Shi Yu Qi Badminton – A Player Study

Shi Yu Qi, or Shi Yuqi, the westernized version of his name, is a 23-year-old badminton player from China that has been performing well recently. Shi Yu Qi is a rising star from China whose one of the top contenders for China’s Olympic men’s singles players.

What makes Shi Yu Qi such a good player? In this post, we’ll take a look at how Shi Yu Qi plays badminton and different strategies that allows him to play at such a high level.

Player SpecificationsShi Yu Qi

As of April 27, 2019,

Date of Birth: February 28, 1996

Height: 183cm

Country: China

Racket Model: Li Ning Turbo Charging N7-II

World Ranking: 2

Highest Ranking: 2

Career Titles: 8

Dominant Hand: Right

Type of Player: Men’s Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Shi Yu Qi is all around a good player. Strong backcourt, strong frontcourt, good offense, and defense, etc. There are specific points of Shi Yu Qi that do stand out though which I will discuss.

One of Shi Yu Qi’s strongest points is his attack. A loud smash coupled with decent net play allows Shi Yu Qi to use his aggression to win.

Shi Yu Qi’s smash is quite notable, especially at the backhand side. He can play a cross or straight smash filled with power and accuracy. After his smash, he can play an excellent net shot or push shot putting even more pressure on his opponent.

Speaking of follow up and net shots, I noticed that Shi Yu Qi plays very well at the backhand side. As mentioned before, his smash at the backhand side is powerful, but his backhand net shot is also quite good both offensively and defensively. He can play deceptive net shots similar to Lin Dan’s on the offense and on the defensive, he can still return net shots really close to the net. I’ve actually studied and attempted to copy Shi Yu Qi’s defensive net shot enough that I can make it an asset to my game as well.

One of the things I learned from watching Shi Yu Qi is also his interception of push shots specifically on the backhand side. His ability to jump and smash it with his forehand when getting pushed allows him to switch the pressure away from himself. Although many players to do this, I was quite surprised when watching Shi Yu Qi smash extremely flat push shots. It takes some real flexibility to do that.

Weaknesses

That being said, Shi Yu Qi does have weaknesses which prevent him from consistently winning and taking the number one spot. One of Shi Yu Qi’s main weaknesses is his experience. Being so young and having not played as many matches as players such as Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan, his mentality and ability to diversify is quite low.

I would often see Shi Yu Qi getting very frustrated or making multiple mistakes in a row after one problem. Shi Yu Qi cannot also strategize very well. This was seen quite prominent in the 2018 World Championships where Kento Momota convincingly beat him in the finals as a result of poor strategy.

During the match, Shi Yu Qi found that his smashes and regular playing style were not getting through to Kento Momota whose defense was quite good. And the strategy he changed to where he would try to move Kento Momota through lifts and net shots performed even worse. Shi Yu Qi has been seen to run into the same problems when playing against players such as Chen Long as well. It’s a direct result of lack of experience and knowing what to do against different types of players.

Another weak point I found in Shi Yu Qi was his defense but more specifically his speed and recovery. Shi Yu Qi would often miss smashes to his backhand side, or if he gets it, he would be slow to get up and get the next shot.

Playstyle

Knowing some of Shi Yu Qi’s strengths and weaknesses allow us to analyze how he plays around them. I hinted in the strength and weakness section that Shi Yu Qi prefers to play an aggressive style.

Shi Yu Qi smashes quite a lot at the back and attempts to intercept push shots as much as possible to avoid being put on the defensive. Shi Yu Qi also tries to keep the game on his backhand side of the court because his smash and net play in that area is his strength.

To cover for Shi Yu Qi’s defense, I often see him avoid shots like clears and drops when he’s on the offense since he does not want to give any chance for his opponent to retaliate. Sometimes, this does make Shi Yu Qi more predictable to play against and thus, easier to win against.

One thing I also noticed from Shi Yu Qi is how much he jumps. Although he doesn’t jump as much at the front net killing, he almost always jumps at the back of the court. He is even jumping when getting push shotted! This is part of the reason why he can’t recover as fast as he has to land first. Jumping, along with smashing, a lot also tires Shi Yu Qi out a lot more quickly than other players.

Luckily, Shi Yu Qi’s fitness and physicality has been noted as quite good among other badminton players and even noted as one of his strong points. I personally did not put his endurance as a strength because his playstyle puts his stamina on par with other players. If Shi Yu Qi could shift his strategy a little and make his footwork more efficient, he could definitely take the number one spot and hold it.

Achievements

Shi Yu Qi is a rising star, meaning that he has gained some recognition and attention only recently. Being only 23 years old, Shi Yu Qi has not won enough tournaments to have achievements rivaling those of Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan. However, his 8 career titles are still worth mentioning since they are representations of his success as a player.

Here are his 8 gold medals:

  • 2019 Yonex Swiss Open
  • 2018 HSBC BWF World Tour Finals
  • 2018 Yonex All England Open

    Shi Yu Qi All England
    Shi Yu Qi takes down Lin Dan in All England 2018
  • 2018 Yonex-Sunrise Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open
  • 2016 Bitburger Badminton Open
  • 2016 Yonex French Open
  • 2016 Yonex Sunrise Indonesian Masters
  • 2014 Badminton Asia Youth U19 Championships

Although Shi Yu Qi does not have a large number of titles, if he continues to improve, he will definitely get more. Good luck to him and I hope to see him play even better at the highest levels soon!

Conclusion

Shi Yu Qi, a rising star from China with aggressive play has undoubtedly shown that he could compete at the highest levels. Once he improves his defense and ability to play variance, he will become unstoppable. Well, if he improves his mentality and other players don’t grow just as much.

Who should I study next? Let me know in the comment section below and have a great day!

Viktor Axelsen Badminton – A Player Study

Viktor Axelsen, the 2017 World Champion from Denmark, has many strengths that push him to the top but as well as weaknesses that are preventing him from consistently winning tournaments. Let’s analyze Viktor Axelsen’s badminton and see how his game can help us.

Player Specifications

As of January 26, 2019,

Date of Birth: January 4, 1994

Height: 194cm

Country: Denmark

Racket Model: Yonex Duora Z Strike

World Ranking: 6

Highest Ranking: 1

Career Titles: 11

Dominant Hand: Right

Type of Player: Men’s Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Viktor Axelsen is one of the tallest players in badminton men’s singles sitting at the height of 194 cm or 6’4″. Being tall gives Viktor Axelsen various strengths but as well as weaknesses that other players can abuse. We’ll talk more about how Viktor plays around his strengths, but first, you’ll need to know the actual advantages that Viktor has.

One of the most notable strengths of being tall is that you get a much steeper smash, and Viktor Axelsen proves it. Viktor Axelsen’s greatest strength is his offensive play with his steep and powerful smash.

Other elements that make his offensive play so good are his cross court net shots and ability to cut off a lot of push shots. Viktor Axelsen has also been practicing his defense a lot in the past few years, so his retrieval skill has gone up quite a bit.

That being said, returning the shuttle is still one of Viktor’s weaknesses simply due to his physicality. Let’s dive deeper.

Weaknesses

One of the most glaring weaknesses of Viktor Axelsen is also his height. Being tall means that more energy is used moving around and bending down to lift.

Strategies professionals tend to use against Viktor Axelsen, and other tall players are avoid lifting as much as possible unless they move up too close. Playing lots of drops and net shots against Viktor Axelsen tires him out and also frustrates him because he wants to play the powerful smashes but can’t.

Have you ever felt the frustration of having a powerful smash but not being able to use it?

I’ve certainly had and to not get tired out or mentally break during a tight match is near impossible. Viktor Axelsen’s mentality is a little bit weaker than other top players. You can often see Viktor yelling and making more mistakes when he loses multiple points in a row especially against players with excellent defense and consistency such as Chen Long.

Viktor Axelsen’s footwork is also somewhat slower because he is so used to reaching very far. This makes him prone to net flicks towards the backhand if he oversteps the front. Since his footwork isn’t as fast as other pro players, badminton players that can beat him at the net will be able to turn around the momentum and force Viktor to play a rally of lifts.

Another weakness of all tall players is body smashes. Since the limbs of tall players are longer, it’s challenging to block smashes headed towards the dominant arm and the body.

Playstyle

With a strong smash but weaker retrieval skills, Viktor Axelsen undoubtedly wants to be on the attacking side.

Here’s how he would generally set things up. Viktor would use cross court net shots to make his opponents move further and try to force the opponent to lift. Then he would move into the back, smash and then cross court net shot once again to continue the attack if his opponents are able to get his smashes.

Because his straight smashes are so fast, it’s often challenging for his opponents to react and control the shuttle to different places. They can only block straight in which Viktor uses an offensive fast cross court net shot to maintain the momentum. After blocking a smash, most players aren’t fast enough, they have to lift allowing Viktor to smash again.

If a player is able to force Viktor onto the defensive, you can expect to see lots of diving from him and attempts to force a lift in the form of net shots and drops.

Usually, players that have a superior defense and can defend against Viktor’s smashes such as Chen Long, Kento Momota, and Lee Chong Wei is the people that will win since Viktor will eventually give out mentally.

Achievements

Viktor Axelsen, while only having 11 career titles compared to other former number 1 players in the world, he’s had some great success internationally with the most memorable title being the 2017 World Championship at Glasgow. Here are some more of his achievements:

  • 2018 Huelva European Championships Gold
  • 2016 La Roche-sur-Yon European Championships Gold
  • 2017 BWF Super Series Finals Gold
  • 2017 Japan Open Gold

With the recent rearrival of Kento Momota and Chen Long becoming even better, Viktor Axelsen has struggled a bit because of these two playstyles. But without doubt, if Viktor can increase his speed and up his mentality, he will continue to have success in the future.

Conclusion

Viktor Axelsen, a tall, aggressive player that has his pitfalls. But Viktor is always training hard, and every time he loses, he comes back stronger and does even better than before.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below. As always, go out and play some badminton and have a great day!

Chen Long Badminton – A Player Study

One of my all-time favorite players, Chen Long, is a very unique player compared to the rest of the top. There is almost no player with the same playstyle as him playing at the professional level.

As the 2016 Rio Olympics Gold Medalist, Chen Long shows off a different set of skills that pushes him to number one. Let’s dive right in.

Player Specifications

As of November 28, 2018,

Date of Birth: January 18, 1989

Height: 187cm

Country: China

Racket Model: Li-Ning 3D Caliber 900

World Ranking: 5

Highest Ranking: 1

Career Titles: 29

Dominant Hand: Right

Type of Player: Men’s Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Chen Long’s greatest strength is his defense. Many players such as Lin Dan has even quoted, “Playing against Chen Long is like playing against a wall.”

But what really allows Chen Long to have such good defense? It’s a combination of solid footwork, reaction speed, and patience.

Chen Long plays most of his rallies at a slower pace. His footwork isn’t all that fast, but it’s very efficient. His long limbs allow him to reach out for shots better than many players. His reaction time is also godlike. If you watch Chen Long play, you’re going to see him block drives to his face like no one’s business.

Playing like this also requires lots of patience. Chen Long patiently stalls and frustrates his opponents by playing this style and then he capitalizes on mistakes with his legendary cross drops and half-smashes. But this strategy does not come with its own weaknesses.

Weaknesses

A common weakness for players that play like this is that they rely on their opponent too much. The first major flaw is, what if your opponent is more consistent than you?

This is one of the exact reasons why Chen Long started to fall out of favor. Players that show more consistency and have just as much or even more patience are able to beat Chen Long.

Another problem with relying on your opponent means that you lack control over the rallies unless you can predict your opponent’s attack. Chen Long was able to predict Kento Momota’s attack in the Fuzhou China Open 2018 where Chen Long knew where Kento Momota was going to smash. Although he still lost, he managed to push Kento Momota very hard.

But if Chen Long is unable to predict the shots from a player such as young Lin Dan, he’ll undoubtedly lose the match.
Another problem with Chen Long is that his attack is weak. Although he has a very good counter-attack with sudden drops and half-smashes and his full-smash isn’t too bad either, he cannot force an opponent onto defense and successfully close out his attack.

His attack is relatively inconsistent and often ended in making a mistake of some sort at the net. If Chen Long is going to remain a threat in 2019, he needs to up his attack.

Playstyle

We’ve already touched on Chen Long’s playstyle in the strengths and weaknesses section. As mentioned, Chen Long is a player relying on his defense to beat out his opponent.

This playstyle is one that many people at the top stages do not play which is why Chen Long is such a unique player.

When Chen Long plays, he plays lots of cross-lifts. This is to give him lots of time to get ready and also make it harder for his opponent to smash and attack. Then when they do smash, he’ll return it with a block and then lift again when they net shot and reset.

If the opponent does different things, Chen Long has solutions as well. If the opponent starts driving, Chen Long will merely reply with drives. With his fast reaction time, it’s tough for his opponent to kill shuttle.

If the opponent decides to push the shuttle back after Chen Long blocks, he’ll just play a drop or clear and go back to his stable position and reset.

Only when Chen Long’s opponent plays lifts or clears will he do something else. Often times he would return with a clear but sometimes while Chen Long looks like he’s on the defense, he’ll play an unexpected cross-smash or drop to catch his opponent off guard.

With this playstyle, it has been challenging for many players to get past him and they’ll often get frustrated and burn out.

Achievements

Chen Long kind of came up during the age of the Lin Dan-Lee Chong Wei rivalry, but he actually managed to surpass the two on multiple occasions and acquire some of the most elusive titles. Of his 29 career titles, here are some of his best:

  • 2012 London Olympics Bronze
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Gold
  • 2014 Copenhagen World Championship Gold
  • 2015 Jakarta World Championship Gold
  • 2017 Wuhan Asian Championships

And among many more!

Conclusion

As an accomplished Chinese badminton player, Chen Long has a unique playstyle that no other player in the top ranks has. Relying solely on his defense, Chen Long has managed to take an Olympic Gold Medal as well as multiple World Championships, Thomas Cups, Sudirman Cups, Asian Games, and Asian Championships.

Winning against Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan multiple times, Chen Long was definitely a star player. Let’s see if he can get back into the number one spot and spark a new rivalry of one between him and Momota!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

Tai Tzu Ying Badminton – A Player Study

The current world number 1 women’s singles player has a unique playstyle allowing her to win tournaments consistently. Tai Tzu Ying from Taiwan is a player that has been doing very well currently.

Having played badminton at an international stage at the age of 15, Tai Tzu Ying is a very spontaneous player. Let’s see what else Tai Tzu Ying can do.

Player Specifications

As of November 23, 2018,

Date of Birth: June 20, 1994

Height: 163cm

Country: Taiwan

Racket Model: Victor Thruster F

World Ranking: 1

Highest Ranking: 1

Career Titles: 23

Dominant Hand: Right

Type of Player: Women’s Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

In badminton, agility is one of the best attributes you can have. Tai Tzu Ying’s footwork is very light and allows her to get to the shuttle very well. When watching Tai Tzu Ying play, it’s like watching a rabbit bounce everywhere.

With this agility, she plays a very strategic, offensive, and slow game. Yes, slow. Contradictory, isn’t it?

Tai Tzu Ying isn’t about quick smashes and fast push shots, but she would instead push her opponent off balance playing a variety of slice drops and clears. She also plays a strategy of restricting movement where occasional rallies she would play only drops or clears in the beginning and then switch after a while.

For this strategy, Tai Tzu Ying adds in a variety of deceptive shots. From various slices and net flicks, she can further weaken her opponent’s stability and then eventually kill the shuttle.

Some of her best deceptive shots are her forehand slice drop, forehand net flick, and her backhand push shot. For each of these, her initial movement looks like a different shot, and she makes almost no changes when she changes the trajectory. These make her shots look magical.

Weaknesses

Although Tai Tzu Ying has been the number 1 player for some time, she does come with her own weaknesses

One of her weaknesses is being pushed to the backhand when she isn’t ready for it. It’s tough for Tai Tzu Ying to move back and play a good return backhand shot. It will often be a little too high, and the opponent is able to net kill.

But when is Tai Tzu Ying forced into these positions?

When the opponent out anticipates and takes control, Tai Tzu Ying is forced into these positions. Eventually, players who play against Tai Tzu Ying enough, will get a feel for her deceptions and be able to predict them. Tai Tzu Ying doesn’t account for her deceptions to be predicted which in turn, she isn’t ready for these shots.

Playstyle

We’ve already mentioned that Tai Tzu Ying is a very strategic player with lots of deceptions. Her playstyle is a very controlling playstyle. She sets the pace of most of her rallies and pushes her opponents into a reactive state.

When you couple superior anticipation with strategy, you’ll be able to push your opponents very hard and save a lot of energy. This is what Tai Tzu Ying does. It’s almost like she always knows what the opponent is going to do except for those times we mentioned in the weakness section.

This kind of playstyle is much like the current Lin Dan. Slow paced, anticipation based, and controlling. These strategies of restricting movement are beneficial in putting your opponent off balance.

Achievements

Being a relatively young player at the age of 24, Tai Tzu Ying only has 23 titles with none of them being a world championship or Olympic gold medal. But with her current prowess, she is destined to win lots more. Here are some of her current achievements:

  • 2018 Denmark Open Gold
  • 2018 Chinese Taipei Open Gold
  • 2018 Indonesia Open Gold
  • 2018 Malaysia Open Gold
  • 2018 All England Open Gold
  • 2018 Indonesia Masters Gold

With all these world tour titles, Tai Tzu Ying is also one of the most profitable players with prize money at $1,110,755. That’s on par with Lee Chong Wei, and we haven’t even taken sponsors into consideration!

Conclusion

One of the young badminton superstars, Tai Tzu Ying, is sure to make a significant impact on the badminton world.

Her strategic playstyle and deceptive play make her one of the most unique and deadly players in women’s singles. Not much powerful smashing and driving; just out-maneuvering her opponents slowly.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comment section down below and as always, have a great day!

 

Lin Dan Badminton – A Player Study

Lin Dan, one of the, if not the greatest badminton player of all time. Although he may have been falling out recently and not winning as much, his past achievements have surpassed every singles badminton player in history. The two-time Olympic champion and 5-time world champion definitely has some tricks and tips up his sleeve.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes Lin Dan a world beater in badminton.

Player Specifications

As of October 28, 2018, 

Date of Birth: October 14, 1983

Height: 177cm

Country: China

Racket Model: Yonex Voltric LD Force

World Ranking: 12

Highest Ranking: 1

Career Titles: 65

Dominant Hand: Left

Type of Player: Mens Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths 

Lin Dan’s most significant advantage is his attack. When you couple racket and shuttle mastery with strategy, you get an unstoppable player. Let me explain a little more.

Lin Dan is one of the best players at playing around the net. His deceptions and variability make it very difficult for other players to play against him. He approaches the shuttle in a particular direction and then changes it last second which makes Lin Dan unpredictable. For example, one of Lin Dan’s most used deception is to approach the shuttle like you’re going to play a cross court net shot and then suddenly change direction and push to play a flat shot to the back. If the opponent manages to get the shot back, Lin Dan waits at the front and finishes it with a net kill. This leads to one of his other strengths.

Lin Dan’s anticipation is arguably his most significant advantage over other players. Having played lin dan celebrating gold medalbadminton since he was five, Lin Dan has amassed a considerable chunk of experience that he can use to win. This experience tells him the shots that his opponent can play in certain positions and understanding how to put them in that situation. An example is that players will usually block close to the net after a deadly smash which Lin Dan takes advantage of with his fast follow up net kill or push shot. This experience also tells him when he should smash and end the rally. The anticipation and expertise allow him to crumble his opponent patiently. I’ll get into some specifics of the strategies he has in the playstyle section.

Some other factors that contribute to Lin Dan’s and all other successful badminton players are his footwork speed and stability as well as the ability to play many badminton shots. One of the things that’s special with Lin Dan is that he is able to smash well even when he is late to the shuttle. This makes playing against him even more unpredictable. When you’re expecting a drop or clear, he comes down with a deadly line smash.

Weaknesses

With so many strengths, it’s hard to think that Lin Dan has many weaknesses. But the cliche is true. Every badminton player has a flaw no matter how good. It’s just some players have fewer weaknesses than others.

Lin Dan’s weakness is his defense when done right. If you straight up smash and drive to him, he will block everything, even if you are at the front of the net hitting it down. You have to force Lin Dan into unexpected positions and try to move him around the court as much as you can. Lin Dan cannot defend against his own attack. So if you were to attack like Lin Dan with big net deceptions and such, you could take him down.

One of the things you’ll also have to get used to is playing against left-handers. Nowadays left-handers are becoming more common in badminton and other racket sports because they’re told that it gives them the advantage. And it’s true! Since the majority are right-hand dominant, basic strategies have to be adapted. For example, you’ll have to lift towards the left more because that’s where the left-handers’ backhand is positioned. Lin Dan takes significant advantage of the fact that he is left-handed.

Something you can do to counter play against left-hand dominant players is to try to force them to attack onto your backhand side. Generally, your backhand is better for defense against smashes and drives while your forehand is better at attacking shots. When playing against left-handers, your forehands and backhands are matching. Meaning that if you hit it straight with your backhand, they’ll hit it back with their backhand too and vice versa.

If you have good deceptive play on your backhand side, you can do really well against Lin Dan and left-handers in general. Left-handers want you to lift crosscourt with your backhand so they can unleash a hard straight smash so try to play flatter straight lifts and net shots when they have you play backhand shots.

Playstyle

After reading about Lin Dan’s strengths, you’ve most likely inferred that Lin Dan is an aggressive player with a very strategic attack. Let’s talk about the strategy that you’ve all been waiting for.

In the weakness section, I talked a lot about how left-hand players have the advantage in badminton and also mentioned that Lin Dan takes full advantage of this. Although Lin Dan is an extremely aggressive player with an excellent attack, he is actually extremely patient. He waits for his opponent to get frustrated and play rash shots. He does this by playing lots of clears and drops to the opponent’s forehand side until he’s played enough to see that the opponent’s movement has been restricted or until the opponent makes a mistake where Lin Dan can capitalize on.

This is a tactic that is for very advanced players. Basically, you hit to the same general area until the opponent gets used to it and then suddenly change the direction and speed. Since the opponent has gotten used to the pace and where the shuttle is going, the sudden change will throw them off, and they’ll have no way of getting to the shuttle. You can learn more about these kinds of tactics here.

Although I mentioned that your backhand is generally better for defense, it’s not entirely true. Backhand just has more control than forehand, to actually block a smash moving from the forehand side to backhand side is more difficult than blocking a smash from backhand to forehand. This is because the footwork to get to your backhand side is very awkward and usually contains lots of turning movements and movement using the non-dominant leg. When you combine it with restricted mobility, there’s no way you can block a smash to your backhand.

This is Lin Dan’s ultra-successful strategy. Hit to the forehand enough until the opponent’s movement becomes restricted in which Lin Dan can pull a big attack onto the backhand. This strategy requires lots of experience to pull off because you don’t really know when the opponent’s movements are restricted. It takes lots of playing to get good at.

Achievements

With 65 titles, Lin Dan actually has fewer career titles than Lee Chong Wei, but he does have way more golds as well as bigger competitions like Thomas and Uber Cup, All England Opens, World Championships, and Olympics. Here’s a list of some of his gold medals.

  • 2004 All England Openlin dan shirtless
  • 2005 World Cup
  • 2006 All England Open
  • 2006 World Championships
  • 2007 All England Open
  • 2007 World Championships
  • 2008 Olympic Games
  • 2009 All England Open
  • 2009 World Championships
  • 2011 World Championships
  • 2012 All England Open
  • 2012 Olympic Games
  • 2013 World Championships
  • 2016 All England Open

These are only some of Lin Dan’s achievements. For the full list, check it out here. One of the great things of the past was Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan’s rivalry. From 2008 to 2017, they met in many finals and semi-finals with Lin Dan winning many of the big titles while Lee Chong Wei conquering Lin Dan in smaller tournaments. The matches were intense and some of the best badminton we could ever see for a long time. Definitely check out my analysis on Lee Chong Wei as well.

Conclusion – Go Out and Play!

Now, where do you go after reading this? Go check out some of my other articles on badminton skills and drills or play some badminton! We may not have been playing badminton since we were five but we sure can get good at badminton and play at higher level tournaments if we work smart and hard.

Of course, you don’t have to be training at the highest level to play badminton. It’s also a recreational sport as well so go have some fun!

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t be shy and leave them in the comment section below! As always have a great day and go have some fun!

 

 

 

 

Kento Momota Badminton – A Player Study

kento momota picture

Kento Momota is the recent star in the badminton world. Being in all the finals of the tournaments he played in 2018, and winning half of them, he is doing very well. But his most recent achievement was being crowned the winner of the 2018, World Championships. Let’s dive into what makes Kento Momota so good at badminton.

Player Specifications

As of September 21, 2018,

Date of Birth: September 1, 1994

Height: 175cm

Country: Japan

Racket Model: Yonex Astrox 99

World Ranking: 2

Highest Ranking: 2

Career Titles: 24

Dominant Hand: Left

Type of Player: Mens Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

As a player who has won the 2018, World Championships as well as winning a gold in the 2018, Asia Championships, Kento Momota’s greatest strength is his all around play. Let’s get a little more specific.

After diving a little deeper, Kento Momota’s greatest strength is his recovery and speed of his footwork. He is extremely efficient when he moves around the court making it very difficult for his opponents to get through. When returning push shots, he keeps low to the ground and tries to use as little energy as possible by stretching out and not jumping. Having this quickness also gives advantages to his attack.

When Kento Momota attacks, it can be very scary. Kento Momota can play very powerful smashes and then follow them up with either a deceptive net shot, push shot to the back, or a net kill. This makes it very hard for the opponent to anticipate which in effect, tests their speed and reaction time.

But a keyword here is when. Even with fast footwork and both very good defense and attack, Kento Momota still has his weaknesses.

Weaknesses

Kento Momota does not attack as much as people would expect him to. He has the aggression of the badminton superstar, Lin Dan in his prime time but Kento Momota cannot take advantage of it too much. This was pointed out by the commentators in the 2018, World Championships in his game against Shi Yu Qi. He just didn’t pull out the usual aggression. As seen from his braces and compression sleeves he wears all over his body, his physical condition is just not up to par. This means that if you have a defense that surpasses his attack, you can stall Kento Momota out.

This was shown by Anthony Sinisuka Ginting who had amazing defense in the 2018, China Open final against Kento Momota. Blocking multiple net kills and smashes from Kento Momota frustrated him and gave Ginting the psychological advantage.

But once you’ve turned Kento Momota into his defense state, then what do you do? Believe it or not but the wall does have some holes. Kento Momota loves playing straight shots. This makes him moves towards the side of his opponents much more which opens up the other side. As a result, cross court shots are highly effective against Kento Momota.

Shown by Lee Chong Wei in the Malaysia Open final, if you play straight shots against Kento Momota for a little and then suddenly changing your attack, it can put Kento off balance. One shot that Kento Momota has difficulty returning is a flat push to his backhand.

Play Style

I’ve hinted a little about Kento Momota’s play style in his weaknesses section. As mentioned above, Kento Momota loves playing straight shots but likes to switch it up every so often. The exact same strategy Lee Chong Wei used against him and the strategy Lin Dan uses.

Kento likes playing straight shots to the forehand until he forces a cross court lift or a bad lift in which he likes to smash straight or cross court onto the opponents backhand side. If the opponent returns his smash, Kento often plays a deceptive net shot instead of a net kill. This is used to burn out the opponent if the opponent does decide to go for the shot as well as adding variations to his play.

When Kento is on the offensive, he plays a lot of smashes and drives with the occasional deceptive net shot in the strategy I described above. This is his optimal stance. There are a few situations where he falls back onto other strategies, specifically when he is playing against tall players or when he becomes fatigued and is forced onto the defensive.

When playing against taller players such as Chen Long and Viktor Axelsen, Kento Momota prefers to drop and net shot and tries not to lift until the opponent gets too close to the net. This is something we can apply in our games as well. Tall players generally use more energy bending down to lift or play net shots which means you can tire them out much faster if you play a lot of drops and net shots. It’s also because line smashes and high shots become more ineffective due to longer limbs.

The other style of play Kento Momota pulls out a lot is his defensive play. This is when he wants to stall out his opponents and it works extremely well against players with weaker attacking play, players that lose psychologically, and/or players that have less stamina. Playing long rallies forces his opponents to endure and it also causes them to weaken if Kento is able to return to shots easily. Kento Momota usually uses this strategy against players in group stages when there aren’t as many highly experienced players. We can also see this strategy in action against Shi Yu Qi in the 2018, World Championships. During the rallies, it was very easy for Kento Momota to return Shi Yu Qi shots and it led to a solid win for Kento Momota. You can even see the despair in Shi Yu Qi’s emotions.

Achievements

With 24 career titles as of September 21, 2018,, Kento Momota may not have the most titles, but he’s a recent star. As one of the most promising players to win the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, let’s see what he has so far.

  • 2018, Nanjing World Championship Gold Medal
  • 2015 Jakarta World Championship Bronze Medal
  • 2018, Asian Championships Gold Medal
  • 2018, China Open Silver Medal
  • 2018, Japan Open Gold Medal
  • 2018, Indonesia Open Gold Medal
  • 2018, Malaysia Open Silver Medal

As you can see, Kento Momota has only been playing in the top international scene recently at the age of 24 years old. Due to a suspension for illegal gambling, he was not able to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics and other major tournaments. He came back from suspension during mid-year 2017 which he played a few smaller tournaments like Canada Open and Dutch Open in which he did very well in. As the current world champion, Kento Momota’s badminton future will definitely hold a lot for him.

Conclusion

After studying Kento Momota, it seems I’ve put a lot more attention on how fast my footwork is as well as how I play. Pro players can always teach us a lot and I hope this article has given you some ideas on what can make you better. Supposedly there are barely any players that can stop Kento Momota right now. With this in mind, who do you think will win the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Leave your answer in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Chong Wei Badminton – A Player Study

Studying professional players can always teach you something and help you get good at badminton. In this player study, I will be analyzing Lee Chong Wei, former number 1 from Malaysia.

Player Specifications

As of September 3, 2018,

Date of Birth: October 21, 1982

Height: 172cm

Country: Malaysia

Racket Model: Yonex Duora 10 But Yonex Astrox 99 Confirmed

World Ranking: 3

Highest Ranking: 1

Career Titles: 69

Dominant Hand: Right

Type of Player: Mens Singles

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Lee Chong Wei has many key strengths that has led him to number 1 repeatedly. Some of these key strengths are his speed, deceptive shots, and strong attack and defense. His footwork is among the fastest in all pro play even at an age of 35. This speed creates his strong attack and defense. He’s able to put heavy pressure on his opponents as well as repel their attacks. The speed also allows him to get to shots early for deceptions.

Lee Chong Wei almost never loses at the net. His deceptive cross court net shots and his ability to play back net rolls is impressive. It also sets him up for a 400km/h smash or drop, which brings me to his next strength, his deceptive shot. Lee Chong Wei is able to play great variations with either smashing or playing a very deceptive drop shot to fool opponents.

But with all these strengths, no player has no weaknesses.

Weaknesses

Lee Chong Wei’s weaknesses were sure hard to find. After analyzing multiple matches, I found a few. There are 2 areas that players can and do abuse. One is smashing on Lee Chong Wei’s backhand side and the other is push shotting towards the back around the net.

Lee Chong Wei’s backhand defense isn’t as good as his forehand. Often times the block is low quality being a little too high over the net or it doesn’t make it over the net at all. This gives opportunities to net kill or win off a smash.

Push shotting at the net is another weakness. Because Lee Chong Wei is so good at net play, he wants to extend the time playing around the net. If you can push shot before net rolls start happening, then Lee Chong Wei will have a hard time returning those shots because he’s more positioned towards the front.

Play Style

Once you know about Lee Chong Wei’s strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out his general play style. How Lee Chong Wei plays is by stalling out a rally until the other player is forced to drop or play around the net. Then Lee Chong Wei takes advantage of his fantastic net play and either wins the point there or forces a lift from the opponent in which he can finish it off with a deceptive drop shot or a powerful smash.

Due to Lee Chong Wei’s experience, this strategy proves to do very well against younger players. The play style stalls out his opponent and will frustrate them. From the frustration, the player will try to work something like smashing or drop shotting which plays to Lee Chong Wei’s favor unless they have a powerful smash down Lee Chong Wei’s left sideline. When Lee Chong Wei realizes this, he puts his shots in places that make it difficult for players to smash hard down that line.

From Lee Chong Wei, there are tactics we can learn to put into use. If you understand that you have more experience and higher stamina than your opponent, you can play long rallies that force them to play shots to your strengths and away from your weaknesses. A basic strategy but surprisingly not used much.

Achievements

If you’ve been in the badminton world for a while, you probably have at least heard of Lee Chong Wei. He’s one of the all-time best players and he still continues to achieve lots. Here are some of his accomplishments.

Olympic Medals and World Championships:

  • 2008 Beijing Olympic Silver Medal
  • 2012 London Olympic Silver Medal
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Silver Medal
  • 2011 London Silver Medal
  • 2013 Guangzhou Silver Medal
  • 2015 Jakarta Silver Medal
  • 2005 Anaheim Bronze Medal

As you can see, luck has always been against Lee Chong Wei for he has never won an Olympic gold medal. But he is one of the hardest workers the badminton world has seen. At the age of 35, he still competes hard for his titles and he still gets them. Although he has never won the Olympics or the World Championships, he has won plenty of titles such as the Malaysia Open 12 times, multiple Commonwealth games, and others.

We must persevere and work hard like Lee Chong Wei no matter what if we even want to be close to his achievements.

Conclusion

I hope these player studies have helped you as they have helped me. Learning about pro players is fascinating and helps me improve a lot. As a recap, Lee Chong Wei’s speed, deceptive play, and solid attack and defense combined with his good strategy has led him to many victories because he was able to cover up his few weaknesses; his backhand defense and push shots towards the back. While he has never gotten an Olympic gold medal or won the World Championships, Lee Chong Wei is one of the best players the world has seen.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below and as always, good luck in your games and have a great day!