It was once said that badminton is just an intense physical version of chess. And this is entirely true!
If you know what your opponent is going to do, your life is going to be so much easier. Yet if your opponent knows what you’re going to do, you’ll undoubtedly have a hard time.
What I’ll talk about in this article is how you can beat your opponent through messing with their head.
Predicting Your Opponents
The first thing you need to understand is how to predict your opponents. Always try to think about what your opponent can do and will do. This all comes from game sense and experience.
During and between rallies, you need to understand your opponents’ strengths, weaknesses, and their playstyle. You need to figure out their options and what they’ll most likely play. Game of probability now too.
There’s a reason Lin Dan’s record against Lee Chong Wei has been so good. Lin Dan has Lee Chong Wei’s strategies, and playstyle all figured out to the point that Lin Dan knows exactly what he’ll do in certain situations.
Except not all of us have been playing badminton at a high level since five years old and have had the time to train and play badminton. But we can still start anticipating what our opponents will do. Even just limiting it down to 3 options gives us the opportunity to get to the shuttle early and pressure our opponents.
To predict your opponents, you first have to see what your opponent is doing and how they play. First know that if their racket is below their waist, they are very limited in the types of shots they can play while if their racket is above their waist, they can play lots of different kinds of shots. Generally, if the racket is below the waist, only soft pushes, lifts and net shots will be played.
Then the next step is to notice what you’ve just played, where your opponent is standing, and where you are standing. It all comes from how much you play badminton.
If you get to a very high level, you need to be able to see how different shots are made. For example, a lift would require a pullback while a net shot does not. A drop shot has a slower swing than a smash.
My best advice is to play lots and gain experience for this.
Frustrating and Demoralizing
There are specific tactics that you can also use to get into your opponents head. I’m going to talk about three methods today. Shouting, playing good defense, and maintaining your composure.
So first off shouting. Don’t do it all the time. People will get a terrible impression of you, and it becomes ineffective. Yelling is the most effective when your opponents make a mistake, or you win a long rally. This tactic demoralizes your opponents and also provides you with strength as well. Your opponent will make more mistakes, and you will continue to dominate on the court.
Have you ever played against someone who just seemed to get your shots back no matter what you play? If you have, you’ll know the frustration of those games. If you’re physically stronger than your opponent and have a great defense, you can block everything and defend. Eventually, your opponent won’t be able to take it, and they’ll lose the rally.
It pays to practice your defense.
The third tactic I’ll talk about in this article is maintaining your composure. This one is crucial to keep your opponent under pressure. And it’s great to keep yourself from making mistakes especially after you lose the rally.
If you’re able to play a variety of strategies in badminton, you have the upper hand. Always try and keep your opponent guessing what you’re going to play next. This will lead to more points and wins directly because your opponent will burn out with their mind and body.
Some ways you can mess with your opponents head is to play a particular shot over and over again and then suddenly change it up and also change up what you commonly play.
For example, try and clear to the same spot multiple times over and then suddenly cross drop or cross net depending on what they play back. This is a strategy known as restricting movement. If you time it right, you can play the same shots while they’re expecting you to play something else but play the different shot when they’re waiting for you to play the same shot.
If you’ve been smashing straight on most of the lifts during your game, your opponent will likely adapt to it even if it’s subconsciously. During this time you can change it up and play cross smashes, half smashes, drops or even clears. Again, keep your opponent guessing.
How To Avoid Being Subjected To This
Here’s the problem. Everything I’ve said here isn’t my secret tactics or anything, they are plenty of people out there using these strategies. So what will you do when they shout, have a good defense, and attempt to demoralize you?
You need tactics to defend yourself.
The top defensive tactic is to remain calm. Obvious right? It’s a no-brainer, but it’s also a great counterattack. Staying calm will start to make your opponents guess as well.
Try not to show any signs of frustration or fatigue (that’s why you need to be fit) because those will only expose your weaknesses and give your opponents more ways to attack you.
Keeping calm is definitely easier said than done though. I know that when I play, I always looked tired with the amount of sweat that comes off me. I also get nervous while playing too, especially in tournaments. Sometimes you can see my whole body shake.
One of the best ways to keep yourself calm and well performing is to smile, even when you’re not your best and everything seems down. In fact, that’s the time you need a smile the most. Smiling will boost your spirits which will give you more energy to continue on.
Smiling will give your opponent the impression that you’re strong and still have the will to fight on.
Alright, here’s the second problem. People will also learn how to avoid being subject to demoralization and be prepared for common strategies thrown at them. It’s a physical battle of chess.
It’s all about who can persevere and outsmart their opponents. And you’ll only be able to do this with practice so go out there and play some badminton!
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below, and as always, have a great day!