MANILA, Philippines -- Two members of Smash Pilipinas were able to try out the outdoor variation of badminton, air badminton, last weekend.
Ros Pedrosa and Sarah Barredo figured in a short mix game held at the parking lot of Vista Real Classica Clubhouse in Quezon City, under the supervision of officials from both the Philippine Badminton Association and Quezon City Athletic Association.
For the two shuttlers, they had to make adjustments on the fly as the air shuttle greatly differs from its feather counterpart.
"Actually, nakakapanibago, kasi yung shuttlecock, kakaiba. Mas mabigat siya. So, yung ikot din niya, nakakapanibago. May factor talaga sa paglipad ng shuttlecock," said Pedrosa, the UAAP Most Valuable Player in Season 79.
"Kailangan din i-adjust yung raketa e. Sa normal na shuttlecock, kailangan matigas na tension. Na-feel ko kanina, malambot yung string para mas ma-control yung airshuttle."
"First time ko lalaruin gamit yung airshuttle. Okay naman siya. Pero, nung umpisa, nag-adjust talaga ako kasi iba yung flight nung bola, compared sa normal na shuttlecock na ginagamit namin. Kailangan ng more practice para ma-familiarize sa laro na ito," said Barredo, an incoming junior at the National University.
The air shuttle itself weighs three grams heavier than the feather or synthetic bird. With this, it is advised that the tension of the racket be between 20 to 24 pounds.
That is why the two had to adjust the power of their swings as well.
"Yung adjustment na ginawa ko is, yung binawasan ko yung swing ko. Sa normal na shuttlecock, mas malakas yung palo ko. Less strength talaga kasi pag sobrang lakas, lalabas yung bola or minsan tatamaan mo pa yung kakampi mo," said Barredo.
"May factor din yung palo, kasi iba yung texture niya sa feather at plastic. Mas kailangan basic yung palo. Mas malayo lipad," added Pedrosa.
At the end of their one-hour session, both Barredo and Pedrosa deemed that air badminton is a whole different ball game compared to its indoor counterpart.
But that's not to say that they won't play it.
"Feel ko, kakagat ito e. Ako, lalaruin ko ito kung may chance na papalaruin ako nito," said Pedrosa, a doubles specialist.
"Siguro, personally, yes, pero for fun. Mahirap, kasi pag afternoon, pagtingala mo, yung araw makikita mo. So, feeling ko, I'll enjoy it 'pag for fun. Pero, 'pag serious game, I'll think about it," said Barredo, one of the country's top singles players.
PBA president Albee Benitez shares the same sentiments as the players' that indoor and air badminton are two completely different animals.
"In an ideal setting, there will be a separate national team pool for the indoor game and air badminton. It's two completely different sports, with finesse being the core of the indoor game, while power is the name of the game for air," said Benitez.
"But of course, there will be prodigies out there who can be able to adapt easily to both sports. And that is who we are looking for and, later on, develop and groom in the federation."