: As you've progressed to a higher level, are there things that you have learned that help you out in your everyday life?
Perseverance makes all the difference! We see that in sports, but also in life in general. Starting your own business, completing your studies, achieving a dream... those things take a constant effort and you must stay motivated. In February 2017, it'll be 1 year since I started Akia; my web marketing company. You need to keep your goals in mind and get closer to achieving them everyday. I would also say that you can notice the difference between those who do things well and those who do things really well. Everything is in the details, and that is often what will make the difference. Everyone can do something, but not everyone can do it perfectly.
Näak: Is there someone you admire and who inspires you? Why and who is this person?
My coach Jean-Paul Girard is really admirable and inspiring. He was the coach for Team Québec and Team Canada for over 15 years. He is devoted to the sport. When you talk to him, you understand all the time he has invested into badminton. Talking about sports with him is also talking about life, and all the life lessons that you discover. He continues to ask relevant questions to challenge us, but also to challenge himself because it is an excellent way to continue moving forward. I raise my hat to him!
Näak: What are your goals for this year?
This year, I would like to gain more experience internationally with a few tournaments in Europe. I will be participating in the Scottish Open from November 22nd to November 26th, and the Welsh Open from November 20th to December 3rd.
Amongst all my goals, my main one is to get a medal at the 2017 Canadian Championships in Saskatoon from February 1st to February 4th. In addition, I will be working hard to maintain my title of Senior Provincial Champion.
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