How being aggressive can work on the court

Caro Marin Badminton Athelete

“Anger on the sports field is tricky! It’s tricky because it can work for a player or against a player. Let me explain why… Negative emotionality (neuroticism) can, in simple terms, be split in two:

  1. Fearfulness/behavioural inhibition.
  2. Irritability/strong responses to frustration (anger).

We’re interested in definition number two. A strong response to frustration can cause athletes to express agitation and engage in physical hostility… AND… A strong response to frustration (anger) can induce behaviours related to positive emotionality and approach motivation. I get angry and I can foul (not good) and fight (not good) and play distracted (not good). The distraction alone is really bad…leading to tunnel vision, slower anticipation, poor decision making and reduced physical functioning… Or… I get angry and I can feel more energised combined with a behavioural need to execute my actions positively, decisively and assertively. The key? Players who are prone to agitation and hostility need to learn to direct their feelings towards executing positive behaviours on the pitch. Feel the energy from anger and use it to be first to the ball or quick into space. Use it to lead decisively. Use it to assert physical presence. Use it to work harder AND smarter.”

The above post is written by Dan Abrahams. Further information available at

Badminton can be an emotional rollercoaster. Players often are yelling/shouting as a form of celebration and also when they are putting effort into smashes. These can release stress, anger or anxiety and it has a counter-effect to our opposition. Well-managed anger can move things forward but it can easily go beyond the line of fair play. Systematic winning celebrations can be frustrating for the opponent. Both parties feel there is a mean of it depending on whether you winning or losing. It can further amplify for both players if they are close to the end of the game or the match. Casual winning celebrations are often a sign of a hidden message to the opponent. If you play with a systematic shouter and you win a strategically important point, you want to express that you can be dominant without shouting with a casual winning celebration shout. A casual winning celebration can occur if a great amount of effort pays off for the winning player after a long rally and want to release pressure. Furthermore, a casual winning celebration occurs when all of the above combined plus a big crowd cheering against you and you won the point against your opponent. All in all, it does not work for everybody, nevertheless, it is not a good solution for every end of a rally. Overdoing it rudely is against the rules and against Fairplay. Please use it wisely and always respect your opponent.

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