Does Humility Make You Better At Badminton?

Humility Quote

Recently I got an email from Jonathan Tang, founder of Swift Badminton School, telling me about how he knows an arrogant person who’s not very good at badminton and a few people who are good at what they do but they are humble.

It sparked me to write this post because, if you put some more profound thought into the topic, does humility actually make you better at badminton?

Swift Badminton School Perspective

Jonathan Tang’s view on humility is that humble people will always improve and be better than arrogant people. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

He even gave quite a few convincing examples in his email. First, he talks about Harry, a member of an old club Jonathan used to play for, and he is the arrogant person. Harry was always calling himself a “badminton prodigy” and thought that he was the best. He never listened to anyone, and he never improved.

Then Jonathan contrasts Harry with two other people. One of them is Ben Beckman who was one of Jonathan’s former coaches as well as one of the best players in England. According to Jonathan, there is not a single person in the country who could have beat him.

Ben is described as one of the most humble people as Jonathan told me that Ben has never talked about how good he was and in fact, “likes to make fun of himself talking about the time he lost to Chen Long in a very ‘convincing’ manner.”

And thus, Jonathan tells me that being humble is “a trait you see in almost any high performing athlete.”

He then talks about the time when he met Zoe Smith who is a weightlifter who represented Great Britain

Zoe Smith
Zoe Smith

in the 2012 Olympic games when she was 16 years old and won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Jonathan tells me that, “despite her incredible success and talent… When I spoke to her, I was BLOWN away by how humble she was.”

Then Jonathan gives another example of a CEO who’s made over ten million dollars and tells me about how humble he is and thus giving his statement, “Successful people become successful because they are humble.”

Quite a convincing argument especially supported by all those examples, right?

Deeper Analysis

It’s true that many successful people are humble. I don’t disagree at all. But is being humble really the main focus of improvement?

Let’s take a look at some of the best badminton players right now.

Kento Momota
Kento Momota

If we go look at the top players, we’ll notice that most of them are incredibly humble. Take a close look at Kento Momota, the current ranked number one men’s singles player. When Kento Momota wins, he only gives his racket a nice clap and proceeds to shake his opponent’s hand. Sometimes, he even shakes his opponent’s hand first and then clap. But it heavily contrasts those players who would sometimes take off their shirts and run a full circle shouting with pride.

Another example of a player who is like Kento Momota is Tai Tzu Ying, current world number one women’s singles player. There are a lot more as well, but these players are notable examples of humble players at the top of the standings.

Tai Tzu Ying
Tai Tzu Ying

But does humility equal being number one?

Here’s the main issue. Let’s look at Lin Dan, the world’s most celebrated badminton player. He was a former world number one (getting a little old now) winning just about everything in a dominant fashion. Two Olympic Gold Medals, multiple World Championships; he’s actually won every single major title at

Lin Dan
Lin Dan

least once!

And is Lin Dan humble? Definitely not. He doesn’t listen to his coaches, argues with umpires, and sometimes does really scandalous things. And he does these things because he knows he’s number one and thus, he has the leverage plus the status. This is one example of arrogance at the top of the ladder.

Another notorious player is Kevin Sanjaya Sukamiljo, currently ranked number one in men’s doubles alongside Marcus Fernaldi Gideon. He has had multiple matches where he would taunt his opponents by flick serving, making faces to them, and laughing at his opponent’s mistakes. He is the real mastermind of psychological warfare in badminton, but unfortunately, that brings him a reputation of arrogance.

Yet, Kevin Sanjaya Suklamiljo still sits at rank number one.

Kevin Sanjaya
Kevin Sanjaya

I’ve also had personal experience with arrogant players that are at the top, even if it’s not the top of the world. There are a few humble players in my provincial tournaments, but there are quite a lot more arrogant players. Many people are so full of themselves, they would continuously trash talk each other down and continue even as they lose.

But they’re still taking over the top five of all the categories. Why aren’t the humble ranked 50 players in my province higher up?

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

And following the idea of humility not just applying to athletes, let’s look at Elon Musk, also a CEO. Elon Musk has definitely shown off his pride on Twitter thinking how he can do just about anything he wants. And yet, he’s one of the most successful people on the planet right now.

Is humility really the reason for success, or is it something else?

The Truth Behind Humility

There’s something else behind humility. Humility may be characteristic around successful people, but it is actually the fiery will to improve, and passion for what they’re doing that actually makes them good at what they do.

I actually did a related post on what I think talent really is and talked a little bit about improving and what makes certain people so good at what they do. Check it out when you have time!

Jonathan touched on this idea of improving, but he didn’t emphasize it enough. Humble people generally respect others more and have an open mind meaning that they are always ready to upgrade or Improvelearn something new from someone else.

The reason not all humble people are good at badminton or anything in general is that they don’t have the will and passion for doing what they’re doing. They’re just kind of floating around taking scraps and responding with, “Oh, I’m not that good,” when someone compliments them. In other words, they don’t really care enough to improve.

And the reason some arrogant people are good at badminton or other things is that they have that passion for what they’re doing inside them. And sometimes that’s why they’re arrogant! What they love will often create a lot of pride in them in which they just can’t stand others being better than them. Therefore, when they lose, they actually train ten times harder than anyone else and study all their weak points to reclaim their title.

It’s a different type of arrogance. It’s not like Harry who will blame things like the light or his racket when he loses. He’s just void of the ambition to improve and solidify his claims.

Let me know in the comment section down below if you agree or disagree with a will to improve and passion for what you’re doing as the significant factor contributing to success or no success!

What You Should Do

That being said, there are some guidelines and some false accusations I want to put down in this post.

In no means am I saying being humble is terrible. I’m just saying that it may not be the exact reason as to why certain people are so successful at what they’re doing.

And in no means, am I also telling to be arrogant with the qualities needed for improvement. You should keep the qualities required for growth and then get rid of the arrogance.

Being humble is still a virtue that will make you a more likable person. You shouldn’t be boasting all the time as it only gives a reason why other people should try to harm you and bring you down. Respect is something that’s very much needed to make this world a better place.

Plus, you’ll also notice that you may be happier and get better at various things faster because you’re respecting the good qualities of people!

Stay humble, but build that fiery will of improvement and passion for what you do. And that’s what all my and many other’s favorite successful people look like.

Conclusion

Of course, I have to give some credit where credit is due, and thus, you should go check out Jonathan Tang at Swift Badminton School. They have very informative badminton videos that could help you out!

The idea of humility bringing the best out of you is genuinely intriguing, but I do believe a more in-depth analysis leads to a meaning often hidden behind humility which is a mindset of improving. I talked a lot about this concerning what I thought talent was in another post that you should check out.

That being said, ideas and theories like these are always subject to opinion, and thus, I want to hear what you have to say! Leave your comment down below to tell me what you think.

As always, stay humble and have a great day!

Badminton Tips and Tricks #5 – How To Control Anxiety In Tournaments

Anxiety is something that hits me hard. I would say that my most significant reason for never playing well in tournaments would be getting too nervous as opposed to skill.

Not playing to the best of your ability or even how you usually play creates one of the worst feelings in the world. That’s why I’m going to dedicate some time to give you some more badminton tips and tricks.

This one is about controlling your emotions during a game/match.

Play More

This piece of advice is something that everyone will say. I remember asking my coaches on how to stop being nervous and they just told me, “Well you can’t do much really, just play more.”

What playing more mainly means is that play more tournaments. For me, competitions are when I get the most nervous. It’s when I start to think about winning instead of playing to the best of my ability. To get rid of the anxiety from playing in tournaments, you just have to play more competitive matches.

Tournaments are usually held at different clubs and gyms in most places so playing more matches means you’ll play in a variety of settings. One of the first things that will probably make you nervous is playing in a new place.

“What if the lighting is bad?”

“What will happen if the floor is bad and I slip?”

“I don’t know anybody here.”

These are all natural concerns that many tournament players will have at the start. Playing more tournaments will help you get more accustomed to these different settings and allow you to adapt more quickly.

Playing more tournaments also builds routine into you that training doesn’t develop. One of the things with competitive matches is that they will have specific procedures such as calling out your name, a scorekeeper, testing shuttles, perhaps even an umpire and some line judges. These things can definitely affect you especially if you’re a tournament rookie.

When I started playing tournaments, some of these procedures really messed with me. I was nervous about not getting on the court on time, not bringing the stuff I need, afraid that I will look bad not knowing what to do and more. But honestly, you’ll get more confident as you play more.

Playing more tournaments also gives you the experience to play against players that you don’t regularly play against. Once you do this enough, you’ll also stop wondering how good your opponent is and become more focused on your own play which will allow you to win more.

Although I talked a lot about playing in tournaments, playing with a few training friends or your club members as much as you can is hugely beneficial. Another major concern of new players in tournaments is that their skill isn’t high enough and that’s a valid reason. The solution to this problem is just to train more.

Eventually, if you want to get competitive in the badminton world, you do have to play tournaments and competitions. You can’t expect to train a lot and then suddenly come into a tournament and win. Playing competitive matches gives you benchmarks, so you know where your skill is at, and without those benchmarks, you won’t know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Don’t Think

Sometimes the brain is too slow. Sometimes the brain also drains us. It’s especially true in badminton. It might seem counterproductive to not think while playing but it’s actually a lot better for your performance.

Once you’re at an advanced enough skill, you should be able to swing your racket and move your feet without thinking about all the little bits of technique. If you can do this, thinking during a rally will only slow you down. You’ll also bring yourself out of something many sports players and officials like to call, “the zone.”

The zone is a state of mind where you’re focused intensely and playing at your highest level. My personal experience with the zone is that I felt like I had infinite energy, a lot more strength, and I was moving faster. It’s definitely a great feeling and something you should harness.

Getting into the zone is done by not thinking, at least for me. Everything becomes muscle memory, and it seems like your body just moves on its own. Thinking will only distract you and make you tired as the brain needs resources.

Thinking about things like how your legs are sore, that the opponent is up five points against you, how your form looks, or even what shot to play will only demotivate you and bring about the defeatist in you. Even if you’re winning, thinking will tell you to stop applying pressure to your opponent and make you play worse. The brain doesn’t help you during competitive games.

A lot of people will actually tell you to think about what shot you should play. While this works in some cases, I find the brain lag and the split seconds of deciding actually prevents you from pulling out your best shot. All the thinking based on shots and strategies should be done in between rallies and games.

You should also have muscle memory and experience with different situations from your training. Losing is okay. It builds another piece of muscle memory that’ll help you win.

What To Think About

Sometimes our minds will subconsciously wander off into the dark realms of our pessimism and worries about future events. I’m going to tell you about some ways you can limit this before it affects your gameplay.

The first step before your matches is to think about how you usually play. Relaxed playing is when we play best. Happy playing helps too. Imagine your best games and moments.

Give yourself a different mindset for tournaments. While winning can be significant, it’s not as crucial as the learning experiences or fun you can have. So get your mind off of winning and start thinking about tournaments as places to improve and have some fun. This will relax you a ton.

During your rallies, don’t think about points. Try not to look at the scoreboard if there is one. If you have to call out the score, call it out but don’t try to calculate how many points you need to win or how many your opponent needs.

Instead, think of never letting the shuttle touch the ground on your side. Give yourself a goal of getting all the shots back.

Before Game Activities

There are also some things you can do to help limit anxiety before tournaments.

The first thing is sleep. What’s more relaxing than sleeping? Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your big tournament. You really need the energy.

Also, remember the other usual things such as eating well. The standard theory is to stock up on carbs the night before and eat protein before the game. But if doing this is only going to make you more nervous, don’t do it.

It’s connected to a thing where your everyday habits will relax you. When you get on a court, do you always do some footwork first? Spin the racket in your hand? Practice serve? If there’s something you always do, keep doing it! Don’t let the tournament change you unless it’s against the rules.

Another activity that can help is doing some light exercise or playing a little. This will help get your blood pumping and get you warmed up. You can check out a post about warm-up exercises you could do. Playing a little bit will also give you more control of your racket and confidence. Just don’t overdo it. You may get too tired, or even worse, injure yourself.

Conclusion

And that concludes Badminton Tips and Tricks #5! I hope some of these tips will help you in your tournaments. They’ve really helped me in the past.

Do you have any other tips or strategies you could share? I bet everyone would love to hear what you have to say! Leave a comment in the comment section down below!

As always, good luck in your games and have a great day!

Badminton Mind Games – Beat Your Opponent Psychologically

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.

Variation

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.

Conclusion

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!

 

 

 

 

Badminton Tips and Tricks #3 – Doubles Tactics, Communication, Rotation

Fu Hai Feng and Cai Yun vs Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe Beijing 2008

In badminton, doubles is the fastest paced sport. It has so many different aspects that it could potentially even be considered as a different game than badminton singles!

In this article, I will show you multiple tips and tricks for playing doubles as well as mixed doubles.

Fu Hai Feng and Cai Yun vs Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe Beijing 2008

Doubles Attacking Tactics

Attacking in doubles is intense. It’s all about who can change the pace the best and throw your opponents off guard.

Unlike singles, which tends to be a slower paced game, doubles is full of flashy fast shots and keeping the shuttle low. If you’re able to drive your opponents back and start angling the shuttle down, you will force them to play lifts. If you play very tight net shots, your opponent will also be forced to lift. Once they’re forced to lift, heavy smashes or fast slices can be performed on the offensive. Find the angles and force your opponents to lift. When they lift, you’ll be on the attack.

Before we get into specific shots you should play, let’s discuss a little about positioning. In doubles, the positioning for attacking is front and back. For mixed doubles, the girl should be at the front (unless you have the rare case where the girl hits harder than the guy then any front and back position works). This position is optimal because you want the back players to smash or play quick drops to end the rally or set up for the front player. The front player shouldn’t stand right at the net but closer to the middle and they should try to intercept and kill any shuttles that they can get.

One tip for doubles is to try and target down one person on defense. This is especially effective in mixed doubles since the girl’s defense and strength usually isn’t as good as the guy. Although, you and your partner need to make that judgement depending on what you see in your rallies but generally start off by attacking the girl. If you manage to force the person out of position from targeting them, you will be able to end the rally. Plus, it attacks them psychologically which I’ll talk about some other time.

When attacking, the back player should also keep his or her shots as steep and fast as possible. You’ll usually be playing full power smashes at the back, but it’s always good to occasionally change it up with a half-smash or slice. It’ll catch your opponent off guard by changing the rhythm which will make them more prone to making mistakes. Hitting down the middle in doubles is also more effective compared to singles. Hitting down the middle will test the opponent pair’s communication with each other on who’s hitting the shot.

The only thing at the back you shouldn’t usually play are cross-court smashes. Although, there are certain times like if your opponent is mispositioned, the cross court smash is generally too slow, and your opponent can block it most of the time.

At the front, it’s all about trying to intercept and kill or forcing them to lift again. Your racket should be held up high, and you should be ready to net kill. Occasionally you might move into the back to start smashing, but we’ll work through that in the rotation section.

Doubles Defensive Tactics

Defense in doubles is a lot different than singles defense. You’re not trying to block it close to the front anymore, it runs the risk of the front player net killing. Lifting smashes is what you’re going to do the most.

Before we get more into specific shots to play while on the defense, let’s get into positioning. The most optimal position for defense is side to side. Stay low to the ground and keep your racket up.

A little more specifics about side to side defense is you generally want to stay closer to the side that the opponent is going to smash straight. This will allow you to react faster. Leaving the cross side a little more open is okay because cross smashes will always be slower than straight smashes so you’ll have equal times to get to each smash.

Now that you’re in position, how do you actually block the smash? Like I mentioned above, doing a traditional block to the front will run the risk of the opponent front player net killing so playing lifts is a strategy that you’ll probably use. Defense in doubles is basically a waiting game. You’re trying to wait for the opponent to make a mistake, so the best thing to do is calm down and lift as far back and high as possible to tire and frustrate your opponent.

Also, try to keep your lifts close to the corners. If you lift to the middle, the opponent can smash anywhere on the court, so you lose the ability to anticipate where your opponent is smashing.

When the opportunity comes, and the opponent makes a mistake, here’s when you can turn it around. If the offensive shot is too high above the net, you can start attacking by driving the shuttle forward.

Another tip for defense is making your opponent move at the back. Cross court lift or push the shuttle straight if the opponent cross smashes. This way you force your opponent to run more, and if they’re too slow, they have to play a clear thus giving your team the offense.

These tactics apply to all offensive shots like half smashes, drops, etc. Be ready!

Rotation

I hinted at rotation in the attacking tactics section. Rotation in doubles is extremely important especially if you want to play at a higher level.

The most basic rotations are based on reaction. Watch your opponent’s and where they hit the shuttle and then move spontaneously. If the opponent hits the shuttle below the waist, go into attack position, if they hit above the waist, go into a more defensive position. Some communication will definitely be needed.

To go into an attack position from a defensive position, either you or your partner needs to move forward. Then the other partner takes the back and prepares to smash. To go into a defensive position from an attack position, the front person needs to move back into either the left or right side, and the back person should react and cover the other open area. It takes lots of practice and good communication with your partner to get this really good.

There’s one more rotation that I like to cover is one I’d like to call maintaining the attack position. Sometimes your partner at the back can get tired from smashing or often times, the opponent might make a quick stroke and play a flatter lift cross court. Instead of letting your partner clear the shuttle and give your opponent the offense, it’s good to cut it off and rotate to the back if you can.

Here’s what I mean. If you are the front player and see a flat lift coming, start positioning yourself more towards the back and prepare to smash it down. Intercepting it early will also catch your opponent off guard and break down their defense. When your partner sees you going for the shuttle, they should move to the front and be ready to intercept and kill.

A tip for people that don’t have the same partner all the time. In this case, you should just cover what areas your partner is not covering. That’ll make sure your court doesn’t have any significant flaws.

These are the basic rotation strategies, but they can be impossible to pull off without the right communication.

Communication

Like everything in the world that involves a team, communication is vital. It’s tough to do much without the right communication. Bad communication can cause collisions with each other or rackets hitting each other and breaking. It happens pretty often, even in professional play!

Before starting a game, in between points, in between sets, whatever time you can find, try to use it and talk to your partner about strategies. What you want to do and what your partner wants to do. What you see in your opponent’s weaknesses. Doubles pairs who do that have a significant advantage.

One strategy that you definitely need to communicate to your partner is how you’re going to serve. Whether it’s with hand signals or telling them before, if they know how you’re going to serve, they know what they’re supposed to do. For example, if you flick, your partner needs to be ready in case the opponent smashes the flick. If you don’t tell your partner, they’re not going to be prepared and fail to receive whatever comes down.

Talking to each other also boosts focus and morale of the pair. Don’t stop talking to your partner. It’s always good to tell your partner nice shot after they win a point, give them a pat on the back, and tell them don’t worry when they mess up. Not saying anything is just as bad as telling them that they’re bad and messed up. Both of you will lose focus and end up losing the game if you don’t encourage each other.

Conclusion – Find Some Friends

Playing doubles happens lots at a recreational level. Community gyms and drop in badminton centers always have a surplus of people so playing doubles often times is a rule that you have to follow. It can also be lots more fun including more people! Find a group of four or more, and you can play a variety of games.

That’s it for today, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below and have a great day! What’s your favorite badminton game mode, mixed doubles, singles, or doubles?

 

Badminton Tips and Tricks #2 – Singles Tactics

Defensive badminton shot at the back

Hi everybody and welcome to badminton tips and tricks #2. In this edition, we will be talking about some tactics you can use for both men’s and women’s singles to win your games. Most of the time, singles is the most strategic type of badminton. Once you reach advanced or higher level badminton, games will be more difficult, and the singles player to win would have to be the one with the most strategic play.

Here are a few tips and tactics for playing badminton, singles edition.

Moving Your OpponentDefensive badminton shot at the back

Moving your opponent is the most basic strategy in all badminton, even doubles. Just think about it, is it easier to hit the shot back if it’s in the same spot or more comfortable to hit shots that are always different?

Another reason for moving your opponent is so practical is because they’ll eventually run out of energy. Also since it’s singles gameplay, players will have to cover the whole court effectively making them tired even faster. Now that you know why moving your opponent is so important, let’s get into ways that you can do it.

Play variations! Badminton can get really boring if you play the same thing all the time. Try to perform different types of shots against your opponents. One example is to push the shot to the back and then hit it to the front, and you can also combine this with hitting side to side. The critical point is to change it up as much as possible.

Knowing this is an excellent start to formulating more advanced strategies. For now, let’s jump into some defence tactics for singles.

Singles Defending Tactics

Unlike doubles, singles defence is less about being able to block high powered smashes but more about being able to return shots without the opponent killing it. The top things to consider while defending is footwork, shuttle control, and reaction time.

The first thing to work on while defending is footwork. If your opponent is attacking you, they’ll likely be trying to move you around. Without proper footwork, you’ll be quickly put off balance and unable to return the shot. Try to stay relaxed and keep your center of gravity low. Staying relaxed will keep you from stiffening and staying low to the ground will allow you to move faster. Along with general footwork speed, you will do very well with defence, provided if you have the other parts as well. If you want some tips on general footwork things, check out Badminton Drills and Exercises for Improving Footwork and/or Badminton Tips and Tricks #1.

Badminton player lunges for shuttle and is on her knees.

 

The next part after footwork is shuttle control. This is your ability to return the shuttle in ways that can cut off your opponent’s attack or make it more difficult for your opponent to attack. Try to hit the shuttle in a way where your opponent has to move the most and in ways that you’ll cut off your opponent’s rhythm. For example, blocking cross court will make your opponent run more, if you suddenly change up your defence and drive block, your opponent may be running too fast towards the front; these are just a few examples. Often times, a smash could go really fast, so it definitely takes some practice to block it without the shot being too high.

Continuing with shuttle control, the next few tips will be about lifts and what to play at the backcourt. First thing is about lifts as well as clears. Make your lifts and clears as far back and high as possible because this will give you way more time to recover and prepare for offensive shots like smashes. If you make lifts and clears flat, the opponent can smash it earlier as well as faster making it a lot harder to defend. The optimal position when in defence is stable and ready to react. If you’re pushed to the back, often times you want to play a fast drop. From the idea of giving yourself as much time as possible, playing a fast drop will make sure the opponent’s net shot comes further away from the net.

One thing to note is that at the backcourt, clearing may not be the optimal shot just because you have to play the shot closer to the ground which means less power. This less power translates into a clear that can potentially only reach the middle of the court in which the opponent can smash it down. Don’t try to win the rally off of your defence, patience is vital.

The final part is reacting to the shuttle. Just like your footwork, remain calm and just focus on getting to the shuttle. Don’t try to think about where you’re opponent will hit, just realize he or she can hit anywhere and react according to where the shuttle is going. Of course, if you have excellent anticipation, you can make it a lot easier to get to the shuttle but beware, when a player is in the attacking situation, that’s when he or she can play lots of deceptions.

Singles Attacking Tactics

Now that you’ve read the defence tactics for singles, you’ve probably gained lots of hints on how to attack in singles. Before you start attacking, there are a few things specific to singles. Smashing right away is not always the best option. It uses lots of energy, and lots of players are already prepared to block the smash. You should smash once you’ve crippled the opponent’s footwork a little. Let me show you ways that you can do that.

The time when you want to smash is when your opponent plays a bad clear or lift which is a result of footwork being scrambled. The most common ways to do this is by playing really tight net shots or push shotting. You can do this right off of your opponent’s serve if their service is weak or just test your opponent by playing a variety of shots and wait for them to make a mistake or when you see an opportunity to attack.

Once you’re in attacking position, your general pattern is straight or cross smash and then cross or straight net kill respectively, push shot or net shot at the front. If your opponent’s block is too high, generally you want to net kill it and end the rally. If the block is okay, try to play different things. Approach the shot like a net kill and then perform a net shot or flick your wrist at the last second to push it forward. These types of deceptions will break your opponent’s footwork even more, causing them to make mistakes or give you the perfect opportunity to end the rally with a smash or net kill.

Although the smash net kill pattern is going to extremely common, be prepared for variations. If you smash inaccurately and don’t have the angle or speed, your opponent can do things like drive block and cross block causing you to run more or have your rhythm broken. These things can completely break your attack if you’re not careful.

Also, note that there are lots of variations you can play too. Slice drops, body smashes (especially effective against tall players), and even clears can be performed at the back. You can play things cross or straight but just remember, cross court shots are slower than straight shots. Play as much variation as you can to force your opponent to use all of their energy.

Restricting Movement Tactic

I talked about how you should try to hit the shuttle to different places everytime you hit a shot to move your opponent right? It’s not entirely true.

Once you get to a very advanced level of playing, hitting to the same spot can be very useful if you can capitalize on mistakes or quickly change the pace of the game. Let’s say you continuously clear straight to your opponent. Your opponent is going to get used to that, and he’s going to subconsciously be closer to the back of the court and closer to the side your hitting when he attempts to return to the middle. When this happens, you can suddenly accelerate the pace of the game from the slow pace of clearing to a quick drop shot and cause your opponent to either not be able to return the shuttle or return the shuttle badly. Then you get into an attacking position and win the rally.

The main thing about this tactic is that it’s challenging to know if you’re opponent is positioned closer to wherever you would like them to position. If you don’t consider that they’re ready for you to change the pace of the game, then you will lose the point since you’re not prepared for them to return your shot. It takes lots of experience to know if you’re strategy is working or not.

Another thing we have to consider is that, what if your opponents are doing the exact same thing? If you’re opponent suddenly changes the pace, and you’re not ready, you’ll also lose the point. That’s what makes badminton so interesting; against tough opponents, you never know what they’re going to do so badminton sometimes becomes a sport of pure reaction and speed.

Conclusion – Checkmate Your Opponents

Hopefully, these tactics have taught you a lot. You should be able to take these skills right into your games provided you have good foundations. If you were looking for something that teaches you a little more about basics such as holding a racket, footwork, and/or basic shots, then definitely check out other articles on my site!

For now, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them down below. Stay tuned for the next articles, hint, it’s in pairs, and have a great day!

 

 

 

 

Badminton Strategies for Singles

In the game of badminton, or specifically singles, strategy is heavily involved. It is what’s going to let you retain more energy and waste up the energy of your opponents.

As a singles player I have found many strategies that prove to be very useful and I want to share some of them with you!

Making People Move

This one is the most basic strategy in all of badminton. Hit the shuttle to places where your opponent isn’t. There are many ways you can do this.

Some examples of how to do this are hitting a clear/lift after you drop/net shot, driving/smashing side to side, driving to a corner and then net shotting and many more. It’s fairly simplistic, just play your shots to different places instead of hitting it into the same place.

Play to the corners and your opponent will surely have a hard time responding to your shots.

Attack

When attacking in singles, I want you to keep making people move in your mind. You want to put as much pressure as possible onto your opponent to eventually win the rally when attacking in singles. Before we get into how to attack, first you should learn about how to set up a situation where you’re attacking.

To be in an attacking situation, usually you should be playing overhead shots like smashes or drops and also be in a position where you’re the one in control of the game and making your opponent scramble for the shuttle. Ways to get into this position is to force your opponent to play high lifts and clears.

You can force your opponent into playing high lifts and clears in many ways. The tactics I like to use are a combination of driving to the back corners and playing net shots that are extremely tight to the net. When you play fast shots to the back, you force your opponent to play drops and clears. If they drop then you can play a net shot or drive again except cross court. Doing a mix of these will eventually force your opponent to lift the shuttle or clear it.

Once you’re in the attacking position, the standard attack goes like this: smash, net kill/net shot, smash, net kill. Sometimes it goes longer but usually you should win the point after your first net kill or second smash. You also want to play cross court shots. So after your first smash, you should net kill or net shot cross court, and then smash straight. This is important because if you hit to different areas, your opponent will have a much harder time defending than if you hit it to one spot.

Of course there are variations that you can and should play but we’ll talk about that later.

Another thing to mention is when you’re attacking (or playing badminton in general), you should move as fast as you can. After you smash, instantly follow up by running to the front and net killing and then preparing for the next attack. It happens way too many times when a player would smash and think it’ll win the rally there but in fact the opponent blocks it and gets a point. You want to maximize the points you get when you’re in attacking position.

Defense

You can’t always be attacking. Although attacking can get you lots of points, you lose most of your stamina when attacking and sometimes it’s your opponent’s turn to attack. This means you have to have a good defense. Ever heard of the saying, the best offense is the best defense? What about the best defense is the best offense? Probably heard of the second one less but in badminton, it’s true!

Generally you don’t want to put yourself into the defensive position but it’s usually done through playing lifts and clears. Once you’re in this position, you want to position yourself in the middle, slightly towards the area to receive a straight smash (fastest smash). You want to have a lower center of gravity and be ready for any type of shot. Just before your opponent hits the shuttle, take a split step. This will make you more mobile and prepared to defend.

Now let’s talk about what kind of shots you should play. Usually you play a block or net shot to defend. When defending, try not to make your net shots and blocks too high above the net. Making it too high gives your opponent the opportunity to net kill and end the rally. If you can, also try to block cross court occasionally. This will make your opponent lose more stamina and adds a lot of pressure.

Also, try to make as little movements as possible. Don’t shift your body weight all into one position because that will make it a lot harder to defend against the next shot. You want to stretch out as much as possible and move back to the middle as fast as possible too.

Variations

Now here are the variations. What I mean about variations is, you don’t want to play the same type of strategy and shots all the time. If your opponents are smart and good enough, they’ll adapt to it and also playing the same strategy all the time makes badminton a little boring. You always want to change it up a little.

Here’s an example of attacking with variation. To set yourself up into an attacking position, you can play all sorts of techniques. Instead of playing my strategy of driving to corners and net shotting, you could also drop or even clear and lift. This is all dependent on experience, your personal skill, and your opponent’s skill so there’s not much more I can say. When you’re actually attacking, a few tips I have is to change it up occasionally and where to hit it. Don’t do it too much or the opponent will notice but just occasionally, do a slice drop shot instead of a smash. You can really fake your opponent out with it. When you are smashing, try to smash straight and aim for the sideline but there are a few variations you can use. Occasionally smash cross court if you notice your opponent is heavily positioned to defend a straight smash and also sometimes you should smash at your opponent specifically between his racket arm if your opponent is tall.

As for defense, in singles there really isn’t much to talk about. Just try to block cross court occasionally to change it up. There’s also a shot that’s used more in women’s singles than men’s and that is a drive block. This is when you drive your opponent’s smash. Usually this is useful in making a quick turn to offense.

Another quick note is deceptions. Don’t fake shots too much, try to actually play the shot sometimes too. This will pressure the opponent to be on his toes all the time because he won’t know what type of shot you’re going to play. Common deceptions you can use in your game include, faking a net kill and playing a net shot, faking a net shot and playing a drive, and the famous faking a smash to play a slice drop shot.

Conclusion

With these strategies, you should have a good start on winning in singles. One thing to mention is that this isn’t everything. Like I mentioned in the variation section, strategy comes with experience as well as knowing your own and opponent’s play style.

Keep on playing and practicing and you will definitely get good at badminton. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below, and as always, good luck in your games and have a great day!