What I Learned From Playing Badminton In China

After about three weeks of training in China, I learned a lot about badminton. Training in China allowed me to take a completely different perspective of badminton as a game. In this post, I will tell you about what I learned from playing badminton in China.

This post is sort of like a follow-up post to my Badminton Training Program In China post, where I talk about the structure of the training and the types of drills I did in China.

You can check that post out here: Badminton Training Program In China (An In-Depth Guide)

This post, however, I will be going through some of the other things I learned that you could apply in your games.



How To Create Super Steep Angles

When I was training in China, the coaches saw lots of issues with my swing after watching me play various drop shots and smashes.

I could never produce a great angle on these shots.

My drop shots were often too high above the net, either giving my opponent time to recover on the defense or an opportunity to end the rally right away.

My smashes were up at my opponent’s body, allowing him to quickly use all the power that I had generated against me to play a block angled downward on my side.

My coach was looking at my swing and saying that I needed to angle my shots down more by hitting the shuttle with my racket face at a lower point.

I needed to hit the shuttle at a lower contact point to get a steeper angle on my shot.

My coach said that any contact point as long as it’s before your arm becoming parallel with ground is fine, so do your best to hit it at the lowest point possible.

Then he told me to do some shadow drills. He said to swing my racket slowly and look at my contact point and envision myself hitting the shuttle.

That’s what I did a lot.

Whenever I had the chance, I would pull out my racket and swing my racket slowly looking at my contact point for smashes and drops.

The other thing he told me to do was explicitly focus on the moments directly before contacting the shuttle. He wanted me to focus on the flexibility of my wrist and forearm rotation.

I practiced that shadow movement a lot, and it helped me focus on how to create steeper angles in my smashes and drops.

Badminton Is A Game Of Speed, Not Strength

My backhand sucks, and my coach and teammates found that out.

We were drilling backhand clears, and I just couldn’t do it. The clears were always inconsistent and to the middle of the court. I didn’t practice this shot enough as I always made it through playing drop shots.

My coach and some of the other players tried to give me some advice on my swing. Stuff about how I should flick my arm faster, hit it higher, etc., but it didn’t click.

Later on in the week, I went to have a mini private lesson with a friend of my grandparents.

She was a gym teacher in her 40s who used to play badminton competitively and was kind enough to give me a few tips and pointers on badminton and feed me a few shots.

At the gym, I asked to practice my backhand clear. After a few swings, I was still frustrated at my backhand clear.

Luckily, one of the coaches for Changsha’s top school team was there, and my teacher asked him to give me some pointers.

I went through a whole reform on my swing starting from the beginning. The coach taught me Taufik Hidayat’s backhand form, and currently, I’m still practicing it.

The new form has undoubtedly made my backhand drops cleaner. Now I’m focusing on improving my clears.

Here are a few backhand drills that you could try as well: Badminton Backhand Drills – Improve Your Backhand

The coach that taught me a new backhand form said two essential things.

  1. Badminton is a game of speed, not strength.
  2. Playing a backhand shot should feel super relaxed.

Sometimes, my clears and smashes on both my forehand and backhand suck.

I can distinctively remember some jump smashes.

I would tense every muscle in my body up, jump up, and swing as hard as I could. I either end up smashing into the ground or producing a shot that my opponent easily deflects.

Either way, it was not a good fate for me.

I couldn’t produce as much power as I wanted to, especially in a climate where it’s much more humid, and shuttles fly a lot slower than here in Canada.

After getting a few pointers for my backhand shot, I learned that the two tips I listed above applies to everything.

If I wanted a huge power smash or effortless clears, I needed to be relaxed and focused on hitting the shuttle fast instead of focusing on using as much force as possible.

The Art Of Slice Drop Shots

Chinese players love to slice. Nobody plays drop shots by slowing their swing down. Everybody just slices the shuttle.

I should practice my drop shots a lot more. When I went to China, my drop shots were pretty horrible.

Either I hit it into the net or I hit a drop shot that was way too high and slow, allowing my opponent to net kill. Another problem was my aim. It seemed like I was always hitting the shuttle to the middle.

Thus, my coach got me to practice slicing the shuttle for more drop shots.

In the beginning, it was quite challenging to get the hang of it. Things were worse than before.

Slicing requires a ton of practice. You have to slice it just enough at a certain angle to produce your desired shot. Otherwise, they fly out of the sidelines, or there’s not enough power to get the shuttle past the net.

Over time, I got better. My slice drop shots still aren’t as good as I would like them to be, but things are improving.



The most noticeable difference between a slice drop shot and a regular drop shot is how deceptive you become. After a bit of practice, my cross-court slice drops from the forehand side has gotten really good.

I’ve been getting nearly half of my points in all matches from my forehand slice drop consistently.

What makes a slice drop so powerful is because you’re swinging your racket at the same speed as a smash or clear. Opponents often anticipate a smash or clear and start moving back, not realizing that you’re playing a drop shot.

Then it’s too late, and your opponent is either forced into a bad situation or loses the point.

You can still produce the same deceptive results with a regular drop shot, but it’s not nearly as comfortable.

Regular drop shots are created with the same swing as a smash except slowing down last second before hitting the shuttle to create a slower shot.

The slowing down last-second part is challenging to accomplish. Most players will start their swing slow. While you can still produce good quality drop shots, your opponent can see you swing slowly and will expect a drop shot.

If you start your swing fast, you might not be able to slow down as fast, so you’ll end up playing a half-smash or full smash, which is entirely different from a drop shot.

With a slice drop shot, it’s much easier to be deceptive because you’re swinging your racket at the same speeds as all other shots. It makes it a lot more difficult for the opponent to react.

Here are some drills you can do as well to practice your drop shot: Badminton Drop Shot Drills

The Aggressive Flat Badminton Playstyle

In addition to slice drop shots, I also noticed that Chinese players love to play flat and aggressive in singles. It’s completely different from the slower-paced rallies that I’m used to.

We were doing attack and defense drills, and I was quite surprised when I was supposed to be attacking. It didn’t feel like I was attacking because all the lifts were so flat and fast, I almost always had to play defensively.

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Again, over time, I got used to it.

It caused me to become a more explosive player. On the court, I had to be able to jump up and smash down flat lifts instantly, or else they would become too low, and I’d be forced into playing a clear or drop.

On the defense, I had to react to a lot more drives. I would lift, then my opponent would smash. Then I would block, and my opponent would drive it at me.

When I played a few games against other people, they regularly made flat pushes towards my forehand and backhand. To match their aggressiveness, I needed to be a lot faster and learn how to force these pushes to my advantage.

I had also subconsciously adapted parts of the Chinese aggressive badminton playstyle.

When I came back to my old club, I was able to severely pressure some of the players I was playing against and won a lot of points by pressuring players to the back with flat pushes.

I’ve also started driving at players more often. This increase in pace was too much for many of the players I faced. The only problem was that it sapped a lot of energy for me as well.

Time to do a ton of endurance training!



Conclusion – What I Learned Playing Badminton In China

These were some of the key takeaways from China. For a quick recap, here are quick summaries for what I learned.

  1. Do tons of shadow movements focusing on wrist and forearm movements in an overhead swing to create steeper angles.
  2. Be relaxed. Stop trying to swing so hard and think of swinging fast instead to generate power.
  3. Use a slice on my drop shots to become more deceptive on the court.
  4. Up my pace and play flat pushes and drives to create extra pressure on my opponent.

I hope you can also take away a few new learnings and try some of the things I talked about today in your game. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below.

Good luck in your games and have a great day!

How To Choose Badminton Strings and Tension

If you have been reading some of my reviews, you may have noticed that I haven’t given any stringing recommendations to any of them. This is because the string is fully up to what kind of player you are. If you have no idea how to choose any strings, you’re in the right place.

Badminton Strings

For the sake of simplicity in explaining, I will be focusing on Yonex strings in this article. Yonex likes to give ratings for their strings in factors that are Repulsion Power, Durability, Hitting Sound, Shock Absorption, and Control. They also split their strings into different categories being Control, Power, and Durability for easier classifying.

Power

Durability

  • BG65
  • BG65 Titanium
  • NBG95

Control

  • NBG99
  • BG Aerobite

Determining the string will depend on your play style and what you like. A general recommendation is that beginners start out with a more durable string such as the BG65 because weaker strings break when you mishit on the edges more easily. Once you become more advanced you could move on towards control and power strings if you’d like. Also, look at the thickness of the string. It is what determines the durability; thinner strings break more easily and thicker ones are more durable.

Another chart tells you about each string’s feel. This one is hard to describe and it’s much better to just play with the strings.

But basically, it shows you which strings feel hard or soft, have high repulsion power, and/or solid feel. Don’t worry about these factors too much because what’s truly important is the tension. What kind strings you like will come from playing more but I recommend BG65 if you really have no idea.

Tension

The tension is the most important part of choosing your badminton string and stringing it. Here’s a comparison between lower tensions and higher tensions.

Lower Tensions (18-24lbs)

A lower tension means that the strings are looser which results in less control and accuracy but it also creates more repulsion which means a player can generate more power without using much strength. Having looser strings also creates a larger sweet spot so that it makes it easier to hit shuttles. The strings become more durable as well so off-center miss hits at the sides of the racket does not break as easily.

This concludes to beginners should use lower tensions because they are not as accurate in their shots and do not have good enough hitting technique to generate power yet.

Higher Tensions (24-30lbs)

A higher tension basically gives the opposite results of a low tension. The tighter string bed allows for more accuracy in shots, less power, less durability, and smaller sweet spot.

At first glance, it may seem like stringing your racket at a lower tension is the most optimal for all players but as you get more advanced and build good technique, the control and placement of the shuttle becomes the most important part of your game. All the extra power and durability is not needed because you will have good technique which means you’ll hit the sweet spot of the racket almost all the time and won’t need the extra power boost. This is why many professionals string at tensions over 27lbs.

Also, note that the tension of the string will get looser as time goes on and it’s inevitable that you will need to restring your racket. These recommendations are meant to protect your racket from completely breaking, not guaranteeing that you will never have to change your strings but the recommendations definitely prolong the life of the string. It’s why I mentioned you can try them all out especially since stringing costs about $10 to $50 CAD depending where you are and what string.

My Recommendations

On every racket there’s a recommended string tension usually in a range like 17-24lbs, 20-28lbs etc. This is the recommendation to ensure that your racket does not break when stringing. I recommend you generally follow this unless you are sponsored or rich. Stringing at a tension higher than the recommended will void the racket’s warranty so please string at your discretion.

20-28lbs is the recommendation of this racket as seen next to the 3U

Here’s my stringing recommendation:

  • Beginner: 17-20lbs
  • Intermediate: 20lbs-24lbs
  • Advanced: 24lbs-27lbs or whatever the maximum recommended stringing tension is
  • Professional: 27lbs-30lbs+ or whatever is more than the maximum/whatever you like most since you’re a professional so you must have been playing for quite some time

What to Avoid

There are some things I want you to avoid though when choosing a string. The first thing is, don’t go for the string that’s super thin and recommended for the “world’s top players” if you’re a beginner/intermediate. Because when they have the lowest durability of other strings, they really do have bad durability. When I got my Yonex Nanoray Z Speed and Duora Z Strike, I strung them at their respective maximum 3U tensions, 27lbs and 28lbs, and they broke within the first two weeks! This is because of a few off-timed jump smashes in which I hit the edges of the string.

But this isn’t even the worst case scenario. I’ve only had to replace the strings which is quite common for any badminton player that regularly plays. I had a friend whose racket completely snapped in half due to its high tension!

I had a little cocky friend who believed he was super good at badminton (and everything else) and strung his racket at 31lbs. His technique was not the best and he would often whip his racket super hard to generate power. But bad technique prevented him from generating that power he desired. One day he whipped his racket super hard when hitting a shot that his whole frame snapped! Which meant for the rest of the day there was a broken racket ready to impale people with metal fragments at any time. Rackets breaking like that at high tensions can sometimes spell disaster.

Avoiding ego and choosing what you believe is safe and good for you is the most optimal choice. My Yonex Voltric Z Force II strung at 24lbs with NBG99 hasn’t had to be strung in 7 months now! Although it’s probably due for a change soon.

Conclusion

The general gist of this article is choose a string based on play style (if you don’t know, just choose durability) and string the tension lower if you’re a beginner and higher if you’re advanced. Don’t string at extremely high tensions and break the warranty of your racket unless you have been playing for a very long time at a high level and if you’re used to it.

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

 

 

 

 

How To Choose A Badminton Racket

The first statement I want to disprove is that your badminton racket does not affect how good you are. While you can’t blame your own racket for personal skill, sometimes the racket can really change your game. So now that you are here, it probably means you are out to choose your next racket.

When I was choosing my first few rackets, I realized I knew nothing about choosing rackets. My first racket, the Yonex Muscle Power 7 became quite unbearable to use after a year or so. My upgrade to the Yonex Voltric Z Force II made me into a completely new player. I struck luck on this one because I chose my racket with no information about what I liked but ended up with a good racket. But instead of striking luck like me, here’s how to choose a racket so you don’t accidentally blow off $200. First one is your play style which will determine what kind of balance, weight, shaft and head size you are going to go for.

But let’s jump into the technical details of a racket first.

Weight and Balance

When you’re choosing a racket, probably the first thing you think of is the weight. The weight is one of the most important aspects of a racket because if it’s too heavy, you will be fatigued or if it is too light, it doesn’t have enough power. Generally a lighter racket is good for fast reactions and a heavier racket is good for power shots like smashes and clears. Most rackets weigh between 80g and 90g. When you are buying a racket, the labels tell you a lot. The number associated with the U is the weight of the racket and as the number goes down the weight increases. E.g. 4U is lighter than 3U which is lighter than 2U. Most players choose between 4U and 3U for rackets. Another quick note is that rackets don’t necessarily have multiple U variants. The 20-28 lbs is the recommended stringing tension for the racket. Usually the stringing tension gets higher the lower the U.

While weight is important, another thing to consider is the balance of the racket. Rackets can be split into head heavy, even balance, and head light. Head heavy rackets are associated with power and a good head heavy racket will make it easier to hit shots like clears and smashes but at the cost of slower reactions. Head light rackets are the opposite of head heavy rackets as they’re much faster but hit weaker shots. And even balance is a mix between them. Most people actually don’t consider the head light rackets because you lose pretty much all the power and even balance rackets still have around the same reaction speed.

Shaft and Head of the Racket

The next few details about rackets are shafts and heads. When I’m talking about shafts, I am referring to their slimness and stiffness. Generally you want a slimmer shaft because it makes your shots much faster and makes it easier to move on a court but don’t worry about this too much since most badminton rackets are around the same slimness anyways.

The stiffness does matter though. A stiffer racket allows for more accurate shots but requires a little more strength for your swings and the flexible is just the opposite; less strength, less accuracy. Most people determine their stiffness from their skill level. Beginners usually go for a flexible racket because it does not punish mistakes as much and then more experienced badminton players go for stiffer rackets.

When we consider head types, once again it’s split into two, isometric and oval. Isometric is pretty much better in every aspect and oval is mainly just used for practice. This is because isometric has a bigger sweet spot (best place to hit the shuttle) and faster shots. Oval has a smaller sweet spot so you can practice hitting the shuttle in the right spot. But I definitely would choose isometric over oval.

Play Style

Now we’re onto play style which will inevitably determine the weight, balance, and shaft of your racket. There are a few questions you want to ask yourself. Do I play singles, doubles, or both? Am I good at smashing and clearing, am I good at defense? Ask yourself these types of questions to figure out how you play.

So once you have decided what kind of player you are, the next question to ask is, do I want a racket to cover my weaknesses or boost my strengths even more? I personally would choose a racket to cover my weaknesses because it allows me to improve my overall game. Badminton is the type of sport that you need to make sure you can play all kinds of different strategies.

It’s also a good idea that you try different rackets from friends and other people. This way you can find out what you truly like to play with. For example, you might think that you like head heavy rackets but then you find out you like even balance. So get out there and try rackets out!

Budget

This one is self-explanatory. Don’t buy a racket you can’t afford. But I will mention that more expensive rackets do feel better than less expensive ones. This is the same thing with newer rackets. The top rackets are usually above $200 but between $100 and $200 also has some really nice rackets.

Choose Your Next Badminton Racket!

There are also some more factors that you can consider but these are the basics of choosing a badminton racket. What I absolutely recommend you to do is to play some rallies with different rackets and see what you like. This is extremely important because not everyone is the same. For example, most singles players play with heavier rackets but you may like a light racket but you will only know this is you tested different rackets. The last quick note I want to put in is brands to choose from. Yonex, Li Ning, and Victor are the three major brands that I recommend; Yonex being my favorite and my personal racket of choice.

After reading this article, you’ve probably taken in a lot of info that is a little hard to keep up with so if you have any questions please them below. If you want a certain racket to be reviewed please also leave that in the comments. I’ll try my best to get reviews out and help you any possible way.

But for now, good luck and have fun in your badminton life!

 

 

 

 

About Me

Hi, welcome to Get Good At Badminton. My name is Kevin and I am dedicated to help you out with anything badminton related. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced player, competitive or casual, there is something on this site just for you!

My Badminton Experience

As mentioned before, my name is Kevin and I am a provincial levels player in Alberta, Canada. I am extremely passionate about badminton and have acquired quite a lot of knowledge and experience with badminton as I started playing at the age of 9.

Throughout my journey with badminton there were many hardships that I faced. When I started in grade 4, I was known as some kind of “prodigy”. At that age I was able to beat middle schoolers, high schoolers, and even adults. But once I reached grade 6 and entered our school’s middle school team (our school was kindergarten to grade 9), I was completely destroyed at the tournament. I realized the world wasn’t so small and that there were infinitely more people that played better than me so I begged my parents to let me play provincially and train at clubs where other elite players trained. Unfortunately my parents took no notice of this and my skill remained constant while all the other people were improving.

When I reached grade 9, I didn’t make the school badminton team. This was devastating to me as I made the team all other years and was considered the number 1 player. The very first thing I did was blame my parents, saying that they never put me in good training places but then I figured out that I could have been doing much more such as training and researching by myself. But badminton being the sport I love the most, it wasn’t a time to quit. In fact with this defeat, I figured that I have to make a comeback.

So now I’m back to step 1 on my road to nationals.

Why I Want To Help You

One of the things I’ve learned is that in many parts of your life, it’s all about what you can do yourself. I know there are people in far worse positions than me, many people don’t even have rackets and shuttles to play with! If you’re one of those people, I wish you the best of luck and I want you to never give up to reach your dreams!

But if you are someone like me and have limited playing time on a court, I want to give you as much information as I know to help you get better at badminton. For me, I never have enough time to just be able to go out and play so lots of my time is spent on researching badminton topics and I want to share this information on a concentrated spot. From my experience, the information is just too spread out and sometimes you have to dig deep to find information.

But with Get Good At Badminton, I am dedicated to bring as much as I know all in this one spot and I hope you can learn things and bring it to your game!

Get Good At Badminton

Once again, here at Get Good At Badminton, I am dedicated to bring you as much information about badminton as possible. Some things you can expect to see on Get Good At Badminton are drills for improving shots, drills for personal fitness and stamina, tips and tricks for your game, or even how to choose a good racket and much more.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below in the comment section or email me at kevin@getgoodatbadminton.com and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Kevin