Oh what a racquet!

VIDEO Week seven of our fun fitness programme Spring Into Summer saw the squad try racquet sports.Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports on a tournament where fun was more important than winning!

By Tracey Sparling

WEEK Seven of our fun fitness programme Spring Into Summer saw the squad try racquet sports.

Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports on a tournament where fun was more important than winning!

BADMINTON is not known as the most aggressive sport, but when you've done it for two hours - with a squash lesson thrown in, you'll feel it the next day!

The opportunity to play racquet sports was a popular result, when the Spring Into Summer squad opened an envelope to discover their challenge for Wednesday night.

Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Whitton Church Lane was the venue, with Hilary Cook as the coach.

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Although Hilary usually works with classes of schoolchildren, she also teaches adults. This year she coached the Eastern Region Academy for squash, after teaching the sport for more than 15 years.

Hilary said: “Badminton is my second sport really, but it's a great sport for beginners because as long as the people you play with arte of a similar level you don't need to be an expert in it to have a fun game.”

Both sports involve running and jumping, good reflexes and hand-to-eye coordination.

The squad split into pairs to take part in a badminton tournament with the winners of each game being the first to 21.

Before long a shuttlecock lodged in the rafters, and Star reporter Paul Geater was so eager to return a shot that he ended up tangled in the net.

While the tournament progressed, Hilary took one couple at a time for a squash lesson.

As it turned out, Dale Robinson, 30 from High Road, Trimley St Mary and Jo Brown, 36, from St Leonards Road, Ipswich didn't get a breather before their squash session - but they were on a winning streak.

The squad kept going right until the end of the two-hour session, by which time it was 10pm. It was their longest session yet but some still stayed behind to ask the sports centre receptionist for details of fitness classes.

“Everything I try, I want to do more of,” said Teresa Buckland, 46, from Woodbridge Road, Rushmere St Andrew.

Badminton courts and six squash courts (with maple sprung floors, and two are glass backed) are available at Ipswich Borough Council's four sports centres across the town, with racquet hire available. If you get together with a friend, or a group of four it costs from £1.40 per person.

Did you know?

A badminton player can run more than a mile during a match, and make more than 300 changes of direction.

Name: Nick Anthony

Age: 46

Lives: Gurdon Road, Grundisburgh

Job: Customs officer

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

A: I want to get fitter and lose weight.

Q: What sports have you tried before, and what stopped you continuing them?

A: Apart from the sports I play- tennis and table tennis, I have done horse riding, a question of finding the time for it.

have also tried badminton- but got frustrated because shuttlecocks don`t bounce! Also Karate, but that was just at school learning the basics, and I did not really want to carry on to take it further.

Q: How are you getting on with the group?

A: The Group is a good mix of ages and fitness and everybody encourages everyone else, so you feel you are part of a team.

Q: Is weight loss part of your aim?

A: Possibly, but I just want to get fitter.

Q: Which Spring Into Summer activities have you liked/disliked and why, so far?

A: I really enjoyed the basketball the best, it was a good workout and very enjoyable.

All the activities have been challenging. I was pleased not to get lost when orienteering and realise that after the aerobics my co-ordination won`t get me a place on Strictly Come Dancing!

Name: Anne Lewis

Age: 56

Lives: Girton Way, Ipswich

Job: Former pub landlady, carer for husband

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

A: To lose weight, make new friends and find myself a new fitness hobby. I am going to do pilates and hopefully I will; be able to team up with some of the other Spring Into Summer ladies so we can go together.

Q: What sports have you tried before, and what stopped you continuing them?

A: I used to do hurdling, netball and hockey even when I started work until my early 30s. Then children came along, and got bigger and more demanding, and I went into the pub trade which is a 24/7 job with no chance to do anything - the closest I got to sport was making sandwiches for the pool and darts teams!

Q: How are you getting on with the group?

A: They are a great bunch, they really are. They are all ages but just all seem to gel.

Q: Is weight loss part of your aim?

A: Yes my clothes feel a bit looser and I and getting fit. I am finding it easier to bend down now and pick up the shuttlecock - whereas I found bending down for the basketball on the first week difficult. I still can't do as well as I'd like to but it is a bit easier - even down to silly things like putting my socks on!

Q: Which Spring Into Summer activities have you liked/disliked and why, so far?

A: I've liked all of them. There's nothing that I've disliked. I can even map read (from orienteering) now!

Q&A

Name: Matthew Casburn

Age: 23

Lives: Palmcroft Road, Ipswich

Job: Sales

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

A: To enjoy it, and keep fit and to try new sports.

Q: What sports have you tried before, and what stopped you continuing them?

A: I've done football, tennis and badminton. I'm quite a sporty person - I have been since I was very young. I always enjoyed PE and I did think about doing something sporty for a career. However I decided there's not enough money in it and you need too many qualifications. I still enjoy football now.

Q: How are you getting on with the group?

A: Everyone's friendly and having a laugh. Doing it in a group is good.

Q: Is weight loss part of your aim?

A: No. I've never struggled with my weight. I eat well and I've always liked sports and fitness. I try to do something each week and I feel healthier for that.

Q: Which Spring Into Summer activities have you liked/disliked and why, so far?

A: I really liked badminton as I've done that before, and I liked basketball.

I didn't like orienteering as I couldn't get the hang of using a compass - and it didn't seem like a sport to me. It has been good to try different things.

N

See next week for the next instalment, including more Q&As about how the squad are getting on.

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