Badminton tips from the top

Having only had a couple of hits on the badminton court since my school days, who better to teach me about the sport than Cathy Bargh.

I went along to Freedom Leisure Summerfields on Monday morning to be put through my paces by the England and Great Britain veterans’ international talent.

Brimming with energy (some of which was wasted) and enthusiasm but lacking know-how and consistency, I was guided through the main badminton strokes which we incorporated into rallies - if I could keep them going.

A good workout for me ahead of the Eastbourne Half Marathon, within 15 minutes I was already building up quite a sweat and chasing down three successive drop shots was proving a good deal tougher than a nine-mile training run.

Just about still standing after a fairly tough but thoroughly enjoyable half-an-hour with professional coach Bargh, I joined in with one of her group sessions which attracted some 30 players on five different courts.

I played a couple of friendly doubles matches, one of them alongside combat sport champion Luke Read, who finds badminton helps with his footwork, which it has to be said was very sharp.

Afterwards I was even given a Freedom Leisure goodie bag and although my back was still aching two days later, it certainly made a nice change from a usual Monday morning in front of the computer screen.

Bargh has become a familiar face on the Observer Sport pages over the last few years for her success at national and international level.

See tomorrow’s Hastings and Rye/Battle Observers for the full article.