Training At Smash Travel In Bali – A Review

published by Bren

Last updated: May 6, 2024

While preparing for the Oceania Champs earlier this year, I was fortunate to get a week of training at Smash Travel in Bali!

I had been in Bali over the New Year period doing my annual fast, and after a short training camp in Jakarta with some friends of mine, I found myself back in Bali before heading back to Australia for the tournament.

My friends actually knew the head coach at Smash Travel (Ajay) and told me he’s great to train with.

So – I fired off a Whatsapp message and asked if they could take me in for a week.

Toni is a player from Sweden who lives in Bali and runs everything. Everything was super smooth and easy to book and after a few minutes of chatting I was ready to get training!

Arriving in Bali

I arrived in Bali a few days later and was picked up from the airport (included in the camp) and taken to the accommodation (also included in the camp).

The accommodation is a local guesthouse about three minutes walk from the badminton hall – it’s run by a local family who are wonderfully friendly and I was settled in quickly.

The guesthouse has spacious rooms with a balcony on each, air conditioning, a fridge and kettle, and also a semi-indoor pool for guests. For me, it was more than comfortable.

The only thing you should know is there’s no kitchen access, so it’s not possible to cook your own meals.

This meant I was ordering my meals from GrabFood, but that was totally fine for me.

Especially since it’s Bali, so you have many delicious things to choose from and it’s easy to stay healthy!

The training

It’s an intense schedule but nothing more than you would expect at other camps.

  • Monday – 8am to 11am
    Tuesday – 8am to 11am, 3pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday – 8am to 11am
  • Thursday – 8am to 11am, 3pm to 5pm
  • Friday – 9am – 11am
  • Saturday – 1pm to 4pm
  • Sunday – OFF

So basically you train twice a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, every other day is one 2-3 hour session except for Sunday.

There’s also the chance to add in some private sessions with Ajay, which I did do ($50USD/hr) and thought it was valuable.

Of course, the camp will be slightly different for everyone, depending on how many players are there at the time and the levels. During my week there was only one other (foreign) player at training, but some local players join in the training too, including Ajay’s son who is still a young kid but can seriously play!

The training is held at a newly built badminton complex called Jayaprana, just around the corner from the guesthouse.

As for what we did while I was there, it was mostly the same format every day.

  • Sparring with Toni and the local Bali players
  • Drills with Ajay – sometimes he will drill a new shot with you, sometimes focus on footwork, sometimes he works on technical things. Some specific things him and I worked on were – backhand technique, improving smash power, deception at the net, reverse slicing, and various tweaks to my footwork.
  • Fitness and conditioning drills

Ajay’s coaching style is very relaxed and there is no real structure to it – by that I mean it’s not like there’s a daily schedule where you do 20 minutes of warmups, 30 minutes of footwork, 30 minutes of drills, 30 minutes of sparring etc etc.

He kind of just watches you play and picks out different things for you to work on. Some days you spar a lot, some days not much. Some days you will do lots of conditioning work, some days you won’t do any.

Warm ups, warm downs and stretching you mostly do on your own – so it helps to get there a little early and stay a bit later so you don’t waste your court time on that.

I know some people prefer really structured training, but I personally don’t mind either/or. I think it kind of suits the Balinese vibe anyway that things are a bit more freestyle and keeps it interesting!

What are the facilities like?

Jayaprana has five courts and it’s built for badminton, so the ceilings are high and there is no wind.

The courts are mats but I don’t think they’re Yonex or Victor mats but some local brand. This means they’re not tournament quality, but still pretty good, and certainly better than wooden courts.

As for shuttles, they use a local brand of shuttles, again not the same quality as Yonex/Victor/Yangyang shuttles but still fine to train with and I had no complaints about the quality.

Inside the courts they also have a little drinks shop where you can buy smoothies/juices and also regular stuff like water and Pocari Sweat or Nescafe.

There are showers too if you want to rinse after training.

Overall it’s a small but good quality facility.

As for stringing, luckily you’re in Indonesia, which is a badminton crazy country! So finding badminton shops to string isn’t an issue. Unfortunately, they don’t do it at the hall, but some local stores can do it and they’re not too far away.

It’s also cool that since you’re in Indonesia you can find lots of cool badminton gear you might not always find at home.

I bought tons of gear that I can’t find easily at home, including playing kit, a bag, wristbands etc.

All my teammates are jealous of my new shoes!

What does a typical day look like?

First, you wake up at 7:30 am, get all your crap together and run to the hall.

Then when you arrive ten minutes late, you realise you can relax because it’s Bali and nobody is going to yell at you.

Train for three hours.

Walk back to the room and order some food on Grab.


Go to sleep.

Wake up again at 1:30pm for afternoon training.

Train for two hours.

Get back to the room at 5:30pm.

Do some laundry and think about what to eat for dinner.

If you’re tired, just order Grab. If you have energy, you can head out to Seminyak beach and eat at one of the nice restaurants, or eat at one of the local places around.

Go to sleep.

Wake up and do it again!

Would I recommend it?

The short answer is yes. I had a great time and would recommend it.

Now for the fine print:

It’s a small camp. Like I said, the hall has five courts and there is one coach.

If you’re an elite-elite player (as in, you are aiming to compete with world-ranked #500+ players, national level players in your country, advance far into Future Series/International Series tournaments), then it might be a bit small for you. You are not going to find a big squad of elite sparring partners from around the world like you would in the big camps in Dubai and Thailand.

Ajay is a high-level coach so of course, working with him will still be great, and I’m sure they’ll bring in whatever top players they can to spar with you. For example, Toni knew I was prepping for the Oceania Champs so he arranged one of Bali’s top players to come in and give me some games (he was waaay better than me). But also remember Smash-travel accepts beginners, which is fantastic, but it means it’s also not catered specifically to top-level players.

Still, if you’re not preparing for high-level international competition (which is 99% of us) and you simply want to get better at badminton, I think Smash Travel is a great camp and tons of fun. For anyone B grade and under it would definitely be beneficial.

I paid for the all-inclusive package for one week. The price is reasonable and personally I thought it was very fair value for money.

Booking is easy, just hit them through their website

I also have a Bali accommodation guide if you’re looking for other options!

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