Boys’ Varsity Badminton Team Led by Wrestling Coach to PSAL Championship


Lyn Kajihara

The team huddles in as they give each other final pointers before their big game against Townsend Harris High School, which they won, 3-2.

In Coach Chris Smith’s duffel bag, people often expect to find things such as wrestling singlets, headgear, a first aid kit, and the occasional peach diet Snapple. This year, the same items could be expected, but with a new addition, badminton birdies. In addition to coaching Co-ed Wrestling and Girls’ Varsity Wrestling, Coach Smith was the new coach of Boys’ Varsity Badminton as of September 2018.

The Boys’ Varsity Badminton team started off their season with ten returning athletes and ten new underclassmen. In addition to this increase in players, the wrestling coach, Coach Smith replaced Mr. Bing Qiu, after he retired from coaching the team last season. Daniel Leung ’21, a  substitute for singles, early in the season, noted, “The season is going well as we are currently 3-0 and will probably be 12-0. Our new coach always encourages us to be respectful to the other team, and he jokes around with us, saying that we can’t run for more than five minutes.”

Leung proved to be prescient, as the team ended the season with a perfect record of 12 wins and zero losses. “This season has been great! We were on a roll and Coach Smith has been really supportive and helpful,” said Hallen Ji ’21, a doubles substitute. 

“This season has been great! We’ve been on a roll and Coach Smith has been really supportive and helpful.”

The returning members devised new drills in order to improve the new athletes’ stance and form. The starters worked individually with the substitutes to ensure that they could carry on the team’s legacy in the upcoming seasons. Yuchu Lin ’19, a doubles two starter, is an especially good example of how the team has been training the underclassmen. “I train at NYBC on the weekends, and whenever I have the time, so I’m really experienced in drills and improving form,” Lin said.

Captain Ramansh Sharma ’19 also helped Lin to train the substitutes, focusing on their footwork and partnership with teammates for doubles. With the limited space availability, it could be difficult to train thirteen substitutes while allowing the seven starters to practice and maintain their edge. Usually, the substitutes rotate on and off the court, doing drills and physicals. The physicals include wall-sits to improve their legs and planks to improve their core.

Lyn Kajihara
Coach Smith and Ramansh Sharma ’19 are optimistic about keeping the team’s winning streak in future seasons.

How does a wrestling coach adjust to a sport that involves no contact with the opponent? “I’ll admit that it was a struggle at first. I can’t just tell my athletes to charge someone and take them down anymore. I have to actually see where the team could use some practice, and relay that to the captains, so that they can make new drills for those who need it,” Coach Smith said. The three captains, and the returning seniors all worked with their younger teammates to ensure they were all well prepared for the many future seasons that await them. Yusuke Kobuse ’22, recalled, “the seniors, especially Yuchu, have been really helpful to me; he’s the one who taught me how to defend the smash during my games.”

Although faced with an entirely different sport, team, and league, Coach Smith led the Boys’ Varsity Badminton team to victory, as they won the PSAL City Championship on Monday, November 19th, 2018. Coach Smith sees great promise in the upcoming seasons with the underclassmen badminton athletes. “I love working with the athletes here at Bronx Science, because they always push themselves to go above and beyond, and it shows in their wins and accomplishments,” Smith said. “This team is a lot calmer than my wrestling team, too. Maybe I should coach Girls’ Badminton as well,” he added with a laugh.